Pastor’s Corner – October 2014

Jim Mann

Psalm 133 is an interesting psalm because in it we are told that God commands his blessing (KJV). I like that picture because many of us think that we get God’s blessing as payment for good deeds done…or that God doles out blessings stingily. Neither picture is true. The psalmist tells us that God commands it when “brothers dwell together in unity.”

Paul describes it this way: “Diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope at your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all… (Ephesians 4:3-6).” You see, God doesn’t make secret, individual deals with each of us. His plan of salvation isn’t different for you than it is for me. Important or famous folks don’t get signing bonuses. We don’t set the terms for salvation—God does. And one of his terms is that if we come to Him, we join his family.

Whether you want to admit it or not, the moment you became a Christian you became a part of the family of God. You may never put your name on the membership roll of a church, you may never attend church, you may be anti-organized religion, you may even say enlightened statements like: I love Jesus, I just don’t like his church; but that doesn’t change the fact that God’s family is YOU.

But that puts some of us off because we know that families are quite imperfect, and someone told us once that churches should be perfect. So when we see an imperfect church we think something is wrong. This has always been the case even leading one pastor to write, “… not staying away from our meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25)”

But even though there are problems that accompany the spiritual family, there are also promises. In Acts the Holy Spirit falls on God’s people when they were “all together” (see Acts 2:1, 5:12 ) and it’s not talking about physical proximity, either. Jesus prayed for the disciples: “… that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me (John 17:20-21).” And when Jesus was asked about the greatest command, it was easy: Love God with all your heart and mind and strength. The second? Love your neighbor as yourself (see Matt. 22:28-29).

The psalmist knows two things. Being family is hard—there’s plenty of evidence backing that up. But the second he knows just as well. Being a family can be great. When we are unified together under the fatherhood of God, God doesn’t parcel out his blessings, he doesn’t strain a couple out now and again. You don’t have to earn his favor or know the secret handshake. God commands his blessing because we’re his kids.

Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch that meets at the Robson clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit for more information.