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Tribal Notes is our subscription based newsletter – delivered every week to equip and encourage us as we cultivate Kingdom Culture in our homes.


Becoming 'God's People' In Our Homes   |  Tribal Notes, Issue 001

    When God took a people for Himself He gave them a phrase that becomes a theme throughout Scripture, “I will be their God, and they will be my people. They must love Me with all their heart, soul, and strength.” Directly after this, the people are shown the pathway to making God their God in a significant way: “Take these expressions of covenant into your homes and live them out from there – teach them to your children. Recall them and embody them when you get up and lie down, when you go out, and come back in" (paraphrased from Dt 6:1-15 read it).

    Here God is establishing fundamental spiritual communities in and around the homes of the Hebrew people. These spiritual communities thrive in the atmospheres of family dynamics and in the rhythms of the created order – dynamics God hardwired into us. This is a critical and strategic move as later, God’s people would be captured, exiled, and families torn apart to live as aliens in cultures foreign to His Kingdom. Yet, because they had experienced what it meant to have a God who was “with them” – because their faith did not depend upon worship at the temple, but living with God day-to-day – they had incredible resilience when conquering cultures tried to force assimilation. No matter where they were taken, no matter which culture’s clothes they wore or what language they were forced to speak, they were recognized as “God’s people”. God lived with them, and they lived with God.

    Life with God is different than having religion. Living in a home where “life with God” is palpable offers a relational connection to God, in community, day in and day out. It begins to fashion how the whole family sees their work, their play, their siblings, parents, spouses, and their guests. It creates a real experience of a prevailing Kingdom that operates out of different values than any we are familiar with – where one’s identity in Heaven and relation to God is ordering all of life. That “way” of moving through life is difficult to shake. Mere religion can be rooted out and replaced given certain circumstances. But a personal experience of God and His Kingdom will not be easily replaced. Once we’ve tasted God and His ways, we know what is REAL. This is what our home life should offer our children: a regular hearty meal of the Kingdom of God.

    This is why it is increasingly important for Christian parents to not just know and teach whose they are, or who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’, but to engage in day-to-day living that draws our whole family, and the order of our homes, into life with God.

    Throughout Scripture we continue to see family-tribes blessed or cursed because of the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of fathers and mothers at home. Hereditary sins are passed down through generations of families. But blessing is also passed down from one generation to the next. And the person(s) responsible for leading their family-tribe earns them praise and joy, or sorrow, as a result of their stewardship.

    This concept of shepherding one’s family is so valued that in the New Testament Paul references it in two of his letters as criteria for any person who is being considered to lead God’s people. He sees that stewardship of the spiritual community at home is a direct reflection of spiritual maturity – i.e. a true relational knowledge of God. “If a person can usher their household into a visible and living experience of life with God, they can be trusted to shepherd the Church” (paraphrased from 1 Tm 3:1-5, Ti 1:6-9). In our Western context we construe his words as a call to teach discipline, doctrine, and moral instruction in the home: managing behavior and outcomes. Paul is actually referencing something much deeper. From his Hebrew heritage Paul understood a person’s way of living was a direct reflection of the personality and ways of their God.

    To the degree that you daily commune with God – in everything you do – you will steward your world into a real and substantial relationship with Him. It is what humans were designed to do from the start. And it is what you are designed to do as the steward of the spiritual community in your home: your family.

I encourage you to take a moment to be with God in prayer.
Be at rest.
Be present to our God who promises to be with us always.
Ask Him to tell you about your stewardship of all He has blessed you with:
What concerns or fears are shaping your relationship to them?
Then, ask God what He wants to tell you about those concerns and fears.
Ask Him what He wants to tell you about the blessings that surround you.
Lastly, take a minute to listen to anything else He wants to tell you.


The Importance of Culture in Family   |  Tribal Notes, Issue 002

 

And inside every turning leaf,

Is the pattern of an older tree.

The shape of our future,

The shape of all our history.

~ Gordon Sumner


    In the fabric of nature we find a poetic repetition: the veins of a leaf look like the branches and twigs emerging from the trunk. The streams that flow into a river look like the brooks that ripple into a stream. The fern branch is an exact replica of a frond.

    It is logical that the God of creation would design family similarly: parents who pursue God in a formative relationship grow children who have “tasted and seen that the Lord is good” and live it out in similar ways.

    Natures’ repeated patterns, which start small and scale larger, are what Margaret Wheatley recognizes as the natural pattern for culture growth. Margaret is a business consultant who specializes in corporate culture. When a company suspects their corporate culture is toxic – draining the energy and productivity of its employees – they reach out to Margaret. In her book, Leadership and the New Science, she details how these patterns of culture growth are found all throughout creation; particularly in the study of “chaos theory.” In chaos theory these repeated behavioral patterns are called “fractals.”

    Picture a cloud of particles. As you look at it you see no apparent order. Those particles are moving around – some of them bumping into one another, getting in each other’s way, while others seem to be floating off and out of your field of vision. This is a system in chaos.

    However, if you continue to watch, a relational pattern will emerge between two or more of those particles. They will clash with each other or draw on each other in a distinct way – they will “bond” – and a sort of relational dance begins. Watch longer and you will be able to map out the repeated steps of that dance. Over time, as the “fractal” is repeated, other particles are drawn into the dance. In this fashion the whole system begins to take on the appearance and movement of that fractal – the chaotic mass is now seen as a ballroom in motion. Small steps, duplicated many times, result in the synchronized movement of all the bodies in the room. In this way a fractal’s repeated movement generates shape, form, and order, ultimately revealing what sort of thing we are looking at.

    The culture of your home communicates what kind of organism it is and the sort of dance it offers. The fractals that shape your family’s culture determine how beautiful it appears, feels, and what sort of things it will produce.

    Without an intentional culture in our homes it becomes easier for surrounding cultures to take over; unwelcome fractals begin to shape our family culture. A teen who comes home with a bad attitude can drag the whole family into his tit-for-tat culture. A spouse who consistently experiences toxic relationships and stress at work can unintentionally make their home a place of stressful relationships, too.

    What is needed is a stronger culture, cultivated with intentionality, which actively harmonizes relationships and redeems brokenness. The culture of God’s Kingdom is exactly that. This is what Sarah and I strive to cultivate as the spiritual father and mother of our distinct spiritual community: our family.

    In Scripture we recognize the concept of “fractals” when we read, “We love, because God first loved us” (1 John 4:19). The logic of this text conveys that what we offer the world is a direct reflection of our relationship with God. Fractals.

    God’s love is a fractal pattern that creates a culture of love. His love of us and in us – when we have truly known it – generates the same sort of love in ourrelationships. God’s love is a relational dance, bringing order to a larger dance, which is simply the outflow and repetition of the original pattern.

    Let me take a minute to point out that God’s love to us is (technically) not the very first ‘fractal’ in the above sequence. The very first instance of love, for God, doesn’t have a beginning because it originated among the eternal persons of the Trinity. This is a critical point with deep implications. If it weren’t for the three-in-one eternal God, the relational pattern of love would have had a beginning. It would have been, in a sense, “made,” therefore able to be unmade because it is contingent. The early Christians had a name for this invaluable, unmade, trinitarian dance of love. They called it the Perichoresis. And when Jesus made a way for us to enter into this loving dance of the Trinity, He knew it could overwhelm all disorder and would certainly never end.

    God Himself is the “seed” for growing any aspect of Kingdom culture. In keeping with the language of chaos theory, the Trinity is the “strange attractor” – the initial fractal – that is able to order all other relationships for us, as long as our relationship with Him is kept primary.

    The first step in making your home taste and feel like God’s Kingdom is for God to become your fractal. Because, for better or worse, you are the fractal in and around your home.

   One incredibly powerful way to make Him primary over the next week is by practicing His command to “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Another translation says: cease striving! As you practice this ancient way of obedience, the trigger for you to remember to “be still” and “cease striving” will be your own stress level and the urge to control whatever you might be facing.

    Before you respond to your teenager, be still. Hear God invite you into the joyful dance with the Trinity. Take the time to ask God how you can invite your teen into that dance with you. Before you react to your two-year-old’s irrational behavior, hear God invite you to dance His dance with Him. Welcome your two-year-old into the dance. Before you get home from work and walk in the door, take a moment to be still. Let Jesus pull you into the dance with the Father and the Spirit. Then, and only then, will you bring real redemption into your home.


Our Culture of Redemption: Part 1   |  Tribal Notes, Issue 003

    I’m going to share with you what began to grow a culture of God’s Kingdom in our home and how we began to see our family as our primary spiritual community.

    Being quiet, private people, our family life is something we hesitate to publicize. But in the last few years Sarah and I have been struck by the string of friends, and people we barely know, wanting to know how we raised respectful children who love each other and bring “light” into the world. As the string of inquiries grew we realized how naive we had been. We believed most Christian families were doing “just fine,” and believed what we treasured in our own family life was not far from the norm. In actuality, the legacy we've inherited from our upbringings equipped us more than we had understood. And the ways God has led us in our marriage and in our approach to parenting has (it turns out) been profound.

    We’ve also been surprised that those who approach us aren’t asking for tips, only. They ask to come into our home, to spend time with us – telling us that even with a limited exposure they can see our home life is much different than others’. They want to come in, experience, observe, and learn. Some of these parents express that they grew up in Christian homes which didn't prepare them to live their faith with their children. Others tell us of the broken models they grew up with or growing up with no modeling at all.

    In every case, though, we’ve been humbled to see that it is our story that has been helpful. This is why we are sharing our story with you, even though, to us, it is just “our story” – plain and simple. As we tell our story we are inviting you into our home and into our lives, no matter where you live. And we hope you will invite others in to listen, too, because our story, as told here, is not about the Brygger tribe. This is the ongoing story of God’s tribe and how He lives in their midst, making them the salt and light of the world. Sarah and I long to have your family grow into the depths of God’s invitation to be His People in a distinct way, learning with us how the ordinary things of family life can grow each of us, and His Kingdom, on earth as it is in Heaven.

    Before beginning our story, though, a note: Our liturgical friends must promise not to pass judgement or snicker to themselves as they read words like “monthly” or “juice and crackers.” Nor may you balk at communion done at home. You must be gracious readers. In my more recent studies and teaching on the early Church I’ve come to understand, and value, the varying perspectives around the Eucharist. But this story is not about dogma. It is about our God breaking our religious rituals for something more. It is about His Spirit in our midst in ways that overwhelm our dogma and our routine ways of living.

• • •

    Communion had grown to be ritualistic to me and Sarah. We’d taken it, once a month, for most of our lives. It seems that any time we do something that long, especially with little variance in how it is done, it becomes easy to mentally and emotionally disengage.

    Each month as I partook I found myself craving something more; and hoping for more for our children when it came to be their turn. Holding the cup of juice I’d asked myself how this would keep their faith grounded. And when they were parents, how could they transfer this in a meaningful way to their children? I wanted this central Christian tradition to engage who they were at their core so they would be equipped to invite their children into it in a meaningful way.

    Sarah and I were left trying to figure out how we could teach our children the significance of communion and invite them into its depths. The only solution we could see was to teach them about it at home. And in that moment of realization, a switch was flipped: we took responsibility of our family’s spirituality in a new way.

    Any time you take leadership you become teachable. You realize how little you know – how much you’ve assumed. As soon as you accept that you are the mediator between God and your children – or even between God and your spouse – your inner posture becomes one of humility, needing to be led. Often we are overconfident and feel we have all we need. But when we are a good spiritual father or a good spiritual mother we tremble at the responsibility we face – the sacred nature of our task – and we plead with God to bring about fruit through our stumbling attempts. When you embrace this humble posture as a parent, you embrace your own spiritual need, and thus, your own spiritual growth. I highly recommend it.

    By deciding to lead communion in our home we began searching for how to convey its meaning. We knew the tradition of communion came from the first passover, in Egypt. We decided to begin there. I set to preparation, rereading the story. I read the story like it was new, a few times over, asking for the spiritual significance to come alive in ways I could communicate to our children. And God was faithful. There were riches I found, and ways to talk about it, that I wasn’t expecting.

    We set the time for our new tradition: Saturday evening before communion Sunday (remember, our church observed it only once a month). Our goal was to have our more substantial communion be the backdrop for observing it the next morning in church – for our benefit and that of our kids. The time required for our little passover at home would be a perfect fit between supper and bedtimes.

    Our oldest (eight at the time) happened to have an Egyptian flat bread recipe in a school book. She was excited to become our baker. To add to the sacred atmosphere we brought out rarely-used candle holders that would thereafter be known as the “communion candles.” We were ready.

    We lit the candles. And in the thin, liminal space between day and night, between Saturday and Sunday, our candles illuminated the elements at the center of the table. We had two children who could read. We asked one of them to read at least a portion of the selected Scripture. It was quiet and sacred. The dark, the candles, and the reverence of the older participants entranced the younger ones.

    After reading, I shared one main idea of that first passover in Egypt (saving the other lessons for other times) and how it was a picture of what Jesus did for us. We sang a few worship songs before holding hands around the table as I prayed in thanksgiving.

    I reached into the middle of the table, took up a circle of flatbread, and broke it, repeating the words from scripture: this is Christ’s body, broken for us.

    It was eerie to be the one who broke it with those words on my lips. It was visceral to use my own hands. He gave Himself to us, for us. But I broke Him that night. I was the Priest of my family – in some sense, in a new way – sacrificing Him for my children to consume. To be filled. To be nourished. To be redeemed.

    We feasted. Not just a little nibble for each. Our daughter had made many round loaves! Our children wanted that tasty bread. We encouraged them to eat to be full. We feasted and we visited as a family. In the sacred atmosphere there were things said about who God is for us; about the joys and blessings of being His people.

    That first communion in our home took about twenty minutes. Our children couldn’t wait for the next time. They wanted to make the bread, light the candles (and blow them out), sing the songs, hear more of the story and, I now know, they pined for another sacred moment around our dinner table that told them whose they were and how valuable they were.

    As we continued to tell God’s story through our communion tradition it became clear to me and Sarah the story we were telling was one of redemption. And that redemption was to be our story as a family. We were God’s People, redeemed for the sake of us becoming the redeemers. This became the mantle we took up as a family. We started orienting our home life around the idea of being redeemed for the purpose of redemption. It played into everything: how we talked about others, how we viewed the property we lived on, how we hosted guests and, quite unexpectedly, how we solved sibling disputes and approached discipline.

    Being redeemers became part of our children’s upbringing. It was a fractal that was stronger than the world’s fractals: a culture of a divine Kingdom that overwhelmed and even redeemed all other cultures. But that is all yet to come in this telling of our story. We will have to continue our story in the next issue.

    I'll leave you with this excerpt from Basil of Caesarea, leader of the Church in the mid 300s A.D. – on whether it is acceptable to offer communion to our families at home:

As for the need to take communion with our own hands, to which we may be reduced in times of persecution, if there is no priest or deacon, it is superfluous to show that this is in no way against the rule, since the practice is confirmed by immemorial usage attested by history… At Alexandria and all over Egypt each believer may keep the Eucharist at his home and give it to himself when he wishes. As soon in fact as the priest has offered the sacrifice and distributed the sacrament, anyone who has once received the whole is right to believe that when he takes part of it each day he is continuing to partake of the sacrifice and is receiving it from the hands of the priest who gave it to him. In church indeed the priest gives the amount for which he is asked. The person who receives it is free to keep it and put it to his mouth with his own hand.

                 ~Basil of Caesarea Letter 93 (PG 32, 186-7)

Excerpted from Olivier Clément’s The Roots of Christian Mysticism: Texts from the Patristic Era with Commentary, p 123.

 
 

Our Culture of Redemption: Part 2   |  Issue 004

    When we began to make ‘redemption’ the culture of our home we needed a way to speak about it to our children. We came up with the following simplified definition: to make things new again.

    In our explanation of the great story of Scripture we tell our children that in the beginning, God made things to be good. Sin ruined its goodness. And Jesus came to make things good again. Importantly, Jesus makes us new again so that we can become redeemers with Him.

    Our kids have grown up with this particular view of what it means to be a Christian. To them, to be a Christian means we are known for making things beautiful and new again, working alongside God. This is the culture we foster – the story we try to live out at home. We introduce our children to their place in this story, and model it for them, as early as we can.

Here is an example of what that looks like:

    We are not legalists. We delight in building a tower of blocks so our one or two year-old can bring it crashing down. However, knocking down a sibling’stower, or ‘destruction’ in general, is something quite different.

    Even at that young age – before they are able to articulate words – we know they can understand much of what we explain to them. We remove them from destroying [whatever it is], calm them down, and hold a “parent’s dialogue” (which, as any parent knows, is more of a monologue). In that dialogue we patiently retell Scripture’s storyline for His People: God created you. He loves you. And He made you to make things new and beautiful. Then we live out redemption with them: we talk about what it would take to redeem what they just destroyed and we help them do it. We rebuilt, clean up, fix – whatever the situation calls for. It doesn’t always go smoothly, but at that early age it has been astounding how quickly they develop a love for “helping” and fixing the wrong. (almost as if they were designed to enjoy creating and redeeming!)

•   •   •

    Not long after we recognized ‘redemption’ as the culture we were called to live, and began instituting it in our family life, we witnessed the following example of it taking root:

    I happened to look out the window to see our four year-old son collecting fallen sticks from the yard. I hadn’t asked him to clean them up so I thought it would be good parenting to find out what he might be up to with all those sticks. I stepped outside and called to him, “Hey buddy, what are you doing?” He ran over to me, beaming with excitement and pride. He announced: I’m redeeming the yard!

    For our son, at four years old, working with God to bring order to a messy yard was what being a Christian was all about. It was not a gray area about which God’s good news had nothing to say. We had been teaching our son it was wrong to lie, steal, hurt others, etc. But in that moment he was not thinking about being moral or trying not to be a sinner. He was simply living the culture of God’s Kingdom. And it brought him a huge amount of joy in his heart.

    When we take an approach of micromanaging the moral choices of our children, or using Scripture to lay out desired behaviors “because the Bible says so,” we have often managed behaviors but neglected their heart and soul. They may learn that the God who doesn’t want them to sin is always watching – maybe even that He is just and wise – but they have not learned how they can join Jesus in the eternal dance of the Trinity. They have not tasted the unique joys of living in God’s Kingdom or helping it come about “on earth as it is in Heaven.”

    As we continually try to live into Scripture’s storyline with our children, we begin to hear God inviting us into it in new ways: calling us to live His Kingdom culture with Him in the mundane and the ordinary. We start to ask what does God’s Kingdom have to do with mowing the grass, fixing the car, washing dishes, working a budget, doing laundry, ordering the office, exercise, planning a healthy menu, or a vacation?

    These are, in fact, divine appointments to live as Kingdom People – people whose very lives oppose the influence of death and disorder in His creation. But these are so much more than that. Ours is the God who promises to be with us – living in our midst. Learning to be His People means we learn to do these mundane things with Him, sourced in His person.

   We’ve been sharing how we embody the themes of Scripture’s story in family life. When we use Scripture’s themes to bring coherence to life, or to Scripture’s varied narratives, we are practicing what is called “biblical theology.” It is what Paul did when he wrestled with how Jesus’ life and teachings made sense of his Hebrew Scriptures. More recently publishers have put out children’s Bibles that stress themes in Scripture – presenting the Bible as one divine, cosmic story that incorporates our own stories. Here are the top three children’s Bibles like this that we’ve come across. We trust they will help you and your kids latch onto the deep themes of living as God’s People:

The Biggest Story, by Kevin DeYoung & Don Clark. This is a fun read. It is succinct and gives a bird’s-eye view of what is going on in the primary thread of Scripture: God’s plan to restore humanity to a full life with Him in His beautiful garden. The imagery used is deeply biblical, but can be abstract – geared more for elementary age children (and adults).

Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. This offers more quantity of stories. It’s goodness is in how it utilizes additional Scripture, plus child’s-level commentary, to communicate Jesus' personal, loving call to us in each particular story. This is wonderful for learning to hear God speak intimately into our lives through the historical narrative of Scripture.

The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones. This Bible tells a variety of stories, with respectful and humorous honesty, always tying the stories to how they foretell and relate to the ultimate hero: the God-man, Jesus Christ. The depth of Jesus’ person comes alive in this narrative of Scripture.


Our Culture of Redemption: Part 3   |  Issue 005

    In our previous newsletter we talked about how our son, at age four, came to understand himself as an envoy of redemption – cultivating God’s Kingdom on earth – and that our household definition of ‘redemption’ was simply: to make things new again.

    We didn’t think we were doing anything unique or profound. Our rhythms of monthly communion and evening worship allowed us the margin to rehearse our place in God’s story as a family. But as Sarah and I rehearsed that redemptive storyline, God’s Spirit started showing us new areas of impact for our family life – if we were truly serious about living into ‘redemption' with Him. Watching for new ways to be redemptive grew into a bit of a game for us.

    As we tried to contextualize our redemptive role within Scripture’s story for our children, we would most often reference the story of Eden – where the primary characters of God’s cosmic drama are introduced.

    We talked about humans, created to be God’s hands and feet in His created world – cultivating goodness and harmony as we grew in our relationship with Him. Opposite God’s good creation of Humans and His world stood death, deceit, and destruction. Satan was the enemy: the “destroyer.” Further, Satan wanted to see us become destroyers instead living as co-creators and co-redeemers with God.

    After a while, our kids could easily place themselves and their activities in that storyline and they became spiritually sensitive to the part they played. We found we could often correct their behavior by simply asking, “Are you redeeming, or are you destroying?”

    Upon asking that question we could visibly see their little hearts celebrate, or recoil, at the thought of their immediate role in God’s story – whose side they were working for.

•   •   •

    By January of 2013 we had been slowly enacting our redemptive culture for four years. Four years of learning to notice situations where we could be redeemers and mentor our kids into it. It wasn’t complex or deeply developed. It really was a matter of learning to notice how we engaged each other and our world and occasionally stopping to recognize that our efforts fit into Scripture's original narrative.

    To our middle daughter, who had lived in this formative culture from age two, this paradigm was assumed to be the norm. And in January of 2013, just after she had turned six, she offered us a clear glimpse of the significance of what we had been doing.

    We had moved our family to a Seminary campus where we would live for the next three-and-a-half years while I earned my masters degrees. It was the day after we arrived. Sarah and I were in the throws of unpacking. But our kids, who had been anticipating new friends and the playground just outside, were glued to the living room windows. They were transfixed, watching their soon-to-be friends playing.

    But after a while the excitement faded into expressions of concern. We started getting reports from the window watchers: “The kids outside are jumping on the air conditioners!” “That kid just broke a branch off the tree!” “They are jumping on the bushes!”

    It was our six-year-old daughter who summed up the confusion our kids were feeling and the concern they were vocalizing. She turned from the window, and with a look of betrayal said, “You said everyone here were Christians!?”

Please sit with that for a moment. Let it hit you the way it hit us.

    I shouldn’t have to tell you that our kids aren’t perfect. I shouldn’t need to tell you that, as parents, Sarah and I often fail to be redeemers. And you should know that we talked to our children in that moment about offering grace to others who, like us, are still learning to bring God’s Kingdom to earth (as it is in heaven).

    But what is there for all of us to see – especially Sarah and me in that moment – is that a home-life that is regularly saturated with participating in God’s Kingdom begins to change the way our children see the world at a heart level. It embeds the culture of God’s Kingdom in them, which begins to orient the way they live and think about their place in your family, and in the world.

    In closing, I’d like to paraphrase Dallas Willard by saying: “Everyone is being spiritually formed – all the time. The question is, are we being spiritually formed for better, or for worse?”

    This week, pray with your spouse. Ask God’s Spirit to point out what, in your home, is forming your children’s understanding of who they are – for better and for worse. Then, on a date night, reflect with your spouse about what God has brought to your attention.

    It is not your church or your child’s school that is predominately forming your child’s spirituality. It is predominately what they see and experience at home with their parents. You are the spiritual father and mother of your little spiritual community. Keep journeying with us as we share the ‘what’ and the ‘how' that we’ve found to be groundbreaking for our family!


New Beginnings   |  Issue 007

    Last week Sarah and I sat down and recycled two questions that are critical to our home being an outpost of God’s Kingdom and an environment for redemption:

  • What needs our redemptive attention?
  • What is needed to achieve it?

    These two questions have been the foundation of every Kingdom-oriented enterprise in our home.

    We usually ask these questions once our kids are in bed and we are winding down with a candle-lit spread of antipasto and drinks.

    Our immediate goal with these questions is to simply listen. Initially, we give ourselves permission to ignore the second question as we reflect and dream together about the first. We come together to verbalize the longings God has been stirring in us – for our relationships with each other, with each of our children, and for the stewardship of what He has given us. For one evening – or for a few nights in a row – we are dreaming together, with God, about God’s Kingdom coming, in our home, as it is in Heaven.

    We started the practice of asking these questions over a decade ago. At that time we created a rhythm of reviewing them monthly during a date night. Now it has evolved to be a simple awareness – a sort of “spiritual muscle memory” for being aware of the atmosphere in our home and aware of when we are sufficiently hungry for “better” in our home. Trying to make changes when you aren’t sufficiently hungry for them is a non-starter.

    We’ve felt hungry for a while now. But it took until last week for us to get around to it because we have lacked the emotional margin for the conversation. Until recently we’ve been consistently overextended.

    Other times we’ve wanted more Kingdom but couldn’t see what that ‘more’ needed to be. And sometimes one of us is ready for the conversation and the other is not. That is okay. We simply wait. We continue to listen to the longings God is highlighting. And we casually talk about those longings – without demanding solutions – in order to keep the hunger alive.

    In this way we will sometimes go months knowing that God is calling us to greater goodness in our home, yet sensing the time isn’t ripe for action. God is still working up the soil in one or both of us before He can call forth something new and beautiful.

    And then, like so many home projects, suddenly it is time. God lets us know that the time to act is now! That was last week for us. Now is the time for us to act! It has now become a matter of following (obeying) God’s desire for our family.

    We highly recommend you take time with these two questions. Start with listening. God has already given you a hunger for His Kingdom. He’s given you yearnings for goodness in your home. Ask Him to show you personally – and as a couple – what goodness He wants to bring to your home life through you. Ask Him how you can do it in a sustainable way. Then watch Him move you to action!

    We will keep walking with you in this – giving you tips, encouragement, and insights into what God’s Kingdom entails. If you have questions please email us. If you experience goodness through this, please share that goodness with us – and with others!