Friday, September 11, 2009



Since God is love, it only makes sense that the visible expression of God through Jesus would express this same dynamic. Jesus is all about love, but not love as a subject to be discussed or a belief system. To Jesus, love is a verb! Jesus would not say, "What the world needs now is love." No, Jesus would say, "What the world needs now is not more love, but more lovers."

The follower of Jesus loves God with all his heart, loves his neighbor as himself, knowing God's unconditional love for him and now we come to the 4th secret. SECRET #4 is: The follower of Jesus loves others as family-brothers and sisters.

Jesus clearly illustrated this personally with his own family and friends. Listen to this: While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You." But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, "Who is My mother and who are My brothers?" And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, "Behold My mother and My brothers! "For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:46-50)

Here Jesus makes it clear that his family is not limited to His blood mother and brothers. His family includes His friends who are walking with Him. Then He specifies what is true about His extended family members. They consist of whoever does the will of the Father. In other words, all who are family members are those who are walking in the same direction, following Jesus by doing the will of the Father.

We are committed to a mentoring strategy in the many cultures of the world. The first mentoring house I visited blew my mind! My good friend and I flew into a prominent city in Asia and took a six hour taxi drive to visit the mentoring house. The young men who live in the house have been the lost youth of this particular culture. They were addicted to drugs and alcohol and basically adrift-some living on the streets. The mentoring house is set up as a family in a healthy context of relationships and it's transformational.

In packing for the trip I stuffed four copies of one of my books, Anyone Anonymous. This is a book using the 12 Steps to identify and handle anyone's problem. I could just see my book translated into their language; I was so excited to reveal my book with these young men. When we first visited, we went out to dinner at a local restaurant and had lots of time to discuss their lives. We asked them to each share his story since entering the mentoring house. They all told amazing stories about their addictions and difficulties prior to entering the house, but now are doing so well as they have learned to follow Jesus. When I asked them about the 12 Steps, they all had blank looks on their faces. They had never heard anything about these steps.

Well, there went my latest publishing dream! These young men have become clean and sober-even productive in their society-without any assistance from any recovery program. Their "program" consisted of being welcomed into a family setting-a group of brothers who love one another. They found healing in this context of family, all centered around the teachings and principles of Jesus.

We have recently been gathering together with three other couples. We are learning to be friends and love one another. Because we are all committed to doing life together, the bonds as men, women and as couples are proving to be deeper and richer week by week.

Just tonight we took dinner over to a couple of our dear friends. They are facing cancer as we are and we are all convinced that the only way through this is together as family. We love each other as brothers and sisters; we're family in the best of senses and we will get through our difficulties TOGETHER!

This concept of coming together as family is not enough. There is a dynamic that must be present in order for this family to experience the healing and peace that are available. That dynamic-that empowerment-can only be found in Jesus. When each family member is following Jesus, you are free to be a spiritual family with one another. You see, the dynamic comes down to this phrase: "In the name of Jesus."

With a family like this, you have a safe place. Without a family, you are all on your own. With a family like this, you are loved and empowered. Without a family like this, you face a dark, lonely trail of disaster after disaster. SECRET #4 is: The follower of Jesus loves others as family-brothers and sisters. Do you belong to a family-the family of Jesus? If not, find out where there are family members gathering and get there as soon as possible!