This morning I read some words of Jesus that really struck home for me. In Mark 10:29-30 (NASB) , Jesus says, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” To come to Pittsburgh, Eileen and I left behind all the friends we’d made in Boulder, CO, and our families in Colorado, Chicago, and Phoenix to come here so I could attend Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. At the time I didn’t think the distance from friends afamilyliy would affect me much – I seemed to believe that emotional attachments like that didn’t have as big an effect on me. Eileen took it harder, and even though she’s done a better job of keeping in touch with friends in Colorado, she still misses Boulder even more than I do.

Yet now we are anything but lonely here in Pittsburgh, and this past weekend testifies to how much our new family here has grown. Friday we had a St. Patrick’s Day party with friends from the seminary, the Open Door, and others, and we were blessed by the presence of every one of them in our apartment that evening. Saturday night BJ and Katrina Woodworth welcomed us to their house to hang out and chat, graciously including us in their family’s birthday festivities for BJ. Then last night at the Open Door, it really sank in how much the community there has become an essential part of our lives. As John Creasy preached about how we have been “adopted” into the family of God, I saw how that process becomes tangible in the new church communities we join.

Jesus is faithful, and his words are true. Of course that shouldn’t be a surprise, but it can be surprising at times to read in the Gospels something Jesus taught two-thousand years ago, and suddenly have it dawn on you how true it is in your own life. Praise be to God for the families we’ve been blessed with both at home and here in Pittsburgh. May God grant us the ability to continually live as a part of God’s family: “Jesus said to them, ‘My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.'” (Luke 8:21). Amen.

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