We’re Family – The Relational Jesus

2015 Easter Worship on the beach – photo by Vanessa Adams

Good Monday morning!  First a few thoughts, and then I’ve posted a song further down below.

The older I get in life and ministry, the more amazed I am at Jesus.  So incredible the change he brought to the entire planet and course of human history with just a three-year ministry.  No books written, no formal institution established, no government, no trust fund.  Savior of the world, God wrapped in human flesh, he chose to pour himself into people, particularly the 12, to whom he says, “I could call you my servants, but instead I’m calling you my friends” (John 15:15).  Jesus was all about relationship.  For Easter this year we had an event called “Breakfast on the Beach” where we had outdoor, oceanside worship and breakfast together, an idea taken from John 21 where Jesus appears to his friends shortly after he has risen from the dead.  I love that –a kingdom to advance, a world to win, and Jesus is barbecuing tilapia on the beach!  It was what his friends needed in the moment in terms of relationship.  What a “guy” thing to do!  It’s a fact that in our society, men often hate church.  Part of the reason is that church in America so frequently fails to represent who Jesus was and what he came to do.  I was thinking more about this idea this morning, as I was reading a great book called I Knew Jesus Before He Was a Christian…And I Liked Him Better Then, by Rubel Shelly.  He has this matrix in the chapter I’m reading.  There is a LOT in here –more than I can comment on this morning, and some points you may or may not agree with.  But I love the train of thought.  And it’s very clear in Jesus’ life and ministry –he was relational, not institutional.

Institutional Church Relational Church
Church is about getting our needs met through persons and programs Church is about relating to God and other in authentic unselfishness
Scripture is a law book that is to be studied for its rules and formulas Scripture is the narrative of God’s patient and redemptive love for humans
Salvation is helping people get ready to go to heaven when they die Salvation is divine recue from an empty, vain, wasted life right now
Salvation is about people doing the right things Salvation is the unmerited gift of God’s grace
Stresses the distinction between being “in” and “out” Sees us as pilgrims in search of God and is far less inclined to be judgmental
Known for being exclusive Known for being inclusive
Emphasizes being right Confesses in inadequacy
Being a “faithful church” requires avoiding people who are in error We “grow together” to accept, hold accountable, and purify one another
Church exits for “people like us” and makes others feel uncomfortable Church is for reconciling diverse people and groups
Often heard: “Church must pay more attention to my needs!” Often heard: “Church is a community where we learn to be unselfish”
Challenges insiders to help frame the institutions life and function for the benefit of the few Functions as a loving community willing to support and nurture all who seek God with sincere hearts
External symbols and coded vocabulary are very important to identity External symbols and coded vocabulary are avoided whenever possible
Worship is a defined, limited series of actions – sometimes marked off by a closing prayer before secular things Worship is a way of life that envisions all its activities under God’s will —with all things made sacred by the Spirit
“Missions” is the church’s task of taking the gospel to foreign cultures “Missions” is infiltration of the church’s neighboring community

I wanted to share a song that carries this idea, called “We’re Family.”  It’s another one written from Jesus’ perspective to us.  There are two versions below.  Listening back it’s interesting to hear the differences.  [Side note but I really don’t like to listen to my own music once it’s been released.  I spend a lot of time writing, arranging, and recording it.  Once it’s done and out there I can’t change it.  And when I hear it there are things I’d still like to change, so I don’t like to listen to it!  Hopefully you enjoy it though.]

We’re Family  – from the album “Remain in Me” – 2007 release

We’re Family  – 2003 demo recording


I have been here with you
I’ve shown you what to do, who to be, and
You know my word is true
And it’s real

In everything I have done
I’ve shown you that the one that you need is
Right here when you think you’re overcome
You’re done

Never my love won’t be with you
Never my word will not be true
I’m all you need
We’re family

I could have called you slaves
But I’ve been the one who gave all his life
I made you my friends
I washed your feet

Take what I’ve done with you
Show everyone that’s who I am
Carry my love right to your brother
Love each other

Always my love will be with you
When you have each other next to you
Show the world me
We’re family

Take all my love
Give it away
Take all your life and life my way
Show the world me
We’re family

To your sister and your brother
Give your life to serve each other
And all that you give away
I’ll multiply it, and give it back someday
Together we will fly away
To a place were we’ll forever stay
It’s beautiful, so beautiful

There is no other way
To win the whole world
To save this planet
But to win one soul at a time
My love is what will show
All men will see and know who you are
If you love each other like I’ve loved you
I’ve loved you

Take all my love, give it away
Take all your life, and live my way
Show the world me
We’re family

One Comment on “We’re Family – The Relational Jesus”

  1. This is something I want to grow in throughout my entire life, to understand more and more how to be a relational Christian, rather than an institutional one . Really like this song too, especially the piano and mandolin parts in the “Remain In Me” recording.

    Do you have a Chord chart for this song? I can play the verses and the bridge, but I’d like to play the whole thing. (And while I’m requesting chords for “Remain In Me” songs, do you have Chord Charts for “The Wedding Banquet” or “You’re Not Alone?”)

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