It’s so easy to live safe. And I’m so often guilty of doing it.

We go to church. Talk to other Christians after it’s over. Attend Bible study. Use Christian phrases like “hedge of protection” and pray for our loved ones to have “traveling mercies.”

We can have wonderful fellowship at women’s luncheons. We can teach Sunday School. We can go to a Christian concert.

And mind you, none of this is bad.

Unless it’s ALL we do.

Though it’s certainly easier (usually) and feels like a great social club, living in a Christian bubble is not how Jesus wants us to live.

He wants us to do all of the above AND get out and serve his sick people. And sometimes the sick person needing to be served is . . . you. None of us are above needing to be served at some point in our lives.

Putting skin on our faith means we don’t just read scripture – we live scripture.

The scripture that tells us to get out and be the hands and feet of a Jesus who no longer has physical hands and feet.

In Chapter Seven of Rhinestone Jesus, author Kristen Welch talks about her family’s journey of beginning The Mercy House in Kenya.

Saying “yes” to God isn’t ever easy. It’s exciting, yes. But it can also be terrifying because sometimes we don’t really believe He’s going to equip us when He calls us to something. Or maybe that’s just me.

And it’s so easy to read Rhinestone Jesus and think “Well, good for her. But what about me? Am I not saying yes to God if I don’t open a maternity home in Kenya?”

As we’ll see in the next few chapters, this isn’t what Kristen is suggesting. Her family’s “yes” will be different from your family’s “yes.”

But how do we know what we say yes to?

Chapter Eight begins with Kristen sharing a story in which she became frustrated with her kids after returning from their first trip to Kenya because they were angry they had to share candy.

Yet in the end, her children were indeed changed during the trip; however, they are still disabled-by-the-flesh human beings. Just like us.

Kristen’s family is a typical family with arguing siblings, tired parents, and loads of laundry; they aren’t very different from your family or mine.

However, the Welch’s live counter-culturally. As Kristen stated on page 131, “It’s hard when your normal isn’t normal.”

In other words, when we live to serve others through love and compassion and don’t always bow to what society tells us is normal – like buying cell phones for middle school-aged children or granting permission to play video games intended for adults – we aren’t really very “normal.”

But it’s certainly a “normal” I would prefer.

On pages 135-136, Kristen lists twelve areas her family focuses on to live counterculturally. It’s an impressive list but she recommends starting with two: crafting a family mission statement and gathering for a family meal each day.

I was incredibly motivated to write a family mission statement after reading Kristen’s thoughts on this. I also love that she included an easy to follow template to help us write our own mission statements.

A family mission statement is how we determine what we say yes to and what we turn down.

On another note, shared meals allow our family to reconnect after a busy day and have fun.

And get this – a study sponsored by the University of Florida discovered these positive things about families who eat together:

1. Kids are less likely to use drugs.

2. Families are noted as happier.

3. Kids have better grades.

4. Couples enjoy stronger marriages.

5. Kids adjust better to life in general.

6. Families produce healthier kids with better eating habits.

Of course, if you aren’t sitting down for a family meal every day, there is no condemnation. This isn’t shared to make you feel guilty but rather to encourage you to make it a priority. Can’t do it every day? Shoot for three times a week and work your way up. Start small.

For today’s discussion in the comment section, answer any or all of the following:

1. Do you feel like you are controlling your family’s schedule or is it controlling you? If it’s controlling you, how did it get so crazy?

2. Describe your mission as a family in one sentence (this can be a springboard to create your mission statement!)

3. Are family dinner a high priority in your house? If not, what can you do need to change to make that happen?

4. Share anything that struck you from Chapters Seven and/or Eight.

Challenge for Study Participants (and anyone else!): Create a family mission statement this week…You will have the opportunity to share yours next week in our Facebook group (completely optional!)



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