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One of three Americans is now a stepparent, a stepchild, a stepsibling, or some other member of a blended family.

Blended families consist of people who have suffered the trauma of death or divorce and are attempting to merge family cultures. In much the same way, the Lord brings us together in the church and miraculously mixes and matches us to create a “new family.” He desires to make us one despite our propensity toward sin, self-sufficiency and distrust. The Apostle Paul speaks to the challenge of creating a spiritual family in the book of Galatians. Our new identity is in Christ, he writes, and He is the new organizing principle around whom the new family takes shape. Our old identities must be held loosely to embrace the new.

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:27-28)

To be spiritually blended we must learn to appreciate each other’s family of origin, so to speak; we must respect one another’s history and experiences; we must bend toward new traditions and ways of doing things.

In my blended family we are discovering that merging family cultures is definitely an art form. It involves working together and playing together in generous doses. It requires a rare combination of hard-nosed discipline and lighthearted vulnerability. It calls for the ability to discern the whole group as a unique entity and not obsess over the idiosyncrasies of any single member.

Our church needs the same thing that my family needs: powerful traditions, time together, kindness and acceptance, discipline and boundaries, security and protection, clear expectations, consistent modeling of godly character and spiritual commitment, and a sense of purpose and mission.

Today as we pray for our Foursquare family, let us call on the Spirit of Reconciliation “who is our peace, who has made us one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation…” As we become increasingly diverse and culturally rich, we pray that God would help us to learn new ways of living as family. While we individually celebrate our respective cultural heritage and history, help us to collectively embrace our common identity in Christ which in turn may change and challenge some of our embedded cultural preferences.

We acknowledge that we are wounded and yet becoming healed through Jesus who provides us with a new bloodline and family tree.

Prayer Focus: Enlarge, Lord, our capacity to love each other and forge in us distinctive family features—that we would share resemblance with Our Father. Then offer your blended church to a broken world because we are also broken but becoming whole.

is supervisor coach of the Foursquare Church.