Community (Single & Following Jesus Series Part I)


As promised, embarking on this journey of loving life as an unmarried person. 

I know this is foreign to some, yet you can be blissfully happy with just God and friends. People ask me, “When are you going to settle down? Don’t you want kids? We do not want you to miss out!” 

I think to myself I do not base contentment or happiness off marriage or having kids. My joy comes from God. Life with God is the most incredible adventure.  If I never marry, you will find me in roaring laughter with God, probably rocking orphans in my arms. 

Redefine Success: 

Our culture sees marriage as attaining status or success. God sees success as being faithful and fruitful where He plants you. 

I worked my way through two engineering degrees, founded/run a community service (outreach to the poor) with God, serve the poor, mentor/disciple women, and oversee 7 ministries. My time with God, friends, family is awesome. I have been all over the world and have freedom with God to do anything! I am content. I am quite content. God is amazing. 

Yeah right? Some say. Yet I have met numerous couples miserable and married. Despite the love stories on tv, Hallmark cards, or Disney movies, not every story leads to happliy ever after. 

Relationships require effort. When you combine two imperfect people there can be some conflict. There is also a divided focus: family and ministry. Family is to be the primary ministry. The ability to just pick and go is not as easy. Fasting means talking to your spouse. 

An unmarried person has one focus-please the Lord. 

Paul’s word to the unmarried: 1 Corinthians 7:25-38

But Marriage was God’s Idea!!:

Covenant and community was (is) God’s idea. God has great ideas. The first relationship God showed us was the Godhead. In the beginning they were together. Then we see Adam and God, God and Eve…then Adam and Eve. God had community before mankind was created. God is our community. God also adopts us into His family so we have billions of siblings in Christ. God deposits His Spirit so we have 24/7 companionship. We have full access to God 24/7. 

We are never truly alone. 

I desire for unmarried believers to enjoy life, instead of waiting to enjoy life if/when a mate shows up. I am not against marriage. I am pro enjoying God and living life to the fullest. 

We need community. 

Community does not have to be a spouse and children, though it can be. 

I have several unmarried friends without families. For holidays, we celebrate together. Yes, I spend time with my natural born family too. I make time for those who have nowhere to go on holidays. I believe God intended for the church (believers) to invite others into their families. My parents taught us believers are family.Family includes others. 

We are kind champions, “You can sit with us.” 


Finding a tribe (community) that treats you and loves you like Jesus is worth the investment. I repeat over and over, you are not alone. There are supposedly 2.2 billion Christians on this planet…Over half are unmarried. There is a community out there for you. You can also cultivate your own; hobby group, bible study, fitness pals. 

God sets the lonely in families, His very own family (from Psalm 68:6). 

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure,~Ephesians 1:5. 

Papa thank You for giving us Jesus and Holy Spirit. Thank You we are never alone. Thank You that You include us in Your family. We were chosen, adopted, loved! We are so deeply loved by You. I pray this series helps so many who feel like outcasts or lonely or misunderstood to feel Your great love for them. I ask for healthy, loving community to be a part of their lives. For those desiring marriage, I ask for contentment in You until it comes. I ask for hearts and lives prepared for all you have to offer! In Jesus powerful name. Amen. 

You are so deeply loved! 

Erin Lamb 

Single & Following Jesus Series


Hello online friends! It has been some time since I touched base with you. Yet you are not forgotten. I have been thinking, “Where do we go from here?” What is beneficial for this season? 

Well, there is a new series starting on single and following Jesus. I know it seems I hit this target over and over, yet it’s best to talk about what we know. I also read an article that stated the younger generations are getting married later in life and some not at all. 1 in 3 deciding a no for marriage. We have marriage on the decline. So if lots of followers of Jesus are unmarried, I find it imperative to talk about singles issues and bring them to the table. 


I want to hear from you! Yes, you. What topics do you wish to see covered in this series? I have already polled my FB fam. Now it’s your turn. What are your needs? How can the church (community of believers) better serve you? What topics would benefit you?

I hope you comment below and engage in this series! I am asking God to show up big time. 

If you are married, please do not check out. Your input is valued too! We need each other. Maybe you can share some insight into married life or life before marriage. 

Mainly I want us to grow together. 

So, let’s dig into God’s word and look at some very influential unmarried people in the Bible and today. Let’s talk about some challenging topics and fun ones too! 

You can live an amazing life as an unmarried person. 

Don’t forget to post your suggestions for topics in the comments below. Looking forward to hearing from you. You are so deeply loved. 

Xxxx, 

Erin Lamb

We are Family (Identity in Christ Part 20)

 

Young Couple with Two Children (8-12) Walking on the Beach

God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing, ~Psalm 68:6a.

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father,” ~Romans 8:15.

What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir, ~Galatians 4:1-7.

The picture above is what we normally think of when we think of a family. We have a father, a mother, and children. If this is our only view of family, we will be disappointed if our family does not look like the one above. In today’s society you find single parent homes. You find widows and orphans. You find childless couples. You find millions of singles who may never marry. So, where is their family?

God sets the lonely in families. We were not intended to become His child and neglect other believers. We are family. It’s a challenging and difficult concept. We are not only called to care for our blood related family, we are called to care for our spiritual family. Some of our relatives we may not see again in heaven (though I’d hope so). There will be no marriage in heaven (Matt 22:30). There will be no having children there. We will all be like the angels. One big happy family.

Why is it so difficult to function as a family in church?

1. We don’t see the benefits of unity.Read previous post about the members of the Body. Division and independence weakens us. A divided force is a weak one. God is a God of unity. We need each other.

2.We live in a self focused society. We can go to church and not invest in anyone. We go, get our needs met, and go home. It’s about us, not necessarily others.

3.Our worship gatherings attract broken, hurting, and some really messed up people. Just like our natural families there are some awkward people we are related to. We are probably someone’s awkward person. It tests our love and patience to deal with people who don’t always act like Jesus or we have nothing other than Jesus in common with.

4. We are taught to care for our natural families, not our spiritual family. However, the Bible says, “Mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who rejoice,” Romans 12:15. We read in Philippians 2:4, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”

5. We are too busy. I don’t know about you, but getting to know people takes time, energy, and resources. We have to make time for people. It can be tiring. We are not called to strive, but to make an effort to bless other believers.

6. It can be messy. If you’ve been a Christian long enough, you’ve probably been hurt by another believer. It’s painful for we expect people who are Christians to act like Jesus. That is not always the case. Hurt feelings, offense, betrayal, it can can happen. We learn boundaries with our natural families, and we need boundaries with our spiritual family. Some relationships can be damaging, toxic, or unhealthy. Wisdom, boundaries, and counsel may be needed in dealing with people.

Personal Experience:

Have you ever been to someone else’s family gatherings? I have. My family has been disinterested in celebrating holidays since my mum passed. So, year after year I have either hosted my own gathering with people from church or been invited to other people’s homes. Some are welcoming. Others though the intentions are good, have left me to feel like the stray someone picked up and it’s a pity meal. You don’t really fit. You don’t really belong. You are a guest. You don’t have the same privileges as the regular family and it’s awkward. God intentionally set us in a big church family. So, no person is a misfit. No person in His family is to feel like a stray. Every believer in Christ is an equal heir to Christ’s inheritance. There are only adopted children, each one wanted, cherished, and desired.

I love the movie The Blind Side. Micheal became a real member of their family. He wasn’t a guest, a pity case, but a loved child. He was chosen to be a part of a family. They treated him the same way they did their other children. God did that with us. He calls us to do the same for others.

Final Notes:

If you are a part of a community believers, I encourage you to start investing in the lives of the people around you. Get to know them and treat them like family. If you see a person who’s lonely, be a friend. If you’re a married couple with kids, I encourage you to befriend singles and not just other couples with kids. If you’re a single person, reach out to married couples. We are supposed to be a family. Protect each other. Encourage each other. Mourn with each other. Rejoice with one another. Don’t simply look out for your own interests, but the interests of others. Ask God who you can bless and be on the lookout for opportunities to be like Jesus to those around you.

P.S My friend Virginia wrote an excellent book called Single Not Separate, How to make church more like a family. Check it out. http://www.amazon.com/Single-Not-Separate-makethe-church/dp/0884199290

 

 

The Single Reality (Part 9)

Is Our House Divided?

A house divided against itself cannot stand, Mark 3:25

Today, I wanted to talk about something that touches my heart- Division within the Body of Christ. We learn from childhood to separate things into categories and lump things that are similar together. It is engrained into our minds to put labels on people and to associate with people who are similar. Our eyes have been trained to separate what is different. It can be a detrimental thing, for a house divided against itself cannot stand. Division is a way to destroy something or minimize its strength. Unity is powerful. One of the reasons I started this series was due to numerous blogs for married couples, engaged couples, those dating, and I could find very few that focused on single life as a Christian. If I did find one, they were geared towards getting a person to the altar instead of living a fulfilled life as a single person.

We Are In This Together….

As part of one race, the human race, we are all connected and sharing a planet. As part of Christ’s body, we are all connected by God’s Spirit. We belong to one another. In relation to single people versus married people we have some obstacles to overcome.

1. Separate Fellowship. Single and married people are to fellowship together within the body. God never intended for singles to only interact with singles and married people to only interact with other married people. He has a view of unity and community where His entire church body comes together and works together to give the world a picture of what He is like. Both groups are equal in His eyes. He sees one body, not a divided one. One is not more important that the other. They are to work together to display His Glory.

2. Isolation. I’ve met many single people who feel more and more isolated as their friends get married. Some lose their friends. Some have no community or family of their own. God never intended for anyone to feel left out, isolated, or without community. Check out the verses below from the church in Acts.

The Fellowship of the Believers

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved, Acts 2:42-47.

The church was unified and they grew. They helped each other and supported one another. This is a true picture of a house undivided.

3. My Status Is Better Than Your Status. What a great way to keep us from loving one another than to create a world of, “My status is better than your status.” Our identity cannot be rooted in our status. Our  identity is to rooted in Christ. If our identity is rooted in Christ then we view others as a part of our spiritual family. In His eyes, we are all His children, all heirs; no status is more valuable or important. There is no “us” versus “them”. Neither status makes us greater in God’s eyes.

4. My Family Versus God’s Family. Having our own families, caring for them, and making them a priority is important. However, there is God’s family that we are called to invest in as well. Investing in His family can include serving, volunteering, making disciples, and/or developing friendships. In God’s eyes all who are in Christ are family.  We may not want to invest in anyone other than our own biological family, but we have another family as well, our spiritual family.

Prayer:

Abba, I pray that our identities are rooted in You. May we be unified and not divided. Help us to see each other through Your eyes. Help us to view single life or married life the way You do. May our eyes be fixed on You. In Jesus name, Amen.

The Single Reality (Part 6)

Covenant Friendship

When you are not married there are questions that pop up such as, “Who will be my witness? Who will share my life with me? Who will be my family? Who will care for me when I am old?” Married people have someone who has promised to love them for better or for worse. They have someone who interacts with them regularly. They have a person who cares about the details of their lives. They have a witness. If you are single, who do you have? Of course for believers, we have Jesus. However, there is someone else that we can share our lives with as well. It’s a covenant friend.

What is a covenant friend?

A covenant friend is someone you are committed to love for life.

God has a covenant with His people. He will not break His covenant. A covenant is a promise.

Covenant friendship is a willingness to lay down one’s life for the other person, it involves sacrifice. It is sacrificial love. In a godly context it is a oneness in spirit, a linkage by the Holy Spirit.

Example of covenant friends: David and Jonathan, 1 Sam 20.

Think of David and Jonathan in the Bible. They had a covenant friendship, a promise to love, protect, and be there for each other for life. What were some of the characteristics of their friendship?

1. Loyalty. They refused to betray one another. Jonathan would not surrender his friend to his father Samuel. He chose to protect his friend even with the possibility of being harmed.

2. Trust. There was complete trust between David and Jonathan. They had each other’s best interest at heart.

3. Transparency, Vulnerability, and Accountability. These two men were willing to be vulnerable, transparent, and accountable to each other. They had no fear. They were able to expose their souls to one another and know that the other person would do what was best for them. Not only was there intimacy (transparency and knowing each other), they were willing to hold each other to God’s standards.

4. One in Spirit. They both loved God and were one in spirit. There was no division over who they were serving. They both believed and were committed to God.

5. Mutual Service. David and Jonathan had a relationship of give and take. They supported one another 100 percent. They took care of each other. Even after Jonathan’s death, David cared for his disabled son.

6. Protection. These two men sought to protect each other.

7. Genuine Love. David and Jonathan loved one another as God loved them. They demonstrated their love for one another with patience, kindness, godly affection, support, encouragement, protection, and friendship.

8. Honesty. David and Jonathan were honest with one another.

So where do you find a covenant friend? I would say pray for one or a community of them. You would think that any person who believes in Jesus is a good match. I have found that is not true. Though you may find a covenant friend in your church, God may send you a covenant friend from across the  world. I have a friend who lives in Brazil. We met on a mission trip. As soon as I met her, I knew we’d be friends for life. We pray for each other. We protect each other. We correct each other in love. We support each other. We seek God for each other. She is interested in the details of my life. It’s a give- give relationship. It’s a win, win. God will put us on each other’s minds and we pray. Distance isn’t an issue. I can say I would lay down my life for her. I love her with my life, and I trust her.

I have another friend who has a community of covenant friends. They live like family. They don’t simply hang out and have fun. They point each other to Jesus. They are there for one another. They share resources. If one person is lacking, they as a community will help out. No person is alone or without support. The community has married couples, families, and singles. Together, they are one big family under the parenting of God. I believe the model they follow, is what Jesus intended for church community.

Prayer for you:

Abba I pray for everyone who reads this blog to have a covenant friend or covenant friends. People they can share life with, find support, encouragement, love, protection, accountability, family, and so much more. Knit them tightly with people who will love them the way you love them. If they already have covenant relationships, bless those relationships. Keep them from division, strife, pain, hurt, or offense. Build a wall of protection around them. In Jesus name, Amen.