People from around the globe visit Lifechangers’ website to listen to audio messages, download copies of our Plumbline publications, order books, or otherwise engage with us via social media, email, and letters such as this one. A few times per year we also have the privilege of engaging with small groups of believers in face-to-face fellowship. These opportunities are always incredibly rewarding.

During the first week of November, in the mountains of North Carolina we had our Firecreek, fall retreat. We spent four days learning together in the classroom and breaking bread around the table. Until the wee hours of the night we sat around the fire and shared our life stories with one another. It felt like a practical expression of Paul’s insight he shared in his letter to the Philippian church of participating in the gospel together:

Our blissful participation in everything that the gospel communicates does not age (Phil. 1:5a Mirror)

What we discover anew at each of these gatherings is that life is relational, not doctrinal. Christ centered relationships are what enable us to walk out Father’s “Kingdom offer” on a day-to-day basis. During one afternoon session, I shared with those who gathered something that can best be described as a Relational Footwashing. We had been exploring ideas around our identity in Christ and how this process of coming into agreement with God’s opinion of us, causes every believer to give themselves to Father in a fullness that would otherwise not be possible.

Regardless of our varied backgrounds and understanding of the scriptures we gathered in anticipation of how the Lord was going to meet us—through one another! I felt the Lord inviting me to speak to everyone in the room, not prophetically, but as an expression of “seeing, hearing, and valuing” each other as Father’s treasured kids! Sharing from this vulnerable place ushered in a joy and gratitude that only the Lord could have orchestrated. It was literally the body building itself up in love.

Likewise then, our desire for you is that you will seek out, cultivate, enjoy, treasure and experience the gift of meaningful relationships in your daily lives. As you value others as God values you, the likeness and image of Father, Son, and Spirit will be imprinted on your heart forever. Consider the timeless joy and relational fullness of Paul as he communicates his heart affections to the Philippians:

Joy is not a luxury option; joy is your constant! Your union in the Lord is your permanent source of delight; so I might as well say it again, rejoice in the Lord always. (Phil. 4:4 Mirror)

As we approach the celebration of Christ’s birth, and you are with friends, family, and perhaps others you may not yet know, may you experience Father’s embrace and delight over you.

Mark Duggin

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