I really enjoy the World Cup of soccer (or football or fútbol or however you choose to call it). I never have particularly enjoyed the different soccer leagues around the world, but there is something special about international soccer. It has an excitement that the regular games lack.

I remember the 1990 World Cup. I was living in Córdoba, Argentina. My colleagues and I had an office downtown where we would talk to people about the Bible and Christianity. Like good foreigners, we chose to keep the office open during the World Cup games, even though the streets were virtually empty of traffic.

On July 3, Argentina played Italy in a semifinal match. Since no one was coming to the office, I decided to slip into the coffee shop next door to watch the game. The tiny shop was packed with people, but I managed to find an empty chair. We watched as the two teams battled back and forth, ending regulation in a 1-1 tie and neither team scoring in the extra periods.

Then came the penalty kicks to decide the winner. The teams traded shot after shot, until the Argentine goalie came up with the stop that ended the game. The coffee shop exploded in cheers. I found myself hugging everyone around me, even though I didn't know anyone. We weren't strangers… we were part of the team that was in the World Cup final!

It's interesting to see the bonds that sports can create. People who have never met treat one another as long lost friends because of their common loyalties.

During his ministry on earth, Jesus spoke to his disciples about something similar. He told them: "[N]o one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age" (Mark 10:29-30)

I've found that to be true. God has given me the chance to travel widely, and around the world I've found that I had a home and I had family. People who hadn't met me before have offered me a bed to sleep in, given me a place at their table, and made me to feel like family.

We are family
The sense of community I felt in that Argentine coffee shop was short lived. The euphoria faded, and we went our separate ways. The family ties among God's people never goes away. Christians aren't perfect, and our dealings with one another aren't either. But we are family.

You've been invited to be a part of this community. God wants to adopt you as his child, making you a member of his family. If you aren't sure of how to accept his invitation, please visit our website at HopeForLife.org and read some of the articles there. Or write to me at tarcher@heraldoftruth.org.

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