Cross Words: Welcome to the family

By Isaiah Pauley

Thursday was a special day for my family. We welcomed a new member. Not through birth. But through adoption. My amazing aunt and uncle adopted a beautiful nine-year-old girl.

Her name is Chloe. And I’m so happy to be her big cousin. But as I ponder this special day, I can’t help but share a message with you. Because Chloe reminds me of my own adoption.

Chloe left the courthouse with a new name. A new birth certificate. A new identity. Why? Because someone willingly chose her. Not because she did anything spectacular.

And that’s my story.

You see, I’m adopted by God. The Bible says, “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.’ Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir” (Gal. 4:4-7 NLT).

“Abba” is one of my favorite concepts in Scripture. It’s an Aramaic word which means “daddy” or “papa.” And it refreshes my soul to think of God as being my daddy. He’s not some distant force. He’s my dad. Why? Because I’m a part of His family.

And there’s nothing I’ve done to deserve it. The adoption wasn’t up to me. My cousin didn’t control the adoption process. Two loving parents did. She only had to respond. And the same is true for me. Jesus said, “‘You didn’t choose me. I chose you… .’” (John 15:16 NLT). And since I accept His work, I’m His child. I belong to Him.

We all long to belong. It’s a cry of the soul. We desperately desire to find our place, find our people, and be ourselves. It’s that daunting question: “Who am I?” And I’m here to tell you that God longs to call you His own.

Maybe today is your adoption day. And when you’re adopted, it’s like you’re being born again. That’s why Jesus says, “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’” (John 3:3 ESV). And let me tell you, it’s not something you earn. It’s not something you deserve. It’s something you receive. Just like Chloe.

In Luke 14, Jesus shares a powerful parable.

There’s a master who throws a banquet. He invites many people. But not just anybody. The master invites the worthy people. Those who have some money, good health, and prestige. But instead of coming to the banquet, they make excuses.

“So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame’” (v. 21 ESV).

But the servant informs the master that there’s still room. Even after inviting the outcasts, there’s still room.

“And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet’” (v. 23-24 ESV).

Jesus shared this parable to a group of Pharisees. Religious people. The ones who thought they had it all together. The Jews. God’s own people. But it was God’s own people who rejected Him.

In the parable, God is the master. He invites His own people to the banquet, but they make excuses. So He comes for the outcasts. The sinners. The unworthy ones. Like me. And you.

“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13 ESV).

There’s room for you at the banquet. There’s a place for you at the table. Because of Jesus, you can be adopted. Made new. And loved forever.

Welcome to the family.

By Isaiah Pauley

Isaiah Pauley is passionate about sharing Jesus in a simple way. Follow the journey of this young pastor at, on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page, or on Instagram @isaiahpauley.

Isaiah Pauley is passionate about sharing Jesus in a simple way. Follow the journey of this young pastor at, on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page, or on Instagram @isaiahpauley.