Saturday, October 16, 2010

[1520] THE GREAT SUPPER- These last few weeks I have felt kind of swamped; I have had some friends [guys I am/was working with in ministry stuff] come by and they are doing well, they wanted to hook up with me in the things the Lord is doing with them. Yet as much as I wanted to get involved [halfway house, fellowship in Kingsville] I just seemed to be unable to ‘get out of the city’. Then I launched my facebook site and it has been great- lots of old friends that I have wanted to contact for years are now keeping in touch, but some felt kind of offended [the Christian thing and all] and I got mad that I have prayed for some of these friends for 30 years and when the ‘supper was ready’ they had no time to sit at the table! In Luke 14 Jesus tells the story of a man that made this great meal [God] and at suppertime [Galatians- when the right time came God sent forth his Son] the master sent forth his servant and invited all the intended guests to come and eat- I mean the meal was free of charge for heaven’s sake! Yet they responded with excuses- one said ‘I just bought some land, sorry’ another ‘I bought some cattle- can’t make it’ the last one said ‘just got married, wife won’t let me come’ [okay, he’s got a legitimate excuse- sorry]. So when the servant came back and told the master what happened, the master got angry ‘what, I have been preparing this meal for years- everything is ready, it’s good food’. So he quickly sends the servant back out and he goes and gets all the poor homeless bums [sound familiar?] and they fill the house with these guys. He then tells the servant ‘none of those guys who rejected me will eat from the table’. I found it interesting that after the initial rejection the master made a compelling urgent appeal to the others- it’s like the rejection was needed in order for the urgency of the situation to be seen. When I first started posting on old classmates type sites, I simply shared the web site in my profile, but I really didn’t ‘urgently’ post stuff, figured if people are interested they will visit the site. But when I realized some people will not ‘come to the table’ I felt an urgency and went ballistic! I mean I began posting like a bat out of hell! Sometimes it takes stuff to wake us up- to make us reconsider the way we are operating and change some stuff. To all my friends who came by the house, to those who have tried to get in touch- I realize that I can’t personally be involved with all the various good projects you are all doing- I am going to try this week to make it to the halfway house and hopefully make a trip to Kingsville; but I just want to let everybody know that I am rooting for them, praying regularly for them [by name!] and am real excited about some of the old friends who have recently joined the conversation. Oh, and to those of you who had excuses, well I guess you guys will find another table to eat at.

[1523] LUKE 15- In this chapter we find the story of the missing pieces; a lost coin [1 out of 10] lost sheep [1 out of 100] and the prodigal son [1 bad son out of 2]. The interesting thing I saw this time around was the response of the people that found the missing pieces, they were so overjoyed about finding the lost thing that it seemed as if the lost piece was more valuable than the other things that never ‘went astray’. Jesus makes it clear that the other ‘non lost’ items’ were just as valuable, the reason for the excitement over the found piece was because it completed the set- it was the last piece in the puzzle, that which was supposed to be in on everything from the beginning- and only now has the missing link be found. Then when the prodigal son came home, the older brother was ‘standing outside’ he was observing the whole scene- to him it seemed wrong that this younger son had rebelled at a very young age, he went to a far country and when he finally showed up back home, the Father [God] killed the fatted calf and had this huge party for the boy. The older son was angry and would not ‘go in’. The dad comes out and says ‘what’s wrong’? The son says ‘you know dad, I spent my whole life doing what I thought was right, I even went to church a few times over the years- never got into the whole drug scene, made a few mistakes, yeah- but nothing even close to this guy who left when he was young. And now he’s back and he has all this stuff going on, this huge party, and look at me- I really have nothing to contribute to the party, me and my friends never had a calf to celebrate with!’. This son was observing the reunion and it just didn’t seem right. The father tells the boy ‘look son, don’t feel bad- you have been trying to do right for a long time, sure you had some struggles, but I see where you’re coming from. Just remember that I have always been with you, I am grateful for all the times you tried and made a sincere effort at honoring me. Don’t take the current excitement over the returning son the wrong way, the only reason for the excitement was because he was gone for so long and finally made it home’. It’s interesting that the son who never left was struggling with this feeling of rejection, this sense of ‘it’s just not fair’. And it did seem unfair that the boy who should have either been dead or serving time in prison; that this kid actually had a bigger party going on than the kid who always tried to do right. Just remember, the father [God] was not saying to the good son ‘I like the other boy better’ he was simply saying ‘now the family is complete, the part that was missing has now come home’.

[1525] THE UNJUST STEWARD- This week I have been reading Luke 16. Jesus gives us the parable of the manager who was stealing money from the boss; the boss finds out and calls him on the carpet. The manager realizes he will be out of a job and quickly devises a scheme- he goes to all the people who owe his boss money and he gets them to write off a bunch of debt- he basically cheats his boss and endears himself to these people who owe his master a great debt. When the boss finds out about it he commends the manager. At the end of the story Jesus tells us that this manager was wise, and that the ‘children of this world’ are wiser than Christians when dealing with real life stuff. A lot of people question this parable; was Jesus commending dishonesty? Jesus was giving us a strategy- not to cheat- but to side with people and win them over as you advocate for them. In the story the steward released the debt that the people owed. This steward was often seen as the debt collector for the loan shark type of a thing, but now he is actually taking the side of the people, he is helping them get out of debt- and they really are being forgiven the debt, based on no merit of their own! Jesus of course did this for us at the Cross, he came to people who viewed God as a stern master whom they owed a great debt to- yet Jesus sided with people to forgive the debt that they could never pay. For the first time these ‘average folk’ saw the steward/servant take their side- seemingly against the harsh boss! The world is full of people who owe a great debt, they need someone who will side with them- who will risk their own lives to help them against the master whom they owe a great debt to- befriend people, let them know that you are there to help them get out of debt- debt that they could never pay on their own- if you do this the master will commend you.

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