You Have a Purpose

You Have a Purpose Jer 29:11, Eph 1:11-14

We have looked at our need to be loved, our need to be known, and our need for security. Today we look at our need for a purpose.

In well adjusted, mature people there is a need to be significant, to matter, to have a purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you.” You are not a happy accident to God, you are planned. In all the things going on in the great plan of the universe, you have a part to play. God has a plan for you. In Ephesians 1:11 God says we are “predestined according to the purpose of Him.” God has a purpose for your life, chosen for you before you were born.

In Romans 12:6 we all “have gifts that differ according to the grace give us.”
1 Corinthians tells us “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” We all are significant, we all have a purpose, each of us matter to God.

In the past doctors used to remove parts of the body deeming them useless. Tonsils, adenoids, appendix, and apparently for the person who cut me off on the highway, their brains.

But now we are seeing a change and doctors are not as quick to rip out your useless parts.

In the home everyone needs to have a purpose, to be significant, to the rest of the family. This place in the family gives you identity, and meaning. Men and women retire and feel lost because they knew what part in the family they played. After retirement they are wondering what purpose do they serve? Am I really needed?  Am I a valuable part of the family?

The same in the church. People have a need to serve God in a meaningful way.

There was a family where one day mom packed a bag and left. Soon the dishes were overflowing the sink, laundry was a huge pile in the laundry room. The fridge was empty, and the cat pan was so bad the cat would not use it. A family meeting was called to deal with these issues. No ideas surface until the 7 year old says “Well somebody has to go and get her.”

How do we help people and ourselves find our purpose?

To find your purpose you need to try things, even things you may not like. We have to get off our lazy bones and look for things to do.

We also need to notice what people are doing in the church and tell them how much it means to us. They need to know what they are doing no matter how small, is important.

God has a plan for you! You will only find it by trying things and seeking it out. You need to let others know that what they do is important.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

“I See You” Psalm 139: 1-16

“I See You” Psalm 139: 1-16

After high school I wound up in Southern California for about 16 years. There were so many people there. You develop a mind set where you go about your business not really paying attention to the people around you. Then Kathy and I moved to a little town in Indiana. I kept my focus on my task and not on the people. Then I heard one of my church members was up set because I didn’t say hello to her in the post office. I went to visit her and fixed things. Then I started focusing on people more and my task less. I just was not seeing people.

We want people to see us. We wish that someone would know what we are going through. A friend who will not judge us, or condemn us. We want some one to really see the true person we are. We want someone who would know our despair that our bodies are falling apart with age. Someone who will see our loneliness. Can any one see that we are addicted to porn, or drugs? Can anyone see that our marriage is one step from ending? Can’t anyone see we are having problems with our sexual identity?

We really wish someone could see us, care for us, not try and fix us, just see us. This is what God wants you to know from psalm 139, “I SEE YOU” God sees the real you. God sees you, gay or straight, drunk or drugged, lonely, frightened, abused, and what ever situation you are in today. God sees you. God is not interested in condemning you, if He was He would have never went to the cross for you. This is the healing word that God has for you. “I see you”

Look these verses over

This is also a healing word that people around us need, I see you. Not that you can or should see everyone the same, but there are people who need to be seen by us. A while back I shared a difficult situation with my friend Ted. There was no judgement, no criticism, just understanding and compassion. I can’t begin to tell you how much that means to me. His only remark was that he would be praying for me and then he asked “what do you think your going to do about this?”

I can tell you that there are people in your circle that need to be seen by you, just like the lady in the post office needed to be seen by me. They need you to say “you seem troubled, want to talk, I’ll listen.” “You seem down, what’s up”, “I noticed you and your spouse seem a little strained, can I help?”

Start really looking at people, past the phony superficial façade they put up, and really look at them. They don’t need you to fix it, they don’t need you to judge them, they don’t need you to quote a Bible verse, they need you to see them, know you see them and know you care.

How did David feel when he realized that God really saw him? The answer is found in verse 17 and 18 “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.”

Do you allow a few trusted people to really see you? Counting my wife, there are four people in my life I allow to see most things and two who know everything. Do you have someone you let in? You need to. The healing power of having someone see the real you truly is a gift from God.

Remember also that God sees you. The real you that you try to hide. He doesn’t  desire to judge you? God desires to show you forgiveness, compassion and grace. Are you ready to receive it?

Deut 31:6-8 I Will Never Leave You

Deut 31:6-8 I Will Never Leave You

The woman with a mastectomy, he kissed her scars
The solder who lost his legs, climbed in his hospital bed

Joshua is be the daunting task of succeeding Moses. The Word of God is given to Moses to speak to Joshua. “Be strong and courageous, I will never leave you or forsake you” What powerful words. God repeats those words to Joshua directly. They were the words Joshua needed to hear and the words we need to hear, words of healing. These are words you need to hear from God and words you need to share with others.

In a little Mennonite church the son of one elder and the daughter of another stood with the pastor and confessed they gave into temptation and now she was pregnant. The pastor thanked them for their courage to face their sin, then read 1 John 1:9 to the congregation. The congregation then came forward and laying hands on them pledged to help them raise their child. It was 1972. The pastor was the president of the first seminary I went to. What powerful words were spoken that day. “We will not leave you nor forsake you”

I was reading a story in a magazine about a woman who had a double mastectomy due to breast cancer. She was struggling with cancer and her identity as a woman. It had been a week since surgery and she would duck into the bathroom to change her clothes. Then her husband sat her down on the bed and undid her blouse and kissed her scars. His actions said “you still are the woman I love and I am not leaving or forsaking you.”

But all to often in our world people in the midst of their greatest struggles those words are not shared with us and we forget God has spoken them. We think we have been abandoned, because of our addiction to drugs, or porn, because of our sexual identity, because of our handicap, our age or dementia. We feel alone, abandoned, forsaken by God. But we are not. God has not left us, He has not forsaken us, if we only turn and look for Him. God is not frightened by your situation. God is not frightened by your sin. He has walked the road your on with countless others just like you, and never has He run away.

I love the movie “Back Draft” there is a scene where bull and axe are fighting, the catwalk they are on falls as Axe starts to fall Bull catches his hand and is now holding him with one hand and the catwalk with the other, suspended over the raging fire below. Axe begs Bull to let him go. Bull answers with the words “you go, we go”.

You have friends going through terrible times in their lives, divorces, illness, addictions, and a thousand other things and they need you to not approve of their sinful choices but they need to know that in spite of their choices you are not going anywhere, your not running away. They need to hear you say “you go, we go” They need to be reminded of God’s word to them, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Jesus is the God who kisses our scars, stands with us in our shame, holds us in our darkest hours and days. Listen closely and you can hear Him say “be strong and courageous, I will never leave you nor sake you.” Go out and fight the battle and win your personal war, because Jesus goes with you.

Let’s make this the cry of our families and our church, we will never leave you nor forsake you.

You go, We go.

You are loved Romans 5:6-11

You are loved Romans 5:6-11

More tragic than the latest school shooting or flood or fire, is that people will wake up this morning and god to bed this evening not knowing if anyone loves them. Single people who never hear the words I Love you, spouse who never hear I Love you, children who never hear the words I love you.

We don’t advertise we need it, we assume that the people around us don’t need to be told it, but at the bottom of so many broken lives, and broken families lies the need to be loved. Loved not for what you can do but loved for who you are.

When is the last time you told your spouse or your child why you love them and not included something they did for you? Kathy I love you because you have a heart for God. Kathy I love you because of the way you care for people when they are sick. Nothing about me and what I Get from her. The same with our children and grandchildren. I love you for who you are not what I get from you.

That is why God speaks those words to us and backs them up with His very life. The most powerful of God’s healing words is “You are loved”. Our passage today in Romans 5 says “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Eph 1:4-8 “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love   5he predestined us £ for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,   6to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.   7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,   8which he lavished upon us,”

Rev 13:8 “everyone whose name has been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.”

John 15:12-17 ““This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.”

Before the world was formed, before we did anything for Him, even while we were fighting Him God chose to love us. And God challenges us to pour out that kind of love on others.

There was a woman who collected dolls, hundreds of them. Some dolls in her collection were worth thousands of dollars. A new friend came over to visit her house for the first time, and got a tour of the dolls. In the center of the doll room were three glass cases on pedestals. The visitor noticed the doll in the center and highest case was quite odd. All the other dolls were pristine and beautiful. But in the center case was an old rag doll who’s one arm was hanging by a tread. It was covered with dirt and it’s dress was torn. It’s one button eye hung ready to fall off. The visitor asked about this unusual doll. The doll collector told her. “When I was a little girl this was my first doll, I dragged it everywhere with me until one day I lost it. I searched and I cried for weeks, but I never forgot it and my longing for that doll started me collecting. When my grandmother died a few years ago we had to clean out her attic. There covered in dust I found my long lost friend. So I dusted her of and gave her, my most valuable doll this spot above all others. The visitor looked puzzled and so the doll collector told her. “some things are loved because they are valuable, and some things are valuable because they are loved.”

These are God’s healing words to you. “You are loved”. These powerful words can transform your life and they can transform someone else’s life. There are people all around you that need you to sincerely say these words to them. “You are loved” not for what you do for me you are loved for who you are.

This next week, every day, tell the people who mean the most to you why you love them, don’t use anything that they do for you but something that comes from who they are. Sit down and write a list then every day write them a note or send them a text and let them know they are loved.

And remember that God speaks these words to you. “you are loved”

Matthew 12:33-37  The Power of Words

Matthew 12:33-37  The Power of Words

When Amy came to school she was feeling fine, she didn’t know that her friends had chosen her for an experiment. They had heard about the power of suggestion in a class at school. Someone thought it would be interesting to see if they could make someone sick. So unbeknownst to Amy she was chosen. Her friends would look at her and ask her is she felt well, tell her she looked sick, and other comments until noon when perfectly healthy Amy went home sick from school.

We are aware of how words can be used to inflict great harm on people. Young people are taunted on the internet and in school the words push them to suicide. Hate filled words fill our news, painted on sings, and spewed out over the internet until someone inspired by those words burns a church, shoots up a school or synagogue. Words have immense power. To ignore their power is a foolish thing.

Jesus confronted the Pharisees and scribes about their words, and has a message for us about ours. In verse 36 it say that you will give an account for every careless word you speak. You may think that your gossip and prejudice are not going to find you out but your careless words are being listened to.

The news is filled with people who have made comments that they thought were made in secret only to find them on the from page and TV news. Words have great power to destroy people and nations.

James 3:1-12 says; “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.”

We see this power in the eyes of children told they are stupid, lazy, useless, and ugly. We see it in bent shoulders of a spouse who is the victim of constant verbal abuse. Negative words have great power.

Not only is what you say important, what you don’t say is important. Spouses how often have you told your husband or wife that you love them or why you love them. How often have you held them with no other agenda than to tell them you want to be near them? How many children have grown up without a single word of approval or encouragement from their parents. Sometimes it is what you don’t say that is as important as what you do say.

But as much as words can destroy, words can heal. Positive words honestly said can turn life around. Words like I believe in you, You are loved, you are beautiful, I value you, you are important, you matter to me, and I see you.

In the next few sermons I am going to show you the positive words that God has to share with us. God has words that will lift your heart and change your life, so I hope you will join us each Sunday and bring your friends to learn these words which God says to you.

Until next week will you ask God to show you if you are using hurtful words. Will you ask God to show you if you have stayed silent and spoken the words of praise and encouragement to someone. Your words and the lack of words really do make a difference.

Luke 24:36-49 the scars of love

Jesus appears to His disciples and sends them out to change the world. What might He give them to do their world changing work. A commentary by John Piper, or a heart touching book from Max Lucado? He could of given them a King James edition of the Bible. No, Jesus sends them out with what they Heard Him speak and what they have seen with their eyes.

The risen Christ comes to them and says, “see my hands and feet, touch me.” The things they have heard and seen empowered by the Holy Spirit are all the tools they have.

They saw Jesus walk on water, heal the lame, raise the dead, and have now seen Jesus risen from the dead. They have heard His parables, listened to His teaching for three years. But all these things are in their head and hearts, they have no videos, no transcripts, or recordings, just what is in their head and hearts.

We also are sent to hurting world by Jesus. While we have many tools that we have as we go.

First is the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that empowers us, teaches us, uses the other tools we are given, to apply them to our every situation.

Second Jesus sends us out with what we have seen and heard. Locked up in your head and heart is what you have learned from God’s word. You also have all the things you have seen God do. The ways you have seen Him touch your lives and the lives of others.

The third thing is motivation. Do you notice that Jesus still bears the wounds of crucifixion when He comes to them? In Revelation Jesus is presented as the lamb who is slain. Jesus bears the scars of the cross. Jesus could with less than a word remove those scars, yet He keeps them. I have wondered why?

You might think it is to make us feel guilty, see what you’ve done. I think they are they to remind us of how much He loves us and how much we are forgiven. My friend Don has a carpenters level given to Him by his dad. It’s old and beat up yet has gone to every job with him. Many years ago when his first grandchild was 2 years old, his grandson picked up a hammer and broke the glass in one of the windows of the level. Don carried that level each day to work for two reasons. First to remember his father who gave it to him and second to remember Cole his grandson who broke it. That scar on his level reminded him of his love for his grandson. Jesus’ scars remind us of how much he loves us, how much he has forgiven.

Over lent we talked about forgiveness on Wednesday nights. One thing we left out was the scars left behind. A scar can be physical or emotional. When we see the scars our sin has left behind, we are often wanting to remove or erase them. But maybe the scars are there to remind us how much we have been forgiven, to remember how much we are loved, by the person who carries them.

What scars do you carry, what reminders of your sin or mistakes do you have, maybe it’s something that could remind you not of your sin or mistake but of the love of the person who has forgiven you for them.

As you look at Jesus’ hand and feet don’t focus on the pain you have caused focus on the depth of the love that has forgiven you.

Celebrate Jesus Luke 19:28-40

Zec 9:9, Psalm 118:25, Luke 19:28-40

There was a silly little song that we sang a couple of times during Bible school called Little Red Caboose. We start with the little red caboose out in California and we sing softly in a whisper; “Little Red caboose chug chug chug, little red caboose behind the train, smoke stack on his back, back back back comin down the track track track, little red caboose behind the train. As the train travels across the country we get louder until in mass hysteria the caboose roars right through the sanctuary of the church, we scream the words as we sing, I through confetti or paper in the air while running back and forth, then finally I would collapse to the ground exhausted. There were many adults who couldn’t wait to see me sing that song, and some elders who thought we might damage the foundation of the church with it.

Could we be as excited about Jesus as we were about the little red caboose?

There are some commentators who say that the palm branches and singing were a common things before Jesus decided to hijack them for His own use. But there is nothing to support this, and if it was an annual thing at Passover then why do the Pharisees want Jesus to silence the crowd? After the resurrection this welcoming of Jesus became an annual thing.

How excited are we about Jesus? Should we be excited about Jesus?

Zechariah’s prediction of Jesus’ coming were spoken in 520BC. The Jews had looking for the Messiah to come for more than 800 years before the day Jesus rode into the town that day. The messiah was to restore Israel to her glory, right all the wrongs and bring justice to the land. This is who they thought they were celebrating that day.

We celebrate because someone loved us enough to give up everything for us, Jesus loves us so much that, He left everything in heaven, all the glory and praise to come to earth and die for us? “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.” The cross is not duty or requirement it is an act of love.

Way back in 1981, I felt God calling me to the ministry, Kathy did not hesitate but supported me and tried to figure out how we could do it. She gave up what ever idea of family she had for us. Late at night she would correct and type papers for me. She gave up financial security and we lived on little or nothing. When we went to our first church she left her family behind to go to the middle of nowhere in Indiana. She gave up her friends to live a life where you never have the same kind of friendships again. Kathy truly laid down her life for Jesus and for ministry. That is the same kind of love Jesus has for you. In a world where couples are like two unconnected ships headed in the same direction, the idea of sacrificing everything you have and are for the person you love is lost.

Jesus’ love for us should compel us to celebrate, scream and shout.

Not only has Jesus given us this love, Jesus has given us a new and everlasting life.  The Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

God has provided for our needs, healed our wounds and restored our souls, He has walked with us through failure and success. How can we be quite about the glory of our God?

Would you sing with me “Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” Jesus is way out in Jerusalem.

 

Counting the Cost Luke 14:25-35

This passage is about what it takes to follow Jesus. This parable of building a tower can be applied to many things in life. Do we consider the cost of putting work before our family? Do we count the cost of taking that next drink? Do we really think of the cost something before we do it? I talk to way to many people who’s lives have been broken by acting without counting the cost.

But Jesus gave this parable to talk about being a disciple, being a Jesus follower, being a Christian, or what ever term you want to use. Jesus is letting us know that there are followers and then there are followers. Are we willing to pay the cost to follow Jesus?

One of the problems with the church in the United States is that there is no cost to following Jesus. We say we believe and come to church and nothing really changes. Our Job, our friends, our recreation, our values, our families, the cost to the way we live is comparatively nothing. For many the greatest sacrifice they make is to get up on Sunday Morning and come to church, if they even bother to do that.

Look at verse 26 and 33. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”

In much of the world to be known as a Christian it will cost you your family, it will cost you your job, it may mean that you are beaten while walking through town, it may even cost you your life.

This passage got me asking what has being a Christian cost me? What price have I paid to follow Jesus? And if there is no price am I really a follower or just pretending?

In verse 27 Jesus says; “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” What does He mean, “your cross”

What will you give to follow Jesus? If you are gay or you’re a heterosexual who is having sex outside of marriage will you sacrifice your sexuality to follow Jesus? If you have influence and power will you lay them down to follow Jesus? If you have homes, money, cars, finical security will you risk them to follow Jesus? Will you risk being mistreated, spoken ill of, abused, taken advantage of for Jesus? Is there a cost we are not paying?

In Matthew 7 Jesus says “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.   On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’   And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

What is Jesus saying? He is saying if you only are trying to pay some of the cost and not all of the cost to follow me it will do you no good. To get to heaven on the Jesus train we have to pay the whole fair, there are no discount tickets to heaven.

In Luke 9:59-62 Jesus says; “To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”   And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”   Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”   Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

So I have been asking my self what have I given up for Jesus? Is there something I have been holding back? In a few minutes we will take communion reminding us that our salvation cost Jesus everything. Jesus gave everything so we could follow Him. What will we give to follow Jesus? Before you take communion today consider the cost of what your doing. Is there a price you have not paid, something you have held back? Ask our Father in Heaven to show you if there is a cost your not paying and what ever the Holy Spirit reveals to you make a commitment to pay that cost from this day forward.

Today let us count the cost.

 

The Rich man and Lazarus Luke 16:19-31

The Rich man and Lazarus Luke 16:19-31

This well known parable presents a theological problem because it seems to say that those who enjoy this present life go to hell and those who suffer on earth now enjoy heaven in the afterlife.  But this is not Jesus’ purpose in telling this parable.

Charles Dickens takes this parable and turns it into “A Christmas Carol” As the rich mans talks to Jesus you can almost see old Jacob Marley wrapped in chains saying “Mankind should have been my business”.  Jacob Marley represents the rich Jewish man, lost in his chains. Ebenezer Scrooge represents Christians. Ebenezer is a memorial stone showing Gods’ deliverance, scrooge means to squeeze. Scrooge’s life is a memorial to squeezing people for money.

The true center of this parable is Jesus saying “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”

The Jews will have both Moses and the Prophets and someone who will rise from the dead. True to Jesus’ words the vast majority fail to repent. It is not that they are rich and pampered that results in their condemnation, it is their failure to live in accordance with God’s Word. They will not follow Moses and the prophets, and they will not accept Jesus’ offer of forgiveness.

You and I are so blessed. We have Moses, we have the prophets, and we have Jesus risen from the dead, to teach us the way to live. In our Bible we have all we need to know to avoid the Rich Man’s fate. We have what we need to unwrap Jacob Marley’s chains.

James 1:27 tells us that true faith is “look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the worlds values.”

Micah 6:8 says “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Isiah 1:16-19 says “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient,”

Will we the church today suffer the fate of the Jews who are wrapped in Jacob Marley’s chains of death? Will we listen to the one who has risen from the dead? Will we receive the Joy of living in heaven with Jesus? We must ask ourselves; are we about our Fathers business?

The Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-32

This is one of the most well known of the parables in the new testament.

The one son works hard and stays on the farm while the younger one parties all the time. The younger one takes all his money and trashes his life. Now he is willing to come back as a servant. The Older son is indignant and will not join the celebration of his brothers return.

Both sons fail to understand what they have. The younger one does not realize the value of his life at home until he is wishing to eat with the pigs. The older fails to value what he has in his fathers love every day. Both fail to understand and accept the joy of being part of the family.

The father has to tell the older son “look everything I have belongs to you. If you wanted to celebrate with your friends, the goat belongs to you!

The church is often like this family. Those who have been there all their life have trouble with those who come late. New people come and start changing things and the others resent it. Their comfortable place is upset.

The person who never strayed to far experiences the love and care of the father everyday. The younger son missed out on the love and care of the father during his time away. The younger son goes through life’s troubles alone.

In our lives and in the Church there are givers and takers, those who always do the right thing, sacrificing for others. Then there are those who just take and never give. People who are like leaches sucking the life out of the givers. The givers pour out all their energy even while they resent having to do it.

I think it starts early in life. The ones who follow the rules on the playground resent the laughter of the naughty ones who break them. The naughty ones resent that they are not loved like the ones who can behave.

What does this parable tell us about Jesus? What is important to Jesus? The money is not important to the Father, his sons are. His goal is not to have the biggest ranch and be the wealthiest person in town. The Fathers goal is that all of his son’s are safe at home and loved.

Do we share the Fathers values? Is our position and status more important then a lost persons soul? If we do not share the Fathers values it doesn’t matter what we have done or where we have been, we do not understand God any more than the person who does not know Him at all.

The church and each of us must value the lost being found, the dead being made alive. The most important thing is that as many as can be saved are saved. 2 Peter 3:9 says “God is patient with you, not whishing that anyone should perish, but that all should have eternal life.” The challenge for us is to share the heart, mind and values of Jesus. The goal of the church is that the lost are found and the dead brought to life. For this is the heart of what Jesus is all about.