Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Prodigal

I recently heard a message about the Prodigal that rocked my world.  Tim Keller, at a Willow Creek Leadership Summit spoke about the Prodigal God.  Here's a few thoughts from his talk:

"The definition of a prodigal is recklessly extravagant."

God is not only the God of the prodigal son but he is also a prodigal God.  He is recklessly extravagant in his love for a broken humanity.  To bring it closer to home, he is recklessly extravagant in his love for ME!  Sometimes I cringe at just how selfish, proud, arrogant, angry, bitter...you get the point, I can be.  I don't know how many times I've read the parable of the prodigal son and just assumed the definition of prodigal meant: "one who squanders wealth and is unwise." 

"The main point of the parable is that both the younger and older brother are alienated from the father.  Neither really loved the father but they loved the father's things."

"Elder brothers are obeying God to get things.  They think they offer Jesus a righteous record and then they get things.  People who believe the gospel think differently.  Jesus gives us a righteous record and then we live for him.  We have every spiritual blessing."

I've always seen the older brother as a Pharisaical representation but I haven't attached how closely I resemble the older brother.  The older brother was counting on his goodness, his faithfulness, his relentless pursuit of doing the right thing to pay dividends in the end.  I have caught myself in the past lamenting why certain things don't go my way, I've been faithful, good, do the right things, shouldn't God bless me? Have I slipped into the mode of an older brother?

An interesting point about the Prodigal parable; the father had given half of his wealth to the younger son.  When the younger son returned, where did the father get the resources to kill the fatted calf, put an expensive robe on his shoulders and place a ring on his finger?  It had to come out of the older brother's estate!  Maybe that's why the older brother wasn't too excited about the younger bother's return!  

Tim states we need to get to a new level of repentance.  The Pharisee's repented but only saw it as another thing to do on their list.  They didn't see repentance as the key to open up the gates of grace and freedom from things.  I need to repent for the "right doing" with the wrong motives.  Instead of doing right to leverage God, I do right and remain faithful because of what Jesus, my true older brother did for me.  He gave up his place, paid the price for my sin, gave up everything so I could have an eternal inheritance.  

Just some things I've been wrestling with,


Thursday, November 8, 2012


The election is over, here are a few things I’ve been thinking about:

1.    No matter who won, I’m responsible for my own words, attitudes, and actions.  As a Christ-follower, I can either choose to talk and walk in love, grace, and perspective of eternity or I can become consumed with putting my hope in people, governments, policy and the “now what will happen?” 

2.    One thing I’ve been convicted about has been my lack of prayer for those who are in government office.  Here’s a question:  Do I pray for those in government as much as I criticize?  Even if I don’t like who is in office is no excuse not to pray for them.  I think I can contribute more on my knees than posting on facebook or engaging in debate with people who are set in their ideology.

3.    Regardless of my political views I must be driven by a higher calling and mission.  With that said, I cannot wait for, depend on, or expect the government to do what I am called to do by God.  Compassion for those who are disenfranchised, broken, and the least of these must characterize my life.

4.    This is NOT my home or final destination.  My hope and future are in God’s Kingdom not anything manmade.  Because of this my time must be spent in pursuing His Kingdom through the ministry of His Bride, the Church.  Since I mentioned the church, now is an opportunity for the church to rise up like never before and bring “up there down here!”  What would happen in communities around the country if people truly became the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus? 

5.    I will continue to support those who have chosen to give their lives to serve our country through military service.  I will also chose to support those candidates who best reflect my principles of how a society should be governed.  As an American I have been given a great privilege and opportunity.  I will continue to stay informed but refuse to allow this to consume me at the expense of my mission as a Christ-follower.  With this, I will choose to respect others who hold differing and at times opposing views.  To do anything less would be to fall into the trap of alienation of those who like me are made in the image of God.

In 1972 there was a block-buster film, The Poseidon Adventure.  This film utilized at the time state of the art special effects, a cast of notable stars, an intriguing story line, and an Academy Award winning song: “There’s got to be a morning after.”  The story was about a cruise ship turned upside down during a brutal storm and the passengers attempt to survive.  The theme song spoke to the need for hope:

There's got to be a morning after
If we can hold on through the night
We have a chance to find the sunshine
Let's keep on looking for the light

Oh, can't you see the morning after?
It's waiting right outside the storm
Why don't we cross the bridge together
And find a place that's safe and warm?

It's not too late, we should be giving
Only with love can we climb
It's not too late, not while we're living
Let's put our hands out in time

You may feel as though things have been turned upside down with the election.   Take heart, there is a morning after that is sure, His name is Jesus and He is in the process of making all things new again.

And for those of you who are not disappointed, take heart when disappointment does come, there is a morning after.

Be Blessed,