College Ski Retreat 3
This talk is schedule in place of my normal sermon/podcast. I am not with my congregation today. I am on a mission trip to Eastern Germany. Feel free to enjoy this sermon I gave at a College Ministry Ski Retreat a few weeks ago. There is no audio but I will be back in the pulpit on March 20 and regular sermons with audio will resume.
So, I’m on this cruise and my dad finds me, scoops me up, and then he takes me to the store on the ship and buys me a sweet new video game. It was one of those old school games I could go left, right and shoot. I was a submarine and I had to shoot down the boats overhead. It was awesome. Then we went to dinner with the whole family. Including all my cousins that I blew off to try and go my own way.
Now I’m the oldest cousin and then my sister. Our next oldest was my cousin Matthew. He was 4 and he thought he was all that. When I walked in playing my video game, boy I got a look. He was so mad that I would get rewarded for breaking the rules.
With that my dad went to my cousin and said look, this is my son and I will make sure he is taken care of.
This is our scripture. The father throws a party for the younger son and the older son gets mad because the son wasted his money and shouldn’t be rewarded when the older son does everything right and never got a party. The father looks at the son and says I love you and I love him. We are having a party not because of what he did but because he is home now.
If we are honest with ourselves we have been there. We have found ourselves thinking that those people who just came back to God are not as good a christian as us. That we are maybe more mature because we don’t accidentally curse anymore….we have moved on to cursing for attention to use it as a witnessing tool because it makes us look cool and relevant to the world.
And maybe some of you this weekend have done that, you have decided to come back to God, that you are sick and tired of trying to do this all by yourself and you want to be back in the house of God. But you are worried about what will be said about you by those who didn’t left. Those who can’t tell you their conversion date because they can’t remember a time they weren’t Christian. You are worried about the older brother.
Look at what the older brother does. He says what about me, What’s my share?
The father responds with, everything I have is yours. And it is right that we should be happy because your brother is home.
Then the screen fades to black. There is no catharsis of knowledge no sudden breakthrough to a new level of consciousness.
Just God and the good son, standing outside a party.
So then, for those of you who have come home, there is a party happening in your honor.
For those of you who have decided you are a better Christian than those new people you can stand back and be aggravated at their forgiveness and party or you can join the party and rejoice that they were lost and now found.
If you decide not to join all of heaven in the party you miss out on some super fun and you make the younger sons upset because they need the help of the older son to learn what it is to be a Christian, they don’t need more condemnation.
Story about abortion clinic protesters. (Read here for this illustration to make sense)
Don’t be like the protesters who claim the greatness of God to scare people and judge them….it only turns people off, even the younger son.
If you do join in the party then you now have the oppurtunity to join with heaven and you get the ability to teach the younger sons and daughters what it means to be in the family of God. To remind them that God’s love is always there and that you will help them stay in the family of God and not let them go through life on their own.
However, the choice is entirely up to you. The screen fades to black and what happens next is not in the Bible and God doesn’t force the choice on you.
As we close in prayer may you ask God for forgiveness from all those times you were the younger brother and for all those times you were the older brother. May you have the courage to welcome home the younger brother and to join the party of those who have come home.