John 1.12-13, 3.16

Luke 15.11-24

In our world today we find Christianity becoming less desired and understood than in days past.  The news media tries to present every crackpot that makes the headlines as a Christian, they try to present Christians as intolerable haters, as narrow minded bigots with a disdain for more progressive ideas, and stand in the way of anything the rest of the world views as fun. As one neighbor of mine asked me, ” you spend so much time in church when do you have time for fun?”  As a result we find the younger generation believing the lies, and wanting the so called freedom and joy of not going to church and seeing no value in the Christian lifestyle.  Life in the United States is relatively easy, jobs are available with a little effort, and without going completely crazy one can dabble with the fringes of illegality and come away pretty unscathed.

In Luke 15. 11 Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal son, who wanted so badly to be alone and on his way with life, that he desired his inheritance, which only comes upon the death of someone,  so that he could be on his way to seek a completely wanton lifestyle without cultural restrictions. We are told he travels to a far country to escape the bonds of his own heritage, but his choices leave him completely devastated and repentant, wanting only to be forgiven and in the care of his home. Without getting into the vast theological cluster presented in this story we see a clear presentation of a loving father who waits, not just patiently but with anticipation for the return of his son, throwing cultural restrictions to the side and “runs” out to meet the returning child.  A picture of the nature of YHWH who waits for His children to call out to Him for salvation.

We, as a church, are engaged with  Churches United For Christ, an evangelical outreach organization here in Joliet, including 30 churches, who are committed for two weeks of outreach to our unchurched community. Last night alone we saw two people commit their lives to Christ, receiving Jesus as Lord and savior. The Lord is working today calling people to Himself, and we can be an active part of this great work. The meetings are every night at seven at the tent on south Chicago St. at Third ave. and will move next week to west Jefferson St. by J.D. Byriders.  Come see what evangelism is all about. 1st Pres. will host on July 26th.