Saturday, May 22, 2010

Be graceful: Invite those who can’t pay you back.

It’s my quiet time on Monday, May 3, 2010. Even though it’s my day off, it’s been a hard day, with lots of church matters ruining the day. I’m crying out to the Lord for deliverance. “Please, we just could use some encouragement,” I pray. And there is an answer: “Banquet.” Banquet? Like don’t take the best seat at the banquet? No. “Banquet. Go out to the highways and byways and compel them to come.” In a flash, I’m in Luke 14. And there it is. The Jesus evangelism by grace plan.

Oh, I know, as a church, we’re crippled financially just now. So what. Jesus says, “Go! Go out to the highways and byways and compel them to come in.” And, I might add, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, don’t invite your friends and those who can pay you back.” Oh my. It’s all there. Luke 14:12-24. Let’s make Jesus’ parable real. Let’s be graceful enough to have such a banquet.

Now some will jump on the bandwagon that says this is about First Century Jews and how Jesus was offering the kingdom now to Gentiles and those who had previously been excluded. Uh-huh. But it’s God’s Word. It’s timeless. It’s for us. And it’s clear: Go. Invite. Have a banquet for Jesus and invite those who can’t pay you back.

We talk about how important it is to “go.” Mt 28:19 and following: “Go ye therefore into all the world and make disciples of every ethnicity...”

Yet, as a churches, we mostly “wait.” Wait for what? For people like us to find us and decide our worship is cool and our sermons are deep and clever and they want to join the fun? I don’t think that is what Jesus is asking us to do.

I think Jesus is asking us to go find the ones who won’t find there way to Zion Church on their own and give them a compelling reason why they should become our brothers and sisters in submitting to the lordship of Jesus Christ. We should show them his grace in whatever way we can.

Then another flash: A park. A Sunday (?) afternoon, or was it morning? A group of Zion folks. Some singing, a brief Jesus message. Some home-made sides, some fried chicken, and a whole bunch of immigrant kids playing soccer with us. Just so you know, Travis will be there to lead the kids in the songs.

Right down the street, less than 5 minutes away from church, there are apartment complexes filled with immigrants and their children. They love soccer. They love good food. Jesus loves them and wants them to love him. What are we waiting for? Consider this your invitation to support something that just might be crazy or just might be Jesus. We need you to pray. We need some dollars for fried chicken (I think it’s easier of the church springs for that and organizes it). We need some people to bring a lot of sides. We need kids to show up from churches, sing Jesus songs, say “amen!” during the Jesus message and then play their hearts out with other kids from Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and all over Asia and kick the soccer ball around. Are you with me?

The date is June 27th at Beaverdale Park - 3301 or 3333 Adams (depending upon which city site you trust). The time is 12:00 noon.

Thanks for reading. See you at the banquet. Which happens to be at a park. God bless. PJ

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