We are in our third week of viewing party Sunday’s for worship services. Just like the last two weeks, I will share a handful of amazing churches, link their websites in their name, and post the times you can catch the live services. Watch, praise, and participate.
Compassion Christian Church, Savannah, GA: live streams 9A, 11A, 1P, 3P, 5P, 7P
Elevation Church, Ballantyne, NC: live 9:30A, 11:30A, replayed 5P, 8P, 10P
Passion City Church, Atlanta, GA: 10A, 1P, 5P, 8P
Transformation Church, Tulsa: Live 12P
Seacoast, Charleston, SC: 8:30A, 10A, 11:30A, 1P, 6:15P
Fresh Life Church, MT (all times are MST): 9A, 11A, 5P
CoastLife Church, Venice, FL: 9A, 11A, 5P
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
… 31“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”(Luke 15:20-32)
Picking up where we left off yesterday, when you read the verses above in their entirety you see the story shifts focus away from the Prodigal son to the father and the second son, the Good Son. Jesus tells this parable as a way to explain the endless love of God and the true power of forgiveness and grace. The Parable of the Prodigal Son was told as an example of the truth of God’s love, therefore, the story is really about the Father. I have always thought this story was about me, because I have acted like both of the sons. I lived part of my life as a prodigal, squandering the inheritance God gave me when He sent Jesus into the world to die for my sins. As I came back to Jesus and started correcting the way I was living (which still needs a lot of fixing), I suddenly found myself taking on the persona of the third, and often forgotten, character of the story: the “Good Son.” The good, obedient son, who grows “angry and refuses to go in” to see his brother after he sees the way his father is celebrating. Although I only had this mentality for a few short years, I was still guilty of thinking this way. I looked at all those who commit horrible atrocities in this world: the murderers; those that do heinous crimes to children; down to those that treat others with prejudice and cruelty. I could not understand that God forgave them the same way He forgave me. I was now acting like the “Good Son,” and I could not understand that God and Jesus forgives all of us the same. I speak of this in more detail in my personal testimony and if you want to read about the moment God spoke to me, you can find that story there. What I had to finally realize was the story was not about me, it was about God, and whether I was acting like the “Prodigal Son,” or thinking like the “Good Son,” the story is about God’s unending, unexplainable forgiveness and grace.
We often get wrapped up in our own story that we forget to see the big picture. We’re mad that the local grocery store is out of toilet paper and we voice that frustration on social media, thinking all our friends will laugh or like or offer some insight in how they are going through the same frustrations. Social media is just one way that we show everyday, multiple times throughout the day, that we think this story is about us. We are consumed with ourselves. This is not our story. This is God’s story. It’s your choice on what part you play in the story of God. God was and is and is to come. Your time on Earth is a speck in the history of God. But despite how minimal our part of God’s story is, with every life God creates, He loves us all the same. So how are you going to return that love? We could never, but we can try, we should try. We should do everything we can to love God, love Jesus, and love others with all our heart. Be better than the “Good Son” and celebrate with the Father every time a “Prodigal Son” returns to His family.
Since January 1, I asked those following this blog to pray for a specific miracle to happen in your life, and we have prayed for it everyday since. If you have not seen your miracle be brought to life, for the next week we are going to ask God to speak life into this prayer and answer your request by the end of this month. Today we are also going to start to pray for another specific miracle. We are going to pray for God to use this pandemic to open the eyes of the world and bring everyone’s focus back to God and allow them to fix their eyes on Jesus. Maudy Thursday will be the day COVID stops spreading and Good Friday will see the first day of recovery. And Easter Sunday will be the day of resurrection for this country. Pray this prayer with me every day.
Reading plan: Luke 23
Deeper reading plan: 2 Samuel 23
Prayer and meditation: continue to pray for your request from day 1 and pray for God to lift Coronavirus off the face of this Earth on Good Friday.
Fitness challenge: Rest
Worship/praise: social distancing has us all home, but there are plenty of amazing services to watch live. Pick a few from the lists above. Stack your morning with praise and great lessons from some of America’s greatest speakers of the Word.