Let It Go...To Let It Grow

September 21, 2014

A Jesus who loves us even if we don't love back?  A Savior who pursues us even as we run away? A Christ who offers fellowship to all indiscriminately without   condition, no strings attached? That would be a Jesus who is  better than we've imagined, and that would be good news. -Jonathan Merritt

Today's Scripture: Luke 15

Daily Scripture Readings and Reflections

Sunday: Luke 15:1-2 All the tax collectors and sinners were gathering around Jesus to listen to him. The Pharisees and legal experts were grumbling, saying, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
Reflection: The word "sinner" is not a word we use much today.  In Jesus day it was used  to refer to those who broke the "religious" laws. What does it say about Jesus when it says that he welcomed  "sinners" at his table?  Believing that Jesus is the Son of God, what does it say about God?  What does it say about yourself?
Breath Prayer: Inhale: Nothing can separate me...Exhale: from the love of God.

Monday: Luke 15:3-7 Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose someone among you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them. Wouldn't he leave the other ninety-nine in the pasture and search for the lost one until he finds it? And when he finds it, he is thrilled and places it on his shoulders. When he arrives home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Celebrate with me because I've found my lost sheep.' In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes both heart and life than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to change their hearts and lives.
Reflection: What is this part of the story saying about God who finds more joy in one person finding their way to abundant life than 99 others who believe they are righteous and not needing to change?
Breath Prayer: Inhale: Nothing can separate me...Exhale: from the love of God.

Tuesday: Luke 15:8-10 "Or what woman, if she owns ten silver coins and loses one of them, won't light a lamp and sweep the house, searching her home carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Celebrate with me because I've found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, joy breaks out in the presence of God's angels over one sinner who changes both heart and life."
Reflection: What does it mean to have a change of heart and life? Can you name a time when you have had a change of heart and life? Describe what was that like?
Breath Prayer: Inhale: Nothing can separate me...Exhale: from the love of God.

Wednesday: Luke 15:11-13 Jesus said, "A certain man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the inheritance.' Then the father divided his estate between them. Soon afterward, the younger son gathered everything together and took a trip to a land far away. There, he wasted his wealth through extravagant living.
Reflection: In what ways do you relate with the young son in this part of the story?
Breath Prayer: Inhale: Nothing can separate me...Exhale: from the love of God.

Thursday: Luke 15:14-19 "When he had used up his resources, a severe food shortage arose in that country and he began to be in need. He hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He longed to eat his fill from what the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired hands have more than enough food, but I'm starving to death! I will get up and go to my father, and say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son. Take me on as one of your hired hands."'
Reflection: This part of the story tells how the young son hit rock bottom. For a Jewish male to work with pigs and eat what they ate was a major religious violation. Yet it was at rock bottom where he found himself. There he remembered the love of his father. At the bottom point of his life he  knew he had to risk going back home where he belonged. How does this part of the story speak to your life story?
Breath Prayer: Inhale: Nothing can separate me...Exhale: from the love of God.

Friday: Luke 15:20-24 So he got up and went to his father. "While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion. His father ran to him, hugged him, and kissed him. Then his son said, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Quickly, bring out the best robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! Fetch the fattened calf and slaughter it. We must celebrate with feasting because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life! He was lost and is found!' And they began to celebrate.
Reflection: In this story the father represents God.    In that light, what words would you use to describe this kind of a God? How do those words make you feel about God and your relationship with God?
Breath Prayer: Inhale: Nothing can separate me...Exhale: from the love of God.

Saturday: Luke 15:25-32 "Now his older son was in the field. Coming in from the field, he approached the house and heard music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what was going on. The servant replied, 'Your brother has arrived, and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he received his son back safe and sound.' Then the older son was furious and didn't want to enter in, but his father came out and begged him. He answered his father, 'Look, I've served you all these years, and I never disobeyed your instruction. Yet you've never given me as much as a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours returned, after gobbling up your estate on prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.' Then his father said, 'Son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive. He was lost and is found.'"
Reflection: Here we meet the older son in the story.   He just couldn't accept the fact that his father could love his brother because of what his brother had done to disgrace the family name.  Yet the father looked beyond the older son's jealousy and loved him the same way he loved  his younger son. What does this say about the reality that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God?
Breath Prayer: Inhale: Nothing can separate me...Exhale: from the love of God.

Speaker: Dave Norman