WHO HAVE YOU INVITED?

16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. 17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ 18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ 21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ 23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. 24 For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”

Luke chapter 14, verse 16 thru 24; from the New Living Translation

If you were planning a formal dinner and extravagandza, who would you invite? Suppose there would even be that proverbial “red carpet” and the paparazzi. And suppose the menu was prepared by a famous chef from a 5 star restaurant. Add to that champaign and wine from the world’s finest wineries. I ask you again, who would you invite to such a merriment? Oh, and add to that, your reputation would be on the line. So I ask again, who are you going to invite?

Being invited is a big thing! It’s important. No one likes being left off the guest list. When an invitation is given to someone, it’s telling them they have value and worth. This is especially true when it comes to being the Body of Christ. We have been given The Invitations to pass out by The Party Host. Now, our Party Host really knows how to throw a party. He provides the best of everything. He’s already proven that no price is too high.

But church, can I be honest with you? We haven’t done a good job at all of passing out The Invitations. Unfortunately, whether unconciously or consciously, we’ve passed out The Invitations to those we think are worthy, those who will fit in. We’ve readily given invitations to those who look, act, andd think like us. But the house isn’t full. The Master of The Party wants His Venue full of people, all kinds of people. In the story He sent them as far as the byways and hedges.

You see, the hedges were the walls around vineyards. Often the workers would have to live there. Back then it mean us Gentiles. That’s those people who don’t look, act, or think like they did. And the application is really clear for us today. We need to be going to where the people are and giving them The Invitation. That means even those who don’t look, act, or think like we do. That girl with all those body piercings. That man whose arm is covered in tattoos. That person who is struggling with addictions. That person who would rather party than anything else. Those whose skin color is different from ours. In short, we are to give The Invitation to everyone out there. And why? Because The Master of The Party wants us to. He wants the Venue for THAT Party to be full! And trust me, if there’s room for someone like me–then there’s room for someone like “them”. So, church–get out there and start passing out those Invitations. Not to a church building–but to THE Relationship and THE Life

DO YOU HAVE FAITH OR FUZZY FEELINGS?

 Anyone who doesn’t breathe is dead, and faith that doesn’t do anything is just as dead!

James chapter 5 verse 26 from the Contemporary English Version

Yesterday was an important day in Alabama. Though, based on the turn-out, most didn’t think it was important. It was the Primary Runoff election. And I was a poll worker. The particular precinct I worked had 117 votes cast in the primary election. But yesterday the number was only 61. Nearly 50% did not think it was worth their time to engage in the single most important principle of this nation–the right to vote. OK, OK! So one party’s run-off had only one office in the run-off. But when it comes to this representative republic, isn’t one office worth the effort to vote? I would say so, and so would the sacrifices and blood of those who fought and died for it. But I’m not here today to write about politics and elections. This event is a microcosm of a far more serious and deadly malady infecting so many today.

It’s called Faith Without Works! So, back to today’s title: Do You Have Faith Or Fuzzy Feelings? When it comes to this Life In Grace, it appears that many–way too many–have opted out of Faith With Works and opted in for Fuzzy Feelings! If we should learn anything from Jesus, it should be that our Faith is made for action. Faith is an action verb–things happen. There’s a dynamic occuring. Fuzzy Feelings is a noun. It describes something but doesn’t do anything. “Now wait just a doggone minute, Preacherman! Doesn’t the Bible say we are saved by faith, not works?” (Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8 and 9)

Indeed it does. And James is not contradicting Paul. Faith produces our salvation, not our works! But. . .what happens after we’re saved? After the fact of salvation by Faith alone, Faith produces a lifetime of works–or if you prefer–a lifetime of action! If all one has after they “think” they have been saved is a lot of Fuzzy Feelings then they haven’t been saved. This is what James is writing about. Read his words one more time: Anyone who doesn’t breathe is dead, and faith that doesn’t do anything is just as dead! Are you breathing? Are you saved? Then go and act in this world that urgently needs to see Jesus in ACTION!

Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure that all the glory goes to Him! And if you are still breathing–go do something that honors Him!

Some Days You Just Gotta Do!

No words today of wit, wisdom, snark, sarcasm, frustration, or even despair. Don’t have time to write today–because I’m going to build a handicap ramp for my Dad. Some days are for writing. Some days are for reflecting. But today–is a day for doing. Excuse me, I’m running late. Until Tomorrow!