Throw A Homecoming Party

Gsummer sunset
Gsummer sunset

I love a good party, especially when there is a cool theme to it. I enjoy a good Super Bowl party even when I don’t care much about the big game. I enjoy being with friends, hanging out and celebrating just about any occasion. I love a good homecoming party for sure. Homecoming parties are great because relationships are reconnected in a fun atmosphere.

Jesus told a story that reveals the heart of God toward lost people and His idea of a part for a homecoming.  He tells the story of a man who had two sons, the younger son goes to Dad and asked for his inheritance early. He is ready to get out of the house and be on his own. His dad does as he is asked and gives his son his half of his wealth. The son goes away to a distant land and squanders his money on wild living. He is broke, and now a famine hits the area he’s in. He gets a job feeding pigs and is so hungry that their food looks good to him. He comes to his senses and decides that at home, even the hired hands have food and shelter. He decides he will go home and become a hired hand. The story takes a turn that shows the heart of the boys Dad, whom I see as representing God. Check this out…

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began. (Luke 15:20-24 NLT)

I love the fact that the Dad was waiting and longing for his son to return. When I became a Dad, I learned more about God’s heart than ever before. God is a loving Parent/Father Who longs for relationship with His kids – us. He loves it when we spend time with Him. (I love it when my kids want to spend time with me.) He loves random conversation with His kids. (I love random phone calls or face time calls with my kids and the grand kids.) The Lord is connected to His kids and He will patiently wait for them to figure it all out. The Fathers love is not logical, but it’s very real and genuine.

I’m so thankful for the example that the Lord gives to me as a Dad. I want to love like He loves. I want to forgive like He forgives. I want to serve like He served. I want to party with my family and celebrate each one of them!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Party!

ApplauseI’ve been to parties that are pretty lame. The music (What music?) is bad. The people are boring and dull. The food is ok, but the atmosphere is pretty dead. Then there’s the party that is rockin it! The music is fantastic; the people are dancing and having fun hanging out. There is laughter and joy in people’s faces. The food, well who cares about the food, this is a great party.

I envision heaven to be a pretty big happening party atmosphere. After all we will be in the Presence of the Creator. He’s Creative & Funny – he made me! I’m pretty confident in His sense of humor! J I want to celebrate with Him. Check this out…

1 Praise the Lord.
Sing to the Lord a new song,

    his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.
2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;

    let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
3 Let them praise his name with dancing

    and make music to him with timbril and harp.
For the Lord takes delight in his people;

    he crowns the humble with victory.
5 Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor
 
   and sing for joy on their beds. (Psalm 149:1-5 NIV)

The Lord loves a good party – especially a party in His honor! I believe that our worship experiences with other Christ Followers should resemble a “happening party”. The music needs to be good and full of life. The participants should be enjoying one another’s presence as well as being in the Presence of the Creator of all things. The Lord loves me. He loves to see my glad heart. He loves it when I’m having fun in His Presence. I don’t believe the Lord is a party killer. I believe He is a party maker! I believe our Praise & Worship should resemble a party where there is some crazy dancing as well as slow dancing being held by Him. My God is NOT dead – He’s fully alive and living on inside of my heart. I want His Presence to show on the outside!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Wine Tasting

wine tastingI must confess that I like the taste of a good glass of wine. I realize that by making that statement, I have offended some people. I do not believe that all wine is evil. I do believe that wine is often abused and misused and the effects of such abuse and misuse can be life altering. I remember doing a skit as a young teenager about Jesus first miracle of turning water into wine.  Jesus, the Son of God turning water into wine apparently because the wedding wasn’t over… or someone miscalculated how much wine was needed. Check this out…

1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. (John 2:1-11 NIV)

I’ve never quite understood wine tasting events. I’m not an avid connoisseur of wine either. I know that there is a difference in quality of the wine based on ingredients and the age of the wine. That’s about the extent of my “wine knowledge”. I could “Google it” and speak more intelligently about it – who cares?  I have been to lots of weddings with or without wine. Weddings are to be a celebration of two lives/families joining together and a new family is born and built starting with the wedding. I have seen people get a little sideways or tipsy from too much wine at weddings and other occasions. I found it interesting that Jesus’ mother was at this wedding and that Jesus and his disciples were invited. They didn’t just happen to stop in or crash the reception – they were invited guests. I have also heard people explain that the wine Jesus made from the water wasn’t fermented – then it wouldn’t have been wine. I personally believe that Jesus was fun to be around and that when His mother mentioned something about the wine running out – she wanted Him to do something like He did. Jesus turned approximately 120 gallons of water into great tasting wine. He single-handedly kept the wedding celebration going. I was blessed and blown back by the line that John writes after this event – “he revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him”. Jesus chose as His first miracle a party to reveal His glory. He is the One and Only Son of God and His first miracle is a wedding party/reception. Jesus was not this stuffy religious leader who didn’t have fun. He was a guest and participant at the party. I think He wants to be part of my daily walk – not in a stuffy sort of way, but a fun, light-hearted and godly sort of way. He is not impressed with false and fake piety. He lifts my head and helps me through difficult times and He celebrates with me in joy-filled times as well. It’s not about drinking or partying and the lines there – it’s about a joy-filled existence because I know the Author of Life!

Pressing On!
Dwayne