This Friday is the eagerly awaited joint youth gathering with students from a handful of churches in Fort McMurray. Join us for an evening of worship, bible teaching, and fun with friends afterwards, with the goal of encouraging students to pray for one another and live boldly for Jesus in this city. It’s a way of reminding ourselves that God is doing something bigger than us, and we are not alone on the mission he gave us as Christians.
There has been a slight time adjustment!
We will meet during our regular times, 7:00-9:00pm.
Mark your calendars for Friday, December 15. Our Christmas party will be hosted by Ron and Carol Cleminson at 144 Ermine Crescent in Thickwood. Click here for directions!
Dress in festive apparel and invite a friend to this time of celebration. Enjoy holiday drinks and treats, as well a time of worship with some well-known carols and songs.
We will be doing a white elephant gift exchange: bring a wrapped gift between $10-20 that would be well-received by a guy or girl. *Please let us know if you cannot bring a gift and we will provide one for you to participate: firstname.lastname@example.org*
This week’s video gave us an overview of Luke chapters 9-19. For our discussion we focused specifically on chapter 15, where Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal son.
You can watch the video for Luke Part 3 here!
We will continue the video series on Friday, December 8th.
Overview of Luke 15:11-32
Throughout the gospel accounts, Jesus told many parables to the people of Israel. Parables are stories meant to communicate a picture of life. Jesus told stories that specifically focused on life in his kingdom. Some were not able to understand these stories, but others were amazed at what Jesus was teaching through them.
In Luke 15 Jesus tells a parable that is particularly well known to this day: the parable of the prodigal son. In this story there is a wealthy man who has two sons. The younger son comes to the father early on, demanding his share of the inheritance right away. He leaves home and blows all of his money on the pursuit of pleasure and a lavish lifestyle. But his money soon runs out and he finds himself without food or shelter. In his state of despair, he realizes that he has made horrible decisions and wasted his life. He comes up with a plan to return home and beg his father to accept him, but as a servant instead of a son. At least he can work and be fed. He makes the long journey home. As he gets close to the property, his father recognizes him from a distance. He immediately runs out to meet his son, and before his son can get through his prepared speech of repentance, the father calls for his servants to prepare a celebration for his returned son. He clothes the son in a fine robe, new shoes, and a beautiful ring on his hand. The preparations for the feast are underway, including a delicious fattened calf.
Meanwhile, the older brother hears the sounds of celebration from one of the fields and rushes to understand what was taking place. When one of the servants explains everything to him, anger begins to well up in his heart. He decides against joining the festivities, and quickly approaches his father with disgust. He exclaims something like this, “I have served you faithfully for years, never disobeying you, yet I have never been given a party like this for me and my friends. But when this son of yours returned, who has consumed your wealth with prostitutes, you give him all of this!”
The father replies gently and lovingly, “My son, I have and always will love you. All that is mine is yours. But we have to rejoice that your brother is with us again! He was lost and dead, but now is found and alive!”
And that’s how the parable ends…interesting, eh?
Many times people read this story and focus solely on the compassion of the father towards the younger son, symbolizing God’s forgiveness and love towards those who have rejected him and readily embraced a life of sin. The religious leaders in Jesus’ time were absolutely disgusted that he would spend time eating and talking with tax collectors, prostitutes, criminals, and the list goes on. We can see in this parable that Jesus invites these types of people into his kingdom.
But we need to understand something else, as well: Jesus invites religious people into his kingdom. Wait a second, aren’t religious people already accepted? Not necessarily! Jesus used this parable to warn the religious leaders of their pride and selfishness. Just because they behaved differently than others didn’t mean that their hearts were right with God. The older son in the story had a sin problem, just like his brother, except it manifested itself differently. The older brother did not truly love his father, he loved himself. He expected way too much because he thought he deserved it for being “good.” But the father loves his children because they are his children, not because of what they do or don’t do. The same with God: he loves everyone and desires that we would simply come to him in humility and experience the love and peace of a relationship with him.
Through the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus teaches us that God’s love extends to everyone, but no one deserves it. Every person can be symbolized in some way by either the younger or the older son, or a bit of both. Some of us choose to do things our own way, and others of us try to please God so that he will give us what we want. We must all repent of these sins, and be forgiven. Then we can truly live and love as God intended.
- Have you ever made a decision that ended up bringing pain to yourself and the people closest to you? When did you realize that you had sinned? Were you able to make things right, and how?
- How does the interaction between the father and the younger son invite you to change the way you see God? Why is a person’s view of God so important?
- Is there an area of your life where you need to return to God?
- Has there ever been a time when you were angry at someone else’s good fortune?
- We can easily become like the older brother in this story. What happens in the heart of the older brother? Where do you see his attitude in your life?
- The older brother saw himself as more of a slave to his father than a son. Describe a time recently when you were living more like a “slave” than God’s son or daughter?
- Has your life become more about what you can accomplish than enjoying the love that God the Father has for you?