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Archive for May, 2009

The Prodigal Son

Monday we looked at God is love and that we are his children.

Today we are asked to consider the Prodigal Son.

“There is a story about a father with two sons in Luke 15:11-32…. First Read the Bible passage.

What do you think about the Father in the story? All that the father wanted was to have his bad son returned home. He waited and waited until the som came back home. He didn’t get angry about the wrong things that his son had done. He didn’t rebuke Him either. He welcomed the son when he repented and returned:  he welcomed him back to his family.”

The first question – what do I think about the father in the story?

One of the dangers of reading a parable is reading too much into it. Parables have one central point and the characters work to draw out this point. We can’t attempt to line up every event and find a spiritual application to it. This parable is good example for this.

What do I think of the father? At first he seems a weak and foolish man. He gives away a portion of his money to his greedy, demanding son who can’t wait for his father to die to get his hands on his inheritance.

The father seems to mature but too late and is filled with hope and regret. He doesn’t know where his son is and can only stand and look for the son. His actively waiting does seem to establish a pattern of resentment within the older son. Who has stayed and been obedient.

When the younger son returns. The father throws a party to welcome the son home causing the older son to explode in action. The father explains his actions and surprise at the older son’s answer. Finally he promises that everything he has will go to the older son.

But that really isn’t the point of the parable, is it? The main points of the story are the fall and return of a first wicked then repenting son and how the son is welcomed home.

What do I think about the father in this light? Loving and embracing, patient, forgiving, hopeful, expectant

Now if we continue in our lesson

He waited and waited…. this is one thing God does not do. God doesn’t wait for us to come home. We are dead, we don’t move. God doesn’t hope we repent, he leads us to repentance. God doesn’t hope that one day we will change, he is the reason we change.

He didn’t get angry – true the father didn’t. But our Heavenly Father does. If you aren’t sure, ask Moses who was kept out of Israel for hitting a stone instead of speaking to it. Ask David about his son’s death. Ask Peter when he said in essnence “Don’t die. We don’t want you to go.”

The point I am making in all of this. God is in many ways like the prodigal son’s father but he isn’t identical.

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God is love?

I was handed a booklet yesterday at church called “Spiritual Formation Training”, the first thing I noticed was the size. It is 9 pages long. You would think that a book on spiritual formation would be thicker, wouldn’t you?

At any rate let’s see what is inside.

1. THE FATHER”S LOVE

God is Love (1 John 4:16), and His love is toward us.  He doesn’t only tell us or make us feel that He loves us, God has made us a part of His family because He loves us: God is our Father and we are His Children (John 1:12). Therefore, one good expression that well descrives God’s love is the Father’s Heart.

Looks ok, but there is few things missing from the first paragraph.

God is love. Perfectly biblical, but I wish there had been a larger explanation to the sentence. Any English teacher knows that the verb be signals an equating relationship to but it seems there are at least three ways this can be done.

1. God is equal to love –> I am Keith. A simple equals sign

2. God is a part of something larger set of things that love. –> I am big. There are many big things, and I happen to be one of them

3. God is an owner of many characteristics, one of which is love. –> I am big. I, Keith am big, but that isn’t the only way you can describe me. I am also an English teacher, an American, left-handed, a foreigner, etc….

How we interpret the statement says a lot about our theology. Which option do you think it means? More importantly, which way did John mean it?

“God made us part of  His family because he loves us.”  I find this far too simplistic a sentence. We have to deal with a few immediate issues.

1. Family here is not “the family of man” but is brought into the church as a believer, not merely an attender

2. What does this say about unbelievers? The need for missions? Does God love some more than others, or loves some differently than others?

3. It isn’t only God’s love that brought us into the family. What I mean by that is God’s love was the reason for the process, but it wasn’t the process itself. God didn’t simply wake up one day and decide to say come on in. The invitation was written with the blood of His Son, who died for our sins, who made fellowship possible.

God is our Father and we are His children (John 1:12) – This makes the assumption that the reader is already a believer. 1 John 3:10 calls those who are unbelievers children of the Devil.

I get the feeling reading this booklet, is a bit like reading the Cliff Notes to a much larger and grander book.

What do you think?

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 It has been over a month of silence at the blog and so far I don’t know if anyone has noticed. Which may be just as well. The articles too long, and it was never personal, just copy and paste. In an attempt to try and have something for everyone, I had everything for no one. It was a long and futile run.

That being said, I missed blogging and had no idea how to start again. Like calling a friend after 10 years, it feels strange to sit again at the keyboard hoping that someone may take an interest in H&D.

I make no promises as to how much will be posted. Certainly not as much as was posted previously and certainly not at that pace.

As always, I am looking for help. This isn’t Keith’s blog,  it is a church blog implying a body of believers, not one man and a keyboard trying to watch 30-40 pots a day lest anyone go hungry. You can eat what I cook here or you can help in the cooking. I would much rather have help in the kitchen so to speak.

If you don’t feel comfortable in English, write in Korean or your home language. We are an international community. We have Koreans, English speakers, Japanese, Xhosa language speakers among others so don’t worry. Your words will reach someone.

If you don’t go to Dongsan, and you would like to post something… please e-mail  yourr submission to hey.keith@gmail.com. I make no promises, but if it is something doctrinally sound, relevant to who and what we are as a church, a special need, global missions news etc…. It will probably go up. Grandma’s cookie recipies, why Obama is the Anti-Christ and other things probably won’t.

Enjoy H&D, it is yours as much as mine.

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