This past Easter Weekend, Pastor Chris Hodges of Church of the Highlands delivered a simple yet profound message. The message was based on the story of the prodigal son coming home.
I am convinced that there are so many of us who grew up going to church and followed a routine of what we felt we “needed to do” as Christians. However, without the “desire” present in our hearts, we are easily drawn to walk down other pathways to find meaning and fulfillment in our lives.
Prior to when I re-dedicated my life to Christ early 2004, I allowed anger and frustration of the circumstances of my life to tempt me into going a different direction than God would have me. I guess I felt that God had abandoned me so I had to take matters into my own hands. Later, I realized that my whole perspective was thwarted. Wrong thinking led to wrong actions. This behavior came straight from the enemy of my soul who I allowed to deceive me.
When we make our way down that dreaded path of our selfish will, we become exhausted, depressed, miserable, discouraged, and ultimately look back to when we were once close to God. Even when times are tough, there is a supernatural peace that transcends all understanding when we choose to walk in step with the Lord.
When we chase after our own desires that don’t include God, He allows things to fall apart; In other words,He stays out of our life when we ask Him to leave us alone. He then allows us to come to a point of desperation in order to turn our hearts back to Him…knowing that HE ALONE is ALL that can truly satisfy!
That’s my definition of “coming home.” God doesn’t care where we have been….and He’s not concerned about what we have done…..He simply wants to hold us in His loving arms.
So many times people are too ashamed to come home. They feel as though the Lord is going to look away and not take them back after they have gone wayward. I read a devotional the other day written by Rick Warren that clarifies God’s perspective. I wanted to share a portion of the message with you. It truly drives home how we are always welcome home in the Master’s Arms.
“Purpose Driven Connection”
by Rick Warren
There’s a myth that says I’ve got to clean up my act before I can come to God. “I’ve got to get it all together. There are a few things I’ve got to get right in my life first, and then I’ll come to God.”
Why do we do this? It’s like when we brush our teeth before we go to the dentist to have a teeth cleaning; or when we wash the dishes before we put them in the dishwasher; or when we pick up the house before the maid gets there! Why do we do this?
God says, “No, no! You don’t have to clean up your act. Just bring it all to Me. Bring Me all your problems. I have the answer. I have all the answers.” You don’t wait. Jesus says, “Come as you are.”
The Bible says, “He will send down help from heaven to save me because of His love” (Psalm 57:3 LB). That’s what Jesus did on Easter. He sent down Himself from heaven to save us because of His love. So you bring your problems to God because He has the answer.
To close, I wanted to share a stanza of a beautiful hymn I remember singing when I was growing up. It is another reminder of how passionate our Father is for us to come home.
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals he’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.
Come home, come home,
Ye who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home.
HOME SWEET HOME
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
THE FATHER HAS ALL THE ANSWERS….
SO, COME AS YOU ARE!
HIS LIGHT NEVER GOES OUT!
**By the way, Church of the Highlands had 2,310 people come home this past weekend! The harvest is GREAT!**