Bryan Jarrett - August 12, 2018

The True Elder Brother

n the parable the Father initiates dialogue with both lost sons. To the younger morally bankrupt son, there is no condemning attitude from the Father. The exact opposite happens when younger son returns home. Listen to this: Luke 15:20 NLT 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. Despite the manure matted hair from the time he spends in the pig pen…despite the flies that swarm his body…despite the stench…the Father runs to the him, embraces him, kisses him, and welcomes him home. He initiates love for the son before the son ever has a chance to confess his sin. This is important because it shatters the religious lie that a distorted understanding of scripture tells. Its not the son’s repentance that causes the Father’s love, but the complete reverse. The father’s extravagant love brings genuine repentance and remorse from the son. The Father initiated love.

From Series: "Prodigal God"

Landmarks and boundary stones were big pieces of ancient Jewish life. Most often there were just what their name suggests…similar to our surveying stakes they marked property lines…and the wisdom writer is suggesting that future generations not mess with the clear boundaries that have well been established by their forefathers…it’s a slippery slope that leads to conflict and confusion. Sometimes, those landmarks were memorials that had been set up by previous generations to mark a place that God did something special among his people. They were reminders of a divine visitation or supernatural deliverance…and when future generations would pass by those ancient landmarks, parents could testify to their children of God’s power and faithfulness and pass their faith on to the next generation. Today is one of those days for Northplace Church. As we journey together, we have intentionally journeyed into this conversation to point you to an incredible landmark in Northplace’s history. About 10 years ago, I was given a book by Tim Keller called The Prodigal God. It’s a study of Jesus’ parable that we grew up calling The Parable of the Prodigal Son. This little book has had more impact on my life than any other book outside the bible. It so deeply transformed me that I had to find a way to have a similar conversation with the church. I wanted what God was doing in my to happen in the church. So we launched a small group campaign around the study. I didn’t want to just teach it on the weekend, I want the church to be immersed in a study of this parable throughout the week. This was the basically the beginning of our small group ministry almost a decade. The first time we ever got together in a church wide effort to study scripture together in homes was the study around this parable almost 10 years ago. I knew going into it that it was going to be a strategic moment in the history of our church because I had been shaken to the core…but I don’t think I realized at the time how much it transformed us. Standing from this vantage point…10 years later and looking back…I can clearly see that those 6 weeks in 2009 were the tipping point that formed Northplace Church into what it is today. Our understanding of the grace of God, our belief in the extravagant love of God, our heart for people who don’t know Jesus, our passion for the least, the last and the lost, forgotten people in forgotten places…all has its roots that go back to that original study of this parable. The words we use in our corporate language and the unique culture of this church were forged in that study

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