200 Proof TuneIn Radio

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Chief of Sinners Though I Be

I consider it a completely insane thing that God should take someone like me and make him a pastor.  How in the world did I get here and what is the Lord thinking? 

Our God has a marvelous and odd sense of humor.  Consider that a little kid that grew up ditching church and school, who dropped out of high school to be a rock star should grow up to receive two degrees and be a pastor.  How in the world did this happen? 

It is always encouraging to me to read about the Prophets of old and the Apostles. What a diverse and odd crowd they were.  It seems that in order to make the "A Team" for the Prophets that you likely were called to be a complete freakshow.  Isaiah walked around naked, Jeremiah put his boxers under a rock and then after "a long time," went back to get them (I'm sure that they were quite ripe), he also walked around wearing a cattle yoke.  Hosea was led to marry a prostitute, Jonah smelled like fish puke.  Then there is my boy Ezekiel - where do we begin with this guy?  God makes him mute for a while, he sleeps on his left side for about a year, oh yeah and God tells him to cook his food over his own poop.  Ezekiel protests this one and God relents... he can use Cow plop instead... MUCH BETTER!  Think about this next time you see "Ezekiel Bread" at the market...yeah, not authentic, I hope.    
The prophets of old make the Apostles seem right down normal, yet among them were Fishermen, a tax collector, a zealot, still not exactly all the most likely candidates to be the first pastors, at least not likely if we were to chose them to be our pastor... unless they didn't want to be paid much (which is another illness in the church - for another time).  

We like to think of pastors as holy men (like the prophets of old?), righteous individuals, but the Lord is the one that calls that which is not holy to be holy in Him. 

I am a sinner, just like you are.  I am just a fallen man given a position to proclaim the mercy and forgiveness of Christ on the radio and internet, I used to be called to do it from a pulpit.  I must say that is truly a terrifying and yet exhilarating thing, for my hands are unclean and my lips are full of sin.  Even though I may be a complete dirtbag before the righteousness of God, it is a thrill to get to speak of His mercy.    

Just as Jesus has called me to be a voice calling in the wilderness of this world in such a way, He has called you to be His voices and heads of your homes.  Fathers, lead your children in matters of the Lord.  Model prayer and devotion to them, teach them the catechism and minister to your wives with love and patience giving that very forgiveness to your families that Christ has given to you.  Wives, honor your husbands and gladly teach your children. 

Oh sure, I know you quarrel among yourselves in the home, it is the result of sin and we all do it from time to time.  Oh sure, I know marriage can be hard and raising your children is not easy, but I encourage you, my fellow sinners, to confess to one another and speak the words of mercy to one another and together, under Christ, we will somehow muddle through life together, knowing that Christ has given us nothing but an “amen” to speak in response to His infinite mercies. 

I am still not sure why the Lord would call me to be a pastor, but I am sure glad that He has, because I can think of nothing else that I would rather do.  What a great thing it is, I get to tell you about what a wonderful, merciful, forgiving, gracious God we have.  How merciful our Savior, Jesus is to lay down His life for me and then for you. 

Why me?  Perhaps to show you that the Lord is able to do anything He pleases, and to show that He is the Divine Fox who loves a good pun. 

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Thou Shalt Not Murder

A Sermon on The Fifth Commandment  
(6th Commandment for the Calvinists in the crowd) 

Thou shalt not kill.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God that we may not hurt nor harm our neighbor in his body, but help and befriend him in every bodily need [in every need and danger of life and body].

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What Your Pastor Should Pray Before EVERY Service

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What's The Score?

When I was a kid, I was blessed to have a family with season tickets to The California Angels.  The California Angels, not the Anaheim Angels, nor the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, nor the Anaheim Angels of the greater California area…The California Angels.  Now, I hope that we have that cleared up. 

Regardless, we had fantastic seats and there was a nice old guy who sat right in front of us. 
 He was there every game, smoking his White Owl Cigars and keeping score.  He was an amazing guy who brought his scorebook to EVERY game.  He could tell you who did what and when going back several seasons.  He was diligent about recording every pitch, every play, every game in his scorebook.  To this day, when I smell cigar smoke, I am transported back to being 12 years old, looking over his shoulder and learning all of the symbols and abbreviations to keep score.  It seems like it was just yesterday that I was cheering for the CALIFORNIA Angels (boy do I have a bone to pick there), eating hot dogs and waiting for a foul ball to fly my way… still waiting.

We are all scorekeepers. 
 We have long memories when it comes to who wronged us.  We hold grudges.  When we have been wronged and “that person” or “those people” don't apologize, we often feel justified in not forgiving them, after all, they never asked for forgiveness.  Our memories go back many seasons and whereas the facts may be skewed over time, we know one thing – THAT PERSON HURT ME AND I WANT TO HURT HIM or HER BACK!  After all, it is only fair that they should get theirs. 

Then there are those with tender consciences who have hurt others.  The demons of their past visit them, often in the quiet hours.  They continue to flog themselves, even if they have apologized to those whom they have hurt, even if those people don't even remember the event, it haunts them.  The instant replay is caught in an endless loop of accusations and they live it over and over again.

Thanks be to God, for the sake of Jesus Christ that, contrary to many religious notions, He doesn’t have a score book, only a Book of Life.

When bad things happen, we often think that the Divine Statistician is giving us payback for something that we have done, that the score must be settled.  Whereas there are natural consequences for many of our sins, like being dumped cold because you cheated on your spouse, or being punched in the nose for cheating with someone else’s spouse, God is not in the game of settling the score.

The score was settled once and for all as Christ took the sins of the world onto Himself in that “Glad Exchange” (
  He atoned for all of your sins there on the cross and He threw the scorebook into the pit of Hell.

The baptized are wiped clean, coated in Christ and now utterly blameless because the One who created the Heavens and the Earth in six days, who rested on the seventh, has recreated you on the 8th day.

If God no longer remembers your sin, why should you?   Furthermore if God no longer remembers the sins of another, why should you?  After all, you can relax knowing that He always gets the last word, and that word will be spoken on Judgment day.  For those who are in Christ, the verdict is always – not guilty.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.

 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children's children, to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.

Bless the LORD, O you his (California - hehe) angels, you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
(Psalm 103 ESV)

By the way - the song went "CALIFORNIA ANGELS A-Okay!"
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Phooey ! They're in Orange County, not Los Angeles!

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Into Your Hands

Just as I can think of no better way to start the day than with Luther's Morning Prayer, I can think of no better way to end my day than with Luther's Evening Prayer. 

Luther’s Evening Prayer 

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have graciously kept me this day. Forgive me all my sins, and graciously keep me this night. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all things. Let your holy angel be with me, that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.

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Begin Your Day The Luther Way

I can think of no better way to start my day than with Martin Luther's Morning Prayer.  

Luther’s Morning Prayer:
 I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger.
Keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please you.
Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all things. Let your holy angel be with me, that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

It’s Not Fair - The Glad Exchange

By Pastor Craig Donofrio

Life isn’t fair.  Honestly, I think that life is rarely fair. 

We all hurt in one way or another.  We don’t get to pick our families.  Most of us didn’t win the genetic lottery, we wish that we were taller, thinner, thicker, shorter, had better hair, better eyes, better teeth, maybe a sharper intellect.  The list of how we feel ripped off goes on and on and we think that it’s not fair.  We constantly compare ourselves with one another and wish that we were lucky - like “them.” 

Little do you know, but they might be looking at you and wishing that they had something that you have.  

We feel that things aren’t fair because we are all cursed.  It’s true; we are all cursed by the fall, by sin.  Death, bloodshed, injustice, deformity and every other terrible thing came into the world because, with Adam and Eve, we sinned and brought the whole mess upon ourselves. 

“If God is so loving, why is there so much misery in the world?”  Why do people blame God for what we have done?  The “Author of Life” created all things perfect, but we listened to the lies of Satan and believed them and like a bunch of carousing drunks, we trashed the joint. 

The same God that people falsely accuse of being so unjust took matters into His own hands and sent His only Son to make a satisfaction for all of our rebellions against Him.  

Do you want to know what’s really unfair?  The only perfectly sinless being to walk on earth was accused of Idolatry, blasphemy (against Himself), rejecting the Sabbath, rebellion against the authorities, murder, adultery, theft, bearing false witness, coveting… the Full Monty, as He was condemned for all of your sins, for the sins of the whole world.  Not only was He accused of all of your sins, but He was condemned to death for them. 

Stricken, smitten and afflicted, beaten to a bloody pulp, He went to the cross, stripped naked, bearing all of the shame of all of your sins. There nailed to a cross, He took the punishment that you had coming.  Did He cry out “IT’S NOT FAIR?”   No, He cried out, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”  He cried out to His Father who abandoned Him to His sin… His sin, which is your sin placed on Him.   He cried out, “It Is Finished!”  With that, the sins of the world were answered for, as He took the death penalty in your place.  

This is “The Glad Exchange.”  In Christ, God exchanged all of your sin for all of His righteousness.  

How fair is that?  IT’S NOT FAIR – you win!  Thanks be to God! 
As we descend to the cross with Him this Holy week, let us ponder that “Glad Exchange.”  Such an ultimately loving act of self-sacrifice for you, now making you an heir of the eternal Kingdom of God.  All of His righteousness is credited to your bankrupt account.  He has cast your sins away and remembers them no more. 

The only innocent man to ever live is declared guilty of the sins of the whole world, the sins of all times, your sins, my sins, and everyone’s sins.  He did it for you, because you could never atone for your own sins.  

For our sake he made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. - 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV

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Monday, March 23, 2015

How Much Jesus Do You Have?

By Pastor Craig Donofrio

I once visited an elderly parishioner who was in the hospital for a heart attack.  They were keeping him for a bypass as soon as he was stable enough.  

As I walked into the room, he greeted me and I prayed with him, read some psalms and the liturgy.  He looked at me and said, “don’t worry about me pastor, I have lots of faith.”  I said, I am glad that one of us does, all I have is Christ.   Then I explained what I meant… 

The question isn’t how much faith you have (as if it is something that you do), the question is, what is your faith in?  Many of us have faith in our intelligence or skills.  Some have faith in their good looks or their charm.  We like to congratulate ourselves in thinking that we were smart enough to choose Jesus or some other such religious nonsense. 

People say, “I am a person of faith,” which to me is up there with, “I’m spiritual but not religious."  Faith never talks about itself, but always speaks of its object.  The object of the Christian faith is Christ. 

If you tell me that you have faith and your proof is good works, guess who you’re not talking about, I will give you a hint, His first name starts with J and ends with esus. 

Recently someone wrote to one of my radio programs, The God Whisperers (www.godwhisperers.org), and asked about having enough faith.  My response was something to the effect of, “It doesn't matter how much faith you have, how much Jesus do you have?” 

Try this exercise, when you read your Bible, replace the word “faith” with “Jesus” and see what happens.  Nine times out of ten, it really helps you to understand that it is all about Jesus and His work – FOR YOU. 

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

(Romans 5:10 ESV)

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The Gospel is Outside Of You

By Pr. Craig Donofrio

I was just thinking about writing something on the externality of the Gospel and then I remembered that I did this a few years ago.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015


By Pr. Craig Donofrio 

We theological geeks like to sound more impressive by using Latin, Greek, Hebrew or even Pig Latin if need be. That said, there are a few terms worth knowing.  Simul Justus et Peccator - Simultaneously justified and sinner (saint and sinner), Cur alii, alii non – Why some and not others? Semper Ubi Sub Ubi – always wear underwear (okay, it kind of means that, but not really).  But for our consideration today, the phrase is Homo incurvatus in se – roughly translated, man is curved in on himself. 

The first commandment: You shall have no other gods before me.  The Hebrew can rightly be translated as no other gods in My face.  I like this because when we have other gods, we are actually cramming them in the face of the one true God. 

Adam and Eve lived openly, naked in every way possible, physically and spiritually before God.  But when they fell to the temptation to be like God, knowing good from evil, they took their eyes off of God’s loving kindness that gave them life and sustained them day by day and they looked to themselves… Incurvatus, they curved in on themselves and became gods to themselves, becoming the most important being in their lives. 

I contend that all sin and nearly every theological false teaching can be summed up in these words – “curved in on ourselves”.  To be curved in on ourselves means that we look to ourselves and look for our personal glory, benefit, recognition, fame and the like first and foremost. 

The Gospel of St. Matthew records the following conversation…  “And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”  (Matthew 22:35-40 ESV)

The reality is that if we could actually Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul and mind that we would by nature then love our neighbor as ourselves.  This is the whole of the two tables of the law in the Ten Commandments.  Furthermore, we understand that if we could keep that first commandment, we would not need the others for they would be fulfilled.  

When we curved in on ourselves, we stopped living before God, openly before His face.  We know that our first parents in the garden covered themselves inadequately with a covering of their own invention. 

Then God, who is merciful and loving by His very nature slaughtered an animal (I like to imagine it to have been a lamb) and provided garments for them.  These were more than clothing, but it was the first shedding of blood and a covering for their sinfulness. 

Those coverings are very symbolic and right down sacramental.  The man made sacraments providing a false covering, a false religion.  God providing the proper covering in a sacrifice is a God who gives freely.  This shows us from the beginning, that there are only two religions, the one that’s about me (or us) and the one that is about Him. 

We skip forward to God the Son taking on the flesh of man, becoming one of us, and yet not as a Master to be served, but as a Servant who serves others.  He serves His own rebellious people.  He is curved out to you and to me, even as we are curved in on ourselves.  He serves when we want to be served.  He sacrifices Himself for those who are busy throwing each other under the bus.  He gives His life for selfish bloodthirsty sinners. 

Through His perfect life, through His humiliation, through His compassionate mercy, through His suffering and death and through His resurrection, He does it all for “us men (mankind) and for our salvation.” 

He restores us to that place of being innocent before Him, blameless in His site and He has provided the ultimate covering, the covering of the blood of the Lamb who has taken away the sin of the world. 

In His Word and His Sacraments, He leaves none of our senses untouched by His mercy.  Our ears are filled with His Gospel Words. He feeds us body and soul as we taste and see that He is good in the Lord’s Supper. We splash and play in the waters of Holy Baptism as He covers us with Himself in the water and the Word.  As we read in Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” 

This is astonishing because God didn’t make us to be spiritual beings, able to see, hear and test the spiritual world, but He made us physical beings with a soul.  Because of this, He provides physical assurances and physical gifts so that we can know for certain that He has done his work of salvation in us.  In Baptism, we get wet, in absolution, our eardrums are engaged and we see Christ’s ambassador, the pastor before us, in the Lord’s Supper, we touch, taste, see, smell and hear.  These are physical elements attached to the life giving Word of God who brings us more and more and more forgiveness, mercy and grace.  He liberally pours Grace upon grace, blessing upon blessing, forgiveness more than we could ever imagine onto and into our sinful lives. 

In the waters of Holy Baptism, we are indelibly coated with the very righteousness of Christ.  Now when the judgment of God’s righteousness comes looking for the baptized, all He sees is Christ for us. It is nothing less than astonishing that God’s mercy is beyond all measure while our sin is beyond all recognition. 

When we honestly see ourselves for who we really are apart from Christ, we feel shame, naked before a perfect God who sees all of our sins, all of our failures and all of our indecency. 

When we honestly see God in the face of Christ Jesus for Who He really is, we find His grace, mercy, love, compassion forgiveness and kindness for sinners.  He who knew no sin became sin so that we might be the righteousness of God. 

How I love to consider over and over again that on the cross, Jesus declared “Tetelestai!”- It Is Finished and with that, He inhaled the sins of the world into Himself and exhaled His life onto and into us who were dead in our sins and trespasses. 

When this grace takes root in us and we realize that He gives us all of Himself every minute of everyday.  When we discover that His grace is greater than all of our sins, sins past, sins present, sins future, then we begin to turn away from our sinful, black, cesspools known as hearts and begin to once again, according to the new man, to look to our God more and more.  For He is the one who establishes our faith, justifying us freely and He is the one who sends the Holy Spirit to us who testifies constantly and turns us toward Christ in His sanctifying work.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
(Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)

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By Pastor Steve Flo

Many ask, “How do I conquer a ‘pet sin’ I struggle with daily, that gets me down and depresses me so?”
I tell them, “Only when you are free to fall, are you free not to fall!”
“What?” they say! “Shall we sin that grace may abound? God’s Word spoken by the Apostle Paul says, ‘Certainly NOT! How shall we who died to sin live in it any longer?’ “ (Romans 6:1-2)

“True!” I say, “Then quit falling!”

They say, “Well, it's easier said than done. I keep trying and trying and trying, but I keep stumbling over that same sin.”
“Do you believe God LOVES YOU no matter how much you sin?” I ask.
“Well, I suppose I should” they say, “but I don’t.” 

I tell them... “Then that's the root of your problem! God is allowing you to fall flat on your face over and over again to teach you something bigger than the victory you desire. He wants you to be convinced that you are loved and forgiven by His Son unconditionally, no matter how much you sin or don’t sin; no matter how much you obey or don’t obey; no matter how much faith you have or don’t have! As a matter of fact, He forgave you, me, and the whole world from the cross even BEFORE we believed, obeyed, or had any faith in Him at all. He forgave us while we were killing Him! He said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do!" (Luke 23:34)

It’s only by this powerful message of forgiveness given BEFORE we believe in Him ... that our belief is created by Him in the first place. We love because He first loved us. It’s only by this powerful Word of Christ’s unconditional love and forgiveness that our hearts are made clean and our spirits are renewed within.
So, should we sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! God doesn’t want us to sin.
But if we do sin in weakness and we’re sorry for it, frustrated by it, and feel like we have a ton of rocks on our back weighing us down, does God still love us in Christ? The answer is...YES! Nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8). God’s love is not based on our obedience, but rather on the obedience of His Son! (1Corinthians 1:30)

ONLY WHEN WE ARE FREE, then, TO FALL, knowing that Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us when we do, are WE FREE NOT TO FALL! Only then will our hearts be filled with the Love of God in Christ. Only then will our coldness melt and the love of sinning be taken away,"
Charles Wesley expressed this LIBERATING LOVE beautifully when, in his unforgettable hymn, he wrote:

Love divine, all love excelling,

Joy of heaven, to earth come down!

Fix in us thy humble dwelling,
All thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
Pure, unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart.

Breathe, oh, breathe thy loving spirit

Into every troubled breast;
Let us all in thee inherit;
Let us find thy promised rest.
Take away the love of sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
End of faith, as its beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty.

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Beloved Losers - One and All

By: Pastor Craig Donofrio
Luke 15

Jesus loves sinners.  Are you a sinner?

I am a prodigal son who rebelled against my heavenly and earthly fathers in every way that my imagination could conjure.  I have been blessed to have been so loved by both fathers that I am extra grieved for my sins against both.  Yet, I am more of a disappointment to myself than to them.  The shame that I feel is not because they have condemned me, but because I am embarrassed of the stupidity that I have done... and continue to do.  Have mercy on me O Lord.  

Jesus said in Mark 2:17, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

Are you a good person or a sinner? 

I hear so many people say, “I am a good person.”  I have heard people say that they do not need to come to church because the church is full of hypocrites and, “I think that I will go to heaven because I am basically a good person.”

Luke 15 tells us a story about two brothers and a father. 

Oh we all know the parable of the “Prodigal Son,” but do we know the parable of the “Loving Father?”  How about the parable of the “Jealous Brother?”  This one parable is three rolled into one.

First, the parable of the “Prodigal Son” since we know this one the best. 

There was a young man who was restless on his dad’s farm and he decided that he wanted to go and see the big city and live the good life.  So he asked his father for his share of the estate, took it and went off to a foreign land and lived the good life. Cigarettes and Whisky and wild women…

Young Mr. Prodigal wasted everything (after all, that’s what prodigal means – wasteful)
.  He blew his cash at the Casino and on fast women and so forth.

He invested poorly. Then the market dried up and there was a famine in the land.  So, this nice Jewish boy got a job taking care of pigs, which by the way are animals that were unclean for Jews to eat and probably unclean to touch.  This kid even wished that he ate as well as the pigs did )he was probably working off debt).

One day, he was especially hungry and he had a thought that maybe he could go home and work on Dad’s farm because even the hired hands on the farm had plenty to eat.  He decided that he would give his dad this little speech, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, "and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants." So he headed home.

Before he got to the gate, his father ran out, threw his arms around the boy’s neck and kissed him. The son started his speech, but the father ignored it and called to the servants to kill the fatted calf, bring me my robe and ring, MY SON IS HOME!  The son must have been utterly amazed and stupefied.

Now for the parable of the Loving Father…  One day a good father was hard at work and his son came to him and said, “dad, I am tired of living on the farm, I want to see the bright lights of the big city, give me my inheritance now and I will go and become like Donald Trump.”  The father was sad to see his dear child leave him, but He knew that he could not keep his son against his will, so he consented. 

His son packed his bags, took his money and left town.  Day in and day out the loving father would watch the road for some sign of his boy, but nothing, how his heart ached for missing his son.

One day, down the road he saw a little speck, “COULD IT BE MY SON?” – OH HOW I PRAY THAT IT’S HIM - “IT IS” – HE IS BACK!!!”

With this the loving father ran down the road as fast as he could and threw his arms around his son and rejoiced that he was not dead, but rather has come back to live with us!”

The son started to apologize, but the father was so happy to see him, he didn’t even hear it. The father called for the servants to kill the fatted calf and bring his best robe and ring.

The third parable, the parable of “The Jealous Brother,” goes something like this…  One day my idiot brother took his share of the farm, (which made my life that much harder) and ran off to find a bunch of fast women and the loser became a crack head.  The moron went off and blew all his money and now he has come home and wants to take what’s mine. 

As if this is not bad enough, now dad is treating him better than me.  He always was Dad’s favorite. 

Who is who?  We are either the wasteful son or we are the jealous son.  We have either squandered our lives with our sinful wasteful lives or we have thought ourselves to be a truly good person and everyone else besides us are the problem.

In Jesus’ day, the Jews, the Pharisees and Sadducees in particular would never associate with the sinners and they believed that they had noting to repent of.

There are many Christians today who are Pharisees, we even had some in our churches today.  In their estimation, they are okay with God because they do not drink, cuss, smoke, do drugs, go to rated R movies or associate with sinners who do.

They are just fine in their own eyes because they would never do any of those sorts of things. Because of their good behavior, they will surely go to heaven.

Some of us may fit in this category, and the truth be told, if you are, you are in serious trouble because you are trying to save yourselves with your so called good works that are polluted with the stench of your sin.

Then again, perhaps you are the prodigal son. You have done some really, really stupid stuff in your life, stuff that you do not even like to think of yourself, let alone confess. 

Perhaps you have been involved with extramarital sex or drugs, perhaps you have some other sort of addiction, pornography or something else that you have put before God, just go through the 10 commandments, pick one – they are all equally sinful and equally damning.

If this is you, there is good news.  When you have had enough of wallowing in the filth of your sin, you can always come home to your loving Father.  Sometimes like those who suffer addiction we who are given to wandering away from the baptismal grace that we have been given, need to hit rock bottom before we can figure out that we have totally messed up our lives and return to the Lord.

Of course we all know who the Father is, it is our Father in heaven who sent His only Son to pay the price for our sins.  He is the Father who waits patiently for His children to come home so that He can lavish His love on them.

Jesus has come so that we might be returned to the favor of our Father.  He has paid the price and punishment of our wasted sinful lives for us.  He has lifted us out of our slimy pit and set our feet on solid ground (Ps. 40)

Joel 2:13 says  “So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.”

Dear, fellow prodigal brothers and sisters, you have a loving and kind Father, who loves you so much that before you can even begin to apologize, He has already forgiven, forgotten and accepted you home into his house as his dear beloved child and He has prepared the Feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom for you and awaits your entrance. 

Have joy of this today and everyday.
In Jesus’ Name

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