It seemed to be a date-night like many others, a little ice cream and good conversation. We had managed to step out together for an evening out alone during our recent trip and we were delighted to practice this important routine in a new place. As we finished our ice cream and walked back to the car, we recalled seeing an Indian grocery store nearby, and thought we’d like to go check it out. We pulled through the parking lot toward the Indian grocery and noticed a group of bikers standing at a bar and grill. But what shocked us out of our conversation would change our night.
It started with yelling suddenly getting louder than our conversation.
“I’m not f… drunk. … on’t let him go.. … keep him away fr….. “
A bike revs to life as a handful of bikers run toward the commotion. Five or six others were trying to restrain a guy on a bike.
“get your…. he’s got a….. Bi..’s gonna run… Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go”
Before we knew it, there were more then twenty guys in leather were rushing forward. Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. People went down, bikers were shooting and running, and cycles were racing out of the lot.
In a matter of a few seconds, our evening was transformed from a peaceful date night conversation into one with gunfire less than 40 feet away. It could have easily ended badly for someone. It sounds like a bad TV drama, but this was no romantic Hallmark rewrite of “The Wild One“.
As the action slowed, people poked their heads from behind cars and looked around. As far as anyone could tell, there wasn’t going to be a bloodbath right in front of us, and the danger was past. Amy and I looked at each other and said “Welcome to the big city”.
Later, I reflected on the situation and was reminded again that five seconds can be a very long time. God was gracious that night, and reminded me again how precious life is, and how uncertain is the number of our days. We are given but a small window of time here, and the choices we make significantly impact our own lives and the lives of others, both here and for all eternity.
If you have not believed in Jesus to give you the free gift of everlasting life, please talk with us – we would love to share with you some of the reasons that we are persuaded that you can believe Him to do as He promised.
If you a believer and not experiencing closeness and vitality in your Christian walk, I want to share a bit with you from my heart. You have probably heard me say it before. Even though you can’t lose eternal life, there is something which you can walk away from – discipleship.
Luke 14 defines a disciple of Jesus this way “If anyone comes to me, and doesn’t disregard his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” You can try to sugar coat things a bit but let’s just be honest here, if we look at what we have been given (time, talent, treasure) and we see relationships, objects or affections in close competition for our lives, you can call it lots of things but one thing you can be certain is that it is not discipleship. If we meditate more on Facebook than on His book, it’s not discipleship. If we are seeking the praise of others, it’s not discipleship. If we spend more time investing in our sports team than God’s mission, it’s not discipleship. Discipleship is learning from Jesus and putting this knowledge into action. Discipleship must permeate all aspects of life or it is not discipleship. It is not free and it takes hard work, commitment, and endurance.
Perhaps the hardest thing is that for every one of us there are times where we can see we are not living the life of a disciple. But do not give up. Luke 15 goes on to tell three of the most gracious and emotionally stirring stories which answer “Can I regain discipleship – and become salty again? Is there hope even for me?” I encourage you to read them on your own and note just a few things.
- The sheep, the coin, the son – they are always the Shepherd’s sheep, the Widow’s coin, the Father’s son. No matter where you have strayed, any who have believed in Jesus’ promise for everlasting life are secure in that position.
- See the common thread of God’s joy over anyone who gets right with Him. See 1 John 1:9 on how to get right with God.
- Note the patience and forbearance of the shepherd, the widow and the father in looking for the restoration of his valued possession. Remember that this is the picture of God who in His lovingkindness is merciful and longsuffering yet looking for the restoration of you, His valued child.
- See the tender kindness of the shepherd who carries his wandering sheep back. Remember that you can’t restore yourself, only God can.
- Observe the father who does not bully or cajole but waits for a straying child to ‘come to his senses’ and does not withhold richness much beyond what the son deserves or could earn through his own labor.
There is much more and coincidently our pastor chose to teach this particular passage just this last week. (You can watch the service here) .
Friends, I hope that you know that there is little more important to us than that each of us would be able to stand before Jesus one day and with a radiant, warm smile on His face He would wrap you up in His arms and say to you “Welcome home, you were a faithful servant. I am so proud of you. Rejoice, come share in your inheritance.”
Your life is precious, and your time here on earth is finite. Use it with great discernment. And if there are issues between you and God, now is a good time to get things right.
If you have any questions about this passage or other matters we would love to chat with you.
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