Party! Our Father is throwing a party!
Ah, the age old story of ‘the prodical son’, told by Jesus Himself recorded for us in Lukes gospel, chapter 15. As I read this story again, these words leap off the page at me:
Luke 15:17 And when he came to himself…
We see there are moments in life, when a person ‘comes to themselves’, and see’s themselves from God’s perspective. At that moment, they get right with God, and the people they have been hurting…
2Ti 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Ps 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.
As we read through the Bible, we again read the story of the prodigal. The wayward son, who believed a lie, and in his passion, pride and deception, thought that he knew more than his father. He demanded his inheritance, and off he went, out into the world, to let off steam, and party. Been there done that…UGH!
While I was in the bar scene, out from my parents authority, I had a man (who later brought me to an AA meeting) who said: ‘Son, the elevator in your life, is going down, but you can get off at whatever floor you want!’
One morning, after a 40 hour week on the end of a shovel working underground in a nickle mine, I awoke with a wicked hangover, and thought about those words. Where were my friends now? Where was my paycheck from the day before? Spent mostly in the bar the night before, and I was hurting…
Seems the best we can do sometimes is speak a word of love and truth into a person’s life that is going away from God, honor, and who they were created to be.
I repeat my version of repentance. RE means: ‘to return to’. PENT actually means five, but for the sake of the illustration (its my sermon!), it makes me think of a penthouse. In elite condominiums, the penthouse is normally the most expensive lavish unit in the complex, in a motel it is often the executive or honeymoon suite, the best room in the place.
We are children of the most high God, King of the Universe. Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: We are not worms groveling before a Holy God, but adopted sons and daughters called to come boldly before the throne of His grace, in joy!
Repent! Come back to the High place of privilege, promise, purpose and passion!
Notice in this story of the prodigal, the father came running out to meet the son, ordered the best robe, ring, and shoes for him, and threw a party for him.
We, who come to our heavenly Father, find Him running towards us in love, covering our shame with the robe of righteousness, placing upon our finger again, the family ring of covenant and love, and covering the filthiness of our dirty feet with new shoes, the gospel of peace! As if this was not enough, He then throws a party for us!
Well, one day, when I was driving home from a dry legalistic church service, as a ministry student, I saw a carload of college students in front of me, drunk, with the windows down, hanging out of the windows, singing! Suddenly, Holy Spirit spoke to me: ‘Do you miss it?’
I was suddenly reminded of the incredible pressure of engineering school, where on a Friday night we would work as hard as we could on our computer assignment, determined to get it complete by midnight, so we could literally run across campus, run into the pub, grab a pitcher of beer, chug as much beer as possible in 5 mins to get enough courage, to run over to the table with the prettiest girls at it, and grab one, and drag her laughing unto the dance floor, where we would dance like idiots, getting the whole bar in hysterics!
I used to say, ‘You can’t make a man go through several hours of brutal swim practices, then schedule every minute of every week with classes, homework assignments, and lab reports, without it coming out somewhere. Yep, when we entered the college pub, the crowded pub would yell: “Hurray, the engineers are here!”
Well, back to my conversation with God in the car, watching the party animals in front of me. There I was, having just come out of a Bible study, in my suit and tie, and truth be told, I did miss the scene. Church was strict, dry and boring. College dances, were alive, fun, but probably very excessive.
So, I knew God knew my heart anyway, so I said: ‘Yes, Father, I do miss it, but not enough to go to hell over.”
I felt Him smile.
I thought He would change my heart, purify me, and make me no longer desire the passion of the party, but I did not yet know my Father.
Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
Instead of making me a dry, dead, leader, He threw me into the river of His love, being poured out in what became known as ‘The Toronto Blessing’. There I learned that when someone comes home to Him, there is a party thrown in heaven, with the best of everything supplied.
Learned to dance, shout, get insanely drunk in the Holy Spirit (He slammed me so hard one night, that me and a friend not only couldn’t walk, but the ushers had to carry us to the door. When we discovered that we still couldn’t walk, we laughed too hard, that we literally crawled a ¼ mile up the street to where our car was parked, and had to have a friend drive us back to the hotel.
Quite frankly, I miss that!
This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one: the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap, and being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
George Bernard Shaw quoted in: Jon Johnston, Courage – You Can Stand Strong in the Face of Fear, SP Publications, 1990, p. 171.
Lu 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
I want to be around the joyful, drunk in the Holy Ghost, partying, harvesting, saints of God.
To join God’s party, we need to be around where prodigals are coming home. Hey, even the guests get to drink the best wine, enjoy the best steak (they killed the fatted calf), and there is such good will flowing, you might find yourself with a couple of new sets of clothes, shoes, jewelry. Can’t count the times we would go to check out of the motel, to discover that some other holy drunk, had picked up our tab, and paid our rooms. Fathers will, is Father’s bill!
Our Father is throwing extravagant parties all over the world, serving the best wine during these last days. Places of crazy, stupid drunken Holy Ghost joy, and extravagant grace, where free favors from heaven abound.
Last year I attended #AzuzaNow, hosted by Lou Engles in Los Angeles. 3 days drive each way, for a couple days of poured out weeping, dancing, shouting, drunken laughter in the Holy Spirit, crying out that God have mercy and spare the United States again…Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Watching my daughter dancing before the Lord I see her joy: the kingdom of God is a party, if you are getting your job done, seeing the prodigals coming home!
May you get drunk today! Crazy, stupid, falling down, insanely laughing drunk in the Holy Ghost, today!
Tomorrow night, I get to attend ‘Night to Honor Israel’ here at Victory Christian Center here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Got to thinking about the Old Testament passage:
Deuteronomy 14:26 Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice
Get a harvest mindset, and it will happen. Share the gospel with someone, pray with a stranger, hand out a tract, and watch how quickly joy begins to well up again in your heart. Giving is the nature of Jesus, for God so loved the world that He gave…
Jesus will sing and dance with us in it!
Heb 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
“Father, throw me into the river of your love, your harvest, your joy, the river of life, abundance, refreshing, and extravagant grace! Teach me how to dance, sing, shout, and rejoice before you, as the prodigals come home, and the lost get saved. Come on Jesus, let’s dance!”