I CANNOT COME TO THE BANQUET…RESISTING WISDOM’S VOICE (PROVERBS AND PARABLES # 4)

THERE IS A GRIEF AMONG THE PEOPLE OF GOD

ABOUT THE SUPREME COURT’S DECISION.

WISDOM HAS BEEN SUPPRESSED AGAIN.

YET

FROM THE HEIGHTS SHE STILL CRIES ALOUD,

FOR WISDOM HAS SET HER TABLE

SHE HAS SENT OUT THE CALL: COME..

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LIKEWISE, A MAN ONCE GAVE A BANQUET

HE SENT OUT THE CALL: COME

invitation

BUT FOOLISH THEY WERE,

FOR THEY ALL BEGAN TO MAKE EXCUSES:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbUUg6fxmDQ

I CANNOT COME TO THE BANQUET

AND SO HE INVITED

THE POOR,

THE PROSTITUTE,

THE PRISONER,

THE BEGGAR,

THE BLIND…

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FOR THE FIRST WILL BE LAST

AND THE LAST WILL BE FIRST.

BRENNAN MANNING CALLED IT

THE RAGAMUFFIN GOSPEL

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 OFTEN THE POOR HEED THE CALL,

KNOWING THEIR DESPERATE NEED.

THE RICH AND THE PRIVILEGED ARE MORE LIKELY TO RESIST.

YET THE TRUTH IS:

WE ARE ALL HELPLESS

WE ALL NEED THE DOUBLE CURE: 

FROM THE PENALTY OF SIN,

AND FROM THE POWER OF SIN.

COME, WISDOM CALLS,

“FOR WISDOM IS MORE PRECIOUS THAN SILVER,

AND ALL THAT YOU DESIRE CANNOT BE COMPARED TO HER.”

(PROVERBS 8:11)

THE NATURAL RESPONSE IS TO RESIST THE CALL OF WISDOM. IN ROMANS 1 GOD TALKS ABOUT INDIVIDUALS RESISTING THE TRUTH UNTIL HE TURNS THEM OVER TO A DEPRAVED MIND AND THEN THEY FINALLY ENCOURAGE OTHERS IN THEIR SIN.

THAT IS THE DEVASTATING TRUTH THAT WE SAW LIVED OUT ON A NATIONAL LEVEL FROM THOSE WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BE WISE, OUR SUPREME COURT.

WE ARE DEEPLY SADDENED.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

ON AN INDIVIDUAL LEVEL,

WE MUST RESPOND TO THE CALL OF WISDOM

WE MUST RESPOND TO THE LIGHT HE GIVES US.

SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN RIGHT NOW?

FOR THIS WEEK?

HERE, HE TELLS US TO LOVE

THE POOR,

THE LOST,

THE HELPLESS,

AND, INDEED, EVEN THOSE WITH WHOM WE DISAGREE.

There are great riches here, so I don’t want to rush you. This is also a busy 4th of July week. So I’ll divide this important lesson — taking the parable this week and the proverbs next week.

We will look at the preface to the parable and the parable.  The preface to the parable sheds great light on the parable itself.

The preface to the parable deals with humility and hospitality. Hospitality is especially relevant to summer — such an easy time to have people over to grill or simply root beer floats. Hospitality isn’t a fancy dinner or a fancy house — it’s being the host in conversation with meaningful questions, then good listening, and responding to their needs. (Though I would not recommend initiating a conversation with unbelievers about the Supreme Court decision, it still may come up — and we need to be prepared to listen, to love, and to respond wisely. We’ll have some discussion about how to do that as well.) 

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A year ago my friend Twila, her husband, and I invited several couples over — at different times — just for a simple supper and some planned conversation. I e-mailed them ahead with these questions:

1. Share a childhood experience that helped shape the person you are today.

2. Share a difficulty you faced in your life from which you learned.

I had games ready in case the questions flopped. But they didn’t flop. They talked and talked and talked. It was the beginning of great friendships. One man left with tears in his eyes, saying he had never experienced a similar evening.

This summer four of those people now know the Lord.

Who knows how the Lord will move in your life this summer if you are open to His voice?

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet

Sunday:

1. What stood out to you from the opening and why?

Monday-Friday Bible Study:

2. Read Luke 14:1-5 and describe the audience and their attitude toward the poor and the needy.

Now Jesus tells a parable (before the one that is our focus) that takes place at a wedding feast. While we learn here a simple principle of wisdom, be sure you see the deeper meaning of the gospel.

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3. Read Luke 14:7-11. Challenge question: What is the earthly principle?

4. In regard to responding to questions about the Supreme Court decision, there is a humble and a proud way to respond.

      A. What do you learn from 2 Timothy 2:23-26? Give some practical suggestions on how to live this out if an  

           unbeliever brings up the conversation?

One principle I have learned from listening to Tim Keller is to listen to your opponent so carefully that you can articulate his argument back so well that he absolutely knows he was heard. Do that before you attempt to dismantle any argument, if you attempt at all. This week I also had Ellen Dykas as a guest at my home, who has spoken at The Gospel Coalition’s Women’s Conference on sexual wholeness and works with the ministry of Harvest USA.  It was an interesting week to have her here, but again and again, it is so apparent that only Christ can change hearts (and He can!) and we must love others well so that they will be open to Him. 

       B. What does 1 Peter 3:8-17 teach us about loving those who persecute us?

       C. It would be easy to become fearful about this decision. Why do we need not to fear if we are believers?

Just as the definition of marriage has been twisted, so has the meaning of the rainbow. The rainbow is a way to remind us that God promised never to cover the whole earth with a flood again. The rainbow is a promise to believers that just as Noah and his family found refuge in the ark, we can find refuge in the day of wrath in our Savior. The rainbow, Tim Keller pointed out, is like a bow (and the Hebrew word is actually “bow”) pointed up. The arrow points to the heavens for the wrath of God will fall not on His children, because it fell on God the Son.

Real-rainbow

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READ THIS LAEL ARRINGTON

5. There is a gospel truth about the way into heaven hidden in Luke 14:7-11. Do you see it? If so, explain.

6. Read Luke 14:12-14

A. What instructions are we given about hospitality in verses 12-14?

B. Do you think this means we cannot invite family or friends to our 4th of July picnic? Why or why not?

C. In listening to Rebecca Pippert, an evangelism expert, she says she looks for people in whom God is moving.

Remember how Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit?” One paraphrase says, “Blessed are those who know their need.” As you pray, who in your life, in your path, might show evidence of being tender-hearted to the Lord?

D. Whether it is for the 4th of July or another gathering this summer, how might you reach out to those who are open and show them love through a meal, a dessert, and a time of getting to know them? Or to those who are lonely or newcomers? 

7. Read Luke 14:15-24

A. Keller sees some irony in verse 15. What do you see?

B. Describe what happens in verses 16-20.

C. If you came to Christ as an adult, were you hesitant, resistant? If so, what was holding you back? What persuaded you to surrender?

D. What do you think holds people back today?

E. Describe what happens in verse 21.  

F. And in verses 22-24?

8. We are not only resistant to the initial invitation, we can resist wisdom’s voice, that still small voice, every day. What causes you to resist, do you think, and what would persuade you to obey?

9. Listen to this sermon and share your notes and comments: 

Money and the Logic of Grace – Timothy J. Keller

Saturday: (Happy Fourth Everyone!)

If my people878b28066f45c66e6e0302735e6fa1ce

8. What is your take-away and why?

 

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7. Read Luke 14:15-24
A. Keller sees some irony in verse 15. What do you see? I see two things. Jesus just finished saying invite the poor and lonely to your feasts and you will be blessed and then a man pipes up and says, we’ll all be blessed at the final feast! Perhaps justifying that he had blessing and didn’t need instruction on how to receive more (wrong intent…). Also, these men are all vying for the most honorable place at the table but when Jesus says, this is how you will receive blessing the man replies with “nah, we’ll all be equal in heaven.” ??
 
B.Describe what happens in verses 16-20. A man throws a banquet and sends word to his invited guests that the feast is ready (it is implied that they all knew of the upcoming event?). But they all make excuses of worldly matters that needed attending and have social acceptance of urgency or priority.
 
C. If you came to Christ as an adult, were you hesitant, resistant? If so, what was holding you back? What persuaded you to surrender? I did not come to Christ as an adult, but there was definitely a time when He changed my faith completely. Prior to that I always had a brooding sense of not being good enough, I needed to do all these things to be in God’s favor and receive His blessing and, on some level, to receive admittance into heaven. Fear held me back, realizing His love brought me more and more to surrender (and is what still brings me there today).
 
 
D. What do you think holds people back today? Many I talk to just don’t like God’s take on “the rules.” They think that x, y, and z should be allowed and so therefore, God isn’t real, or God is wrong because of that and so I don’t want anything to do with Him, or we don’t know the true God because obviously the true God wouldn’t prohibit x, y, and z. A true loving God would allow and forgive anything. They do not see their depravity (or justify it based in the no-absolute truth argument) nor do they see the great love of our Father.  Essentially most make themselves judge and/or God judging all actions by what they think is right or wrong and assign the punishment for it. And we are so inclined to give ourselves allowance (it’s not that bad) that we miss the real truth. I’ve met several that say, “If God doesn’t think _____ is right then I don’t want anything to do with Him or church.”
 
E. Describe what happens in verse 21. When the Master found out his invitation had been declined he was angry and charged the servant with the task of filling the banquet tables with those that would come, those that would otherwise not have been invited. And by default those that made excuses were disinvited.
 
F. And in verse 22-24? The servant brings in the poor, crippled, lame, and blind but there is still room at the table so the servant is charged again with the task of going out to unlikely places to bring in people, “to compel people to come,” till the table is full. 
 
I can see Pharisees here? They did not listen, did not respond to Christ’s invitation, so Christ spoke to the blind and lame among the Israelites (those that weren’t Pharisees, weren’t good at the law), and then eventually extended the invitation to us, Gentiles. ?? I am also convicted by the charge to the servant from the master – “compel them to come.” May God use me as a compelling invitation to those still lost… In teaching me good questions, in giving me words, in loving through me, not as a perfect example of the rules (far from it), but just whatever He wants…to compel those I am to compel To come to the banquet (this compelling can come from Him in so many ways – mistakes, apology, love, compassion….)

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       B. What does 1 Peter 3:8-17 teach us about loving those who persecute us?
Bless them. Treat them with gentleness and respect and do not be afraid of them.
       C. It would be easy to become fearful about this decision. Why do we need not to fear if we are believers?
The battle is the Lord’s. We do not know what to do but our eyes are upon you. II Chronicles 20:12
There is a gospel truth about the way into heaven hidden in Luke 14:7-11. Do you see it? If so, explain.
When I am proud and say I can get to heaven because God owes me for my good works, then I have not understood the gospel. But if in humility, I acknowledge my sins and repent of them and acknowledge Jesus as my Savior, there is freedom in knowing that Jesus has already paid the price so I can go to Heaven.
6. Read Luke 14:12-14
A. What instructions are we given about hospitality in verses 12-14?
Invite those who cannot repay you.
B. Do you think this means we cannot invite family or friends to our 4th of July picnic? Why or why not?
No, I don’t think that is what it meant. It has to do with our heart motivation. Why am I inviting somebody? Is it like “You scratch my back and I will scratch yours?” Our family and friends maybe are the ones who need the Lord too or may need to be encouraged in their walk with God and how to be a witness to others.
 
 

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3. Read Luke 14:7-11. Challenge question: What is the earthly principle? 
The earthly principle is not to assume you are to be seated in the high place of honor when gathering with others. Sit in the lowest place for this shows you put others interests above yours and you will be more attractive to them for they may tell you to move up and sit in the place of honor with them.
 
I just had a thought-could be way off but on an earthly level I also see that this shows people don’t like being around people who are arrogant and prideful for when we are we aren’t loving well. All of us desire to be loved and putting yourself last like this for others so opens the door to them to open up to you and invite you into their heart-their life. I see the person who assumes they sit in the place of honor is one who is prideful-me first..and it shows in conversation. when we are conversing with someone in regard to a topic we disagree on we are not listening to them because we are steaming inside and instead of listening we are thinking of things we can say to let them know they are wrong so they will change their mind right now. 
 
 

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4. In regard to responding to questions about the Supreme Court decision, there is a humble and a proud way to respond. 
      A. What do you learn from 2 Timothy 2:23-26? Give some practical suggestions on how to live this out if an unbeliever brings up the conversation?
Honestly, and this could be really a bad suggestion, but it depends on the person. If I sense from God that I need to engage I will but normally when political or gay issues come up I don’t enter into the conversation. I just smile and say, wow, that is interesting, or hmm..At my job in the kitchen we daily break bread together and these topics come up every now and then but I feel like addressing those issues is putting the cart before the horse. 
 
That said if we need to dismantle an argument I will refer to Jill’s wise suggestions on this and also Dee’s suggestion on Kellers way of listening before dismantling an argument. 
 
 
       
 

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    I think that is a wise response in most cases so that we keep the main thing the main thing.

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    Rebecca – I love how you used the phrase “putting the cart before the horse” – wow, that picture really struck me in a new way!  Disaster.  I so appreciate the fingerprints of Wisdom all over your reply.  You really hit the mark when  you start right off with “it depends upon the person” – how truly the Lord wants us in the moment with the people he puts in front of us!  You’ve intrigued me to go back and read Jill’s comments, which I think I missed here…..and Keller’s way of listening approach to dismantling an argument is a true challenge – and it made me turn to the lovely words of Colossians 4:6:  “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”  Though that verse doesn’t directly mention listening, I think it’s definitely implied, don’t you?  And how appreciate  the “each person” flavor…..as you so aptly noted.  Nothing about following Jesus in our conversations is canned.  It’s a little risky and adventurous – and even a little scary at times for me!  But truly listening DOES calm those fears and get my eyes off SELF!!  

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B. What does 1 Peter 3:8-17 teach us about loving those who persecute us?
We aren’t to retaliate against them, rather do good to them instead. Perhaps this is a way He melts their heart for Him. In verse 15 we are to, with respect and in gentleness, give an answer for the hope that is in us. So could it be that  if we do good-love them- rather than retaliate they will see our hope is in Him and not in this world-they will see Him being our peace and if their hearts are sensitive they will ask us about it.     
 
C. It would be easy to become fearful about this decision. Why do we need not to fear if we are believers?
Because He has us and He’s got this. He will enact His wrath on them for what they have done to us so we don’t need to retaliate against them rather we should desire that they turn and come to Him.
 
 
 
 

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7. Read Luke 14:15-24
A. Keller sees some irony in verse 15. What do you see?   ‘One of those at the table’  who would have presumably been a Pharisee at this prominent Pharisees’ home, said “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the Kingdom of God.”   Was he starting to ‘get it’?   I’m looking forward to hearing Keller’s thoughts.
B. Describe what happens in verses 16-20.  The people had other priorities; taken up by family, possessions or work obligations and refused the invitation.
C. If you came to Christ as an adult, were you hesitant, resistant? If so, what was holding you back? What persuaded you to surrender?
D. What do you think holds people back today?  Misunderstanding of the gospel.  People buy into either the incorrect representation of the gospel from idolatrous believers and reject it.  (when they are in reality, rejecting a false gospel but are believing that is what the Bible teaches.)  OR they are buying into the unbelieving world’s teaching and example and not really seeing the truth of who Jesus is or what the gospel is.  
E. Describe what happens in verse 21.  The owner is enraged over their refusal and in his anger, he vindicates himself by inviting the poor, needy, lame.  I have a little trouble with the anger part in the parable.  But I do see the gospel.  Jesus came, not for ‘the righteous’ but for sinners.   (‘righteous’ being those who think they do not need Him and refuse His invitation of mercy and grace.)  He can only save those who need saving.  
F. And in verses 22-24?  The invitation keeps going further and further out from the place it began.  Just like the gospel.  

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5. There is a gospel truth about the way into heaven hidden in Luke 14:7-11. Do you see it? If so, explain.
I haven’t read others’ answers; these are my thoughts…
I think “he who invited both of you” is key.  The Lord extends His invitation to all and He is well aware of the heart and knows where all “should be seated.”  When we “attend the banquet” with a sense of humility (i.e., knowing that we are unworthy on our own and only the righteousness of Jesus makes us worthy) we attend “low;” we sit at the lowest seat and it is the Lord who lifts us up, who provides for us in His mercy and grace, who “moves us to a higher place on the table that He defines.”  If we “come to the banquet” believing in self-salvation strategies and thinking much higher of ourselves than is our due, the Lord will bring us “low;” He will put us in our rightful place at the table (or maybe out in the street).

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Isn’t it ironic….or maybe a kiss from the King that this is witihn my chronological Bibke study reading for today?
 
“O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads. They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones. They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” “(‭Psalm‬ ‭83‬:‭1-4‬ ESV)
 
Thank You Jesus for this gift to me at this time.

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Laura – how lovely to see the Lord meeting you in His Word in this way!  It’s just so fortifying to call out words of Scripture to the Lord.  I was reading in Psalm 119 this morning and found this encouragement in vs. 49&50:  “Remember your word to your servant in which you have made me hope.  This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.”  

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5. There is a gospel truth about the way into heaven hidden in Luke 14:7-11. Do you see it? If so, explain.
 
I think it is this, “When someone invites you to a wedding feast…” Just like the old hymn, “Thine eye diffused a quickening ray…” There is no way into heaven without an invitation. God chooses those He will invite; salvation is from God, from first to last. Being able to even respond, by faith, to His invitation is a gift from Him.
 
6. Read Luke 14:12-14
 
A. What instructions are we given about hospitality in verses 12-14?
 
Don’t invite people with the anticipation that they will reciprocate; whether they do or don’t, that shouldn’t be your motive. Think outside the box whom you might invite…perhaps a neighbor who lives alone, a single mom and her child/children, someone you know who is lonely or going through a hard time, someone you want to reach out to. I also note that Jesus was speaking to his host, a prominent Pharisee. The Pharisee would naturally be concerned about keeping up social appearances, and Jesus was challenging him to include those outside of his social circle – the poor, blind, and lame. To share his resources with those who lacked.
 
B. Do you think this means we cannot invite family or friends to our 4th of July picnic? Why or why not?
 
No, I don’t think this means we can’t invite family and friends. Again, I also look at the context of this passage and to whom Jesus was speaking. But I still think it encourages us to be open to including others, to move past a “this is a family-only gathering” mindset.
 
C. As you pray, who in your life, in your path, might show evidence of being tender-hearted to the Lord?
 
Right now it is my mom, who has early stage Alzheimer’s. She is more open to talking about the Lord and I spend a lot of time with her…the challenge is, I want to make the time to be alone with her and read the Bible together. She has been open to doing this with me before. It is challenging because it always seems that when I’m free, she isn’t, or I’ll go over there but it just doesn’t work out for us to be alone to do this…there will be a phone call, a distraction, someone else will come over, or my parents will have an appointment and have to get ready to leave…I need to keep trying!

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    Agree with Jackie,  Susan.   I will pray today about you having some time to read with your mom.  And for sweet times together.
     

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Susan – what you shared about your mom is so tender.  Reading of the many obstacles that seem to prevent you from time to read the Scriptures with your mom alone it looks like spiritual warfare to me!  I am right now writing down “Susan’s mom and time together in the Scriptures” on my prayer list!  
 

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6.  Read Luke 14:12-14.
A.  What instructions are we given about hospitality in vs. 12-14?   Not to invite our friends and family and rich neighbors!  Rather to invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.  
 
B.  Do you think this means we cannot invite family or friends to our 4th of July picnic?  Why or why not?   Well, first of all, I hope I’m not incorrect in reading Jesus’ instructions as “don’t ONLY invite your besties, but do invite those who make you a little uncomfortable!”.  I am not trying to be flippant, but that’s my understanding of these verses.  Why?  The best way I know to explain how I see this is to give an example of how I’ve SEEN it done over and over again in the lives of my friends Stephen and Jestina!  They happen to live on a beautiful, secluded farm here in Maryland.  Several times a year they host picnics or other gatherings…..it is always an adventure!!!  Driving up the road to their farm, you just never know who to expect will be there….well, actually there are always a pretty good core of “regulars”….and then there’s always new people that sometimes can even be “difficult”.  I truly see the Lord’s hand in this, for while it can be incredibly relaxing it is often challenging as well!  As I KNOW they intend it to be.  They count on us “regulars” to be hospitable as well and to engage the shy, the just plain weird (aren’t we all?), maybe the one with a touch of mental illness.  I am routinely way out of my comfort zone at these gatherings…..and I also routinely leave knowing the presence of the Lord was in that place.  :)  
 

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Jackie r, thanks for sharing Lizzy’s quote from Russell Moore. May we be the church that stands firm in the Truth of God’s word. And may we always be full of grace and mercy. Jack and I and the elders of our church have decided to open the doors of our church on Saturday, the 4th, for an hour and a half, to welcome all our families to pray for our nation. Seems a fitting way to express our love for Jesus and for America and yet to acknowledge the sorrow we feel lately. Maybe a fitting expression of Paul’s description…”sorrowful yet always rejoicing.”

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    Lael, That is lovely. 

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    Lael — how sweet to see you here. Listened to your husband’s good sermon after the Supreme Court Decision about what love really is!

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Lael – I was so moved by Dee’s posting of 2 Chronicles 7:14 this week – went back and read it over and over……and now look what you are doing!!  I love, love, love this!  I pray that many of your people will take advantage of the open door for prayer!  

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D. Whether it is for the 4th of July or another gathering this summer, how might you reach out to those who are open and show them love through a meal, a dessert, a time of getting to know them? Or to those who are lonely or newcomers?
 
I haven’t wanted to answer this question. Those I usually have over for a meal are my parents because my mom cannot cook anymore. Or, it’s a holiday and my family and/or my husband’s parents are at my home. But as for others, my husband isn’t always agreeable to having people over; he works well over 40 hours a week and on the weekends, he doesn’t want company. Even when our families are here, he is the dominant personality and does the most talking, and we aren’t going to have spiritual discussions because he wouldn’t like that. I have a couple of close women friends with whom I get together with on my own. My husband and I, in general, don’t operate as a team in the way this question describes. I have two sisters, and they are no longer speaking. For my daughter’s birthday, I had invited the grandparents only for dinner. My one sister said that she and her husband were going to take my daughter out to lunch one day for her birthday, so I reasoned that would be their time with her. I therefore reached out to my other sister and her husband, and invited them to stop by later, after dinner, for cake if they’d like, so that they could see my daughter. Apparently, I caused a small disaster…hurt feelings by the one sister who wasn’t invited, yet has made it clear she doesn’t want to be in the presence of the other…I definitely don’t think my gift lies in the area of hospitality-relationships.

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    I am sorry Susan, the desire and the difficulty come through in your post. Hugs

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    Susan – once again, you’ve communicated so well what the nitty gritty of life in an unequally yoked marraige can look like.  I can relate to much of what you have shared here.  My husband also works extremely long hours and like his home time to be quiet and peaceful, without the stress of hosting people in our home.  He is a rather extreme introvert as well so I truly do feel compassion for the fact that he uses up his “people energy” at work!  While I’ve found that the Lord provides many, many ways to THRIVE in this marraige, “my husband and I, in general, don’t operate as a team in the way this question describes.”  That describes perfectly the hard place we sometimes find ourselves in regarding hospitality!  And I’m so sorry that your family relationships (sisters) are Sooooo very complicated.  I don’t think anyone could be gifted enough to avoid the pitfalls there……..and my heart hurts for your mom, as that breach between your sisters must tear her heart apart.  :(  

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    Oh Susan.  My heart joins yours to some degree.  My dynamics are not the same, but a 4th of July picnic is never a given in our family either.  I’m actually having a quiet and pretty disappointing day.  (which is why I’m here online!)  My husband too, works long hours away from home all week, and has no desire to go out and do much of anything on the 4th.  He does love to entertain, but not just because the calendar says it’s a ‘family day’.  Missing all of my kids and friends today.   I guess we will have a bit of a picnic on the boat after awhile; just the two of us.   I drove to the beach this morning, just to sit and read by myself.   A lot of times, I wish the ‘calendar’ didn’t mean so much to me.  We have lots of good family times, but I still feel disappointed when they don’t match the ‘expectation’ that our culture puts on these special days.  Even the grocery ads!  It’s all about the big family barbecue!   I need to pray about being open to this kind of an event at some other time but I don’t think it’s something one person in a couple can decide for the other.  Even if they are both believers.  Maybe we have to think of it also, in ways that we as individuals can meet with another woman.  

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7. Read Luke 14:15-24
 
A. Keller sees some irony in verse 15. What do you see?
 
One of the men at the table with Jesus, after hearing Jesus talk about not taking the place of honor at the table and inviting the poor, blind, and lame to your dinner parties because then you will be blessed, spoke up and said, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”  Perhaps he was thinking that he, of course, would be at the feast in God’s kingdom? It seems like this line would have sounded better coming from Jesus, not this man.
 
B. Describe what happens in verses 16-20.
 
Jesus replies to this man with a parable about a man who prepared a great banquet, inviting many guests. I think the man represents God. When all was ready, the man sent his servant out to tell the guests the feast was ready. But they all made excuses for not coming; business to attend to, one said he has just been married. I’ve attended a few events that I was reluctant to go to, though after being invited, it was the polite thing to do to go and not back out. But these guests don’t even want to go out of a sense of obligation or courtesy; they just make an excuse. And it is implied that they did accept the invitation because the host is preparing for them. That would be like me inviting my neighbors over and they say yes, and I spend all day cooking and cleaning and the food is getting cold on the table and they say sorry…we have something else to do. This shows their disregard for their host.
 
C. If you came to Christ as an adult, were you hesitant, resistant? If so, what was holding you back? What persuaded you to surrender?
 
I began to be drawn when, after dating my husband for awhile, I began to attend church with him, and he was Catholic. We got engaged, I continued to go to church (I had not gone to church as a child…my family didn’t go to church) and I began to sense things like, they all seem like a family…how can I be a part of this…I want to belong to whatever this is…I believe God was drawing me, and I had such a longing to belong. Of course, knowing nothing, I thought belonging meant joining the church, which I did after we were married. Today I am in a non-denominational church, and I still long for that sense of being a family, for relationships to go deeper.
 
D. What do you think holds people back today?
 
In my own family, some of the things I hear are, religion is just a crutch for weak people…I don’t want to get all weird like you…I can’t really believe the Bible is true… I think a lot of it is just wanting to “live my own life and do what I want”. Some, I’m sure, must be turned-off by what they see as Christians behaving like hypocrites.

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7. Read Luke 14:15-24
 
A. Keller sees some irony in verse 15. What do you see?
 
I didn’t think we would need to eat at all in heaven….why would we need bread? Is this Kellers irony?
 
B. Describe what happens in verses 16-20. 
 
Jesus tells a story of a man who invites many to a banquet he is hosting. The men decline for various reasons.
 

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    Well, there’s the ‘marriage supper of the lamb’ which is often seen as the essence of the heavenly feasting experience.  I don’t know how it will be, but my daughter who has CF and diabetes and has had to ‘hassle’ for every bite, her whole life.  (pancreatic insufficiency/ enzyme replacements/ blood glucose checks/ insulin; always being vigilant.  Always.) said to me when she was about 12;   ‘We ARE going to eat in heaven, aren’t we?   Because I can’t WAIT to eat without the hassle.”    That tugged at my heart so much.  Food always comes with a cost here.  I am also ready to eat freely :)  smile.  
     
    That doesn’t answer the question about irony.  Just an anecdote about eating in heaven!

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C. If you came to Christ as an adult, were you hesitant, resistant? If so, what was holding you back? What persuaded you to surrender?
 
I have been a Christian my whole life, however I have really only know Jesus for about the last seven years or so. I thought I knew Him before that because I went to church and believed. My teenage son (at the time), was giving us fits and nothing seemed to help. I eventually turned (hard) to Christ because there was nothing left for me to “do.”
 

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    And isn’t that the key? Nothing more for me “to do!”

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D. What do you think holds people back today? 
 
The rules and having to give up who you are.
 
E. Describe what happens in verse 21.  
 
The servant tells the master he has been rejected by the men who were invited. The master gets angry that he has been rejected and wants to lash out (kinda like, I’ll show them). He tells his servant to find anyone to come; right off the street!
 
F. And in verses 22-24?
 
The servant invites the masses and there is still room. The master tells him to go out again and get more people to come, because he wanted to make sure the original men invited didn’t get to come after they declined his invitation.
 

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We are not only resistant to the initial invitation, we can resist wisdom’s voice, that still small voice, every daY. What causes you to resist, do you think, and what would persuade you to obey? Funny. I didn’t know how to answer this question but knew I needed to and as I sat here thinking I realized that my answer is something I was offering wisdom to someone else about, the very same thing. Fear. Fear of the unknown response. Fear of inconvenience. Fear of a tarnished reputation. Fear of failure. What would persuade me to obey is the greater realization of His love. Perfect love drives out fear. So if I fear failure then I haven’t truly realized His perfect love in that area. Again we come back to the beauty of Jesus and seeking Him. It is good to study and gain wisdom in areas of living but what will really change us?! The beauty of Christ. I see this in my life over and over. I try to change, doesn’t stick, then I seek Jesus, not to change so much as to just learn of Him, be in His presence, and then I will suddenly start to see a change.

What at is your take-away and why? I was unintentionally making conversion “the issue.” And since I didn’t think I could do that in one conversation I chalked all these “didn’t get to the gospel presentation this time and have them say a prayer” interactions up to failure and a lot of times wouldn’t even try to talk to someone because of that. But now I see that I can’t make anything the main thing, except to love and speak the truth. To over-simplify, I am not responsible for evangelism, the Holy Spirit is, my responsibility is to respond to Him and act out of a changed heart with love and compassion. As soon as we started studying this and I had conversations with the Lord affirming those in my circle that I already knew were there for a purpose, I saw almost every single one of them (all but one) this week and had a conversation with each of them, but this time I was freed to just chat with them, trusting Him to align the timing, and not take on the burden to be a perfect example (I struggle with this, being the perfect Christian so that they will “see something different in me”) but just let my heart rest in Christ and speak without censor of His hand in my life and of His beauty. To be a good friend in order to set the foundation for something that He may have later. This is a challenge because aI have never really known how to be a good friend…take it to the Lord in prayer.

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