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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.) 


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


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.


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.




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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Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.


    11. What is your take-a-way and why
    This weeks study has been both sobering & encouraging. I have recognized some of my thought as seeds of destruction, I want to recognize and destoy those seedlings. 
    Yet is was encouraging to remember how the Holy Spirit has called me out on things and that I have yielded, I feel sort of stirred up  🙂 I get to cooperate in the good work that God is doing in me!

    The word picture Susan shared of the woman drinking deeply of grace I think will stick with me.
    Also that when calling someone to repentance, when I am in the role of a Nathan, that I will do it carefully in a way that leaves the door open for the person’s own conscious to confront them. Allow the Holy Spirit to disarm them.
    Reflect the grace of God. When there is hope of repentance God goes for conviction and conversion not condemnation. I don’t want to confront people in a way that raises their defenses to a point where they cannot repent.

    It glories God when we tell the truth about sin but God is more gloried if the person REPENTS! We mustn’t be self righteous, tell the truth in a way that honors truth, speak truth in so much love that though the person may want to resist they cant because they see the love
    John 3:17
    “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him”

    I need to invite this sort of Nathan interaction in my life, this wont happen when I am in my cocoon 🙂

      1. I am sorry! :/
        I posted w/o noticing the new blog…I copied it to last week if this can be deleted?

  2. Oh Dee..this is by NO mistake..TOTALLY His plan!!

  3. 1. What stood out to you from the opening and why?
    Two things in particular
    1) that God turns people over to their depravity and they lead others into sin. This is certainly true, and yet we all were dead in our sins and it is God who makes us alive.
    I see so much self righteousness in many who profess faith. Older brother thinking also leads others into sin.
    2) That 4 people whom you befriended have come to faith!
    We have some cousins of my husband coming as house guests next week. I hope we will love them well.

      1. Yes Dee..My heart so ached after reading some ‘older and younger brother’ comments even though older brother thoughts came to mind a few hours after the decision!  God have mercy on me, on us. Help us to be able to live out that we are more flawed than we ever imagined but more deeply loved than we ever dared dream. 

  4. 1. What stood out to you from the opening and why?
    Well-I have to say the ruling of the Supreme Court, and Dee’s response in this post is beautiful. This stood out: 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..
    My first response to the Supreme Court decision was a deep sadness that felt like a knife stuck in my gut yet at the same time I felt cocooned in His Love and comforted that He is coming to restore Heaven and Earth-really puts a man made ruling in it’s place!  That said, a few hours later I struggled with contempt as I read some f.b. posts and internet postings. They were bashing believers and twisting scripture for their gain and using God to justify being in the arms of their idols.  Even some of the posts I read from Christian leaders-both liberal and conservative-broke my heart. Yet I thought how often have I used you God for my gain? How often have I resisted correction by others and corrected others fueled by my pride and not your spirit? How often  do I walk as a Pharisee? How often do I walk as the younger brother? Yet you drew me in my sin before I knew you and brought me to your banquet table all covered in your righteousness and every day you are making me new saving me from the power of my sin.
    So really there is nothing wrong with desiring what is right legislatively, but if my heart aches over a judges decision more so than it aches over my neighbor not knowing Him, then I need to ask God to weed out my misplaced affections.

    1. and comforted that He is coming to restore Heaven and Earth-really puts a man made ruling in it’s place! ”  YES!!!! 😀

    2. oh Rebecca, your honesty always convicts me, and I am so thankful for that! This is all so good, but this got me “How often have I resisted correction by others and corrected others fueled by my pride and not your spirit? ” Love too what you said below about using our zeal to fight for the least…and adding what Bing reminding us–God using what man meant for evil, for His glory and good–YES, we are saddened and yet not overcome. He is still on the Throne and we must follow His example, not the older brother’s!

    3. Thanks, Rebecca, for sharing your thoughts. I’ve been feeling so sad & disappointed this weekend about the supreme court decision, but your words reminded me of what is more important – to ache over my neighbor not knowing Christ, rather than aching over a judges unwise decision. God is still in control & scripture must be fulfilled. I pray that we, as Christians, will stand strong in our beliefs & in our love for God and others.

    4. This is so honest and true, Rebecca.   I deeply respect your words here.  

  5. I’m so glad you posted this, Dee. Love how the Spirit leads you and you listen and teach us from that wisdom. I know we don’t want this to turn into tangents on the issue, so I will stick to the Bible portion after this (!), but I did think this, from Russell Moore, was good perspective and hopefully worth sharing here:

    First of all, the church should not panic. The Supreme Court can do many things, but the Supreme Court cannot get Jesus back in that tomb. Jesus of Nazareth is still alive. He is still calling the universe toward his kingdom.
    Moreover, while this decision will, I believe, ultimately hurt many people and families and civilization itself, the gospel doesn’t need “family values” to flourish. In fact, the church often thrives when it is in sharp contrast to the cultures around it. That was the case in Ephesus and Philippi and Corinth and Rome, which held to marriage views out of step with the Scriptures.


    1. Lizzy, thanks for the quote from Russell Moore. Yes, Jesus of Nazareth is still alive. He is still calling the universe toward his kingdom. …the gospel doesn’t need family values to flourish…the church often thrives when it is in sharp contrast to the cultures around it. May the body of Christ thrive and may we be bold but loving towards those who ask.

    2. Love the quote, Lizzy…thank you for sharing.  Especially, “…but the Supreme Court cannot get Jesus back in that tomb.”  PRAISE GOD!   

    3. Great quote, Lizzy.  I will look up the context.  Love what he said about the gospel flourishing in sharp contrast to the cultures around it.  What a breath of fresh air.  

      1. Here’s the article, Wanda “Why the church should neither cave nor panic about the decision on gay marriage” Russell Moore from Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/06/26/why-the-church-should-neither-cave-nor-panic-about-the-decision-on-gay-marriage/

        1. Lizzy – I meant to get back here earlier to reply to this post of yours – I too had read Russell Moore’s article and found it to be so pithy and right on target!  Thanks so much for sharing it…..and I’m going to try and go back and find a quote from it that I wanted to share with Lael, who shared such a beautiful dialogue with Laura, below.  🙂  You so often share such RICH resources (I think of your obvious love for Jonathon Edwards!!).

  6. 1. What stood out to you from the opening and why?
    “THE NATURAL RESPONSE IS TO RESIST THE CALL OF WISDOM.” Our natural response is to resist God’s voice—initially, when He first begins to draw us, we often resist, feeling unworthy. Yet I still do this today, as a Believer. How easily I fall back to the enemy’s lies that I am unworthy of God’s forgiveness, His love. Even more, how often I resist His Voice that calls me to repent, to forgive when I am wronged. Though much of the Charleston tragedy turned to issues of the flag on media, still the beauty that came from the darkness, was the response of those families—the forgiveness offered. They did not resist the call, the Voice. And when I do not resist, when I say “yes Lord”—I enter into the beauty of forgiveness, of grace, of reconciliation, and healing. That is a beautiful banquet of the heart. 

  7. Thanks, Dee, for linking to my blog. Beautiful study. And so timely. I’ll link to this page in a comment on my site.

  8. Because you posted today, Dee, I have had a chance to glance over your lesson. I pray you will have fruitful discussion this week as you struggle through the US Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. Canada went through the same thing a few years ago. It is so sad. To me it indicates how far our leaders and countries have gone away from our Christian roots. Yet, as some have said, the Light can shine brightest when the Darkness is deepest. Here in Canada our Supreme Court recently decided that municipal councils should not open their meetings with prayer because it was discriminatory. Again, so very sad how Christ’s name is rejected in the name of tolerance. Yet, Christ is not dead and He is in control and will WIN. I am reading Yancey’s Vanishing Grace. He deals with how important to respond with grace toward our enemies. How pertinent to these issues!
    I will be away on vacation for the next two weeks and not able to read or post. We will be tenting in the hinterlands of Canada without internet access. LOL! I will miss you but I am sure you will have good discussions!! 

    1. oh Diane–sounds beautiful and fun! But you will surely be missed!! Praying for safe travels and good fellowship~

    2. Safe travels, Diane. And come back soon to the blog. Thank you so much for your prayers for me and my family in the Philippines.

    3. You  will be missed here, Diane

  9. What stood out to you and why?
    On an individual level, we must respond to the call of wisdom. We must respond to the light He give us. Here he call us to love…even those with whom we disagree.
    The Supreme Court ruling has deeply saddened me as well as the many postings/responses I have been reading in the news or in FB. Yet, there is a pervading sense of peace as I read God’s Word and have been reminded of His Sovereignty and the mystery of His ways. What man meant for evil, God will turn for the good of His people and  for His glory. As I bring to mind people I know who are practicing homosexuals, I have been overcome by a renewed sense of sorrow for them and a commitment to pray for them. And to find ways to love them (the light that Jesus has given me) so I can point them to Christ who can meet all their needs.

    1. Bing–I love how you always point back to God’s Word, your heart reflects Him “What man meant for evil, God will turn for the good of His people and  for His glory… I have been overcome by a renewed sense of sorrow for them and a commitment to pray”

    2. was just about to copy and paste the same line Lizzy did! Yes! God can turn this on it’s head and use it for good! He specializes in that! Praise Him.

    3. Bing – I’ve noticed that whenever you enter a conversation you bring such a sense of calm, peace and trust in God.  Appreciate that SO much!  Your post echoes so much of what I’ve read and heard from other believers…..deep sadness and yet deep peace and trust in our Sovereign God as well!  I too have looked around in my own little world and wondered how I have failed to let Christ’s light and love shine through my own feeble body.  Like you, I’ve been pondering how to more faithfully present my body to God as a living sacrifice…..and thus be a more faithful servant to the needy world around me – gay, lesbian or straight!  I’m beginning to pray now that we all will see golden opportunities to share Jesus all around us.  🙂  

      1. Jackie–I agree with you about Bing–she always points back to truth, to God’s Word. But I also have had YOU so on my heart the last few days and came on here in the midst of family time to say how much I APPRECIATE YOU JACKIE. As I read the posts in my email coming through–how often I see you listening so well to others, and really encouraging,building us up in Him. I prayed for Jess this morning–sorry if I’ve missed an update, but could you post one maybe on the FB page? Really thankful to “know” you here Jackie and for your example to me of other-centeredness, truly like Christ. 

        1. Liaay – 🙂  reading your kind words this morning spurs my tired body on!  thank you so much, sweet sister.  I will post a “Jes update” on FB by tomorrow.  

        2. Lizzy, not Laay!  

  10. Thank you all for your very kind birthday wishes last week! =)
    Take-away (from last week that ties into the beginning of this week).  i am convicted afresh of my “mostly” mentality. I mostly get things right, I mostly obey God’s voice, I mostly love those around me…. But “mostly” is self-salvation. It is a red flag that I still depend on being better than others for my salvation (which is both wrong and arrogant – and if apI am fully honest my “mostly perspective is skewed for I do not mostly get it right…). Or worse yet, that I unintentionally trust God’s forgiveness in my mostly….I mostly do it right so He will forgive me “just this once.” But sin will, and does, devour. I am struck by the banquet table. Those whose said they could not make it were mostly doing it right. They were not hungry because they had already gorged themselves on their own righteousness. This is my mostly mentality. If I am aware that I cannot even be mostly righteous, I cannot be even a bit right – on. my. own. then I am famished for His love and I will come running to the table, humbled, seeking, seeing… God may it be that I am never satisfied away from your table, away from your wisdom, may I always be hungry, starving, famished, thirsting for Your love that cannot be earned but is freely given, for your forgiveness, that cannot be earned but is freely given when I see my depravity and repent.
    Sisters, would you say a prayer for me this morning, I am sharing in front of the church body and do so want God to be glorified for the mighty work He has done in my life. Thank you.

    1. I am praying for God to be glorified today by your testimony Jill!!”

      They were not hungry because they had already gorged themselves on their own righteousness”

      This certainly is a sobering word picture…

    2. Jill, I was away for the weekend and did not see this until just recently; hope all went well (I have no doubt it did…you are obedient to the Lord’s leading).  Please share with us your impressions of how your testimony was received and how you felt giving it.

  11. 2. Read Luke 14:1-5 and describe the audience and their attitude toward the poor and the needy.
    Pharisee leader’s house—they were watching Him carefully, wanting to catch Him in a wrong. 
    3. Read Luke 14:7-11. Challenge question: What is the earthly principle?
    Earthly principle: be a humble guest. Phil. 2:3 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
    4.  A. What do you learn from 2 Timothy 2:23-26? Give some practical suggestions on how to live this out if an un-believer brings up the conversation?
    Be kind, gentle. It is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). So much truth in listening more and talking less, not entering into debating. The unbeliever deserves my respect, as a person. If I can try to show some understanding of where they are coming from, if I can admit my own areas of struggle and weakness, that helps diffuse some of the anger, defensiveness that is likely already present in them. I also so want to be teachable. There is always more I can learn, and God loves to use those we least expect, to teach us. The story of Dee and “Nicki” in Idol Lies comes to mind here!

  12. 4. B. What does 1 Peter 3:8-17 teach us about loving those who persecute us?
    Remember how Christ suffered. Remember that it is better to suffer for doing good than evil. Keep my eyes on Christ and be prepared to speak my faith. Trust Him to be my Protector and Defender. He has already won the battle, it is finished. 
    5. There is a gospel truth about the way into heaven hidden in Luke 14:7-11. Do you see it? If so, explain.
    Humble myself before the Lord. The call of the Gospel is to acknowledge I have no merit of my own, no “pedigree” to make me worthy of entering in—I am a sinner. But Christ, by His grace and mercy, by His death, makes me worthy to enter. His death declares me the daughter of the King. But it is He, as the Host, who lifts me up to this position, nothing of my own doing. I am also to follow Christ’s example of complete humility and servant-love. 
    Phil. 2:3 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
    James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you”
    1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” 

  13. I found this article SO good. http://edcyzewski.com/2015/06/26/the-supreme-court-just-gave-american-evangelicals-a-gift/.  I think if we turned the zeal we had in fighting same sex marriage and other moral causes now into fighting for and serving the oppressed, homeless, inprisoned, poor, etc..our hearts would truly align with God’s desires. We would be where He wants us to be glorifying Him.

    1. I am going to save this article to my reading list. Again, thanks for pointing us to a higher calling, Rebecca. 

    2. YES!  I think so too, Rebecca.  

    3. Read and Liked the article, a lot.  Thanks, Rebecca!

    4. Rebecca! What a great article! As I was reading, it just suddenly dawned on me that the enemy is at great strides again in DISTRACTING us Christians. Now, I am still deeply saddened by the SC ruling and will be praying. This study is so good in opening my eyes to what I can be doing NOW. Instead of bemoaning that our country is headed to its demise, I should be doing what Jesus wants me to do. To MAJOR in the majors and not the minors. (now did I just alluded that the SC ruling is a minor thing. Well, it is… for God! I do not want to minimize the power of God and His great patience with us.
      But I am seeing the works of the enemy here. If he can just distract us by letting us give our energies, time and money and our resources to battle same sex marriage, he has us outwitted and forgetting of those who are poor, hurting and needing God’s love and grace. I guess what I am saying is I should be looking everyday at what the Lord is placing right in front of me and do His work. He is not surprised by this SC ruling. I can rest in His sovereignty.
       We evangelical Christians need to heed Wisdom’s call in such a time as this! Lord, let us be Esthers and Daniels for our generation. And remind us, Lord of I Peter 3: 14-16 ” But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,  keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (NIV)

      1. Although I like your enthusiasm Bing, I disagree that the ruling is “a minor thing.” It is a major thing for those who are directly affected and are trying to help their family members come back to Jesus. These people count too, as they are lost, confused, and in pain themselves. In fact, all count, do they not?

        1. Oh, Laura. You have a great point here-all count.  My point, though in saying that the SC ruling is a minor thing had to do with the sovereignty and power of God. He allows certain people to be in significant positions in His sovereignty. To Him, this is not a surprise (thus the “minor” thing-maybe I should have used a different word). I think of the verse in Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” He is very much in control not only of the SC ruling but also on the condition and our concerns for our loved ones and for others who are struggling with homosexuality. MY daughter has 2 very close friends (her BFF’s) who are homosexual and I have prayed for them for a long time now. It hurts to see their loneliness and being marginalized. One of them is a Christian.
          I love the blog for the honest sharing here. I am sorry, too if I offended you-I do thank you, though for bringing this up. You are a true friend. (Smile)

      2. Bing, I thought the same way too. Not that the ruling isn’t important for as Laura said, it is important for we love our family members who are affected by this and so want them not to be encouraged in it and grow to become hardened to the Gospel.  Laura made a GREAT point there! So on one hand I am with Laura and on the other hand I am with the writer of this article with his overall message. Instead of being distraught over the ruling..I have moved past that for in all honesty, this ruling won’t be enough for the movement-they will want more for God made their hearts to worship Him  so they will always worship something-like all of us do and what they worship won’t truly satisfy. Their lifestyle will never truly satisfy, nor will they be satisfied with achieving full acceptance. They remind me of ME and especially before I came to know Jesus.  
        Jesus didn’t acquiesce to sin by no means but He loved them, spent time with them and gave His life for them. He tenderly forgave the adulteress who was going to be stoned and told her to go and ‘sin no more’..Yet at the same time he called out the Pharisees and asked them-who of you without sin-cast the first stone. Jesus wouldn’t say become straight then I will accept you..He says come as you are for I long to wrap you in my righteousness and in my arms, and I long to free you from the powerful cords of sin you are entangled in. 

        1. Bing, I couldn’t reply under your reply…
          I am glad we can have discourse here, aren’t you? I struggle with God knowing and yet not doing. It’s the whole, “if there is a God then why does He allow such things to occur?” I know I should be more adult Christian here; I’m a baby. I guess I feel like this is the straw that broke the camels back for me. We Christians have been SO disrespected by our government in the past few years, that I can’t help my feelings. I just can’t believe they try to DENY our government was built on Biblical principles! They try to suggest ALL the founding fathers were atheists! They are IGNORANT and we (sad to say) put them there. Although I live in the “heathen” northeast (sorry sisters), I KNOW there are millions of believers in the south…..WHERE ARE YOU? The sermon I posted from a church in Durham, NC has 9000 attendees on any given Sunday morning! People up here don’t get that. Why aren’t you speaking out Southern girls? Black and white alike? Why are we helping to put people in office who aren’t Christians? We need a voice in Washington. Please. I believe God put America here. I believe we are to help other countries see God through us. How can we do that if we pull out of the worlds problems? God blessed America in 1776, and He can bless us again. Spread the word ladies. Thanks for listening to my rant. 
          God does say this will happen in the Bible, right? I’m not good enough to quote scripture, but I think it’s in Revelation? I’m not sure I can take the end times if they are here. I would just rather die now and get it over with so I don’t have to watch the pain and suffering. If I put my energy into the causes I mention in Rebecca’s post below, then maybe, just maybe, I will feel a tad bit useful here. Otherwise, why bother living?

    5. Rebecca, I need to respectfully disagree here. To those of us who are directly affected by this decision and are in pain because of it, this seems like a flippant way to view things. It means to give in to a sin of our family member, knowing they won’t be able to enter the Kingdom of God. Our family members are included in the “imprisoned” on your list and are just as important as the rest of your list also. Doesn’t Jesus want us to help all that we can, to bring as many as we can to Him? They count too! Admittedly, I have not read the article, but I’m not so sure I even want to now because it distracts from the problem at hand; helping to save a family member. 

      1. Laura, I totally agree with you that we shouldn’t put our heads in the sand and should be concerned and politically active in these matters-most definitely and I too have two close family members I love deeply who are affected. By the Grace of God they haven’t cut me off yet even though they know I don’t agree with homosexual marriage, but I do think whether this ruling happened or not it wouldn’t change their hearts. 🙁  They would still continue in it for they are blind unless He lifts the veil from their eyes. I do think we need to be active politically but the article i posted states-and I see this among my believing friends and others I hear on the news-that the pendulum has swung too far over for our passions seem to be more toward politics and morality than Jesus and loving the least of these. I don’t want my loved ones to get the message that Jesus wants them to become straight and then he will accept them. Jesus wants us to come as we are-he will take care of our sin issues. 
        Just my two cents! 🙂 I love you dear Laura and hope I haven’t offended you for if I have I am SO sorry! 

        1. Thank you Rebecca, for still caring about me even though I “dissent.” You haven’t offended me…..that has happened all over FB with people changing their profile pics to rainbows, and the gloating as well. Oh yeah, someone at the gay pride parade in NYC spat on Father Jonathan Morris too. It’s ugly.
          My issue is that I can’t help my human feelings, and don’t know if I want to either. He made me who I am, right? Here’s an analogy. Because I am a teacher, I have an opinion about what is happening in our schools these days; would you agree? Please remember that I have an intellectually disabled adult in my family when I say what I am going to say, to not offend anyone here. What I see is the “honors” kids taking care of themselves because they are smart and just do that. I see the special needs kids getting tons of support from all directions (money, technology, adult helpers, etc.). And then I see the 75% of the rest struggling to make it work for themselves. These were my other 3 children. No support from the school, no motivation, no help other than me and my husband. These are the forgotten in education, and they make up a huge percentage of the student body. So, back to the topic…..
          We can say the poor (and others) aren’t being taken care of, but in America, THEY ARE. Check your cell phone bill some time….whether you realize it or not, you pay a “doantion” of several dollars every month that goes to support low income people having a cell phone. I don’t disagree with this except could they at least ask first and give me a choice? Poor people with food cards are eating better than I am (first hand experience with this one when Sarah moved into a house with a roommate who had a card. She told Sarah, don’t worry about your food I have a “card”). And now, health insurance has sky rocketed for the “tweeners,” and pretty soon there won’t be tweeners to pay the bills any more. We will join the poor. Homeless shelters abound, mammograms for free, and more. Prisoners have more to do each day than my own kids! We don’t have cable, can’t afford a health club, and can’t get the state to take care of our “strange” medical conditions (as a trans-sexual did in MA). This is the school analogy. The poor/others will always be taken care of, the rich take care of themselves, and the middle suffers.
          SO, because I don’t buy into the lie of more, more, more for the needy (sounds harsh, I know), I would rather put my energy into causes that are not being brought to the forefront; persecuted Christians in the Middle East, and yes, the unborn babies who are aborted (Sarah’s baby at 12 weeks “kicked” off her uterus with both feet, as if he were jumping….amazing), as well as saving our children from this awful secular world that is spewing evil to them. I can’t sit idly by and just allow it to happen to my family member. I have kept my mouth shut for the most part, but this person knows that I am in disagreement. My husband, feels attacked by the advocates and may lose a family relationship because of the confederate/gay flag debate. I have tried to help him through this, telling him to walk away and be the bigger person (The rainbow has been ruined for me).
          I guess I feel like the Lael Arrington article is asking me to be better than I am and I don’t know if I can do it. Yes, I believe Jesus has control. But, I’m here on earth dealing with the fire and need to react to save my family, here. now. If I don’t respond, and help (gently) turn them; guide them, they will not enter the kingdom of heaven. I believe God has got this, but He put me here to show these people Him, right? I am working on Truth and Grace. Hard.

      2. Oh and Laura-might I say I LOVE your heart and passion for your loved ones to know Him. :))

        1. I wish I had less sometimes….

        2. On no Laura-I believe He has given you this fire!! He is shaping it in you and delights in it and in you. I am with you in regard to my disdain for this ruling and in how it will hurt everyone and I know it grieves God’s heart! I was also heartbroken to see so many rainbows on f.b too. but what encourages me is that I know we are getting closer to His return. :))
          I do think we shouldn’t put our heads in the sand which I tend to do because putting myself there will depress me so I am daily trying to do the next thing, and cling to the hope of the future and prepare my boys for what I know is coming down the pike until He comes. They are going to come after the church..for their hearts aren’t satisfied with the ruling-it won’t be enough and we must be prepared. We are on a slippery slope now for any kind of marriage will be okay-maybe even pedophilia-Yet I know He knows and scripture says they will call evil good and good evil-we are in the end times. There is a lot of twisted thinking out there and we can’t change hearts but we can stand up for truth via fighting this stuff as well as breaking bread with and loving sacrificially those on the other side who may disagree with us. 
          Anyway, enough of my thoughts! 🙂 I have a great opportunity to get things finished around here! Had a great night getting my oldest’s bedroom set up down stairs-so I must get off now. 🙂

      3. Laura – my heart goes out to you.  I sincerely doubt that any of us feel the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in the same way that you do.  You are SO RIGHT to be passionately concerned about the state of your family member’s soul.  Though practicing homosexuality is clearly on the list, so to speak, along with MANY other sins, as being evidence of an unregenerated life…..such a life is NOT beyond God’s redemption!!!  There is always, always, always HOPE.  The name of Pastor Sam Allberry has been brought up several times recently – I would highly recommend that you google him and give some of his youtube talks a listen.  This man oozes compassion…..and speaks hard truth lovingly.  I think he would be a help to you at this time.  He seems to be a rock solid teacher and a man of God.  🙂  I’m praying for you….for I know your pain is deep.  I LOVE your faith!  It is beautiful to behold you seeking Jesus in your sorrow.  

      4. Laura – I meant to reply to this earlier….so good that you have seen that those enslaved to sin are indeed “imprisoned”.  Something we need to think about.  The Scriptures certainly refer often to being a “slave to sin” or a “slave of Christ”.  
        Also….my heart does continue to hurt for you and with you…..I have ALREADY noticed subtle changes even in my conversations with my daughter.  Yesterday we were on a little walk and she repeatedly (well, twice!) referred to one of her very best friends’ “wife”.  In the past she has always called her by name, Jasmine, but somehow I am seeing that this Supreme Court decision has even reached into the heart of my families’ conversations!  Whereas before there was a certain level of respect that my two unbelieving children would show me in our discourse…..now I’m just “sensing” a little bit of “get over it mom, it’s a done deal.”   Here are some words of Jesus that have often made me tremble:  from Matthew 10:  34-37   “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.  Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”  Especially the last line has captured my thinking of late…….”whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”  I really need to sit with this awhile.  🙂  

    6. Rebecca – First of all.  I have a huge respect for you and for your heart for God!  But I’m going to fall with Laura on this…..I read this article yesterday and it literally saddened me.  Social gospel anyone??  I’m just going to ask that you take a look at this article just to give another perspective..  PLEASE read all the way through to the last paragraph if you do choose to take a look!  🙂  Here is my basic problem with the article that you posted – NOT that we should not have a heart and be caring for the poor, the disenfranchised, the needy in the world….but that the Matthew 25 passage which is the foundation upon which the author builds his article might, just might, be taken out of context!!  Even my ESV study Bible notes that in this PARTICULAR passage the “least of these” are SPECIFICALLY believers.  For instance, I’m not sure at all that the jail ministry I’ve been involved with for many, many years would fall into this particular passage…..does that mean it’s been worthless? I pray not and I believe not!!  It’s been evangelism for sure.  God’s call to service for sure…..and so much more.  Here is the  article I’m suggesting for further reflection..  designofprovidence.blogspot.com/2010/11/misuse-of-matthew-25.html.  
      I wrestled all last night and as soon as I awakened this morning with even posting this….but just felt that we needed to at least CONSIDER that perhaps the entire foundation of using Matthew 25 in this way MIGHT be off base.  Just food for thought.  Offered very reluctantly lest it be misunderstood.  🙂

      1. Jackie, I am going to read both articles, but I may not be smart enough to get what you are saying here. I will be back after the readings.

        1. After reading Rebecca’s article (with a good polish name like this guy has I thought for sure I would agree with the article!)
          – I disagree that fighting the battle of homosexuality is a waste of time. These people don’t know the TRUTH. We are here to help them understand but not like the older brother…they will not enter the kingdom of God if they continue their practices. They also need GRACE…I am also a sinner, I also need grace. Thank goodness Jesus has mercy on ALL of us if we choose Him.

          – most of us are normal everyday people. We can’t influence the world very easily. It’s a nice sentiment, but “ain’t gonna happen.” I take offense that he says we aren’t doing what we can here in America when all the support I listed in my reply to Rebecca is in place. Homeless people have a choice too. Some don’t choose to take help. The people I think who need the most help that aren’t being as helped are our vets. I stand with what I said in my reply to Rebecca on this.

          – who is this guy and what authority does he have other than being a blogger/writer?

      2. Jackie:  Laura and Rebecca:  
         I just posted something again here in relation to Ed C’s blog and now I read your thoughts about Matthew 25.  This is getting a little ‘deeper’ theologically than I realized.  I will (hopefully) read what you posted here, Jackie. 
        I still like the Canadian pastor’s article the best and found it most balanced!  But there’s SO much to process from every side.  I think, maybe, we all need to just come to peace with how God is speaking to each one of us.  And it won’t be the same for all.   That’s what I need to do anyway.

        This comment was posted AFTER the one a few notes down (also on July 4). I think THIS is my final answer! (ha!)

    7. Jackie and Laura-I SO appreciate you both for caring so much about me and about our sisters here! After reading this a second time I agree that it was a mistake to post it. So sorry! I have to share-yeah, my approval idol isn’t on the throne-praise to Him for this didn’t crush me like it would have in the past. 🙂 He isn’t finished with me yet so PLEASE PLEASE feel free to call me out when you disagree for I need correction. It shows you love me.  I am concerned I might have led others astray or grieved God in this so please accept my sincere apology. 🙂

      1. Please don’t apologize Rebecca….I LOVE we can have a debate that we can learn from in this space! I have learned SO MUCH from you and others! I also might not have the “right” heart here. I struggle with older brother/Pharisee syndrome. Thank YOU for reminding me to have grace on my secular friends and relatives. LOVE YOU SISTER!

        1. Laura, Rebecca and Jackie-all I could say is, Wow, I have a deep appreciation for how we can be honest here and dialogue. I am seeing different points of view and I really respect that.This dialogue has given me the opportunity to really listen and God is using it to fine-tune my convictions. Thank you for articulating your thoughts in writing.

      2. I have to jump in and say that I am glad you posted it, Rebecca.   For the most part, I agree with it.  (I even shared it on my facebook page).  In fact, I have heard some similar things from very prominent church leaders; like Jim Daly of Focus on the Family who said, now more than ever, Christians need to show love and grace.  I don’t have the quote, but my pastor quoted him on Sunday.   I too, have family members who, though they themselves are not gay, are celebrating this decision greatly, because they went to bat for all of their gay friends.  And that saddens me.  But it doesn’t surprise me.   A lot of us are affected here.  Our state made gay marriage legal, after a very failed attempt at making a constitutional amendment to ban it. (which cost millions on both sides)  I’m just not one to think that we should continue to pour money, effort and energy into being ballistic in our messages.  Because, no matter how much Christians say ‘I love you, but I have to fight against your lifestyle’,  all the gay person hears is ‘I have to fight against your lifestyle.’.   I think these kinds of battles are better won, individually, one on one, with love.  And I don’t really know if we are called to always be fighting the culture.  I think we are called to transcend it.  
        The article I appreciated the most, was the one someone shared on the facebook page by the Canadian pastor.  I re-posted it here earlier.  He has had a decade to work within same sex marriage being the norm, and his words were prudent and balanced.  I can see that Ed C’s article was a bit more ‘raw’ in terms of content, but I think that it is still a valid position.  Or at the very least, food for thought.  Lest we continually have a militant focus and not a compassionate one.  The Bible does speak volumes about caring for the poor.  
        We shouldn’t expect non believers to act like believers.  We shouldn’t expect our government to behave like our churches (ought to) behave.  We are called to do Christ’s bidding.  And to do that whether the winds of culture and government are ‘at our back or in our face’  (as one quote on The Gospel Coalition facebook page said.)  Think of how much the culture was in Paul’s face.  And he taught believers how to know the true gospel, how to live and love, rather than how to fight the culture.  Maybe there are examples to the contrary, but I think his central message was the gospel.  
        So, thank you for sharing the article.  It’s good to hear different perspectives.

    1. OH I SO love this question,  Dee.   I have had a similar pondering many times.  Understatement to say I don’t understand the ways of war.  And also, the internal battles with all the money spent on politics. Oh Lord, have mercy.  We could be using that to care for those for whom you died.  

  14. I am enjoying your Sunday ‘service’ on my computer..while waiting for my Bunion Surgery to heal.  Your pictures of God’s Artistry is refreshing…(I can’t get outside yet either.)Thank you for the blessing of God’s Word expressed in beauty and wisdom…

    1. Judy, praying for your healing. Love what you said about “enjoying your Sunday ‘service’ on my computer.”

  15. We sang this at Church this morning and it just seemed so fitting:”Christ Is Risen” https://youtu.be/-mXeA0G_xKc

    love the lyrics: Let no one caught in sin remain, Inside the lie of inward shame, We fix our eyes upon the cross, And run to Him who showed great love, And bled for us, Freely you bled, for us; Christ is risen from the dead, Trampling over death by death, Come awake, come awake!
    Come and rise up from the grave! Christ is risen from the dead, We are one with him again, Come awake, come awake!, Come and rise up from the grave!, Beneath the weight of all our sin, You bow to none but heavens will, No scheme of hell, no scoffer’s crown, No burden great can hold you down, In strength you reign, Forever let your church proclaim
    Oh death! Where is your sting?, Oh hell! Where is your victory?, Oh Church! Come stand in the light!, The glory of God has defeated the night!
    …Our God is not dead, he’s alive! he’s alive!

    1. Wonderful lyrics.  ‘trampling over death by death…’  so rich, all of it.  Thanks.

    2. Lizzy-that is my ABSOLUTE favorite song to sing! 

    1. What stood out to you from the opening and why?     Dee, your questions preceding your gathering, for ‘planned conversation’ are wonderful.  What a great idea.  Wheels are turning.  I wonder when I could pull this off and with whom.  Sure is something to consider.  Thanks.

  17. 1. What stood out to you from the opening and why?
    So sad about true marriage; a gift from God to His love. Too much to think that our SCOTUS has lost its focus.
    I like your idea about having people over Dee. My issue is that I am yet a “baby” and can’t “defend” the Gospel very well. I can’t pull scripture out of a hat at just the right moment. I am tongue twisted often when trying to explain Jesus and the Gospel. I will say that I once had a “tift” with a colleague who was supporting a ninth (!) grader who claimed he was “gay.” Makes me furious that grown adults would entertain this with children – such an adult topic…. Anyway, the mention of Christians came up and she said, “I have known many who call themselves “Christian” who don’t act very nice.” I shot back, “Then they don’t know Jesus.” So, I guess I knew what to say then, maybe I don’t give myself credit. Also, your questions didn’t really have a spiritual theme either. Were these people random acquaintances, or potential believers? Who did you invite?

    1. Laura, I have some thoughts about this, when you say that you can’t defend the Gospel very well and can’t pull Scripture out of a hat at the right moment. I find that some who are unbelievers take offense anyway when you just quote Scripture at them. I have heard that telling a person what Jesus has done for you, personally, has more of an impact. It’s hard to argue with someone’s personal experience. And, in response to your colleague, unfortunately, even true believers can act in ways that are not nice…myself included! It might really disarm someone to say, “You know, you’re right, and I’ve been guilty of that. But let me tell you about Someone who still loves me when I fail, and forgives me…”

      1. That seems like good advice Susan. I will think on it.

      2. Great words, Susan.   I also know believers (myself included) who don’t want to just be hit with a scripture when they are in a place of turmoil.  They need foremost to know that you and Jesus love them unconditionally.  I have always taken pause at the statement,  “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”   Somehow, that speaks a volume in a clever, easy to remember way.  I remember back to what Rosaria Butterfield said when she remarked that the reason she kept coming back to the pastor’s home was because 1) he didn’t quote scripture and 2) he didn’t invite her to his church.  He just gave her time and love unconditionally.

        1. Wanda – of course Rosaria was ALREADY deeply into the Scriptures because of her work to show how damaging the Scriptures were to the women’s movement in general!  God’s hand SO evident in her response to this godly, humble pastor with whom to dialogue over this!!  But I am NOT disagreeing with you my friend – in general I know that to be true in my own life.  When Abel died and Jes revealed to us her very serious cancer…..well.  I had a few friends who wanted to only “speak Scripture” to me.  I LOVE the Scriptures, I truly do!  But for months afterward I just couldn’t bear it.  The friends who just came and were WITH ME…..and they loved on me with Jesus’ love…..THEY were crucial in moving BACK to a place of falling in love with Jesus and with His Word all over again!!  I know this is getting off topic and it’s a story I’ve referred back to too much….but I so need to keep reminding MYSELF…..for we do minister to others out of the path in life God has led us on, don’t we?  

    2. Laura, I appreciate your comments so much. I’m a (former) teacher too. I wanted to reply to your comment, “I guess I feel like the Lael Arrington article is asking me to be better than I am and I don’t know if I can do it. Yes, I believe Jesus has control. But, I’m here on earth dealing with the fire and need to react to save my family, here. now.”

      Please understand that I am in no way promoting the idea of resting in the promise of God’s provision to the exclusion of engagement in the cultural mandate of Genesis 1:28  “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over [the animals].”  As far as we are able, we’ve been charged to bring God’s kingdom into our sphere of influence.

      Now that Creation is fallen, I believe we’re called to engage in its redemption by bringing the the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection into all the brokenness of creation. AND to do so resting in the fact that, although we love in a fallen world, and there is much we are called to do, we are “perfectly safe” as long as we are in God’s kingdom. We have all we need for life and godliness, even if we face great loss and bodily harm.

      Yesterday I was chasing an ambulance carrying my husband down to the heart hospital. And I was thinking of the picture on my my blog–I was the robin in the cherry tree, tending her nest, safe, even though surrounded by utter darkness and headlines blaring “Foreclosure,” “Market Reels” etc. (btw…a heart cath and a stent later, my husband is ok.

      )We engage, we partner with God in his redemptive work. We are opposed and wounded. We mourn. But at the center of our lives, we are safe in Jesus’ presence, where his rule holds sway.

      I love the way you are engaging. And I think that when we risk, fear is natural. I think of David in the in the same Psalm saying “I will not fear for God is with me,” then later, “when I am afraid I will trust in you.” But in the midst of fear I think we can live like the robin. “Matt 6:26, “Consider the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

      (the robin picture, “Consider,” is here:  http://laelarrington.com/2015/06/your-response-to-gay-marriage-seething-fearful-or-soothed/#more-1595 

      1. Lael, thank you for your kind words. I went back and re-read your article and suppose you are right. I’m sorry if I offended. I’m glad to hear your husband is well too!
        I agree with your words, although I am not the one who you describe as happy to see it settled so the states don’t have to battle it out now. I also don’t like your words even though I agree with them. I am finding it difficult to rest in Him when they are now taking down the 10 commandments in an extremely conservative state as Oklahoma. Christians are being attacked on all fronts. My parents raised me to love my country and defend it. They raised me to be a good citizen. That’s why I have the White House, my senators, and my congresswoman programmed into my phone. I call on a regular basis. I suppose I am the angry ones of whom you speak (makes me sad). I don’t want to be angry. I wish God would show Himself now, to reveal the horror of our countries decisions are.
        Thanks for engaging.

        1. Nor am I “happy to see it settled,” Laura. Who knows? Dred Scott was “settled” too…and eventually reversed because the reality of the evil it protected was finally recognized as evil. As Chief Justice Roberts pointed out, the court has basically rushed it’s ruling, not allowing time to see the true fall out of this “interpretation” of the constitution. Eventually gay marriages will run into the real reasons God’s law was there to protect families. Then we’ll see…
          As for feeling anger, I think a measure of anger at our country setting aside God’s law, the social scientists covering up evidence of its ill effects, the Justices taking over the role of the elected legislature to make laws–there are real reasons for frustration and even anger at injustice. We just need to do a heart check and see that we Christians are not selfishly angry at losing our place of influence. Appreciate the dialogue!

        2. Lael and Laura – what a GREAT conversation you two have allowed us to be privvy to!  Lael – you brought up some vital observations from Supreme Court Justice Roberts – that we have not had time to think about the “fallout” of this decision…..and you also stated that “Eventually gay marraiges will run into the real reasons God’s law was there to protect families….then we’ll see…”  Wow.  Wise.  
          Lizzy shared a very, very good article by Russell Moore above.  I felt like these particular quotes from this article dove tailed with what you said here Lael:  “The church must prepare for refugees from the sexual revolution…..There are two kinds of churches that will not be able to reach the sexual revolutions refugees.  A church that has given up on the truth of the Scriptures, including on marraige and sexuality, and has nothing to say to a fallen world.  And a church that screams with outrage at those who disagree will have nothing to say to those who are looking for a new birth.”  Again, wow.  As following Jesus through all the noise gets tougher, His Word and His presence in our life becomes so much more precious.  And one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord….to the Glory of God the Father.  What a day that will be – Righteousness will reign forever!!  Amen.  Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.  

        3. laura – just this morning I happened to read the very last chapter of the Bible – sometimes we need to remind ourselves how the story ends!!  Revelation 22….very encouraging to go there now and again!!  🙂

    Here is an excellent sermon on how Christians might view this topic. It’s 45 minutes, but worth every second:

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Laura. 

  19. 2. Read Luke 14:1-5 and describe the audience and their attitude toward the poor and the needy.
    They were indifferent, since it was a dinner at a top Pharisee’s house it seemed that they had arranged  for the man in need of healing to be there, he didn’t just happen to walk in off the street. They did this as a set up for Jesus, not because they cared about the man and his well being

    1. I hadn’t thought of that, that the sick man may have been purposely invited to set a trap. Good thinking, Chris!

  20. 1. What stood out to you from the opening and why?
    That hospitality isn’t a fancy dinner or a fancy house, it’s being the host in conversation and asking meaningful questions. I can get hung-up on being nervous about cooking for other people. It’s easier for me to have my own friends over for lunch or tea. Also, after reading the opening and the comments, I do believe we cannot let our focus get distracted. The main thing is “the invitation”. We have been invited to His banquet table and Jesus has made the way for us to attend. We still have a responsibility to seek His wisdom and listen to wisdom’s call, and to let others know that an invitation is just waiting for them, too.
    2. Read Luke 14:1-5 and describe the audience and their attitude toward the poor and needy.
    Jesus is eating at the home of a prominent Pharisee and being carefully watched. There was a man in front of Jesus who suffered from dropsy. I had to look that word up. Dropsy is an old term that meant swelling of the soft tissues due to accumulation of water. Today, a person may have congestive heart failure or edema, that was formerly called dropsy. There were Pharisees and other experts in the law there as well. There is this sick, suffering man in their midst and they pay no attention to him. Total disregard; to them, the man was invisible. I find it interesting that they were carefully watching Jesus, observing Him. Yet their hearts remained unaffected by Him. They saw His care and concern for this man-Jesus noticed him yet they paid no attention. They were too busy thinking about the law, the rules, and waiting to see if Jesus would break them. I am capable of doing the same – “watching” Jesus as I read of Him in the gospels, yet not being focused on the right things, not having my attitudes line-up with His. Jesus even asked them if they had a son who fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t they pull him out? But they will not bend, they remain silent.

  21. 3. Read Luke 14:7-11. Challenge question: What is the earthly principle?
    Don’t toot your own horn was what came to mind 🙂

    I was thinking about how I always puzzled over about this parable as a sort of passive aggressive ambition. But today I thought about choosing the lower seat because I really am blind to who is worthy of honor. And ultimately I can trust the host of the banquet to make those distinctions. I don’t have to judge my worth or the worth of others.

      1. Thank you Dee & Lizzy for commenting, reading your comments had me pondering this at a deep level all day yesterday. 
        In the parable the host is God. We are the invited guests. NONE of us are worthy of honor. The one who worth of honor I am blind to is Gods. The blindness goes so deep!
        I have been preparing the food at a boys camp the past 3 days. It was a perfect setting to see this, way we jockey for recognition and status in action. In the camp leadership, the service crew boys who worked in the kitchen and most of all in my own heart, I saw us all make distinctions between one another and seek after our own glory…at a Christian boys camp…ugh.
        My eyes have been opened a little wider. The ugliness of sin is discouraging, but then it makes me turn and see the incredible truth of Grace…he wants US, the poor the blind and the needy, to come to the feast! 
        My soul wells up!

    1. oh Chris, I really like that too–I am blind to who is worthy of honor. What a great thing to remember. How easily I judge the ones who may very well, and I hope they are, seated beside me That Day. 

  22. 3. Read Luke 14:7-11. Challenge question: What is the earthly principle?
    I thought to compare this to a modern-day wedding; you wouldn’t dream of going to the wedding reception and seating yourself at the table reserved for the wedding party if you weren’t a part of it. You would be asked to move, and then be embarrassed. The earthly principle is that there’s a “pecking order” and you need to know your place. If you’re unsure, ask – don’t make assumptions! Don’t think too highly of yourself. In looking for the deeper meaning of the gospel here, Jesus is the host who has invited the guests. The place of honor is HIS. I should just be grateful to be there and I’ll sit where He tells me. Many times, Jesus tells us to be humble, and He Himself modeled humility in His obedience to the Father.

  23. 2. Read Luke 14:1-5 and describe the audience and their attitude toward the poor and the needy.
    The dinner was at a leaders house. The guests included lawyers and Pharisees. It seems that they were arrogant towards the needy person there. They could not bring themselves off their “high horse” to help him, but Jesus did. None of them could understand why Jesus broke the law. Jesus pointed out their self-righteousness by giving them an analogy with them as the “afflicted,” and asked if they would break the law if they were to be inconvenienced by the “Sunday” law.
    3. Read Luke 14:7-11. Challenge question: What is the earthly principle? 
    I’m thinking the earthly principle is to consider others before yourself.
          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?
    It says to not quarrel and be kind. It says to be ready to teach and patient with evil. It says to be gentle. All of this is difficult for me, unfortunately. God gave me a passionate heart for causes I believe in. So, is it best for me to take my moms advice,”If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything?” I don’t think so. If nothing is said, then it is implied you are in agreement. The sermon I listened to and posted above, says we need to speak the truth and then provide grace. Even that is hard for me! I have to reel in most of my words. I have to rehearse the words before I speak. In fact, I must do this, this morning with someone who is very close to me 🙁 
           B. What does 1 Peter 3:8-17 teach us about loving those who persecute us?
    It says we should love those who persecute. We should bless them and not repay evil for evil. Again, loving those who have opposing views is tough stuff for me. Especially when they are close to me, like family members. You care so much and can’t have them thinking you agree with them…SO HARD.
    C. It would be easy to become fearful about this decision. Why do we need not to fear if we are believers?
    The logical answer is that Christ is in control, not the SC. However, the emotional me says, “stop! How can this be? Don’t they understand what they are doing to our country? To our families? To Christians?! Don’t they see that history is repeating itself?” It seems as if this is one of those difficult times for me when the waiting is the hardest part. Praying doesn’t seem like enough action. It seems like I need to do something. In my own home we are being affected and I can’t just sit silent. Dear Lord, I pray that I may know what you want me to say and do. Please hit me over the head with the correct words, as sometimes I can be so dense. Thank You dearest One for guiding me through these next few months. Amen.

    1. Laura–LOVE your honesty and hearts’ cry in “C”. Trusting in His sovereign power, “the waiting is the hardest part.”..I love this too “Please hit me over the head with the correct words”-me too! 😉

  24. 2. Read Luke 14:1-5 and describe the audience and theeir attitude toward the poor and the needy. The audience is a ruler of the Pharisees and presumably the Pharisees. It does not say in this passage what their attitude toward the pour is but we have seen them in other places be u compassionate and blaming. Pinning those with difficulty as sinners and unworthy people… “If they would have done what was right they wouldn’t be suffering, it’s their own fault.” Sort of mentality.
    3. Read Luke 14:7-11. Challenfe question: what is the earthly principle? To avoid shame and embarrassment by not presuming a high station. To be patient and humble yourself so that others will not do it for you and cause you embarrassment and shame. If you do this then you will receive the opposite:honor will you knowingly llwer yourself so that you may then be elevated by another. It’s almost like a trick to rack up points in front of people, as it were. 
    4. 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? Do not engage in “ignorant controversies” but “be kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.” It is not mentioned if the “opponent” is a believer or not… Perhaps this is ignorant but I do not think that it is my job to “convince” someone of any issue. I cannot get distracted and off course being so concerned with convincing a non-believer of a certain point that the gospel is missed. I must not miss the real issue- the heart.  If a non-believer (or a believer who doesnt fully understand the gospel) brings it up I pray I have the right questions to ask. And if I am asked I pray for the courage and the right words to say so that God will be glorified and hearts will be softened. My thoughts keep aligning this situation with Roe vs. Wade and all the pain that has come from it. But I cannot enforce God’s will on others, believers or not. I do pray, but I struggle with how much of a “stance” to take… I do not think that most of the commentary has been helpful. I guess I feel more convicted to take a “Nathan” approach…. Asking questions and praying to be a tool for the Holy Spirit when He brings words and conviction, but not much can be accomplished when you condemn others’ actions, only when a person is personally convicted … This issue isn’t the issue, just like partying isn’t the issue, or stealing, or gossip, or living with someone…. The heart is the issue. I appreciate Dee’s wisdom to have a humble answer ready, because it is important when discussing these things but I cannot let them become the focus. So many use these things as identity, and Christ needs to be our identity.
    Practically speaking I am convinced that questions are the best approach for me. To ask others why they believe what they believe, based on what experiences, etc. then to ask them about scriptures and what they think it means (Which again brings to light the importance of memorizing). Like Dee mentioned, using questions to draw people out. But my goal cannot be to walk away with the others’ opinion changed. So many use their views as shields. My faith is not threatened by what others think. In fact it should free me to bring them in closer, to be compassionate, not to deflect them and the “err of their ways.” It should just be a conversation, another chat in our friendship to strengthen the bond. I should just simply care about what they think and not so much about proving my self right. And then pray, for openings, for opportunity, for their heart to soften. I must truly be humble, not just pretending to trick my opponent like the wedding guest.
    Tim Keller has a video series out with The Reason for God and in it he dialogues with non believers about different hard questions. The interesting part is that most of the participants are obviously uncomfortable and anxious, I read that as uncertain, but Keller is calm and solid, he truly believes and he just allows these folks to vent all their thoughts and then asks a question back to learn more and help them process a little more. But there is never a definitive ” win.” Nor can this be our goal.

    1. YES..Jill..so wise and loving in approaching unbelievers. This is so good-I hope everyone can read it. 

    2. Jill, love your answers! Especially this one “My faith is not threatened by what others think. In fact it should free me to bring them in closer, to be compassionate, not to deflect them and the “err of their ways.” It should just be a conversation, another chat in our friendship to strengthen the bond. I should just simply care about what they think and not so much about proving my self right. And then pray, for openings, for opportunity, for their heart to soften. I must truly be humble, not just pretending to trick my opponent like the wedding guest.”
      I have to ask myself, too: can I stand on my faith and be free to love those who disagree with me in this matter? Thank you, Jill.

    3. Wonderful post, JILL.   I’m so glad I came back to it.   I think I will copy what you said about asking questions so I remember that that is what I need to do with my family members.    AND not using my views as a shield.   Wow.  That is a good visual.   I also really like this.

       but not much can be accomplished when you condemn others’ actions, only when a person is personally convicted … 

      Also, I didn’t know about the video series on The Reason for God.  I gained so much from that book.  I want to check this out.  THANKS.

  25. 4B. What does 1 Peter 3:8-17 teach us about loving those who persecute us? To do it. To  not return evil with evil, but to give a blessing instead. 
    C. It would be easy to become fearful about this decision. Why do we need not to fear if we are believers. Because God is in control and will give us what is needed (thinking again of Roe vs. Wade and the legal protection that God provided to me as a nurse to not participate in those procedures that end life). Also God is faithful and we must trust the path that He allows. The country’s law and practices do not change the Gospel truth nor my faith.

  26. 1. What stood out to you from the opening and why?
    Two things stood out for me.  (1)  Dee’s mention of the recent Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.   (2) Dee’s suggestion for engaging guests in discussion as a form of hospitality
    (1)   We had an Elders’ meeting immediately after worship this morning.    It was our regularly scheduled meeting, not an emergency meeting.  However, our pastor told us that now that the Supreme Court has spoken, our church is going to have to develop a policy concerning same-sex marriages within our church building.     We know for a fact that not everyone in our congregation is of the same opinion.   This has the potential for being very difficult.   In the meeting, I only expressed a slight opinion — stating that if our pastor was allowed to perform these marriages outside the church, she should also be allowed to perform them inside the church.  In other words,  I couldn’t go along with a  (hypocritical) double-standard that said she couldn’t perform same-sex marriages inside the building, but could do so outside the building.   It is either the right thing or the wrong thing to do, not dependent upon location.  
     I am about to make some statements here on this blog that may invite iron-sharpening-iron.
    I acknowledge that I believe homosexuality to be displeasing to God, and it is disappointing to me.   That being said,  I also cannot find instruction in the Bible that says “the people of God should take upon themselves the task of punishing sinners.”     Naturally, I think of the story of woman  who was about to be stoned for being caught in the act of adultery.  Jesus told them “Whoever is without sin should cast the first stone.”    I don’t see where God’s people are supposed to treat sinners in a condescending way or deprive them of privileges provided for “God’s people” (who by the way are not without sin themselves).    So while I am a heterosexual Christian,  I don’t feel it is my job to make sure that homosexuals are deprived of the sacraments of the church,  whether it is marriage, baptism, or the eucharist.    Wonder how many thieves and liars have been married in the church through the centuries?    Stealing and telling lies are sins also.   Depriving sinful people of  receiving the sacraments does nothing redeeming (that I can see).   It usually drives a wedge between the person deprived and the church (body of Christ).   It places the deprived person’s heart further away from Christ, not closer.    I hope that everyone concerned realizes that the Supreme Court does not speak for God. It does not provide a dissolution for sin.  It speaks for the government, and allows gay persons to have legal and insurance perks that everyone else has.  It defines how gay persons are to be regarded and treated by their fellow citizens.  
    Okay, sisters, go ahead and let me have it full-blast!   🙂
    (2)   I am having a fireworks party  on July 3.   I am very tempted to try Dee’s questions and see how that works,  rather than gettting out board games or the such.   There is always a lull time between dinner and the time the fireworks start.    Stay tuned!  

    1. Deanna,  You just make me smile.  How can we ‘let you have it full blast’?  🙂 ha!   You’re such a sweet fragrance here.  I love how you honestly state your positions, even when you know others will disagree.  And that approach always makes me think more deeply about things.  I’m not sure if I have any questions for you but I really like your last point on number 1.

       I hope that everyone concerned realizes that the Supreme Court does not speak for God. It does not provide a dissolution for sin.  It speaks for the government, and allows gay persons to have legal and insurance perks that everyone else has.  It defines how gay persons are to be regarded and treated by their fellow citizens.  

      I also am definitely ‘staying tuned’ to see if you engage in the question asking activity on the 4th! 

      Deanna, in response to the following:

      “I don’t see where God’s people are supposed to treat sinners in a condescending way or deprive them of privileges provided for “God’s people” (who by the way are not without sin themselves).”

      I agree here, I have had gay friends in the past, and my boss happens to be gay. I would never treat others poorly because of their status. However, the Bible clearly says homosexuality is wrong. It also says we are to call our brothers out if we see them sinning. So, I don’t get how churches can defend being gay and putting them on the same “plain” as biblical marriage. It is not the same thing, as God clearly states homosexuality as wrong. This is not a government issue, and the SCOTUS broke the law when they refused to uphold the 10 amendment (states rights). As we all know, the SC doesn’t make the law, they interpret the law. They are NOT performing their function anymore. This is not the first time they have done this. 

  27. D. What do you think holds people back today?
    I think it is because of the way evangelism typically ‘happens’. I think true evangelism takes a lot more time on our part than we realize, and maybe than we really want to invest. The typical process of asking if they know Jesus, pointing out their sin, need of Him, and then the Cross—I just feel like it’s too methodical. There is often a real heart motivation behind it, but it can feel like the evangelizer is just checking it off the list. And so I think most people have a skewed view of what it means to follow Christ–the belief that they will have to ‘give up everything’, that God will ‘make them’ be a missionary or sacrifice in some way. Real evangelism is an investment in the person’s life. You have to show them you love them, you actually care about their world. Then point them to Him. Then, out of melted hearts, they want to sacrifice, because they want to love Him well, then the obedience comes. But I don’t think they can believe Jesus loves them if they don’t first believe we do. 
    E. Describe what happens in verse 21.  
    The Master is angry that those He has invited do not see the honor that has been given them. So He invites “the poor and crippled and blind and lame.”
    He calls those who know they are needy. Those who have no other excuse, nothing ‘more important’, those who are weak. 
    F. And in verses 22-24?
    There is still room for more, so the Master has His servant open the banquet to all—but those who were first invited will not enjoy the celebration. 
    I love that He desires that His house be full! “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” He has so much to pour out upon us, He loves to lavish upon those who will respond to His call. 
    And He tells us here–go out of our way, go to the “highways”, away from our comfort zone, and the remote “hedges”, and be bold “compel people”!
    So much for me to consider–the idols that keep me in my comfort zone and my fear of man that keeps me from being bold, but He has given His servants a command!

  28. 1. What stood out to you from the opening and why?
    Hi, I have been silently following along. This week I just wanted to say the Lord is working in my life in a huge way. What stood out above was the photo of the long, infinity, banquet table. It seems to go on forever and ever…it’s never ending. Just like God’s love and delight in us. His table is always open and welcoming to us. We had a missionary come not to long ago from Thailand and he spoke at our church. I didn’t know he was coming and God had already been dealing with my heart that we are all missionaries where we are planted, living, etc. The guest speaker went onto to mention our own kitchen tables are a good place to start.  I had a beautiful table made in the Netherlands that I was just telling God that week prior to church, that we never use it and I kept hearing God telling me to use it to show kindness and love to my neighbors. We now live in Germany, and long story short…I have friended some Albanian refugees in our neighborhood. I have brought them to church, they speak little English and hardly no German. So our communication is very limited, but somehow God’s love is all it takes, just acts of kindness…and yes, I have had them sitting at my table a few times for coffee and today pizza. God is so good. I cant begin to tell you how God is using this summer to reach his lost and in doing so, this is teaching me more about the heart of God…for these refugees are the most loving people to me. Im just baffled at God’s love. Also the German neighbors have taken notice and now have friended me…ha, its been only two weeks, and now I know more Germans here than I have the whole 10 months we have lived here. I trusted God, opened my doors and ‘his’ banquet table to those that were lost, hurting and in need….HE has blessed me so much with the love from these people…I just wanted to share that. Because I know it seems America if falling apart, but just lean on God’s love and trust in Him.

    1. Staci, that is just so cool! I was interested in the table also but couldn’t make an application right away. It is wonderful that a simple earthly thing like a table has brought you opportunities to reach out to others. “…kitchen tables are a place to start.” Thank you for the lesson in hospitality.

    2. This is so encouraging, Staci!   I love your heart and what God has and is doing as he has brought these dear people into your life.  And because you were open and receptive to sharing His love alone.  The language barrier really makes it clear that God’s love transcends those hurdles.  I get daunted by language barriers, but I shouldn’t.  Your words speak to that!

    3. Hello Staci! I’m so glad you’re here…have missed you! I think of you every time I listen to Song of Solomon by Jesus Culture as the one who brought that song to us! You always have great insights to share. I’m glad you’re settled in Germany…I did get to spend a summer there in college and it’s a beautiful country.

  29. 2. Read Luke 14:1-5 and describe the audience and their attitude toward the poor and the needy.
    The audience were the household of a prominent Pharisee and teachers of the law as well as a man with swelling of his body. It was on a Sabbath. Jesus was “being watched carefully”. A set up perhaps to trap Jesus? I loved how Jesus asked them 2 questions revealing of what He was seeing in the hearts of the Pharisees and teachers of the law.
    3. Read Luke 14:7-11. Challenge question: What is the earthly principle?
    Do not self promote. Do not toot your own horn. Do not be on the look-out for yourself only.
    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?
    Do not be quarrelsome and not be resentful. Our gentleness should be evident to those we instruct or ask us questions. 
    Application: I thought about the verse in Philippians 4:5  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Because the Lord is near, we can allow Him to have his way in our conversations. To be gentle, to be loving, to have no agenda of winning an argument.

  30. QUESTION!   In the article that Rebecca posted by blogger, Ed Cyzewski,  (which I really liked)  he made the statement that God’s judgement has been on us long before we made same sex marriage legal.  God’s judgement came upon us when we didn’t feed the poor, care for the needy  (I don’t have the direct quote, but it’s in there.)  
    (Reposting the link to copy in your browser if you want to read it.   http://edcyzewski.com/2015/06/26/the-supreme-court-just-gave-american-evangelicals-a-gift/ )
    This statement brought me right back to a verse that has intrigued and mystified me for a long time.  (And I admit I have not thoroughly studied this or looked at what others say.)
    New International Version“‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy  Ezekiel 16:49
    I found reference to this scripture in a book I read that talked about our responses of social justice as a church.  It rather floored me.  Is this saying that Sodom was not destroyed by burning sulfur because of sexual immorality?   But rather because of her arrogance and lack of concern for the poor and needy?    I have never heard a sermon on this.   Dee?   ANYONE???

    1. Interesting Wanda–ok–processing more first, not brave enough to share what I had here, though I know some of you can read in email 😉

      1. Those are really good responses Dee and Jackie.  Thanks!   I agree.  I couldn’t see how the sins of S and G could be ignored since they were clearly judged. I also am aware of the huge number of commands to care for the poor and needy and only a few words to the homosexual in all of scripture.  So I have just honestly wondered.  So true that he will judge both.  I find it sort of compelling (as Ed C. said in that blog) that we have the structure set in place to do so much to help those in need that we should put our time, money and energy into it.  And not spend so much of the above on fighting battles.  To me that makes sense because it is doing a direct command of God and Jesus in a positive way.  It doesn’t mean we embrace the sin of our culture, but our energy doesn’t lie in fighting it.  For me, it’s a ‘positive’ vs. a ‘negative’ thing.  I don’t mean to say that is the only work to be done.  I know we need to protect our children.  I’m just not sure it is very clear how we do that.  Saw something from the Gospel Coalition yesterday that said something like ‘God is in control whether the winds of the culture are on our back or in our face.’   There was more to it, but it encouraged me because I do see a lot of people go into the defense or panic mode around this issue.   THANKS  Dee and Jackie!  VERY helpful.   I just have never heard anyone use that verse in one way or another, so it’s always just sat there mystifying me!  

    2. Wanda – Dee put it so well….that you have to “do some fancy leaps” to leave out God’s anger at the practice of homosexuality in Sodom!  BUT….I wonder…..don’t you think that any time we are entrenched in an ongoing sinful lifestyle – whatever the sin may be – that we become increasingly prideful and arrogant?  I think it starts out as “defensiveness”….and grows into that shaking your fist in God’s face kind of arrogance….the “I will be God” moment.  The arrogance of saying “you will not be God in my life” cannot help but lead to a disregard for others….an unfettered selfishness.  How can it not be so?  For if we are our own gods, then we are consumed with self!  Even good works of many flavors can be done primarily from a motive of serving self!  

      1. I replied to you with Dee above, Jackie!  Meant to highlight your names in bold, so you would be sure to catch it, but I forgot. 🙂  THANKS!

  31. 2. Read Luke 14:1-5 and describe the audience and their attitude toward the poor and the needy.    The guests at the prominent Pharisee’s home (presumably Pharisees themselves) watched Jesus closely.  The sick, needy man “was before Him”.   (hmmm.  Was he planted there?  Doesn’t seem like the Pharisees were known for inviting in the ‘less thans’ in their estimation.  did they invite the man just to be able to trap Jesus?)  I love that Jesus uses questions.  He meets them on their own ground.  They know the Law.  They’re ‘experts’ for goodness sake!  So, Jesus asks if He can heal on the Sabbath.  They fall silent.  And when he goes ahead and does heal the man, he further answers His own question with another.  they don’t answer His question about the poor and needy man who needs healing, which betrays their lack of concern.  Jesus implies by asking them (a sort of rhetorical question) if they would pull their own son or ox out of a well on the Sabbath.  Well, of course they would.  They valued their own; whether human or animal more than one who they considered below them.

  32. 3. Read Luke 14:7-11. Challenge question: What is the earthly principle?    Don’t be humiliated in front of others by assuming you should be esteemed.  If you take the modest approach, you just may be rewarded with honor.    (This is just the literal, human ‘moral of the story’.  There is so much more to be understood spiritually.)
    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?
    1)  Make sure you aren’t arguing in ‘foolish and stupid’ ways.  Can’t get much clearer than that.  But, ouch!  Clear and direct, but that can be so hard to follow.  
    2)  Respect should be a big component.  Listen to the other person without judgement.  Ask for clarification.  Use the phrase, ‘help me understand….’ to find out what their stance is.  
    3)  Don’t blurt out something condescending that infers a stereotype about what you might assume they believe.  They may have some deep thoughts and questions.  Listen to them.  You may even agree with them more than you thought (or vice versa).   
    Pause. Okay.  Pretty much everything I just said is convicting me.  Not of how I interact with unbelievers, but of how many times I allow arguments with my husband to become ‘foolish and stupid’.  (Lord, please forgive me.  I have let pride and defensiveness cloud over respect.)
    4)  To represent the Lord, be kind rather than quarrelsome.
    5)  You can teach someone by gentle instruction.  So don’t slam it in their face.  Don’t be so dogmatic.  Don’t say one thing but attach a ‘barb’ to your message.  Maybe ask a question such as, ‘Have you ever thought about…..’   or say, ‘This is what I’ve come to believe’ instead of ‘Well, I believe the Bible and this is what it says, (so I’m right and you’re not).  With this point, I’m remembering all the things I once thought were ‘gospel truth’ that I now see as legalistic, ‘older brother’ kinds of twisted messages.
    I have a curious note that I wrote in the margin.   I’m sure it was from a former pastor’s teaching.  The words ‘in the hope’ that God will grant them repentance in verse 25  correlate with the word ‘otherwise’ in Mark 4:12  ‘that they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; ‘otherwise’ they might turn and be forgiven.”   Interesting.  It seems to me like a positive and a negative way of saying the same thing.  

  33. 1. What stood out to you from the opening and why? 
    The idea of the simple supper and planned conversation.  The questions emailed to those attending are such great helps in getting know them in an open yet non-threatening manner. establishing relationship, and if the questions/conversation didn’t happen, games were there as another option.  This is how it is supposed to be.  Indeed unbelievers do need to hear the gospel truth, but rather than “blasting” them with their need, relationship is formed and trust established.  Evangelism is more than providing the gospel message, it is providing your self and your heart.  It is being open to questions, conversation, and sharing. (I like what Dee said to Laura about her apprehension in possibly not having an answer to a question…genuineness is appealing.) The simple supper and conversation questions is a lovely idea.

    Best wishes in your efforts at your fireworks party, Deanna!

    1. 🙂

  34. (Forgot to post this yesterday)
    Chris – Thank you for your prayers On Sunday!
    Nanci – in answer to your question – it went well. I had a couple of people afterward ask about what I shared and the sharing itself I felt was to His glory so I am thankful.
    thank you, both, for your thoughtfulness.

    1. So glad that it went well, Jill…I am sure that the Lord will use it in many ways for good. Thanks for the update…:)

  35. I am on vacation but was checking email and found this post. Due to the topic this week, I thought I would link it for your consideration. Some of its thoughts are intriguing on how to make Christian view of marriage attractive in a pagan culture, i.e. our culture.

    1. Oh Diane – THANK YOU for this!  I hope everyone here will read it.  WHAT a provocative post…..just when I thought I could not read another word about this whole debate, here come this breath of fresh air!  I think it was Wanda who was yearning for more “positive” expressions, etc.  Here you go Wanda!  🙂  How I love these words of admonition to believers to “burnish the practice of marraige until its radiance dazzles the pagan eye.”  Oh my, how CONVICTING this statement was to me in this moment.  Even though my husband is not a believer , this one hits me right on the bulls eye.  I have repenting to do this day .  And I would add to his “burnishing” statement (I had to look up that word even though the context made it pretty clear!) that I feel we need to expand that burnishing experience to those SINGLES in our midst as believers who have chosen (or the Lord has chosen for them) singleness and chastity.  I am seeing more and more lives like this that absolutely DAZZLE!!  And I will put our own beloved DEE BRESTIN at the top of that list!!  My son Zack and others that are oh so dear to me would be right there with her!  Soooooo grateful you shared this – what a blessing to my day!  

      1. Agree, Diane and Jackie.   (And I was already reading this article before I saw your words to do so! 🙂 )      I DO know that in whatever way we truly live out Christ-likeness, that is the ‘sticking point’ for those who grew up in the church and rejected it.  My unbelieving loved ones, continuously maintain a loving relationship with our Christian friends who have stuck with them and loved them through all of life’s changes.    At the same time, they are the first to point out that there is no ‘sanctity’ in Christian heterosexual marriage when there is abuse and unfaithfulness.   So, yes.   What a difference it could make if believers let their marriage candles shine.   

  36. 5. There is a gospel truth about the way into heaven hidden in Luke 14:7-11. Do you see it? If so, explain. Our self-salvation strategies would lead us to think that we are in a place of honor and acceptance into heaven. Some translations call these seats the most important or the chief seat. However, we cannot sit in the most important/honored/highest position, this belongs to the Son alone and we will be humiliated and ask to take the lowest seat. But when we acknowledge our depravity and see our sin, we sit, appropriately, in the lowest seat and then Christ, who has done it for us, comes and gets us and sits us in His seat while He takes the low seat. We are honored at the banquet because of His sacrifice, not our own efforts to receive honor. Humility is not a character trait, it is the deep realization of who we really are and who others are and who Christ is. 
    Read Luke 14:12-14
    A. What instructions are we given about hospitality in verses 12-14? Do not invite friends, relatives or rich neighbors in case they return the favor.
    B. Do you think this means we cannot invite family or friends to our 4th of July picnic? Why or why not? No I do not think it means that. I think it is the larger picture of not staying in our bubble. The love of Christ in us practically demands for us to love others, not in a commanding you-had-better-obey kind of way, but when His love changes our hearts it feels a contradiction to our own hearts to “stay inside” to not reach out and show love to others. The fruit of the Spirirt is love and compassion for those around us, especially for those that do not know of His love! That said, in my life, fear of the unknown result often is a big challenge. Also there is the obvious: why do we throw feasts? Our intention is important. Here Christ is addressing arrogance and seeking honor from men. And then He speaks of “getting paid back” which can just be a social cycle of honoring each other, “kissing up” to acheive high status in your circles. 
    C. As you pray, who in your life, in your path, might show evidence of being tender-hearted to the Lord? I do not know if the ladies that God has put in my life are tender-hearted quite yet, but I am drawn to them, convicted to pray for them, and they have very difficult circumstances in life right now that I can see breaking them. They are all religious which to me presents a bigger challenge than non-believers, but our God is able and I am willing (Lord, help my courage). Also, there are others who are tender toward the Lord, but have stopped actively seeking, thinking that they get it now, they have arrived, and yet I can see a discontent in their spirit, a slight skew that would be freedom to allow the Lord to right…. Again praying for opportunity and specific mechanism.
    D. 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? The thing that trips me up, stops me from inviting others into my home, is that I am not good at questions yet. People talk about surface things (or gossip) and I am not good at redirecting conversations….but this is an excuse. I need practice, not perfection. A little preparation before hand would be all that it took….I also worry about expectations once I invite them over once, are there expectations to keep inviting them? To become close friends? I suspect this is connected to approval idol,  not wanting to disappoint people, or to be seen as a “good friend.” But I am learning to take it day-by-day and force gatherings based off of expectations, but rather what the Lord allows for…. All that said we do invite new soldiers over that arrive to my husband’s unit but I need to seek the Lord in when to follow up on these with another invitation…. 

    2. Read Luke 14:1-5 and describe the audience and their attitude toward the poor and the needy.
    This was another time when Jesus accepted the invitation of a Pharisee for dinner in the Pharisee’s home.   An earlier account in 7:36 was the one where the woman with the alabaster jar of nard arrived to anoint Jesus’ feet.   That same incident recorded in Matthew 26:6 includes a discussion of “the poor being with you always.”    Supposedly at that time it was the disciples who raised the question of using such an expensive jar of perfume, that it could have been sold and given to the poor.  The Pharisees couldn’t get around the law which commanded that the poor and needy be cared for.   However, the main point of Jesus being invited to the Pharisee’s home was so that he could be trapped into saying or doing something for which he could be arrested.    
    3. Read Luke 14:7-11. Challenge question: What is the earthly principle?
    Jesus advised people not to rush for the best places at a feast.   People today are just as eager to raise their social status, whether by being with the “right” people, dressing for success, or driving the right car.   Actually Jesus was teaching two lessons in this event.   He was teaching that humility and service is more important in God’s kingdom than status. It is better to take a  humble stance, sitting and serving right where you are, and wait to be invited to move up to a higher position or a wider area of service.     Secondly he was teaching that the host should not be exclusive about whom he invites.   God opens his kingdom to everyone.    
    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?     
    (1)   Don’t get involved in arguments –it is useless to argue.   It is doubtful that anyone has ever been argued into repentance and redemption.  Arguing is counterproductive and it is a waste of time.   
    (2) Be kind – gently lead or demonstrate by example. 
    (3) Hope and pray for the person.  
           B. What does 1 Peter 3:8-17 teach us about loving those who persecute us?
    Be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil.  Instead do good and seek peace.  Pray.    Be prepared to explain why you try to imitate Christ in your way of living. If you do a good job of this, you will probably shame your persecutors enough that they will drop their persecution.    If you are persecuted anyway, then know that you will be rewarded by God for your faithfulness.   It is better to suffer for doing good than it is to suffer for doing evil.   
           C. It would be easy to become fearful about this decision. Why do we need not to fear if we are believers?
    We know that Christ will go with us, and that we will be rewarded in the long run for the persecution we receive.    

  38. 2. Read Luke 14:1-5 and describe the audience and their attitude toward the poor and the needy.
    The audience is religious leaders and pharisees who were watching carefully every move Jesus made.  Their attitude toward the poor and the needy were that “they” were getting what they deserved in their poorness and need; being “poor” and/or “needy” was the consequence of some sin or shortcoming in their or their parents’ life.

  39. 3. What is the earthly principle?
    Humility…remain humble, do not think too highly of yourself. 

  40. 4. A. What do you learn from 2 Timothy 2:23-26?
    2 Timothy 2:23-26 instructs me to not involve myself in conversation with those who are ill-informed or when the conversation will only cause greater strife and anomosity.  I should be kind, good tempered, and patient, speaking the truth in love with courtesy and gentleness.
    Give some practical suggestions on how to live this out if an unbeliever brings up the conversation?
    The depth of my conversation would depend upon the relationship I have with the person.  Generally speaking, I would speak in a non-accusatory manner…as Tim Keller said last week, speaking in an accusatory manner puts the other on the defensive and will never produce the desired reaction.  I will not take part in an “us” and “them” mentality.  In the sermon that Laura suggested from Summit, the pastor states that those with same sex attraction are not automatically hell bound, just as those with opposite sex attraction are not authomatically heaven bound.  Jesus is the Savior who atoned for all of our sin, whether that sin be gossip, gluttoney, adultry, or succombing to the temptation of same sex attraction.  Humility and genuineness is key.

    1. May I add (after reading on in the study and seeing Dee’s recommendation) listening attentively and engaged…not for retaliatory purposes, but for true understanding.

      1.  listening attentively and engaged…not for retaliatory purposes, but for true understanding.

        …for true understanding.  That is the hard part.  But what a difference it makes.  This is a weak spot for me, I know. Once I came down hard on my son for something and when I was done, he countered sadly,  ‘but you didn’t even ask me why.’    Boy did that self discovery hurt.  

  41. For those interested,  here is an article that was shared with me from one of our silent bloggers.   It’s written by a Canadian evangelical pastor who has had a decade to process gay marriage being the law of the land.    He really does share some well thought through insight.  

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

    The gospel will advance and the church will be built whether the cultural wind at our backs or in our face. Our death-conquering King ensures it

    a quote from The Gospel Coalition facebook page.   Works for me!

  43. 5. There is a gospel truth about the way into heaven hidden in Luke 14:7-11. Do you see it? If so, explain.
    Oh yes.  Loud and clear.  If we only invite those who can repay us, we are using an ‘I scratch your back. You scratch my back’ approach.  We earn their invitation by extending one to them.  Might even be compared to the philosophy of karma.  Not so, with the gospel.   Our invitation to come to the King’s banquet table is SOLELY because of His kindness and mercy.  There isn’t a speck of a chance that we can earn His favor.  
     Titus 3:4,5  4But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,…

  44. 6. Read Luke 14:12-14
    A. What instructions are we given about hospitality in verses 12-14?  Don’t just invite those who can repay you.  Invite those who could not possibly repay you.
    B. Do you think this means we cannot invite family or friends to our 4th of July picnic? Why or why not?      Well, first,  I wish I HAD a 4th of July family picnic.  🙁  (sad face).   As some in my immediate family have a ‘standing event’ that they participate in every 4th (and one for which I really, really do not see the value. In fact I find it pretty unsavory), we haven’t been able to have a family picnic for a long time.  🙁  (second sad face.)  I don’t see my family of origin because they are 6 hours away and they usually have their own agendas with their own extended families….or just because it’s not a time when we are not planning a trip that far.  So, my husband and I and sometimes our youngest usually ‘punt’ every year on the 4th.  I don’t really know what we’re doing this year.  However, IF we did have a family picnic….I would consider that inviting the unbelieving members of my family as exactly the kind of people Jesus is asking us to invite.  It’s sad but true, that some of the people I love the most dearly have become my ‘mission field’.  And that, in my estimation, is the hardest ‘mission field’ there is.  So many complicating factors and emotions.  🙁  (another sad face.)   We could and have in the past invited good friends to ‘holiday’ events.  I think the whole point, is to see the bigger picture as Jill said.  To live a lifestyle that is open to interacting with those who can’t repay you. That is something we have practiced in various ways throughout our lifetime.

    1. PS:  Not to worry.   My multiple ‘sad faces’ are not really all that serious.  It was an attempt to lighten up a bit of a frustration over the holiday.  🙂  (happy face)  Sorry for the silly tangent.  

      1. Wanda – not a silly tangent at all – extremely relevant!  After all, the question was about 4th of July picnics and you answered from your heart about 4th of July picnics!!!  Nothing at all wrong with longing for a warm family picnic….and grieving over the choices of our loved ones that seem so in your face dishonoring to the God we so love.  Your post, along with others here, made me think more deeply about just how to gather in a bunch of ragamuffins and finding joy in that …..even while there is a little sadness for our nearest and dearest.  

  45. Hi everyone,sorry I cant respond to all that I have read. I was at the orthodontist with my son all day yesterday and was able to read a lot of the comments. But typing on a phone is very hard. Im just going to say my opinion and how God has lead me to deal with the homosexual issue. Back in 2006 my mother in law came out she was in a lesbian relationship….I had a feeling this was going on….Long story short…I was dumbfounded as to how to handle or speak to her?? I heard God prompt me in my heart and say you love her, yes? I said Yes Lord, I do….and Jesus said, then what changed that love towards her?? God’s point to me was, love her and treat her like you always have…I did send her an email saying how much I loved her, but did not agree with her lifestyle choice…that of course took me a month to do…much prayer and just wanting to send the email with as much love as possible…of course no matter how much i said I loved her, she was still offended…but through the years, God has really worked and God just showed me to love her like Jesus…plain and simple. We have a good relationship now and no she has not turned away from her lifestyle…but she is open to hearing and receiving prayer from God. She knows the truth, in the end its her choice. I do believe God has her. Oddly, I have a lot more gay people in my life now too….and what do I do…just love them like Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 says it so well….I did read a comment about judging on here, I believe God says we are to judge one another…in love, meaning believers…and the lost are for God to judge…in doing so….this goes with the scripture…as we show kindness and humbleness to those that are lost (yes gays), that through the love of Jesus seen through us, that God will lead them to repentance(vs 25). Thats my humble 2 cents…my mother in law is not the only gay person in our family, we have a cousin that God had me face last summer. The cousin said bluntly ” You don’t like me, you hate me, I have heard…” That was not true…he heard I did not agree with the gay lifestyle, but this is what he thought…he soon found out that I did not hate him, I may not agree with his choices, but I was not a hateful, gay bashing christian. He also went on to tell me ‘Jesus said love everyone….even gays…”. Im sure we have all heard this before…my point is, sin is sin….love the sinner as Jesus would and hate the sin…Love conquers and trumps evil….and the bible says Love God first, and love your neighbor as yourself… The way I see it, the gay community is blinded and lost…and they already think Christians are against them…what better way to show them God loves then to walk in truth and love….love being the greatest…and in doing so they will be more open to hear the Truth of God’s Word. 

    1. Staci – yours is such a rich post with so much that I can personally take away with me!  Thank you for sharing.  It’s a beautiful testimony of putting skin on our love for our gay family members and friends.  You made some great points…..when you initially prayed fervently and approached your mother in law with your love, though not agreeing with her lifestyle choice….interesting to me.  It reminds me of one of my photo frames that says “Love me, love my dog”!  This is how I personally have found the reaction from my gay friends to be – that it’s a matter of “love me, love my lifestyle”.  No middle ground.  HOWEVER….and here is where your story really shines to me…..OVER TIME the love of Christ will often begin to wear down resistance and show itself to be a true love for the PERSON…..and oh, the possibilities for fertile ground for the gospel then!  🙂  
      I greatly appreciate your reminding us again of the difference in Scripture between believers and unbelievers and judging.  IF we have those in our midst who are professing believers who persist in a sinful lifestyle and refuse to repent (or even see the particular sin as something sinful) then we are called to something ENTIRELY different than those in our families, workplaces and neighborhoods who do not make any claim of knowing or following Christ.  CRUCIAL distinction to be made there and you said it well!  
      In the early to mid-80’s my husband and I were immersed into the world of the gay lifestyle on more than one front.  This was just before I became a believer and follower of Jesus.  I managed a very “progressive”, New Age (that’s what we called it then!) health care center and my husband was the assistant manager of a very robust horse farm (in Lexington, KY).  My workplace was right on the edge of the University of Kentucky – and many, many of our clients were gays and lesbians….quite a few were professors at the University.  It was absolutely staggering to this Wisconsin farm girl!  Meanwhile, my husband’s workplace had maybe 40  or so employees…..5 of whom were very much “out” as gay men.  We both developed warm and friendly relationships with many in this lifestyle……..shortly thereafter Casey and I relocated to Virginia and then later Maryland.  Meanwhile my mom went to be with Jesus and I came to kneel at His feet and gave my life to Him!  Though we had lost touch with our Ky gay friends, Casey received a phone call informing him that ALL 5 of the young men we had so loved in KY were dead of AIDS.  Remember in those days, AIDS was mainly mystery and it moved quickly and was so deadly……at least that was often the case.  We were devastated and it’s fair to say that this changed our lives significantly.  Right in this same time frame I was in a Sunday School class with the pastor of our church – a name many of you would recognize if I named him.  I have no idea what the question was, but I instantly knew that the example of the young men we had known well who had perished from AIDS was relevant….I explained a bit of what had unfolded.  He basically cut me off and said something like ‘well, yes, but let’s have some examples that are more day to day real life for us”.  I don’t think he noticed that I was in tears.  This was probably about in 1991……so to me it shows me that we HAVE come a ways in our compassion for the gay and lesbian community and our openness to dialogue…..and to be fair….this pastor is one whose writings I have read since and he seems ever so much more ‘tender”….and He is actively involved in prison ministry.  So I’m all but certain that his perspective has significantly changed too!!  I don’t know why I just shared this.  Just on my heart.  

      1. Wow Jackie r, what an amazement testimony you have! I too was caught up in New Age stuff before I was saved at the age of 21. I think the thing that really hits home with me from God with the homosexual community is that they are His children, just like you and I were once lost, so are the ones practicing this lifestyle. I still struggle with if I’m ‘doing it all right’ and so afraid Ill mess up. That’s when God really just says, relax…He’s got this…trust God to use us. Be their friend, let them see the Light of Jesus that they so desperately need.WE have the truth in us that they need to hear and see in our actions of kindness towards them. I believe in doing so like 2 Timothy 2:23-26  says.   Ive heard it said we all fill our Jesus voids up in one way or another, or as we have read and studied…idols…perverseness is not of God….its a wrong type of affection or in this case, relationship(homosexual) that God did not make….its a false sense of love and relationship. Just like any heterosexual….people can fill their voids with the wrong idols or relationships…so Im still learning and trusting God. What gives me hope is knowing God loves them and He doesnt want to see them perish. I have faith God will save many lost in this false sense of love and relationship. Im praying that God’s love will pour out His Spirit, Truth and Love on the gay community and many will be set free. 

        1. Oh and Jackie and Staci;    Both of your testimonies encourage me, because some of those I love most are following the ‘new age’ kinds of spiritual practices.    I see your sweet aroma of Jesus and know that HE can still reach them too.  

      2. Oh Jackie.   THANK you for pouring out your heart and your experience here.  (I smiled at the Wisconsin farm girl comment.  For a long time, I felt that too; being a rural Minnesota girl).  And I think that really does say something.  In retrospect, I know of several men and women my age who I knew from my hometown or from my Bible school years, who were all from tiny, rural communities, who have come out as gay and lesbian in the past decade or so.  But they have all moved far away to do it.  I think, sometimes, the small town, remote areas have so much fear and judgement, they can no longer ‘show up’ there.  Which is very sad.  One of these people, I was once very close to and I have been thinking of how I could reach out to him.  Actually, he had so fallen off everyone’s radar (again; because he was out ‘hiding’ in the big city) that all of his former, closest friends had no idea where he was.  He was once a Bible school friend who encouraged me in the Word often.  And I cried when I discovered his lifestyle, for so many reasons.  How lonely and painful his life must have been.  And where is his heart now?  He was one of the people I went to for encouragement in the Lord 40 years ago.     My husband has many gay colleagues and our kids have scores of gay friends and acquaintances.  It really does change one’s perspective.   That said,  when you shared what your pastor in the ’80’s had said, it brought to mind a very similar story about what I heard from a church member about that same time.   We had a couple of Catholic nuns come in and speak to a group at church.  They were compassionately running an AIDS hospice at the time.  An angry, elderly woman (who happened to be from Romania) blurted out ‘homosexuals don’t deserve the grace of God’.   And the nun without missing a beat, quietly said,  ‘You’re right.  And neither do I.  And neither do you.”  The very definition of grace was missing in the Romanian woman’s thinking.  But, I think that was not uncommon in many churches at that time.  

    2. Really appreciate your honest and personal story, Staci.  I think love is the only way.  I also understand how hard the family dynamics can be.  Your testimony is refreshing. 

      1. I would like to think and believe God will reach all the lost and homosexuals, some would say thats pretty big and I would say we serve a BIG God….. when I lived in Oklahoma, I use to go to Night of Praise. It was in OKC, and Dennis Jernigan was the leader…amazing testimony of how he came out of the gay lifestyle, is married and has 9 kids now…maybe even grandkids at this point. That was 20+ years ago too…. here is his website. I love his music too.http://www.dennisjernigan.com
        Wanda, you have a beautiful heart and I will pray God uses you and your family to reach the homosexual community. I don’t think anything is by accident or chance when it comes to God. hugs 🙂

  46.  B. What does 1 Peter 3:8-17 teach us about loving those who persecute us?
    We are to be loving, compassionate and humble.  We are not to berate, but to lovingly pray for the welfare and well-being of those who persecute.  We are to assertively seek peace.

    C. Why do we need not to fear if we are believers?
    Initially I goofed and read 2 Peter 3:8-17, which talks of God’s patience and His desire for all to come to Him; to repent and accept His gift of mercy and grace.  The Lord desires none to fall into the clutches of hell and is patient in providing opportunity to turn to Him and away from evil.  When all is said and done, the Lord is in control…He has a plan that will not be ruined by worldly actions and evil conjured up and fueled by Satan.  The Lord’s will will be done; there will come a day when this world (as it is presently) will be no more and the evil one will be entirely vanquished.   

    1. Nanci – isn’t it such fun when we “goof” and the Spirit has something for us in it??  How I love that your heart took it in as His guidance for you!!  Rich indeed.  🙂

      1. It is… when that happens on occasion, I figure that the Lord had something He wants to direct my attention to… 🙂