At The Bridge…We LOVE a party! (Especially my wife, Kris!) I think Jesus loved a good party when He was here on earth, as well. So much so, He was accused of being a glutton and a “wine bibber” in Luke 7:34 (that’s a good King James English word for ya). Much of his 3 1/2 year ministry stint centered around meals and parties.
One such time is found in Luke 14, where Jesus gives us what I like to call a “party theology”. While attending a meal in the home of a very prestigious Pharisee, Jesus gets the party started by healing a man on the Sabbath. He then instructs the guests in “party protocol” and suggests to the host a more appropriate way to construct his guest list for future parties. The dialogue becomes a great segue into his parable about a man who has a great banquet. He invited all his friends, only to have them stand him up. One by one they bowed out, claiming to have things to do (check out my new team of oxen), places to go (see this field I bought sight unseen), and people to see (my new bride). The frustrated master quickly sends out his servant to GO into the streets and bring in the lame, the maimed, the blind and the poor…which he did, but still the banquet hall was not at capacity. Jesus goes on to explain the master’s final instructions in verse 23…
“Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23, NKJV)
The term “highways and hedges” was a term of the day that everyone would most likely have understood. In their very agricultural society, “highways” was a term used for the very narrow access roads (sort of like a country lane) leading out to the crops and fields. “Hedges” were the hedge partitions which separate the different “class” of workers. It was a segregation of sorts. You would normally have little to no reason to go down the “highway”, and one certainly would not break ranks and reach through the “hedge” to those above or beneath their ethnic, or socio-economic classification.
What is Jesus getting at? I believe it is simple…
My Father is throwing a BIG party, and most folks are too busy to come.
They have things to do, places to go, and people to see (sounds a bit like western society to me). So he said, “GO invite anyone who wants in, not just the up and coming, but the down and out. Forget about the who’s who and concentrate on the whosoever will. If, after that, there is STILL room…GO out of your way (you know, the place you would not normally go) and breakthrough every barrier, limitation, or division that would keep people apart, and COMPEL them to come in!” He’s telling them to reach through racial hedges, social hedges, educational hedges, generational hedges, or ANYTHING that would keep them out.
This Year For Easter in Denton…
At the Bridge, we have always invited ALL AGES, ALL RACES, AND ALL KINDS to the party, but this year we felt God is asking us for MORE. As we started approaching Easter, we wanted to do MORE than invite them, we wanted to COMPEL them to come in. So in addition to everything we always do around this time of year, we sent teams (mostly consisting of our youth and college students) into the most economically challenged parts of our city and offered families a ride to our “Easter party”. We rented a huge 52-passenger bus in order to provide transportation for those who might not be able to attend otherwise. As a bonus, we felt we should give every person on the bus a bag of non-perishable groceries, a little Easter blessing from the Bridge — a”thank you” gift of sorts for attending our party. I have been so proud of the teams going out so far. It has been AMAZING!
We had no idea that THIS WEEK leads up to what is called the “Mayor’s Day of Concern for the Hungry” (MDOCH). Evidently it began two years ago, but we had never heard of it. According to a non-profit named Serve Denton, over 95,000 Denton County residents do not know where their next meal will come from, including 10% of seniors, and 18% of children. We were not aware of that statistic, but the Father was, and now we know why He led us to help.
We’ve got a few days left! Let’s make this happen Bridge. GO into all your world, and BEYOND your world, and let’s COMPEL them to come to the party!
Speaking of Easter services in Denton, we would absolutely love to see you Easter Sunday! For more info visit www.easterindenton.com
For more info how you can help out this weekend go to www.findthebridge.com/go
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