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1840 W. Mason St.
Green Bay, WI 54303
(920) 497-8022
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“Restoring the Prodigal”

by Pastor Tim Mandich

If you have ever read the story of the Prodigal son found in Luke 15? It’s a story of a young man who throws away everything to go off and live the carefree rebellious life. And when his money runs out he comes to his senses and returns home to plead with His father to allow him to be like a hired hand. And to his surprise the father hugs him in a wonderfully accepting way and tells the servants in Luke 15:22-24 NIV “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

I love this story of second chances. Where a son who thought he knew exactly what he wanted was allowed to pursue his dream and run from the wise counsel of his dad and family. And in some ways didn’t we all experience some form of that ourselves? I have had some friends of mine who have run off like the prodigal in this story but had no one to return home to when their world came crashing in on them. But that’s where we can be used mightily by God to stand in as the father did in our Biblical story found in Luke 15.  The father in our account in Luke was a type of Jesus who forgave his son, likely well before his son ever came home. And it’s also likely the father was looking with great anticipation for his son to return home and missed him very badly. What love this father had for his son and what love Jesus has for us when we are missing from our time we once spent with Him.

We can run from God for many reasons but it’s God who grieves to have us back safe in His arms once again. God gives us room to work out our misplaced anger and frustration toward Him. We unfortunately are the first to blame God for the wrong that happens in our lives. But the Bible says in Matthew 5:45 (NLT) … For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

We are going to experience things in life by the hands of unjust people that will make us mad and left feeling cheated or unjustly harmed. And when we meet people like that we may see an ugly and unpleasant side of someone we thought we knew. But if we can be like the Prodigal son’s father and love them back into the fellowship of the family of God we can help them see more clearly what’s really going on in their lives. We all can get distracted and stray away from God out of anger or also out of being deceived into sin. And if you are able to bring that person back then you have won over a brother or sister and possibly saved them from making many more mistakes along the way. James 5:20 NLT says:  you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins. And that is a sign of a “true friend” who loves like Jesus loves. Practice becoming a true friend by reaching out to that one you haven’t seen for a good long while and maybe is secretly wanting to be back in fellowship but has lost their way.  

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