How Far From The 99?

Last night, Sherry, Michael, and I served at The Table On Delk. This ministry is a grassroots effort helping women in the sex trafficking industry. The crime and the attempted rescue all happen in our backyard on Delk Road and I-75 in Marietta.

The plan last night was to go caroling in the motel parking lots and invite women and children to The Table on Delk for a very nice Christmas dinner.

As our group of 12 lifted up a “Hark The Herald,” the rain came pouring down. We stood in an enclave by an ice machine and kept singing. It was cold, wet, and the motel not so lovely. We encountered several folks who were glad to receive a dinner invitation, a candy cane, and prayer.

I talked with one couple who said they were homeless and pregnant. They asked for help. I invited them to the Christmas dinner. Their trek through the rain to The Table On Delk (about a quarter mile down the road) would make their attendance tenuous at best.

The couple showed up, and their horrific story unfolded even more as they dined with real silverware and fine china.

The whole mess made me wonder, how far did Jesus go for the one lost sheep of Luke 15? He left the 99, but what distance did he go for the one? Dr. Luke says Jesus went into the open country. That could be just a few steps from the sheep pen. It could also be much further. Perhaps the point is not so much the distance as it was Jesus’ willingness to do whatever is necessary.

On a cold, rainy Wednesday night I stood near an ice machine in the outside hallway of a nasty motel singing Silent Night and wondering, “How far would I go?” How far should we go? To what lengths does it take for a lost person to be rescued?

Whatever is necessary.

Last night, just the beginning of a Kingdom rescue required Christmas carols, rain, candy canes, prayer, a fancy dinner, a dingy motel, volunteers, conversation, and obedience.

What did it take to rescue us? How far was Jesus willing to go? It took a little nothing town in the ancient middle east, garage rags, damp straw & smelly animals, a star, a teenage girl, a scared husband, shepherds, and angels. Whatever was necessary. It was our critical event.

I’m so thankful for Christmas. I’m so grateful Jesus left the Kingdom pen to come into my open country.

Our one-hour, Christmas Eve services this Sunday are going to be very special. Sitting through the planning sessions of this one was exciting. How far will you go to invite a friend or neighbor? I’ll look forward to seeing you and your friends at 11:00 and 1:30.

Merry Christmas!

– Alan

Weekly Giving| $64,569 12/17/17
Weekly Need| $41,300

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