God loves to party.
The Old Testament is filled with parties.
Jesus said that Heaven has a party every time someone decides to follow him.
Jesus spent a lot of time at parties with friends and soon to be friends.
When Jesus was at parties, it bothered the religious leaders of the day who seemed to have their halos on a little too tight.
God’s parties are a lot better than other kinds of parties.
You will never have a bad hangover after one of God’s parties.
You will never have any regrets after one of God’s parties.
You will never find yourself lying on the floor around the toilet making deals with God after one of God’s parties. (Some of you who attended college know exactly what I mean.)
God’s parties are regret free, energizing and can be very addictive.
Tony Campolo writes about John Carlson, a pastor in Minnesota, who gained national attention when he came up with an innovative idea that there should be a special party the night of the senior prom for those who did not have dates.
The pain of not getting asked to the prom can be very demoralizing.
Usually these kids have taken years of abuse at their school as being outsiders and the prom simply provides the finishing blow.
John Carlson thought this was not the kind of party that Jesus would have liked.
It was too exclusive. It seemed to be reserved for the beautiful and the popular.
John planned an alternative prom called the reject prom.
Those who did not have dates were especially invited and the kids loved it.
The reject prom was held the same night as the senior prom and it turned out to be far more fun than the actual senior prom.
Each year the numbers grew. The party got press coverage. The reject prom began to get corporate sponsorship.
It wasn’t long before some of the kids who could get dates and go to the “normal” prom decided not to go.
They preferred to join in the good time that the “rejects” were having at their party.
Tony writes “It’s the kind of party that God ordered in Deuteronomy 14:22-30, where the special orders were to make widows, orphans, the crippled and the blind the guests of honor!!”
Jesus’ party instructions were, “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
One of the biggest “Jesus” parties that I have had the privilege of being a part of recently was my churches Thanksgiving Banquet.
It was for those who were going through difficult economic times.
It was for the lonely, the elderly, the forgotten, the homeless or anybody who just needed a warm meal.
People came expecting a food line where they would be handed food and told to keep moving.
What they experienced was something totally different.
We had decorated our food café with linen table clothes, some of our best china and gorgeous centerpieces.
We had happy live music playing.
We had greeters at the door dressed in black and white, who welcomed our guests and directed them to their assigned table where their hosts greeted them as their dinner guests.
Separate servers served drinks, and volunteer chefs cooked the most exquisite five-star thanksgiving meal with some of the most fattening desserts that could be made.
Our guests sat, relaxed, laughed, filled their stomachs and felt valued and loved.
We ended up feeding 500 guests that day, with about 150 volunteers, serving, cooking, welcoming, singing, laughing and crying together!
It was an event that is reshaping the way we do parties.
It has changed the way we do our weekly food and clothing giveaway.
I met one gentleman that day who was all alone.
He had burned bridges with his grown-up kids because of his alcohol addiction.
He was blown away that the banquet was for him.
He came back the next week to church and told me he had not had a drink since the banquet.
I began to see him every week after the banquet and 6 months later, he has still not had a drink.
His kids have noticed a huge change in him, and as I write this, he is having regular visits with his kids and reconciliation is happening.
It started simply with a “Jesus” party.
Jesus said, “Listen, if you follow me, don’t throw parties for people who can give you something back in return for that will be your reward. Throw parties and invite people who can’t do any thing for you, and not only will they be blessed but then I will be the one to reward you.”
I don’t think the world is partying too much.
I just think they are having the wrong kind of parties!
I think the church should find ways to party more often.
I challenge you to carve out time from your busy schedule to get involved with more “Jesus” parties.
You will experience an addiction that you will not want or need to overcome.