Summary: This sermon relates the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Silver to those who have drifted or cooled in their relationship with God

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Luke 15:1-10 – Lost and Found

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable:

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?

And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’

Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

40 years ago, Muynak was a thriving fishing port on the Aral Sea. But today Muynak sits on the edge of a bitter, salty desert. Sand dunes are strewn with the rusted hulls of a fishing fleet that once sailed high above on the surface of what was called Central Asia's “fountain of life.”

Once the world's fourth-largest inland sea spanning an area of over 26,000 square miles, things began changing in the 60’s when the Soviet Union launched a plan to divert the Aral's water source to irrigate the world's largest cotton belt.

No one, however, envisioned the environmental disaster that would result.

The sea is now one tenth its former size - Weather has become more extreme, the growing season has been shortened by 2 months, and 80 percent of the region's farmland has been ruined by salt storms that sweep in off the dry seabed.

The drinking water is contaminated – and those living in the region have lost all means of earning a living. The water that remains in the sea is so polluted it cannot sustain life.

So, what began as a decision to stimulate growth, actually produced death.

Decisions can be like that. Sometimes, a decision we THINK will bring blessing, turns out to be a curse.

Any of us who have lived very long have made our fair share of bad decisions… where we’ve acted on what we thought was a “good idea”at the time, but turned out to bring many regrets.

Maybe it was a business investment that seemed like a sure thing

a relationship decision where we went against better judgment

a job move that didn’t produce the desired results.

Even when it comes to our relationship with God, we OFTEN forfeit God’s best to satisfy short-term desire.

Decisions ⇒ can bring blessing or cursing.

BUT - as far as GOD is concerned, BAD DECISIONS don’t have to be final!

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