Summary: When we can free ourselves from judging, we can free ourselves to love.

“Free: To Love”

Well good morning everyone….As always it is good to be with you this morning…today we are beginning a three week series and honestly I’m glad it is only three weeks because I only have three suits…if it was one more week…well..the only other matching outfit I have is a giant Charlie brown costume…there it is in all its glory. I dressed like that for our AWANA harvest party, and I’ve never felt so old in my life…all the kids were like, what are you…like a ginormous bee or something…no I’m Charlie brown…and they were like, Charlie who..who is that…it’s a cartoon character I watched growing up…from the 80s…and when I said the 80s they looked at me like I was from another dimension…you were alive in the 80s…how old are you…I honestly probably could have said I had a pet dinosaur that I rode to caveman school and they would have believed it…If they saw the Flintstones they would probably think that’s what life was like way back then…and if anyone says comes up to me afterwards and asks me who Flintstones are…I’m gonna cry

You know…it is crazy how fast time flies though…I mean to me the 80s seemed not that long ago, but that was like 25 – 30 years ago…And because time flies by so fast…we really need to make an effort to use the time we have been given wisely…you see this in the Bible in Psalm 90, where Moses is praying to God, and in verse 12 he says, So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom..” In other words…God, help us to live with an understanding and appreciation that our days are numbered…because if we can understand that our time is limited…that it is going to run out…then we will use it wisely…we won’t waste it because one day…there will be no more of it left…and as depressing as that might sound…when we understand that…when we number our days…it frees us up to live life more fully…it frees us up to live a life with much fewer regrets…because all a regret is a sense of loss and remorse over something we spent time doing or not doing…and if we understand our time is limited, then we won’t want to waste it doing things will later regret…

And if there is one thing that is true about everyone one in this room…it is we want to live a life with as few regrets as possible…so that …as Moses says, “we may get a heart of wisdom.” I want to spend the next three weeks taking a look at three of the biggest traps that keep us from living the life that God wants us to live…and the crazy thing about those traps is that…we set them up ourselves, and then fall right into them…and we do that over and over again…but I’m telling you as of right now…we are not going to do that anymore…because we all know we are on the clock…our days are numbered…so let’s make them count…let’s live them to the fullest and stop sabotaging ourselves…because we have all been called by God to live for something greater…we are going to call this series Free…because we are going to free ourselves from these traps…and choose to live for something greater..

The first trap we are going to take apart and free ourselves from is the trap of judgment… ultimately judgment keeps us from love and joy… and Jesus makes that very clear in a passage most of us are very familiar with, which is the story of the Prodigal son found in Luke chapter15, but before we jump there would you please join me in a word of prayer. PRAY

So, as I just mentioned we will be spending our time in Luke 15:11-32, Luke 15:11-32. Now in Luke 15:1 it says "Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. …which first of all makes me feel bad for the tax collectors because they were so hated they weren’t even grouped with the notorious sinners…they get their own special designation…and maybe with April 15th approaching…you might be thinking…amen Bible…amen … as Jesus is talking with them in Luke 15 he tells this group three parables. The first is about a shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep he has to find the one lost sheep…second is about a woman who turns everything over in her house to find one lost coin, and finally the third parable is about a lost son. Now of course we are all very familiar with the story of the lost son, often called the prodigal son, the son who makes a decision to waste his life…prodigal is from the Latin word prodigus, which means to be wasteful and excessive…

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