Summary: We want to control the cost of inviting people to an event. We don't know why people need an invitation to our church, so we don't accept the cost of inviting outsiders into the church.

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Who to invite?

It is pretty amazing how many special occasions all of us are involved in. There are birthday parties and graduation parties, block parties , retirement parties, 4th of july, labor day.

I have been blessed as a pastor to be involved in lots of special occasions for families. Weddings and baptisms are events where we invite people to celebrate a special kind of joy with us.

Yesterday, as I was getting ready the movie father of the bride was on. It is generally about what happens in a wedding from a father’s viewpoint. In the brief time I watched, the process of planning the wedding was spiraling out of control. Everything the dad suggested was seen to be a problem. He gave in to allowing a wedding planner to take over the event and then things really went crazy related to cost.

Basically, He was given an estimate of $250 per person that attended the reception which was to be held in their own home. He gets a count on the number of people they are inviting….over 500 guest.

The next scene the has the family sitting at the dinner table with the invitations and is insisting that they get this list down to no more than 125.

When we have a special event we often have to look at the cost…we want to know that we can afford it. We want to control the list to our closest family and our best friends.

We feel it in necessary to be protective of our resources.

This morning we are talking about a problem. It is a big problem that affects churches all around our nation. It is becoming a bigger and bigger problem for our little church.

It seems that on any given Sunday there are far more people that never attend church than do attend church. There is no argument on that point. That is a fact.

What might be questioned is why?

We have a bit of a problem. We for the most part are church people. We think like church people that are white, middle class small town people. We think that those people that stay home on Sunday, treating it like another Saturday are missing something.

We just don’t understand why they don’t seem to feel the need to be in church!

They should know that they are welcome to come here any time. We will be friendly. We will do our best to speak to them. All they have to do is show up!

At this point II wonder how many of you have already checked out and started planning Lunch or started making up the shopping list.

I hope you will bring your attention back here for a while as we read the scripture for today.

Jesus has been moving around the country preaching to the Jews. The scripture identifies that the religious leaders have noticed that Jesus is baptizing more people than the trouble maker John the Baptist…he heads back toward the north to Galilee. History records that most Jews would have taken a longer route that Jesus choose.

They considered walking through the area of Samaria to make them ceremonially unclean. Our scripture picks up while they are on this part of the trip.

John 4:5-41

Tom – So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her,

Eric - "Will you give me a drink?"

Tom – (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

Cheryl - "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?"

Tom - (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Eric - "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

Cheryl - "Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"

Eric - "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Cheryl - "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."

Eric - "Go, call your husband and come back."

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