There are so many famous sayings about home: “Home is where the heart is,” “There’s no place like home,” “Home is my happy place,” and my personal favorite, “Home is where the wi-fi connects automatically.” Home is relative. I was born and raised in Tennessee and that is home; but I have never felt more at home than I do here- Centralia is my home. Tennessee and Missouri hold spots in my heart that make them both home to me. In fact, I have adopted the phrase “Show Me State with a Tri-Star Heart.” And though I absolutely love my Centralia home, I do come home to Tennessee to see family and friends. It’s always good to be in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, seeing family, driving through Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg; but by the end of the trip, I’m ready to be home in Centralia. Home holds a lot of meaning for me.
Not everyone is as fortunate as I am though. For some, home holds painful memories and rough experiences. It’s not a place of fond recollections of time with friends or happy holiday festivities. Home is not some place they ever want to return. To you, my friend, let me encourage you today to change your definition of home. Let me encourage you to not look at home as merely an address or a location, but the place where you feel loved, cared for, encouraged, and supported. That may very well be an address or it may be a group of people. Regardless of your situation, whether home holds fond memories or terrible nightmares, let me encourage you today to come home to a place where you are loved. Wherever or whoever that may be. Too often, our default is to tackle the world on our own and one of the hardest things for anyone to say is, “I need help.” I want to encourage as many of you as I can today, no matter where you are, to come home- no matter what level that is for you.
Church- those who call Jesus Lord, be that home. Luke 15:11-32 tells the story of the prodigal son. A story that most people are familiar with. It focuses on a son who squandered his inheritance and wound up living with pigs. He finally came home, expecting to be servant, but was treated like a king. This is EXACTLY what God did for us when Jesus died on a cross. He made us joint heirs with Jesus Christ, clothed us in righteousness, and called us sons and daughters. The forgotten son in the story is the older son who resented his brother being welcomed back. His argument was that his younger brother didn’t deserve to be welcomed back or treated like royalty. Jesus reminds us in this parable, that none of us were worthy, but the love of God surpasses all of that and we should rejoice every time one comes home. We must be home to those who struggle, those who have messed up, those who live without hope. We must be home to those who don’t agree with us, not compromising truth, but proclaiming it and trusting GOD to change hearts.
So, to the person struggling to get through the day, welcome home. You can find peace & rest in Jesus Christ. To the person who believes they have messed up beyond help, welcome home. We cannot out sin God’s grace. You can find forgiveness in the love that Jesus offers. To the person who has walked away from their faith and the church, welcome home. It is never too late to hand your life over to the Lord. You can find redemption in Jesus Christ. To the person who hasn’t made their faith a priority, welcome home. You can find grace through Jesus Christ who wants to know you and wants you to grow daily in that walk as you follow Him. To the person who has hardened their heart to outsiders and change, welcome home. You can find truth in the Word of God that will open up a vast world of opportunity to reach people who are lost, lonely, hurting, and in need of hope. To the person who doesn’t know Christ as their savior, welcome home. We aren’t perfect. Someone will say the wrong thing to hurt feelings and we won’t always live up to expectations; but I promise you this, Jesus ALWAYS does. He can transform your life in a way that you could not possibly imagine. You can find salvation in Jesus Christ and I would love to share with you just how He can do that.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach
In full agreement here. I pray that all can feel at home within our church family…now and always.