Here is my take on the passage and the outline of my talk this evening:
1. Intro -- Discussion of the episode of Shaun the Sheep when all the sheep (except Shaun) took a bus into town to attend the carnival. Bitzer the sheep dog had to go find them -- for their own sake.
2. Story of a boy from Cheryl's day-care (a long time ago) who grew up and lost his way. But he was recently found and everyone is excited about his recovery from addictions and new found faith. That's a positive example because not everyone is always excited when a lost person is found.
3. In Luke 15 there are three parables or stories about what happens when what was lost is found. In all three there is joy and celebration -- something which certain religious leaders didn't get because they were not in touch with the heart of God.
4. Key idea: God is passionate about finding those who are lost, and wants his people to join with him in celebrating those who are found.
5. But it's not always easy to celebrate the found -- sometimes it's really hard.
- The found can still be pretty messy -- even those who are found can have residual messiness.
- The found are so undeserving. We like it when people get what they deserve.
- Those who never think of themselves as found feel entitled to the bulk of God's attention -- for in their minds they've been faithful.
7. If you're not currently among the lost -- God is recruiting you to share his heart for the lost. This is why we exist as a church -- to share God's heart -- and to celebrate his successes -- his grace ad generosity.