The second rain will bring prodigal children home

Marko Joensuu         No comments

The time after World War 2 has seen the greatest number of people leaving Church in history. But I believe that the first harvest of the second rain will bring millions of these prodigal sons and daughters back to God.

For hundreds of years, the state church system in Europe kept people within the influence of Christianity, and most people believed in God and Jesus as the Savior of the world. Their lives didn't always reflect that belief, but neither do our lives always reflect our belief. 

But, today's Western world is full of people who used to go to church—many years ago. Perhaps their parents or grandparents were church regulars, but they dropped the church after they left school.

But God sees these people still as part of His family—His lost sheep. They might not see themselves as His children, but God has promised to love everyone that loves Him to a thousand generations!

Unfortunately, many churches today are managed by the 'older brother' of the Prodigal Son story— the one that stayed behind to look after the family business, the one that never quite grasped the Father's love.

Many people have criticized the Toronto Blessing, or the Father's Blessing, as an ineffective movement. Why should we spend so much time in experiencing God's love?  Put perhaps it has all been about healing the older brother's heart so that he would be able to receive the prodigal son.

Let's look at the story about the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 again.

Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

The older brother had never understood that the Father loved him. And that's the biggest stumbling block in churches.  Most Christians have never understood how much God loves them; hence they are unable to extend that love to others.

In most churches, the Father isn't there at the door, welcoming the prodigal son, but the entrance there is blocked by the older brother who won't make the welcome of the prodigal son comfortable.

In the last few years, God has given me the opportunity to work with many people who have in some stage of their lives 'fallen from grace' in ministry. This has really taught me to understand the Father's love for all people.

To me, disgraced ministers are perhaps the most fitting version of the prodigal son story today. And yes, some of them have done terrible things, but so had the younger son in Jesus' story. And so have we!

It seems that Jesus was trying to create a son the Jews of His time would have perceived as the most reprehensible person on earth. Not only had he left the chosen nation of Israel; he had also wasted his fortune with prostitutes, and was so low that he didn't even get the food eaten by pigs that consumed refuse created by humans. The Jews weren't allowed to eat pork, and Jesus said that here's someone who wasn't even allowed to eat what the pigs ate!

God never stops hoping that even the most disgraced minister or former believe would come back to Him. He wants to restore both the abused and the abuser.

Make space for the prodigal children

I believe that the next move of God in Europe won't start with the coming of the un-churched to the churches, but with the return of the prodigal children to churches. And later on these people will bring their friends along, as they will see their life transformation.

Many of these prodigal children have a lot of issues that we might find reprehensible, unless our hearts have been transformed by the Father's love. Unless we let God's love transform our hearts our church won't be a welcoming place for these people.

And, unless your church is a welcoming place for the prodigal children, God will have to look for another church to care for them. And trust me, if He can't find a suitable church in your town, He will start another one! And then your church will be full of miserable, unforgiving people, and the other church will be full of thankful, merciful and compassionate people who understand the Father's love. And even you would rather be in that other church.
It is time to pray that we would be ready the return of God's prodigal children.  When the first drops of the second rain will begin to land on earth, they will begin to come to their senses, and consider return to home. Please make sure that they will be welcomed with the love of the Father rather than the older brother's indignation.

Published by Marko Joensuu

Marko Joensuu has worked for over sixteen years in the publishing and media ministries of Kensington Temple. He is an author, publisher and screenwriter.
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