Okay, this is a new type of post for me. I know what YOU are thinking. You read the post title and thought, “Todd, this is a stretch.” Believe it or not, I do think every week, at the very least about the upcoming sermon. So that is what this post will be about. Each week I hope to write a post about the upcoming sermon theme or topic. As I prepare for the weekly upcoming sermon, I tend to think about it all week, all through the weekend and right up until I collapse on the couch Sunday afternoon … and then I begin to think about the topic for the next week. Through this weekly post, I am inviting you to think with me about the topic of the week.

I am interested to see if we could create an online discussion as I prepare for the message topic. This would help me help the congregation. I often lament that as a sermon comes around each Sunday, that the preparation and presentation is from one person’s perspective … the person giving the sermon that week … often me. So this is a way for contribution and perspective from others. I would love to have comments on the topic of the week. You could share books you have read, movies you have seen, articles from the Internet, or anything else that relates to the topic that may help me be better prepared for the upcoming sermon. The best illustrations are the relevant ones (books, movies, etc).

So let’s get right into it. This week I am planning to speak on probably the most famous parable in the Bible … the parable of the Prodigal Son. It is a story we all know so well. Therefore, my challenge will be to make it fresh and bring some insight into this story that people may have missed in previous readings. I hope and pray I can do that. But this is a big challenge so any help is greatly appreciated.

I wanted to finish our current series with this particular parable because I believe it captures what we are trying to teach this fall. We want to think and live and love like Jesus. He is the absolute model for us on how to live our lives. In this parable of the Prodigal Son he tells us something really important about his lifestyle. He spent time with people of questionable reputation. Why? He told the story because some people asked him, “Why do you hang around with the “riff-raff” of society. To me this is a lifestyle question. He answered that question with a story … actually three stories … but we tend to remember the third story best. The answer to the question is related to the extravagant love of God as illustrated by the father that welcomes his son home. It is an amazing story and I hope and pray I can adequately explain it. I would be glad for your help.

What are your experiences with living out this famous story as you follow Christ? How does the parable of the Prodigal Son relate to our lives today? Have you read a good book on the topic? Or seen a movie that illustrates this story?  Many years ago I watched a movie called Rainman. It felt like a prodigal story to me. I would be really glad to hear from you if you have any similar illustrations.

Normally I will try and post this earlier in the week so that a better discussion can develop and so that I will have time to process the feedback into my sermon.