Friday, June 22, 2018
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They call it "The Welcome Home You Never Had." It's a special week they have done in the past at Branson, Missouri, designed to honor all those who served during the Vietnam War. There were shows featuring some of the music stars of the '60s and '70s along with special appreciation events. Years after that war, I mean, I know there's still a lot of debate about it. But what there's not much debate about is that America's soldiers went there, risked their lives and sometimes laid down their lives. But because of how that war tore our nation apart at the time, these men and women fought the battles, but unlike the returning soldiers from America's other wars, their courage and sacrifice had been largely uncelebrated and unappreciated. Until someone decided it was time for the "welcome home you never had."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Welcome Home."
You may not be a veteran of military battles, but you may very well be a person who's a veteran of a lot of life battles. You've worked hard, you've made sacrifices, you've got the wounds to show for it, and through it all you've tried to be faithful and courageous. But not many people seem to have noticed. Not many people have said thanks. You're among that all-too-large group of people called "The Unappreciated."
Well, I want you to know someone has noticed all you've done and all you've gone through. Someone does appreciate it. And that someone happens to be the single most important person in the universe. Jesus has noticed. Jesus is grateful. That's the ultimate reason why it really is worth it. And it really is worth hanging in there to keep on fighting.
The Bible says in Colossians 3:23-24 - it's our word for today from the Word of God - "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." You know, that's important to remember. Jesus is ultimately the only One really worth doing it for. And He's watching every one of us, remembering how we run our race. And I want His standing ovation, whether or not anyone else ever applauds what I'm doing.
Any thanks or strokes that humans may give you are short-lived - here for one bright, shining moment, and then gone very quickly. But it's Jesus who waits at the finish line with a fabulous "welcome home" celebration and amazing rewards that will last for all eternity. Jesus is the Appreciator, the Rewarder of every noble thing we ever do. Your celebration may be delayed, but, believe me, it will be worth the wait and it will be worth the price.
Maybe your whole life has been, in a way, the "welcome home you never had." It's been a pretty, well, unwelcoming place for you. Jesus knows that feeling. God's book tells us "He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him" (John 1:11). Maybe that describes how you've responded to Him. I mean, Jesus came from heaven to tear down the wall that our sin has built between us and the God we're made to belong to. He had to die this horrible death on a cross to pay for and remove your sin. And now He's waiting with open arms to welcome you into His unloseable love, to welcome you into His family, and when you take your last breath, to welcome you into His heaven.
The question is, "Have you ever welcomed Jesus into your life as your personal Rescuer from your sin?" John 1:12 tells us that "all who received Him, to whose who believed in His name" - that means putting your total trust in Him - "He gave the right to become children of God." He's been knocking on the door of your heart for a long time, and I don't know how long He'll keep knocking, but all God's going to ask you about on Judgment Day is, "What did you do with My Son?" The only right answer is, "I welcomed Him into my life, Lord."
Look, if you've never done that, this is your day to pin all your hopes on the man who died for you; to throw open the door of your heart to Him, "Jesus, I'm yours." You ready for that? You ready to get this done? Go to our website. It's there for you right now - ANewStory.com.
This could be the day that you finally welcome Jesus into the life that He died for; the day Jesus welcomes you into His family. It could be the day that changes everything for you. In fact, it changes where you will spend your eternity.