“The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks.” – Luke 14:12
Jesus includes a diverse mix of people in his circle of friends; people whose names seldom make the “in crowd’s” invitation list. He affirms their dignity by sharing life and meals and stories with them. He learns their names, listens to their concerns, and touches them. His affirmation of their dignity has a deep healing effect on their lives. Sin is forgiven. Guilt and shame melt away. Demonic strongholds are broken and mental health is restored. There is something profound about the way Jesus affirms the dignity of people; it releases hope and health into the atmosphere. If this is the type of community Red Letter Christians dream about, we will do well to follow the way of Jesus and create families of compassion that include the excluded.
Larry Stoess is an author, public speaker, and urban church planter. He loves telling stories about how dreaming with God will empower people to make old and broken things new again. Larry and a band of friends founded the Church of the Promise in Louisville's Portland neighborhood; The Table, a pay-what-you-can community café; and Promise Housing Plus, a non-profit construction company. He has written about their experience of dreaming with God in his new book: Think Red.