Jesus said, “At a church service, the preacher called people up front, and two of them came up. One of them was an employee at Focus on the Family and the other was a heroin addict. The good Christian prayed aloud to himself, ‘Father in heaven, I praise your name because I have been chosen by You to be holy. I am not a thief, a sinner, an adulterer or a junkie like this man. I pray and read the word daily and I tithe all my net income.’ The addict stood away from the altar, bowed his head and whimpered, ‘God, I’m a screw up—help me, just help me.’ Listen here—the addict left the church with a relationship with God. The churcie didn’t. Because God raises up everyone who lowers himself, and he pushes down everyone who pulls himself up.”
Someone around Jesus reported to him the news about some criminals whom the police beat up. And he responded to this, “Do you think that these criminals were worse than anyone else because they were beat up? On the contrary, if you don’t repent, you will have as bad happen to you and worse. Or what about the drug house that collapsed on those who occupied it—do you think that they were worse people than those who lived around them? Listen to this: unless you repent, you will all be destroyed in the same way.
“Someone had an apple tree in his backyard, and one day, during apple season, she came out back and there were no apples! So she spoke to her landscaper, ‘For three years I’ve been hoping for apples from this tree and I’ve got nothing! It’s useless. Why don’t you dig it out?’ The landscaper replied, ‘Ma’am, if you would just be patient and forgive it this fault this year so I can care for it. By this time next year, if you find no fruit, fine, we will dig it out. But if it gives you apples, then it will be worth it.’ “
All the homosexuals and the homeless and the drug dealers and sex workers and meth addicts and convicted child pornographers came to Jesus to listen to him. And the conservative evangelicals and the Bible scholars denounced him, “He is opening the door of the church to the wicked.”
Jesus said to them, "You know that I'm a healer. People who are healers don't hang around healthy people-- that'd be pointless. They hang around the sick. Even so, why should I offer healing to you people who think you've already got it? If you've got the salvation market cornered, then you don't really need me, do you? I came to receive the screw-ups."
Jesus told them this story, “Look, if you had a hundred cars and one of them was stolen, wouldn’t you forget about all the other ninety nine and just focus on the one until it was found? You’d call the police, call your neighbors and be generally freaked out—not about the ninety nine, but for the one that was lost. Then, when it is found, you would drive it home proudly and happily. And you’d call your neighbors and the police and say, ‘Praise God! My stolen car was found!” It is this very joy that God has when a single sinner repents and comes back to God, away from his sins. He loves that more than ninety nine church-goers who only ever say the right things.
“Suppose there was a woman with ten coins, worth a thousand dollars each and one of them came up missing. Wouldn’t she take out her flashlight and turn all the furniture upside down until it was found? Then, once it’s found then she calls up her neighbors and say, ‘Yeah, I had lost this expensive coin, but praise God, now I’ve found it.’ Even so does God rejoice over one sinner who turns back to God away from his sin.”
“There was a father with two sons. The younger son said to his father, ‘Dad, I can’t wait for you to die to get my inheritance, so give it to me now.’ So the father divided all of his wealth and gave the two sons their own share. A few days later, the younger son collected his belongings and traveled to a godless nation and wasted the money, living by his impulses. After all his money was gone, an economic depression came upon the nation and he was in desperate need. After begging for a job, someone hired him to clean up rooms in a brothel, picking up needles and cleaning soiled sheets. No one actually ever paid him, so he began to starve, finding the crumbs left in the rooms to be appetizing. Finally, he came to his senses and said to himself, ‘Even the laziest of my fathers farmhands eat to their fill, and here I am starving to death? I know what I’ll do, I’ll go back to my father and tell him how evil I have been and then ask him to hire me. After all, I’m not worthy to be his son.’ “So he left that place, traveled back home and came to his father. His father saw him from a distance and felt his heart leap within him and he ran to his son, grabbing him and hugging him desperately. Once he could catch his breath, he said to his father, ‘Father, I have done evil before God and yourself. Don’t take me as a son—I don’t deserve it.’ His father, though, called his workers and said, ‘You—go into my room and get out my best clothes and shoes and give them to my son. You—get the necklace with the family crest on it and bring it here, and put it on him. You—get into the kitchen and prepare a feast with steak for everyone. Because this is my son the one who died. Now his come back to us from the dead—he was lost, but now he is returned.’"
(Passages translated and updated from Luke 18, Luke 13, Mark 2, and Luke 15)