Lenten series concludes with message of compassion

First Byline: 
David Purtell - Staff Writer

The congregation at Bethlehem Baptist Church heard a message of compassion during the final service of the Barnwell County Ministerial Association's Lenten series.
Rev. Obed Ortiz, of Sunny Vista Church of God in North, guided listeners through Luke 15:11, a story about a man whose son leaves home but quickly wastes his wealth and decides to go back home. His father does shun him for his sinful ways, but instead shows compassion and celebrates the return of his son.
Ortiz said the message is that even though the son did not deserve it, his father showed compassion.
"That is a father, amen," Ortiz said.
Ortiz said God is the same way. The lord will always show compassion and love for everyone, whether they deserve it or not, he said.
Ortiz also spoke about forgiveness, saying "When you forgive somebody you will not use what happened against them anymore. That's what forgiveness is."
Ortiz said even though people get lost in life, they can always be found by God.
"When I'm down, He'll lift me up," Ortiz said.
Ortiz spoke about the importance of having a safe home to return to. He asked, are you secure where you are, or is it time to go back home? He said God's home is always secure and always welcoming.
"There is a place. There is a home. There is a Father," Otriz said, "His word never fails."