Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September 3, 2014

"Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus. When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”  And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”  But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”  Luke 5:17-26

People came from far and near because they heard Jesus was in the house.

That is typical of what happens when Jesus is in the house!

Also typical is the two kinds of people who came to see Jesus that day.

First, there were the fault-finders. The fault-finders were represented by the scribes and the Pharisees.

Their fault-finding came out of their self-righteousness, which by its very nature cannot be wrong, thus finds it necessary to prove others wrong.

Fault-finders lift themselves up by tearing other people down. That's why they came from all over the region to be in the house with Jesus.

While Fault-finders are quick to recognize the needs of others, they are not aware of their own spiritual neediness.

Jesus message of righteousness and truth was exposing  the unrighteousness of those trusting in self-righteousness . That was causing them great anxiety and it was time to discredit Jesus once and for all. 

Then there were the faith-finders as represented by the four friends who carried their faithless friend clear across town in order to get them to Jesus.

Faith finders believe God's Word and whenever He speaks the Word they believe it and learn it and shape their lives according to it.

Faith-finders are sensitive to the spiritual needs of others since they are so painfully aware of their own neediness! Because they knew where to go to have their spiritual needs met, they knew where to take their needy friend!

Fault-finders and faith-finders. 

Every church has some of each.

So, I ask you, which are you? 

Are you a fault-finder or a faith-finder?

September 2, 2014

One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven. “ The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?  But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.” Luke 5:17-26


What an amazing and thrilling story!

There is much to be learned from these four friends who helped their friend find healing at the hands of Jesus. Sunday, Lord willing, I plan to share some truths from this account to challenge the FredWes family because there are some direct applications from their ministry to the ministry of a local church that wants to get people to Jesus.

First, they wanted to carry their friend because Jesus was in the house.

The main reason people want to go to a church is because they know Jesus is in that house. Likewise, the reason they want to bring their spiritually needy friends is the same reason, because Jesus is in that house.

It's a worthwhile reminder of what is most needed to attract people to church. Many churches have bought into the idea of what it takes to get people to choose a church:
  • A high-powered, high personality, high-profile pastor
  • A high- powered praise band with a worship leader to match
  • High quality worship productions
  • High-powered programs for every age and every need
  • And highly polished promotions for all of the above
There is nothing wrong with any of those things but they are poor substitutes for the presence of Jesus in the house. When you have the leadership and the budget and the staff and the talent to make all those things happen, it gets very tempting to invest all your focus and energy toward making them happen. The time, the thought, the focus, the practice and the planning required to execute all those things can distract from time spent in prayer. It is easy to drift away from trust the Lord and start depending on talent, creativity and planning.

I have served in a couple of situations where we faced those issues and I know how easy it can be to fall in love with creativity and lose touch with Christ. It's a battle but one worth fighting because when you have all those benefits and still have Jesus in the house - powerful things can happen!

When these four friends carried their needy neighbor to see Jesus, they found no room in the house because Jesus was in the house.

Of all the things we need at FredWes, the thing we need the most is to have Jesus in the house. 

How does that happen?

Seek Him first and surrender to Him and don't settle for less. Jesus comes where He is invited and welcomed.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and these things will be added to you as well." Matthew 6:33