Today, I want us to consider who we are as Christians and how we fulfill our call as the Church. Our theme for the church is ‘Moving Forward with Purpose’ and that is exactly what we should be doing…Unfortunately, too many times, we as Christians don’t move forward because we don’t see any need. We are content to do things the way we always have because they ‘work’. We also don’t want to challenge ourselves to do more or different because that may take us out of the comfort of our pews and into the nasty, cruel world. Why would we want to do that? What are we called to do? What does it look like to Move Forward?
What happens in our scripture today can be easily overlooked…Crowded home – no room to get to Jesus…the friends believed that Jesus made a difference and wanted their paralytic friend to see Him, firsthand. They wanted to do this bad enough that they were willing to lower him through the roof…They knew that Jesus had the power to heal – they cared enough for their friend to lower him down to Jesus because that was going to be the only want that he was going to be able to see Jesus. What did these men have?
Jesus saw their great faith…They didn’t have the ordinary, stand at the door kind of faith. They saw the need of this man and knew the power of Jesus…they had great faith
They also had great love! They were willing to risk embarrassment and possible ridicule – not to mention their time and resources – all for their friend who they wanted to see Jesus. They had great faith and great love.
Those are things that the church seems to be missing today. We say we have faith in God until it is put to the test. We say we have great love until we actually have to prove it. The test…look around you in this community and surrounding areas. There are people who are dying to know Jesus. They don’t know that…they just know hopelessness, despair, hurt…they are blind to the healing power of Jesus. How many times do we ride around with eyes of great faith and great love and see God’s children rather than just random people…I think even more sad is that we go through our lives and don’t even see what truly is around us. We build a nice pretty wall and it has a nice pretty picture of the world on it. That way we don’t have to worry about what is actually around us because that is what we see. Matthew West sings a song about living in his own little world – population ‘me’…that is how many of us live because it is easier that seeing what is really going on in our world.
To help open our eyes today, I invited Gale Hoey here today. She is a woman of great compassion, great love and great faith. I know and have seen how she is seeing the world quite differently than many of us and I asked her to come share what we may be missing…
Gale Hoey helped us to begin to take off the ‘blinders’ and see what is really around us…not what we want to be there, but what is really there. She challenged us to open our hearts and minds and go beyond what we might normally do. She also helped us by allowing us to hear where God has put her in her life of service. What a blessing it was to have her as part of the message!
There are people who need our help…showing the love of Jesus, teaching them about the love that He has…That is done in so many ways. There are people who are on the outside of the church that would really like to come in…but they can’t seem to make the first step. Maybe they don’t for fear of what we will say or what we will think or how they will be judged…so they stay out of the family of God because it is just easier. We bridge that gap by reaching our hands out…by taking our feet and showing the gospel of peace…by opening our hearts to them. Many will say, “If I go, the church might collapse…” How about what Jesus says about leaving the 99 and rescuing the 1 and the rejoicing in heaven?? There are people paralyzed in despair and fear and sin and hopelessness…if we have great faith and great love of Jesus Christ – we can show them what it means to truly know Jesus firsthand. Take the blinders off and see what God would have US to do – leaving behind our own little world and moving forward with HIM!