I was reading through one of the familiar stories of Jesus and something amazing challenged me. The story is found in Mark 2:1-12. It is about one occasion where Jesus was teaching and the crowd was so big the house and the court yard could not contain anymore. These friends knew Jesus was the only hope for their disabled friend. They could have given up; saw the obstacles, saw the huge effort it would take, thought about the time waiting with no guarantee Jesus would even help their friend…for Jesus did not heal everyone. But these friends were not deflated by the difficulties they got creative and innovative.
These friends climbed up the flat roof to the wood, straw, clay, and clay tiles and made and opening and lowered their friend right in front of Jesus! That’s bold, that’s creative, that’s innovative, and that’s taking the initiative. Jesus seeing these friends faith heals the paralytic and picks up his bed and walks away. Wow, how amazing is that. But that’s not what challenged me.
What challenged me was the tenacity of these friends helping someone who could not get to Jesus on their own. As I pondered this I thought about the community I live in (Cypress City of North Orange County California) and the many people who desperately need an encounter with Jesus, yet are paralyzed…not physically, but paralyzed in their stress, their hurt, their pain, their self-focus, disabled due to another religion, incapacitated by preconceived notions about Jesus or faith or God or the Bible…they are held captive, hindered to get to Jesus.
Now sure the Holy Spirit is alive and well and His main ministry is draw people to Jesus (see John 16:7-13). Yet God has a call on us
Matthew 5:14-16 and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
And like these friends we are light the way, take the initiative to help the paralyzed people of our communities encounter Jesus.
Easter is a great opportunity for that. Invite your friends to your church’s Easter services. Sure it will be crowded and there will be a lot going to juggle; family gathering, responsibilities you may be taking on, your own desire to worship and take in Easter, so sure it’s complicated, but I believe God has placed certain ‘paralyzed’ people in your life to help them encounter Jesus…so grab a corner of their mat and do all you can to bring them to hear about Jesus.
Here at Cypress Church we have a number of opportunities this last part of Easter Week. You could invite and bring friends and family to our Maundy Thursday service, April 17th dinner provided but plenty of finger foods) to share in that upper room time where Jesus and His disciples shared a Passover meal. We will got through that meal and discover where Jesus pulled out some key elements and instated the ordnance of Communion.
You could also invite people to our Good Friday service on April 18th and enjoy Scripture reading, music, and a message on the deep meaning of the cross of Christ. It’s a contemplative time to soak in the reality that Jesus suffered for us to pay the penalty of our sin.
Then, of course you could invite your neighbors, friends, family, all the people you know to one of our 4 Easter services on April 20th; at the Cypress Campus at 8am, or 9:30am, or at 11am. Or over at our Los Al campus at 10am.
How amazing would it be to be used of God to help someone encounter the life-saving, life-giving, life-changing LORD Jesus!?!
Maybe you will be like one of those friends this Easter…I know I’m going to try.
Seeking to help paralyzed people encounter Jesus with you,
This whole Lenten season I have been giving out a daily Bible Reading Plan to help prepare you for Resurrection Sunday, here are those for these last few days. As you read think what is this passage teaching you about Jesus and how we should live and love like Jesus…
Wednesday April 16:
Matthew 26:14-16 (Also see Mark 14:10-11,
Thursday April 17:
(Maundy Thursday): John 13:1-20
At Cypress Church we have a Maundy Thursday service at 6:30pm this night…it’s a wonderful experience for the whole family as we experience a bit of what Jesus and His disciples experienced as the ordinance of Communion
was set up.
Friday April 18 (Good Friday): Matthew 26:47-68, Matthew 27:33-61
Also at Cypress Church we have a Good Friday service at 7:00pm. It will be a meaningful experience of remembering the price Jesus paid for our sin.
Saturday April 19: Matthew 27:61-66
Sunday April 20 (Resurrection Sunday!): Matthew 28:1-15
Celebration Services at Cypress Church are at 8:00am, 9:30am, and 11:00am
Los Al Campus at 10:00am
Cypress Campus: Cypress Church, 6143 Ball Road, Cypress Ca 90630
Los Alamitos Campus: Los Alamitos Community Center, 10911 Oak Street, Los Alamitos Ca 90720