|Pastor Brad led worship today.|
Junior High kids will be taking a special trip to the MUUUCE Retreat August 6-8.
The Bloodmobile is coming. Call Ruth Anne for details.
Gordy & Becky are having a 50th anniversary next Sunday at Gethsemane Fellowship at 2:00 p.m.
Our worship began with Come Thou Fount and 10,000 Reasons. After we spent a few minutes greeting one another we sang Jesus Messiah and closed with Cornerstone.
The offering taken, Leonard was invited forward to read Acts 3:1-10 then we moved to a time of prayer and praise.
Brad pointed out that the miracle is told as an event in history, but notes that the Biblical writers are writing about something bigger. In our modern era people argue about whether such miracles really happened, but the meaning of this story is not about whether miracles happen or not.
First, miracle gives us a basis for hope. This miracle took place at the Temple. The Temple was the place where heaven and earth met. And it took place at the gate called Beautiful. This gate was wonderfully awe-inspiring, a work of art. Right next to this gate is a line of broken people.
Is this the way the world is supposed to work? If God is here is this the way the world is supposed to be? Where is God in all this brokenness?
Then and now, it is the same story. Marriages on the rocks, abused children, alcoholism, self-destructive behaviors... Where are the miracles?
So it was that Peter and John were going into the Temple and this man lame from birth, after an exchange with Peter, began walking, and leaping and praising God. What's significant here is not that he got up and began walking. The language echoes an Old Testament prophesy from Isaiah 35 which states, "Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped, then the lame will leap like a deer and the mute tongue shout for joy." When God comes back to restore the brokenness of this world, Isaiah says, these are the things you will see.
In other words, this man's healing was a sign. It was the fulfillment of Scripture, an affirmation that Jesus was who He said he was and the power of God has been released into the world in a new way.
It should be noted that Jesus' miracles were not like magic tricks designed to wow people. Rather, Jesus was all about healing suffering. The Lord's miracles were used to take broken things and make them right.
Jesus' miracles are about making things the way they were supposed to be. Illness and death and hatred and hunger are unnatural. Jesus's miracles are not a suspension of the natural order; they are a restoration of the natural order.
One day every wrong will be righted, one day every lame person will walk and leap and sing for joy. There will be no more death, there will be no more tears.
The miracle gives us hope and gives us power.
This miracle is similar to one in Mark 2 by Jesus, and another in Acts 14 by Paul. In each there is a person who can't walk. And then there is a healing. And then an explanation.
In each case, the explanation diverts away from the miracle and focuses on sin. In Mark, the story of the man lowered through the roof in which Jesus states, "Your sins are forgiven." Jesus is implying, "You think you need to be able to walk, but what you really need is deeper still and that needs to be addressed."
More than what you are asking for is spiritual healing. In each of these miracles there is a call for repentance that follows. We often think we know what we need, but what we really need is spiritual healing.
Too often what we want is relief from our suffering. But as bad as our suffering is, it is not our biggest problem. What we need is a right ordering of our heart. If you have that relationship with God, you will have the power to overcome whatever you are up against.
Brad went further. These people who did miracles were not just anyone. They were themselves people who were broken that God's life might move through us. It's the way of the cross. As Paul stated, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me."
In the end, the purpose of life is not to our personal happiness or to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. It is to do the will of God come what may. Brad stated, "I pray for this for our church, for us to take up the cross and serve in His name... to be fishers of men, forgivers of wrongs and the lover of enemies... to care for widow and orphans, visit prisoners and minister to the poor and the hungry and the homeless... This is my hope for our church because I love Christ and you."