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Monday, July 10, 2006
"Seeing Remarkable Things!"
"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" (Luke 5:19).
We are presently pastoring a church on an interim basis, where we have been since October, when they initially invited us. Our role will conclude at the end of this month as they have elected a long-term pastor. We have sure grown to love the people and they have been exceptionally warmhearted and generous to us.
Brooksyne is teaching a Vacation Bible School at the church and yesterday she had a unique ministry experience. She was teaching from the passage about the paralyzed man who was let down through the roof by his friends to see Jesus. She thought it would be neat to illustrate the story by removing a piece of suspended ceiling tile to give the kids a visualization of how they might have lowered the man into the crowded room.
So she got up on a chair to remove the tile. As she was shifting the tile a big chunk of concrete fell out and bonked her right on the upper forehead! Thankfully she was not hurt, although she did let out a loud scream. After seeing the rock I was quite surprised that she wasn't hurt.
I ponder anew on the daily Bible text, a portion of Scripture that usually brings a smile to me as I consider it. When I preach it I normally focus on the faith, friendship, resourcefulness and persistence of the men who let the paralyzed man down through the roof.
But after Brooksyne's experience I consider the event from below. The room was crowded. Surely the operation was not neat. I assume it was a thatch type roof. Surely a lot of debris fell on people as they made the opening. I wonder if a big piece bonked anyone on the head or if small pieces got in anyone's eyes. I wonder how those who wanted to be near Jesus reacted to the major distraction. Were they annoyed that after arriving early and working so hard to get into the crowded room to be with Jesus they were now forced to make room for the "late ones?" I have also pondered on the reaction of the homeowner. I sure wouldn't appreciate someone cutting a hole in my roof!
I wonder if Jesus smiled at this scene. (I sure think He did, perhaps He even laughed!)
But the focus of the story is not the roof but the forgiveness and healing of Jesus and the praise He received. The story ends with this statement, "Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, 'We have seen remarkable things today'." May the Lord open our eyes today to see remarkable things today. Perhaps He wants to use us like He used the four friends to bring about remarkable works among His creation!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen C. Weber
Brooksyne's prayer: Jesus, when I consider the zeal and creative way the paralyzed man's friends brought him to You I'm challenged to do likewise. This man was helpless and unable to reach the Healer on his own, but You healed and saved him due to the faith of his friends. They cared compassionately and the barriers did not stop them from bringing him to his only hope. Help me to be persistent in reaching out to those whose only hope for salvation is by bringing them to You, my Savior.
Give me creative ideas that will enable me to break through the barriers. Show me loving gestures that will help them know how deeply I care. Grant me a merciful heart to those who doubt so that I might snatch them from the eternal fire of damnation. As You lay the soul of a needy individual upon my heart, may Your love be seen through my faithful witness. In Your name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Note from Brooksyne: Stephen took the camera to church to get photos of the children in VBS. Wouldn't you know he'd also want a photo of the concrete stone that bonked me in the head! I only have a small lump and a painful bruise unseen by others since it's in my hairline. How grateful I am for God's protection and I am quite sure this unusual event will now come to mind from now on whenever I read or teach from the passage of the paralyzed man in Luke 5!
"Rescue the Perishing" (audio) Here's a contemporary rendering of this gospel song by Fanny Crosby which seems appropriate for the theme of our message today. Fanny wrote this hymn following a conversation with an 18 year old man who needed to give his heart to Christ. In fact he did and this prompted her to write this song that speaks of our need to reach the lost and dying in our world.
PS: The men of the church were quite puzzled as to why there was a piece of concrete like this on the ceiling tile and I suggested they might check out the entire ceiling to see if there are others. We conjecture it might have been an extra piece on a concrete block wall (it was a chunk of mortar) that had fallen on the tile or perhaps it was placed intentionally to hold a tile down (NOT a good idea!)
This morning I took this photo of our Rose of Sharon tree in full bloom.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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