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Fantastic! Power and Healing

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Today Pastor Ed preached a second sermon in the series titled "Fantastic: incredible stories from Jesus' life and their significance for us."  This one covered the passage in Luke 8:40-56, where Jesus heals a woman sick for years and then raises a little girl from the dead.

First, Jesus is asked to come to a synagogue leader's home to heal his daughter, who is very sick.  Along the way, he's interrupted when a woman touches him -- and Jesus feels power going through him to heal her.

We have to admit, that is a weird thing for him to say!

For those who'd like to domesticate Jesus, this encounter is deeply disturbing.

This goes way past bizarre to fantastic.

God's power is real.  And it's huge.  We shouldn't be surprised when it has a physical effect.

Then the synagogue leader is told not to bother Jesus any longer, because his daughter is dead.  But Jesus goes to his house and brings the girl back to life.

There were three conditions surrounding these healings:  Desperation, faith (those two are cousins), and the presence of Jesus.

His presence is here today.

There are two reactions to this:

  1. You can't be serious.
  2. I believe it.  But what's wrong?  Why don't we see more of this?

To the first, we say:  Yes, we're serious.  We have seen Jesus' power.

Please, examine your doubts and your worldview.  When the rational approach favors faith, we turn to doubt.  Put your doubt under the same scrutiny as your faith.  Science doesn't prove a materialistic worldview, it assumes it.

To the second (Why don't we see more of this?), we look at Philippians 3:16 and 4:9.  We need to put into practice what we've already attained.

Why is our boldest prayer, "Help the surgeon's hand?"


I'm still processing my response to this message.  But even as I write that, I wonder if that's a way of distancing myself.

How about you?  What's your reaction?  What thoughts and feelings did the message stir up?  Does anyone have stories of feeling God's power?

Small Group Feature: The Men's Group

Finding Freedom "Between the Bookends."
As men who follow Christ, it is striking to us how often we find ourselves in situations where we feel desperate, alone, angry and unsure.   Our men's small group focuses on helping men who are facing truly difficult situations at home and at work -- so that we can learn to follow and be accountable to Christ and to each other when our own misdirected strategies for life stop working. 
When we have time to reflect, we can recognize that often, when we are at the "end of our rope," we have chosen (sometimes unconsciously) to live outside what we have termed "the bookends" of God's Grace.  On one side, the bookend is our Trust in God, on the other side, the bookend is our willingness to Keep an Open Heart so that we can respond with the love and power of our mind, body, soul and spirit, to the challenges the world throws at us every day.   
When we momentarily forget to trust in God, we display it by our fearfulness or our arrogance, and we will quickly and painfully be brought back to our knees.  When we momentarily fail to keep an open heart, we become blind to the pain and anguish of others, even those we love most.  Eventually the pain that comes from our blindness will also force us to our knees -- and help us to actively practice the choices of trusting in God, and keeping an open heart.  
Our group is currently studying the book Speed Bumps on the Road to Intimacy with God. by  Mike Landry.  
In our study and sharing, we will be examining how to we can effectively respond to life's speed bumps by moving away from our habitual responses, and examining how we can create new habits that expand our Trust in God, and that enable us to Keep an Open Heart.
Gateway's Men's Group is led by Jan Zachariasse, and meets on Tuesday nights in Ashburn.

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