The Power of Extraordinary

May 16, 2018 — Leave a comment

Many umbrellas. One red.

What’s the most extraordinary thing you’ve ever seen?

I asked people on social media and here are a few of my favorites:

“My teenager cleaning his room without being told to.”

“Three guys on one motorcycle riding up a winding road in Guatemala, using only their cell phone as both headlight and taillight.”

“A nonverbal, elderly woman I took care of said “God is love” shortly before passing away.”

“Two people riding a motorcycle on Hwy 192, east of Kissimmee–naked except for their boots. It was bike week at Daytona.”

“One day while on duty, I was behind a lady in a new Cadillac. We were stopped at a light on a four lane road. A cattle hauling semi truck and trailer pulled up beside her and I saw a cows tail sticking out of the side of the truck. About the time the trailer and cow’s tail was even with the lady’s open drivers side window, a stream of cow urine shot into her window. The lady tried to get her window up but gallons were flowing in. The light changed and the truck, trailer and offending cow went on. I stopped to help and kept her from getting run into until we could get her off the road but could do little else.” (from a Police Officer in Colorado)

I want you to know something today:

*When we connect ordinary people with the love of Jesus, extraordinary things can happen.

Would anyone here like to experience something extraordinary today?

Would anyone here like lost people to experience something extraordinary today?

Stay tuned!

Luke 5:17-26

17 On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. 18 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, 19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. 20 And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. 26 And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

Let me start by pointing out how this passage begins and ends.

It starts off…

On one of those days

And ends with…

“We have seen extraordinary things today.”

I want you to experience extraordinary things today and I want people in our communities to experience extraordinary things today, but—for that to happen—we must help to connect them with Jesus.

That being said, let me affirm two truths I believe.

Jesus can make anything extraordinary.

Nothing truly extraordinary happens without a true connection with Jesus.

How can we help people to connect with Jesus?

Here are a few keys to helping lost people to connect with Jesus:

Extraordinary Friendship

Here’s all we know about the men who took their friend to Jesus:

18 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus,

This doesn’t tell us much about the paralyzed guy’s friends, but we do see ordinary guys who become extraordinary friends.

They were ordinary. Luke refers to them as just, “some men.”

Well, this is proof that “some men” can do something extraordinary when they simply put love into action.

To make a positive impact in this world we don’t have to be anything special. We just have to be good friends.

Honestly, the Bible doesn’t even say these guys were friends with the paralyzed man. Even so, we do see signs of true friendship.

What are the qualities of a good friend?

Willing to Sacrifice—These men were putting themselves out to help this man. Carrying him, trying to get him inside the house, and even going so far as to put a hole in the roof to get him before Jesus.

People who are Selfless—Do you think these guys had needs? We don’t know, but what we do know is that they did not allow their problems to keep them from helping someone else.

What about you? Are you more concerned about your problems than you are about your friend’s problems?

People who are willing to Seek for and with—These guys were both seeking for this guy to get help and seeking with him to get that help.

They went seeking for him and did for him what he could not do for himself. They lifted him off his corner and delivered him to the feet of Jesus.

But, they didn’t just hand him a tract with information about Jesus and walk away. No! They walked with him…carrying him…and they never left his side until they saw him healed!

Those are 2 important qualities in a true friend.

Let’s be the kind of friends who never stop seeking for our friends to make sure they never feel lost and let’s also make sure to never stop seeking with our friends until they find healing in Jesus.

That’s what extraordinary friends do.

But, if we want people to connect with Jesus, it may also take…

Extraordinary Force

I love what these guys are willing to do for their friend.

19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.

Let’s look at a few of the barriers these guys had to overcome:

Crowded House

This house was full of religious people who had come from all over to listen to, learn from, and witness the ministry of Jesus.

Yet, none of them was discerning enough or caring enough to make a “hole” for some guys carrying a paralyzed man on a bed.

They were “in”—they were in the presence of Jesus—and that was all they cared about!

May we never be like that!

May we never be more concerned about our salvation than the salvation of lost people.

May we always be willing to “make a hole” so that anyone and everyone can have a chance to connect with Jesus.

It’s not about capacity, it’s about compassion.

Calloused hearts

I don’t want to make too much of an argument from silence.

We aren’t told why those inside the house did not make room for this group of people to enter. That being said, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch, in light of who was in the house (Pharisees and teachers of the Law) to suggest that what might have kept them from making a hole for this paralyzed man was a lack of compassion.

I pray that we never lose our compassion for lost and hurting people.

I pray that we never forget what a gathering as Christians for Church is really all about.

It’s not about a show; it’s about the Savior!

It’s not about sitting in the presence of the Lord; it’s about seeking for and with the lost!

It’s not just about the teaching; it’s also about the Teacher!

It’s not just about the message; it’s about the Messiah!

It’s not just about hearing the Word; it’s about sharing the Word!

It’s not just about being holy; it’s about making a “hole” for someone in need!

It’s not just about the lesson; it’s about His love!

Bottom line: 

These guys were willing to rip the roof off if that’s what it took to get their friend to the feet of Jesus!

I love our church building, but I don’t love it more than I love lost people.

It’s all gonna burn!

To reach lost people, I’d be willing to…

Knock down walls

Make more room

Give up my seat

Put up with music that may not be my preference

Put up with something I may not like personally

Park farther away

Sacrifice my time serving in the nursery

Sacrifice pretty much anything and even rip the roof off, it that’s what it would take to get lost people to the feet of Jesus!

That’s what extraordinary friends do. They use extraordinary force, if that’s what it takes to get people to the feet of Jesus.

But, if we want people to connect with Jesus, it may also take…

Extraordinary Faith

These guys’ faith was so extraordinary, Jesus could see it.

20 And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”

What do we see in these guys’ faith that is so extraordinary?

In these extraordinary friends we see that Extraordinary Faith

Rises

These men really believed that Jesus could help paralyzed people to walk again so—while the Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there—they rose up and picked this guy off of his street corner and delivered Him to the feet of Jesus.

If we really believe that Jesus has the power to make impossible things possible we won’t just sit there; we will rise!

We will rise up out of our beds and come to church!

We will rise up out of our seats and serve where we are needed!

We will rise up out of our recliners and sectional couches and share the love of Jesus with our neighbors!

We will rise up out of our comfort zones and do everything we can to get people to the feet of Jesus!

The legalists sat there while people—like this paralyzed man—were suffering.

May we always have a faith that rises! Especially, when it will result in hurt people finding healing through the extraordinary love of Jesus!

Picks up mats (beds)

These guys had so much faith that they picked up a man who was unable to pick himself up.

They picked him up and did not set him down until they could lay him at the feet of Jesus.

This kind of faith truly delivers people!

If we open our eyes we will see people sitting on “mats” all around us. 

What are you willing to do to deliver those people to the feet of Jesus?

Give more?

Serve more?

Love more?

Are you willing to eat with them…building intentional relationships through which you can introduce them to Jesus Christ?

If we have extraordinary faith, we will pick up other people on their mats and do whatever we can to get them to Jesus.

But, if we truly have extraordinary faith, we will believe that Jesus has done what He says He has the power to do and we will pick up our own mats!

Oh yes!

I’m about to drop some of you at the feet of Jesus, right now!

Some of you came to Christ years ago.

You were saved!

You were forgiven!

You were healed!

Yet, you’re still sitting on your mat…paralyzed by fear, shame, guilt, and a complete disbelief in the power of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and His Holy Spirit!

Stop being pathetic!

Stop being a victim!

Stop being less-than!

Stop waiting for someone else or the government or the church to do what Jesus has already done for you!

Rise! Pick up your mat! And, go home!

Carry the thing that once carried you by allowing Jesus to transform your mat into a message!

and Goes Home

The word here for “home” is the Greek work, “oikos” which means “an inhabited house.”

Jesus wants this man to let the people back home and share what he’s experienced with those who know him best.

That’s one of the most important things we can do: share what Jesus has done in our lives with those who know us best.

In going home we have a chance to testify that we’ve met a man who has the power to transform…

Our “paralysis” into praise!

Our “mat sitting” into a message!

And our ordinary days into extraordinary days!

I love how this event ends.

25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. 26 And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

What do we see here?

We see that extraordinary friends, using extraordinary force, and showing extraordinary faith can be used by Jesus to do extraordinary things.

Because these friends connected this man to Jesus he found…

Extraordinary…

Forgiveness

Jesus forgave him of his sins.

Healing

Jesus healed him from his paralysis.

Purpose

Jesus transformed the purpose of his life from sitting on a mat to sharing a powerful message.

Let me affirm some things I believe to be true: 

Jesus can make anything extraordinary.

Do you believe that?

Nothing truly extraordinary happens without a true connection with Jesus.

Do you believe that?

Extraordinary things can happen when we are intentional about connecting people to Jesus.

Do you believe that?

I saw an example of this a few weeks ago.

That Saturday started off as just an ordinary day until Jenine Hawkins and her daughter Myranda, and Valerie Montanez and her cousin Tiffany, decided to take some homeless people in Greeley to Jesus by taking Jesus to some homeless people. 

“Pastor Arron… Random acts of kindness spark that you lit in the congregation, sparked in me and a fellow journey attendee to love on the dislocated (aka homeless)today. We made breakfast burritos and handed out water and prayers as well. It was a truly invigorating day!”

It was also a truly extraordinary day!

Which is what happens when we love people like Jesus.

*This content is available–along with a lot of other FREE resources–at: Loving Like Jesus

 

©2018 Arron Chambers

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