Friday, September 01, 2006

Taking People to Jesus

Everywhere I preach for the first time I share the story of my daughter Stephanie being healed of arthritis when she was ten. She is sixteen now, with a driver's license, and is a walking miracle. The same doctor who said she will be on medication the rest of her life is the same doctor that said she has no sign of arthritis in her body. It's a long story, but it was a dark season for me and my wife Esther. We were pastoring a church and in the middle of a building program.

One day, I was golfing with some pastor friends of mine. We were on the tenth tee box when I decided to call home and check on Stephanie. Esther explained that my daughter was having a "flare" that day. I knew what that meant. Stephanie had what is known as polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis which affects five or more joints. It can attack any joint at any time or every joint at the same time. That day was an "every joint" day.

Have you ever reached the point where you could handle no more information, where you feel like the weight of the world overwhelms you? It was that moment for me. I had prayed all the prayers I knew to pray. I had done all I could think of to do. Now, all I could do is sit down and weep. At that moment, my friends came over to me, sat down with me, put their hands on my shoulders, and took me to Jesus. Just like the paraplegic man in the New Testament where his friends tied ropes to his bed, carried him to the roof, cut a hole above the head of Jesus, and lowered this man down - that's what my friends did for me.

It was at this moment I understood a passage in scripture that I preached many times before, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6,7). Isn't that incredible? I can't explain it, but I knew the peace of God was all around me. It was like I was standing in an ocean of peace. Peace is like that, you do not know how it works, but you know it when it shows up.

Simply put, isn't that what the body of Christ does? We take people to Jesus. We understand that in ourselves we have nothing to offer, but Jesus has the answer - he IS the answer. Jesus doesn't give us the same peace that the world has to offer: that's a wish or a hope. Jesus offers us His peace. And he can do that because he is the Prince of Peace.

Hey – it’s what we do.

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