Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 8, 2007
Friends will bring you to Jesus
Youth minister applies Gospel to life today for local teens
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"He cured this guy; what a nice story," he said. "But here is the reality of it. Here you have these four guys who live miles away and have a buddy who is completely paralyzed.
"They hear about this guy Jesus who works miracles and they know he is passing through this nearby town. So they put their friend on a stretcher and the four picked him up and they walked him. It must have taken them an hour or two hours or three hours. It's hot out, they are walking and they are carrying this thing."
The men don't know what's going to happen. "They don't know if Jesus is going to heal him; they don't even know if they are going to have a chance to see him," Hart said.
"All they know is that their buddy who is paralyzed needs Jesus. All they know is that this guy Jesus has something that their friend needs.
"But when they get there the crowds are so large they can't even get in. There are hundreds of people and it's hot and it smells and is loud and people are pushing in on each other. And these people walk up with their friend and say, 'Big crowd.' But instead of walking away, they looked at each other and said, 'Let's get some rope.'"
Then they went up on the roof and ripped off the roof and they lowered their paralyzed buddy right in the middle of the house where Jesus was teaching.
"Jesus doesn't get mad; he doesn't overreact," Hart said. "You know what he says to him? He said, 'You are going to be healed because of your faith.'
"You see what's he is saying here? He is saying that faith gets God's attention. You may not think this is a big deal but it is a big deal. It takes faith for you to come here. That gets God's attention.
"If you had stayed home and didn't hear any of the speakers, God wouldn't have a shot at you today. But you are here and it gets his attention. Even if you are sitting here with your arms folded it's still a big deal to God. It makes him happy when his family is together."
Added Hart: "Maybe you don't have a friend who is paralyzed but I bet you have a friend who is so paralyzed with fear that they are afraid to go to church, they are afraid to pray, they are afraid to live the right way because of what people are going to say or think or do.
"I am going to suggest to you that if you are not the kind of friend who would go to that friend and try to lift them up and bring them to Jesus then you are not a very good friend.
"I'm not trying to condemn you. But the reality is there are people in your lives that need Jesus. He has what they need."
Sometimes even those who believe need people to pick them up, according to Hart. "I have this to say to you: Some of you are paralyzed in fear, afraid to give God a shot, afraid that's going to change your life.
"If you don't have four solid friends in your life that would pick you up and walk you to Jesus when you are paralyzed by fear or when you are running away from God, then it is time to reevaluate your friendships. That's the truth of the Gospel."
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