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From February 13, 2015

A Reflection
  by Pastor Cliff

Hi Friends:

Are you the missing piece In Capernaum, Jesus was hemmed in by a mass of people who wanted to get close to him. Mark tells us a crowd of people filled up his house and spilled over into the street (Mark 2:1-12). House and street were full of people. Then five pushy guys began to elbow their way into the crowd. We know there were five; there was a paralyzed man on a pallet and four others, evidently neighbors or old school buddies.

Thereís lots we donít know, but what we do know is that these folks didnít quit when their plan to see Jesus ran into some complications. When they got to the street where Jesus was and saw the huge crowds, they could have decided to try again another day. But they didnít; they werenít that kind of folks. They were pushy. The text implies that they tried to move the crowds aside but couldnít. So they figured out a way to get the paralyzed guy up to the top of Jesusí house. Then, without asking first, they dug a hole in Jesusí roof big enough to let this guy through. These men worked hard to get their paralyzed friend in front of Jesus, believing that if they did, all would be well. And so it was. However Jesus may have felt about the hole in his roof, when he saw their faith, he did what they wanted.

Let me pose a question: How many friends does it take to bring someone to Jesus? I canít count all the folks responsible for putting me in front of the Lord. Start with my mother, who regularly brought me to church. Then add in at least one and sometimes two Sunday School teachers for every year of my life until I was twenty-two and started teaching a class myself. These werenít professional clergy, they werenít seminary trained; they were salespeople, farmerís wives, schoolteachers, a foreman of a paper mill crew, a police officer. They were faithful to come and herd a bunch of squirmy boys and tell us about Jesus.

How many people introduced you to Jesus? I expect that while the details of our stories will differ, you could talk about the people who made the effort, who saw the need, who kept after you, and who brought you into a community of faith. Because of their faith Ė because of their tenacious, steady, consistent presentation of what they knew about Jesus, and because they really believed that putting you in front of Jesus would make a difference, and sometimes because they were pushy enough to insist that you come and give it a try, you and I are here.

How many friends does it take to bring someone to Jesus? Who knows Ė maybe youíre the one extra friend who is needed. Here at the beginning of Lent, letís thank God for those who brought us into a community of faith, and letís honor their memories by deliberately inviting our friends to join us in our walk with Christ.

Blessings,

Cliff Houston
Interim Pastor, FBCR

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