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Connecting with People

Doc: Don't talk to anyone, don't touch anything, don't do anything, don't interact with anyone, and try not to look at anything. “Back To The Future”

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.

Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Mark 2:1-5

Being paralyzed today certainly leads to difficulties, but in the first century it meant that life was basically over. So when the friends of a man who was paralyzed heard that Jesus was coming to town, they wanted to bring their friend to Jesus so he could get his life back. But the house was so packed that they couldn't get their paralyzed friend into the house, so they climbed up onto the roof, made a hole in it, and lowered their friend on a mat down into the house. That is NOT something you just do - they could have gotten themselves in big trouble for destroying someone's house like that, and they didn't even know for sure how Jesus himself would react. But they wanted their friend to have his life back, so they took a personal risk.

Jesus' response was this: "Jesus saw their faith", forgave this man's sins, and healed him.

If these friends hadn't had the kind of faith to do radical things - the kind of love to take personal risks - he would have spent the rest of his life unable to ever move again. So the credit for healing this man goes to Jesus - but some of it also goes to his friends. It was their willingness to take personal risks, and their faith in Jesus, that led to their friend being healed.

God uses ordinary, broken human beings who enter into the process of helping others to be the vehicle through which others are healed.

This is how the Kingdom of God operates, through ordinary, broken human beings

And in doing so, those ordinary, broken helpers get some healing, too. This is built into the very fabric of your being - and into the very fabric of the universe. In fact, everything is what it is due to its relationship with other things - people for sure, but also trees, mountains, the earth, molecules, atoms, quantum particles…

The relationships you have are part of what defines you - you could not be you without those untold millions of relationships with people, with air, with water, with gravity... Just like this formerly-paralyzed man from the Bible - the relationship with his friends will forever be a defining part of who he is - they will always be a part of him, and he will always be a part of them.

Since this is true, guess what the Enemy tries to do? He tries to sever relationships. He tries to separate us from God, from our families, from our friends… God created us to be mutually dependent on one another, so the enemy's strategy is to cut us off from one another.

Satan tries to make us believe we are an island so God and others won't be allowed to love us, to help us, to bless us - and at the same time we won't love others, help others, bless others…

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Today we are taught to be strong individuals, and our society is becoming more and more isolated. But where God reigns, you'll find the opposite of that. It starts with Jesus, who is the perfect example of what it looks like to live-out God's will. Though he could have made himself rich, he emptied himself for our sake. He could have enjoyed great status, but he spent his time loving broken people, healing the sick, freeing the captives, even dying on the cross for all of us. And

He did all this "for the JOY that was set before Him" - for the joy of being in relationship with us instead of separated from us! Even God doesn't define himself apart from us. He makes our well-being His well-being. He's forever going to be in relationship with us, and we're forever going to be in relationship with him! "How deep the Father's love for us", and WE are made in HIS image!

You were created not just for yourself, but for others.

And you'll only find the joy of your own existence when you accept that fact, and start pouring yourself out for the sake of the others that you were created to be in loving relationship with! Everything that we see as being "for me" is still trapped in a cage of deception. Everything in the Kingdom is meant to be given away - that's where fullness of joy comes. In fact, helping others escape their "cages" is often necessary for us to be able to completely escape our own cages - that's how the Kingdom works, it's like a web where everything is interconnected.

For example, one of the big lies that Christians often believe is that we first need to get ourselves "cleaned up" before we can help others, but the truth is that it is only in helping others that we can fully escape our own "cages" in the first place.

Loving others right where you are is the only way to love others, so start loving them right where you are!

As you love them, you will help heal them, and in that process you will find love and healing for yourself, too!

1) Every good that's intended for us is also intended to be shared with others.
2) Our motivation isn't to be "because I'm supposed to", it needs to become "because I care about this person like God cares about this person." 3) Commit to pray for someone intentionally and consistently because you care about them. 4) Remember that the person is not your project. God is already working in their life, you're just coming alongside them in a sense of mutuality - you're a fellow broken person who genuinely loves them and is willing to share whatever you have with them.

I COMMIT TO…

  • Seeing _ through the eyes of compassion.
  • Show care to _ by listening and learning from them.
  • Reaching out and bringing more of _ into my life.
  • Sharing my faith and story with _.
  • Staying engaged in spiritual conversations with __.

Small Group Discussion Questions:

  1. Take a moment to reflect: How has the Enemy isolated you from others?
  2. How has the enemy isolated you from God?
  3. Who is someone that you will commit to pray for out of a heart of love for them?
  4. What is one specific way you can stop resisting being the recipient of God’s love? What is one specific way you will share God’s love that you’ve received with others?
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