♬ I Believe in Miracles… ♬
The other day a friend asked me if I had ever witnessed a miracle, and immediately my head started to run through any stories I could recall of some crazy healing or unbelievable provision from the Lord. These kinds of miracles are scattered throughout the Gospels. Especially in Mark, it seems like Jesus could barely eat a meal without being interrupted to cure leprosy or blindness or even death. I don’t know about you, but these are the things my mind jumps to when asked about miracles.
There’s a story in Mark 2, though, about a paralyzed man who gets dropped through the roof of a house by his friends so that Jesus could heal him. These people had heard about all the things Jesus had been doing, and they wanted their friend to experience a miracle first hand. What’s interesting about this story is that Jesus doesn’t immediately say, “Stand up, pick up your mat and walk out of here.” Instead, he first says, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” In the midst of all these crazy miracles Jesus is performing, Mark points our attention to something even crazier: Jesus can wipe away all our sins. It’s not that this guy was paralyzed because he sinned a lot and therefore he must be forgiven before he could be healed. Jesus was simply getting straight to the heart of the issue: the common root of all pain and suffering is humanity’s sinful condition. And Jesus says, “I can fix that. I’m going to make it right.” One pastor said it like this, “Forgiveness is the greatest miracle that Jesus ever performs. It meets the greatest need (we’re dead in sin without it); it costs the greatest price (Jesus’s death on the cross); and it brings the greatest blessing (reconciliation with God and becoming part of his family) and the most lasting results (life eternal).”
I don’t think miracles are as rare as we make them out to be. They are happening every single day when a sister forgives her family for not listening to her hurts, when a friend forgives a roommate for being petty with the chores, when a son forgives his dad for not being more present, when a traveler forgives airport security for racially profiling her. This is the Gospel at work. These are all just small tastes of the greatest miracle ever: forgiveness given through Jesus Christ. I need this miracle. And I want to be a part of bringing this miracle to others. So often, though, I choose to hold on to faults or wrongs because it gives me the feeling of power. Remember when we wanted a miracle to be hard? Well, forgiveness certainly fits that description. I don’t have an easy answer for this, but if I’m serious about bringing God’s Kingdom here and proclaiming Good News, I have to get serious about forgiving. I have to humbly submit to the way of Jesus and trust my little miracles of forgiveness are pointing people to the greatest miracle ever.
~Meg Hearl, NLCF Staff
By the year 2030, 60% of the world’s population will be living in cities. Ever wondered what it’s like to follow Jesus in an urban setting? Join a team of churchplanters from New Life and NLCF on a summer trip to Los Angeles, CA for an Urban Missionary Experience. We will be working with and learning from people living out their calling to love, serve, and bless others in the city.
Some of the people and organizations we will be working with are Kairos Los Angeles (network of churches started by New Life Christian Fellowship), Hope International, The Manna Room, ViaCordis, Bicycle Bread Co, and Open Arms Christian Center.
On the 4th of July weekend we traditionally do not have a Sunday church service. We encourage our homegroups to host smaller events and hang out with friends and neighbors. Check out the post below for one of these events on Sunday evening that is open to all: Whose Line is it Anyway?
by Joe Racek