Get Up and Walk!

Do you know the story of the healing at the pool? You probably know it better by the description of Jesus healing on the Sabbath. I’m going to follow Andrew’s lead from Sunday and take a different approach. Read the short passage below, I’ll meet you there at the end.

John 5:1-15

The Healing at the Pool

1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”

12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”

13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Oh good, I’m glad you’re here. Sometimes scripture reading tends to scare us away a bit, but you know, if you dig into it, it’s fascinating. This reminds me of a post I wrote a while back, read it here if you like, it’s called, “The Bible Gets You Going, Right?”

Having read the passage above, does any part in particular stand out to you?  Sure, Jesus healed on the Sabbath and had a point to make about that, but what about the first part, the part I think often gets overlooked?

6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

 

“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

How often do we wallow in our own self-pity, thinking things are never meant to work out for us. Somebody hurt me, somebody forgot about me, things didn’t go my way, I’ll never accomplish anything again. Do you ever find yourself in the pit of negativity?  I know I do. I often have big plans, great motivation, but then one little thing happens that blows it all away. I suddenly feel doomed and only see the past instead of seeing the next thing.

Andrew has a saying that he learned from his prior coach, current boss that always encourages Livy and her HappyFeet soccer team to pick up the pieces after a mishap. “Next thing! Next thing!” he yells. “Next thing, make it a positive and productive thing!”

Whatever just happened, happened. It is what it is, good or bad. What are you going to do about it? How are you going to respond? Where are you going to go next?

Get up! Pick up your mat and walk. 

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Seeing the Forest Through the Trees

Since taking a break over the holidays, Qexchange gathered tonight to begin discussing our new book, The Search for Significance. The house was packed (not everyone in attendance goes to Quest, by the way) and we jumped right into the topic.

Chapters 1-3 introduce the premise of the book, which is that we often base our self-worth on the opinions and accomplishments of others. I’ll be the first to say that I am currently on the road to rebuilding respect for myself after not finishing college. I’m finding, slowly but surely, that I can still become someone without that degree!  In fact, you know what? I already am someone without that college degree.  A college degree wouldn’t make me important. In and of itself, it wouldn’t make me respectable, intelligent, fulfilled or happy. All of those characteristics I strive for (and believe most of us strive for) are already right here waiting for me.  I already have importance, respect, intelligence, fulfillment and happiness, I just have to accept them.

The great thing is that God’s acceptance of us works the same way.  You see, we already have God’s acceptance whether we believe it or not. He’s already given it to us. We don’t have to do any certain thing, say any certain prayer, or believe any certain stuff. God loves us already. He loves us just as we are (yes, warts and all), but loves us too much to leave us just as we are. When we let go of our comparisons and fears, we can embrace who God created us as and blossom into who He calls us to be. We can find freedom in His grace.

When I allow myself to let go of the past and believe that God created me for a purpose, to believe that I’m already living my purpose, I’ll be free to bask in the glory of life.

And the same goes for you.

What are the two great commandments in the Bible?  Come on, you know them, say it with me:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself.”

We have so much trouble loving others because we can’t love ourselves!

Think about that. Allow yourself to be loved by yourself. See how much love you can then pour out for others.

We’ll do it together.

Don’t Miss Out!

I should apologize for the absence of blog posts for the last few weeks. I’ve been busy planning Quest’s 2012 and it’s certainly going to be an exciting year!

A newsletter will come out next week detailing the upcoming events, but I want you to have a heads up as soon as possible on a few things. Here’s some of the cool stuff in store:

Jan 24: Qexchange at 7pm  NEW BOOK!  We will be reading The Search for Significance. All are welcome, you do not need to attend Quest. This is held at the Clifton home, please email micah at quest2819 dot org for location information.

Jan 29: Prayer Breakfast at 8am at Quest. Join us for a short prayer session and breakfast before church on Sundays. This is held every Sunday, with breakfast being served every other Sunday. The 29th is a breakfast day, so don’t miss it!

Feb 5: First Sunday Potluck at noon at Quest. Bring a side dish and get to know each other better!

Feb 5: Super Bowl Party at 5pm at the Hartzheim home. Click here for more info

Feb 10: Youth Pizza and Planning Event  Are you a teen or do you enjoy hanging out with the awesome teens at Quest? Please come to our planning party as we find out what this great group of young people are interested in and are seeking from Quest.  Click here for more info!

Feb 17: Winter Jam Tour Spectacular Don’t miss this awesome concert at the Sprint Center!  We’ll carpool down there, tickets are only $10 at the door. Click here for more info.

Feb 24: Coupon Party at Quest at 6:30pm  Bring your coupons from the Sunday paper (start saving now!!) to this clipping party. We’ll match them to store ads and buy groceries for families in need.

Mar 24: Volunteer at Hillcrest Transitional Housing Thrift Store 10am-1pm   Join us as we help set up shop for Hillcrest Thrift Store’s grand opening! This is a great organization that helps get underprivileged and/or homeless people back on the path to success. More info here.

That should keep us all busy for a while!! If you have any questions about any of the events, please comment here or email micah at quest2819 dot org.  It’s not too late to get involved with anything you see listed above.

As always, prayer requests can be submitted here and will go straight to Pastor Corey.

Christmas Party Recap

Last Friday we celebrated Christmas at Quest with a good ole’ Minute To Win It Christmas  party challenge!

What’s that? You don’t know what Minute To Win It is??  Oh, my friend, you are missing out!  The TV show lends itself to at-home duplication of the 60-second challenges using household items. The tasks seem relatively easy, but when you’re racing the clock, the pressure mounts!

Our games were neatly packaged (if I do say so myself) with all the supplies necessary to keep the evening flowing smoothly:

We had a group of about 30, which was perfect! Some people played every game, some played a few games, some just watched the fun. We had food and drinks, galore!

The competition was Team Red vs Team Green, though we ended up not keeping score. I was too into the games to remember to award candy canes to the point jars!

Alright, on to the funny stuff:

Jingle In The Trunk: Attach a Kleenex box to your rear and shake the bells out in 60 seconds!

Face the Gingerbread Man: Get a cookie from your forehead to your mouth in 60 seconds without using your hands!

Wreath In One: Throw four balls through the wreath and into your bucket in 60 seconds.

Gift Bag Grab: Pick up gift bags of various heights with your mouth and set them on a chair. Don’t let anything but your feet touch the floor!

Reindeer Nose Dive: Holding a string in your mouth with a pompom attached to the opposite end, get the pompom to stick the Vaseline on your nose without using any body parts!

How much did you enjoy those pictures?? There are videos that are even better, but technical issues are keeping the stars of those films from being exposed for all to see. (Think: Andrew Clifton doing handstands, cartwheels, and booty bumps trying to get the bells out of his kleenex box!)

To say the party was really, really fun would be an understatement. So many people have talked about how great it was, we’ll definitely do it again next year. Hope you can come!

Last Sunday’s Intended Message

If you were at Quest last Sunday, you saw Corey’s perfect humanness revealed when he discovered he emailed himself the wrong notes for the sermon. Mistakes like this happen to the best of us and Corey rebounded with grace and delivered a great off-the-cuff, God-led message instead of what he had planned.  He did want the original notes shared with you, however, so below are the notes that he meant to email to himself for last Sunday’s message!

Who is Jesus?

Is Jesus fully man?

Is Jesus fully God?

Why did Jesus come to us through the Immaculate Conception?

As Christians, the virgin birth is key to our understanding of who Jesus is. Christ is the center of our religion. But I’m amazed at how few professing Christians know anything about who Jesus is. The Bible teaches that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. The virgin birth of Jesus is the means by which the full deity and full humanity of Jesus are wedded together in one person.

Scripture Reading

Luke 1:26-38

There are a couple of objections that are commonly raised by those who reject the virgin birth of Jesus. First, they say that the Hebrew word usually translated “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 actually only means a young, unmarried woman. This word, they believe, was then mistranslated with the Greek word for “virgin” in the LXX which was followed by the New Testament authors. In other words, the concept of the virgin birth is a mistake.

The problem with this objection is that although the Hebrew word translated as “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 can mean “a young, unmarried and eligible woman”, the only kind of “young, unmarried and eligible women” who were in that context were virgins. Even if you did translate it that way, it still would refer to the same thing.

The other problem is that the New Testament is explicit that the birth of Jesus was through a miraculous conception. The argument is based upon more than the translation of that word. We have testimony from the angel Gabriel and Mary herself that she was a virgin.

Another objection also raised is that the virgin birth is only mentioned explicitly in two places in the New Testament (Matthew and Luke). It is true that Matthew and Luke both announce the virgin birth most clearly. But Mark doesn’t contradict it, only beginning with the ministry of John the Baptist and baptism of Jesus. John certainly implies it with his statement that the Word was eternally co-existent with the Father and “became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1-3, 14).

The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 4:4, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman.” Which shows that God has kept His promise to send a deliverer who was called in Genesis 3:15 “the seed of a woman”.

What is the significance of Jesus being both fully God and fully man?

Does it really matter?

The virgin birth of Jesus Christ was the means by which He acquired a human nature without affecting His sinless deity. Jesus is perfect God and perfect man, 100 percent God and 100 percent man. Some emphasize the humanity of Christ to the exclusion of His deity. But the Scriptures teach both. The virgin birth is essential because it is the means by which Jesus maintains His divine nature, while assuming a human one. Both Jesus’ humanity and deity are important to our salvation.

  1. Jesus’ Humanity

a. Man needed a representative.

Romans 5:18-19 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.  For through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

b. Man needed a substitute sacrifice.

Hebrews 2:16-17 Fro surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.  For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

c. Man needed a mediator between him and God.

1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men, the testimony given in its proper time.

2. Jesus’ Deity

Only God could achieve our salvation. Because our sins are against an infinitely holy God, they are infinitely heinous and worthy of infinite punishment. The only way a finite human being can pay for his/her sins is by spending infinity (eternity) separated from God. Because Christ is infinite God, He was able to bear the infinite (eternal) punishment for all the ones given to Him by the Father in a finite amount of time (as He hung on the cross). Only God could achieve our salvation!

It would not have been right for the restoration of human nature to be left undone, and . . . it could not have been done unless man paid what was owing to God for sin. But the debt was so great that, while man alone owed it, only God could pay it, so that the same person must be both man and God. Thus it was necessary for God to take manhood into the unity of his Person, so that he who in his own nature ought to pay and could not should be in a person who could . . . The life of this man was so sublime, so precious, that it can suffice to pay what is owing for the sins of the whole world, and infinitely more.

The Sinlessness of Christ
The virgin birth is also essential because it ensures the sinlessness of Christ. The virgin birth is the means by which Jesus is protected in His human birth from the corruption of Adam’s sin. Jesus was fully human, yet without sin. As Romans 8:3 states, God sent His Son in “the likeness of sinful flesh”. It was real human flesh, but not sinful! Without the sinlessness of Jesus, He could not have paid for our sins for He would have had to pay for His own. In order to be our substitute He had to be completely sinless Himself. As Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:18-19,

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.  He was chosen before creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

As Dr. Albert Mohler has written:

Christians must face the fact that a denial of the virgin birth is a denial of Jesus as the Christ. The Savior who died for our sins was none other than the baby who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin. The virgin birth does not stand alone as a biblical doctrine, it is an irreducible part of the biblical revelation about the person and work of Jesus Christ. With it, the Gospel stands or falls.

I don’t believe that someone has to fully understand the virgin birth in order to be saved. The story of Jesus is capped by two miraculous events: the virgin conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit and the glorious resurrection. The story of Jesus is a supernatural story that must be believed on the authority of the Word of God. The doctrine of the virgin birth is biblical! It is not optional. It is essential to our salvation! There is no other means for our salvation that the one which God has devised.

Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

Living Our Mission!

Last weekend was a busy one for Quest!

On Saturday, Dec 3 a group of volunteers served lunch to the families of babies in the NICU unit at an area hospital. Because of HIPAA, the pictures aren’t too great, but here is one showing the group getting ready to serve:

Thanks to the area grocers and companies that donated food and/or gift cards. Thanks also to those that prepared food and donated crock pots!  We served smoked brisket sandwiches, green beans, sweet potatoes and desserts. Please keep the families of babies in the NICU in your prayers, especially at this time of the year. Celebrating the holidays with a baby in the hospital is extremely difficult and our prayer is that by providing a warm meal, we were able to provide temporary relief from some of the stress these families are facing.

On Sunday, December 5, we went SHOPPING!

Along with several of the kids from Quest, we journeyed to Wal-Mart to purchase toys for Toys for Tots and the Angel Tree programs. At Quest, we don’t have a time during our service when we ask for tithes, but it does cost money to run the ministry. The money Quest receives in tithes goes to keeping the lights on and to outreach (the service and social events we have each month). Quest’s pastoral staff is completely unpaid, leaving that money to go toward bettering the lives of others through Jesus.  On top of the monthly outreach activities, Quest donates 10% of the year’s given tithes to the community each December. Purchasing the toys for Toys for Tots was a part of this yearly Quest tithe and we had so much fun picking out the goodies.

FULL CARTS!! Such a great experience for everyone involved.  🙂