MARVEL Part 2

Miracle Healing Stories Point Us To The Amazing Love Of Jesus.

Tim Lundy
Mar 14, 2021    45m
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Do you believe in miracles, and that they still happen today? Miracle healing stories point us to the amazing love Jesus has for us and allows us to marvel at His incredible power and compassion. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

Transcription
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This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: 00:00 Well Venture, as we continue on in this series entitled Marvel, as we look at these miracles of Jesus, it has been amazing for me, personally, just studying about these miracles, hearing stories. In fact, I appreciate Connie's story. In fact, I can so relate to what she was talking about. I had a similar experience in my life, that I'll share even in this message.

Tim Lundy: 00:24 But in all these stories, we're looking at these miracles that Jesus did. Specifically, the ones laid out in the Book of John, where John wants to point us to Jesus, not so that we believe in miracles per se, but so that we would believe in the miracle maker, we'd believe in the one who can accomplish these things. This week we've got a pretty simple outline, you can see it. It's really a simple message, I'm going to tell you a few stories, a few miracle stories, and then I want to ask you a few questions so that we can experience what God's doing in our lives today. We don't want to just marvel at Jesus from afar, we want to experience the marvel of who he is in our life every day.

Tim Lundy: 01:11 In our stories, the first one that we see, if you look in John chapter 4. John puts a couple of miracle stories back to back, we're going to look at both of them. Because in both ways, Jesus defies the expectations of not only the people that he helps, but also the crowd that's around. Look the first one, John 4:46, it says, "Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine." Last week, we saw him in Cana, he's back again. We don't know if there's something special about this place, but as he comes back into Cana, "There was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death." So we've got this royal official, he was either an official in Harrod's court, or maybe he was part of the Roman entourage. We don't know exactly his title, we just know he's a really important person. He lived in Capernaum.

Tim Lundy: 02:15 Now Capernaum to Cana is 20 miles. So when it says that he went to Jesus, he had heard about Jesus, he went to Jesus, this isn't a simple journey. And yet, he's a desperate man, he literally goes to beg Jesus for his son's life. Look at Jesus's response, it's a little bit different than we would expect in it in the next verses. Jesus said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” He's almost a little off putting at first. He goes, man, you just have to see something, don't you. I love how the Royal official responds though, he says to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Now again, this may not mean much to us, but even the fact that he would address Jesus as sir, you didn't do that as a Royal official. I mean, they had a real strong pecking order, you had the Royal official up here, then you had normal people, and then you'd have a guy like Jesus, who was pretty poor, he's known kind of as a traveling rabbi. He certainly wouldn't merit the title, sir, from a Royal official. But remember this guy's desperate, if you had your son and he's dying, and you can't do anything about it, and this is the one person in the world that you think can make a difference. You suddenly don't care about your official title, you don't care about the pecking order, you don't care about all the status in it. This guy's desperate and he's humble. And he looks at Jesus and he says, sir, if you don't go there, he dies.

Tim Lundy: 04:03 Now look at Jesus' response, Jesus just gives him a command. He tells him, You go, and your son will live." Now notice what he doesn't say, he doesn't say, let's go. He doesn't say, hey, all right, I'm with you. Come on, we'll go take care of this. See, I mean the expected thing is, and you'll see it in a lot of miracles, when Jesus heals somebody he's right there and he touches them, or they touch part of his garment, some way that he's in proximity. Jesus looks at this guy though, and he says, hey, here's what I want you to do. I want you to start that 20 mile journey home, and your son's going to be okay. Now that would be pretty hard step of faith, wouldn't it? I don't know about you, if I'd made that journey, if I was asking Jesus, I would feel so much better if he was going to come with me, if he was going to go do something. But he asked this guy to trust him, and I want you to trust me by just going.

Tim Lundy: 05:07 And here's what I love about the guy, "The man took Jesus at his word." Isn't that a great phrase? Here's this guy, he has nothing else to go on, but he looks at Jesus and he takes him at his word and he departs, he goes, and he starts making the 20 mile journey home. And I can only imagine, because it's not a quick journey, there's no cars, I mean, it would take him more than a day. In fact, we're going to see the next day as his servants come to greet him, he's been traveling all that time. Look what happens in the story, "And while he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” It was just gone. "Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” Look at this last line, "So he and his whole household believed."

Tim Lundy: 06:16 I mean, he's connecting the dots with it. By faith, he trusted Jesus. By faith, he took him at his word. And as he's going, his servants come and they go, hey, your son's alive. And he goes, no, no, I want to hear more details. When did it happen? They say, well, it was 1:00, 1:00 in the afternoon. And he knew that's the exact time, Jesus did exactly what he said he would do. Maybe not in the way that he personally expected it, but in the way that Jesus alone could accomplish it. And remember the goal of all these miracles that John's teaching him, his goal is that we would read these miracles and we would believe in Jesus. And so he points out, man, not only did this guy believe, his whole household believed as well. And you can look at that and you go, well, is it a coincidence that it just happened at 1 o'clock? A lot of times we like to write these things off, because we don't know how to explain miracles, because it's God working in a way that really defies the normal ways that he works. Remember it's God that sustains our universe, it's God that runs everything with such consistency, that we have these laws of nature that we depend on. And when he moves in these ways, and when he moves on our behalf, a lot of times we discount it. I love that this guy didn't, it not only strengthened his belief, but also his whole household.

Tim Lundy: 07:46 And guys, as I've been hearing your stories, and sometimes it's big things that God's done, sometimes it's small things. In all of it, I don't want to just write it off as coincidence, I don't want to ascribe miracles where they might not be, but I never want to rob God the glory of what he's doing.

Tim Lundy: 08:07 I think of the story Mike Anderson tells of right after he became a Christian, he got a letter from the IRS, they were asking him about some tax returns. And as a Christian, he had to answer honestly, that he had lied on those returns. And he said, it began a series of painful meetings with the IRS. And he didn't know how it was going to turn out, but he knew God was calling him to trust him, he knew he had to tell the truth. Finally, one of his last meetings, he pulled in front of the federal building there and the meter wouldn't take his money, he was down to pennies. it wouldn't take pennies. He was already late for it, and just kind of out of desperation, he said, God, I can barely take care of this with the IRS, can you just help me here? And he went into the meeting. When he came out to his car later, he looked over and there was the piece of paper, right under his windshield wiper. And he thought, thanks, God really appreciate it, and he went over and picked up the piece of paper and realized it wasn't a ticket. In fact, it was a note from a friend of his. And on it said, hey, Mike, I noticed this was your car, and that your meter had run out. Don't worry, I took care of it. Chuck. His friend Chuck just happened to be walking down that street, just happened to notice his car, just happened to see that the meter was out, just happened to have the change to take care of it. As Mike would explain it, he goes, hey, it may not be big to you, but to somebody that was drowning, to somebody that was desperately reaching out to God, it was just what I needed that day, that he's listening, that he notices. See, all of these stories are designed to help us trust Jesus more, to help us trust God more. We're not doing this because we believe in miracles so much, we believe in the God who accomplishes daily life, much less the miracles and he does it in unexpected ways.

Tim Lundy: 10:23 You know, John follows up with another miracle story right back to back. I mean the very next verses he starts in John 5, "Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 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." So he's describing the many gates that go into Jerusalem, the sheep gate that was there. And there was this big pool, and the colonnades are like, porticoes, like shaded. Columns that would have the shaded area, and the people congregated underneath them. And it's interesting, one of the facts, you know, over the years, scholars have doubted these stories. A lot of people, because they have miracles in them, go, these can't be true stories. And if you looked in the early 19th century, 20th century especially, people went through and they picked the gospels apart. And they said, this doesn't even match what we know of Jerusalem, there's no pool by the sheep gate, and these colonnades, and all of this. Until 1964, when an archeologist was digging and suddenly discovered this huge pool right by the sheep gate, discovered the foundations for five colonnades. I mean, just like the story told it. This is one of the things I love about archeology, because I know these miracles can be hard to believe. I love that all throughout the Bible, there's always these kinds of details. And archeology has yet, over 2000 years, there's yet to be discovery that's disproved the Bible. In fact, the more they dig, the more they find things like this.

Tim Lundy: 12:09 Jesus came in, and there's this big pool, and the colonnades. And all around it, look, "Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years." There was a rumor, we don't know what the story behind it was, in this water, an angel would come down, every soften and the water would move, and whoever got in the water first, they would be healed. And we don't know if that's a legend, we really don't know where that story started, Jesus doesn't even address it at all. But all of these people would gather there, and ultimately it became a place where people that were disabled could gather and they could beg, beg for alms, beg for money. Because remember, there's not a social system per se, the temple took care of them to some degree.

Tim Lundy: 13:00 But can you imagine this one guy that's there for thirty-eight years, he's been disabled. From what we can tell, he's a paraplegic, couldn't walk. Thirty-eight years in a culture where there's no wheelchairs, there's no access, ramps, there's no ADA. I mean, life was hard already back then, and that much more if you're disabled. As Jesus comes to him, look as it continues, "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?” That may seem like a dumb question at first, do you want get well. And the man said to him, "The invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred." Remember the legend of when the angel comes down and the water stirred up. "He said, I have no way to get in, While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”.

Tim Lundy: 14:01 So Jesus comes, and he looks at this guy, and there's compassion for him. But he asks him this question, he says, do you actually want to get well? Now we might immediately go, well, of course he wants to get, well. Don't answer it so quick, but part of what Jesus is determining here, do you really want to experience a different life? Because as much as you can hate the life you're in, sometimes when it's the only life you know, you may think you want to get well, but you really don't, just the change, the stepping out, the newness of it. I've seen this a lot over the years in counseling, in fact, I've realized the genius of what Jesus is doing here. Because sometimes I'll talk to people, people that are dealing with a broken heart or broken home, dealing with issues in their life. And some form or another, at some point in the conversation, I'll ask them, do you really want to get better? Do you really want to step forward? Because it is very easy to get trapped in the life you know? And as much as you may complain about it, you really don't want to do anything differently.

Tim Lundy: 15:22 Jesus looks at him, says, do you want to get well, you want to experience a new life? And notice, even the guy's response is, but I'm trapped, there's nothing I can do, I don't have anybody to help me. He can only think of one way that this is going to get better, I mean, it's got to happen in that water, I've got to get in first, that's the expectation, that's the only way this works. And then Jesus looks at him, look at this radical command. He just looks at him and he says to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” There's another way this can happen, it's outside the norm, it's outside what you expect, it's outside what you know, it's outside your experience, it's outside of your discipline, it's outside of everything else. I'm looking at you right now because I'm the son of God, I'm the only one that can do this, and I'm telling you, get up. And when you get up, go ahead and pick up your mat, you're not laying here anymore, this isn't your life anymore, and it's time to start walking. And in that moment, "At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked."

Tim Lundy: 16:34 Now think about how amazing this miracle is, because in that moment, bones would have to reset, muscles that had atrophied after thirty-eight years suddenly have strength and function, nerves that haven't fired, muscle memory that would have to be there for the brain to be able to tell the legs how to work and how to pick up the mat. I mean, all that happened in that moment of that miracle, it didn't say at that moment, he started physical therapy, he began his journey and he slowly learned how to walk. Jesus just goes, hey, let's speed up the whole process, let's just do it right now. And the guy gets up, and it doesn't say he stumbled, doesn't say any of that, just he gets up and he's got control, and he has function, and he picks up the mat and he walks.

Tim Lundy: 17:30 Now, you would think at this point, man, this is the biggest celebration ever. Way to go, Jesus. I love how John at the very end of the verse even, he kind of puts this ominous sign, "The day on which this took place was a Sabbath." And if there was a soundtrack you'd kind of hear, bump, bump, bomb. I mean it's ominous, you go, wait, why would that be ominous? He just healed a man that for thirty-eight years, couldn't walk. Well, look at the very next verse, "And so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed," So they see this guy who has been healed “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” And no again, he's talking about the Jewish leaders, the Pharisees. And remember God had a set law, there were set rules that the people of Israel were called to follow. And by the way, Jesus kept every one of those, he never broke any of God's laws. But these leaders over the years, they had added rules on top of the rules. In other words, if God's law was here, they thought, you know what, we better have a buffer zone.

Tim Lundy: 18:45 And so God had said, hey, remember the Sabbath, keep it Holy. There's this one day a week where you don't do your normal work, one day a week where it's you give it to God, one day a week that they [inaudible], it's a day of worship, it was a day of rest and refreshment. And they go, yeah, okay, that's good. But we need to, you know what, add some more rules to make sure nobody works, and so they came up with all these extra rules about what was considered work or not. And by the way, picking up a mat and caring, was one of their rules. And so they see this guy and they're like, hey, what are you doing? Who told you you could carry a mat? Look at the guy's response, "He replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” I mean, I'm just doing what the guy who just healed me, told me to do. And there's a part of this that's almost humorous, that these guys are so fixated on this rule, they're missing the big picture of what's gone on here.

Tim Lundy: 19:47 And the guy goes, Hey, I'm just doing what the guy who healed me, told me to do. And they said, who is this that told you to pick it up and walk again? They've missed the whole miracle. They don't care about the miracle at all, they just care about you're carrying this mat, who told you to do it, "The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there." I mean, he doesn't even know Jesus' name, Jesus already gone. And so this whole scene is playing out, and again, it's all about these expectations, it's all about what we get fixated on, and what we lose sight of. A little bit later, Jesus finds a man. Look at it, it says, "Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him..." And I love this line as well. “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” Now I don't know what the guy was off to. Maybe he's like, I've got new legs, I'm ready to go live. And Jesus goes, hey, fella, there's things worse than not being able to walk, and so, nobody healed you just to unleash you. You were healed so that you could follow God with your life, you don't need to be about that. "The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well."

Tim Lundy: 21:07 So these Jewish leaders then come and confront Jesus. Look at the last verses in this story, "So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath," Look at this guys, "The Jewish leaders began to persecute him." "And In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” I love this response. So they find out is Jesus, they come up and they go, hey, are you the one that told him to pick up the mat and walk? Notice again, they've totally lost sight of the miracle, totally lost sight of the fact that by the way, in the Old Testament, you know, one of the major signs of the Messiah? Is he makes lame people walk. It's supposed to be this flashing light that should show them that Jesus is the Messiah. But instead of seeing the flashing light, all they can see is their rules, all they can see is what they think is wrong, their preconception of how God's supposed to work. So they come to him and they go, are you the one? And look how Jesus responds. He goes, hey, hey, here's my defense, my Father's still working in me. Here's what he's saying, that God, even on the Sabbath day, God didn't stop working, he sustains the universe, he saves us, he does things. Because he's God, he's doing his work all the time. So he says, my Father's working and I'm doing his work.

Tim Lundy: 22:45 Oh, this really sets them off, "For this reason, they tried all the more." Now they want to kill him. Notice first he was persecuted, now they want to kill him. "Not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God." I mean, they're so ballistic, and Jesus knew exactly what he was saying, by the way. I mean, Jesus could have deflected in some other ways, he literally walks right up to him and he says, hey, I'm going to poke the bear, we're going to take this head on. God's working, I'm working, because I'm doing the work of God. And they knew in that moment, oh man, he's making God his Father, he's making himself out equal to God. And that's exactly what he was doing, but here's what they had missed in the process. He could make himself equal to God, because he was actually doing the things that only God could do. And if they had stepped back long enough to look at the actual miracle, they would've stopped, and their jaws would have dropped, and they'd go, hey, we're actually in the presence of Messiah. But because they had their categories, because they had their preconceptions, because they knew exactly what they thought God was supposed to do, they can't even see it, they miss the marvel of it all. And as you read through these gospels, you're going to see this over and over again. The very people that should be most excited that God is with them, are the people that turn on him, are the people that persecute him. The people in this passage, they want to kill him, and ultimately they will. They miss it, they totally miss what God's doing.

Tim Lundy: 24:45 Because these stories, they're fascinating, they're inspiring. It's so awesome, again, to read what our God can do, but it's also convicted. As people today, and I'll just say, as your pastor, I want to experience God. I want to see God move. And I want to make sure that in any way, I'm not missing how God wants to move in our time. Now hear me, God has no obligation to do miracles. And I have no expectation that every day he's supposed to show up in these kinds of ways. He was doing some distinct things when he was here on the planet, but I also want to study these stories, and I don't want to let my limitations, and I don't want to ever let my lack of faith at times, miss what God is doing all around us.

Tim Lundy: 25:39 So as we close out today, I want to ask you three questions, there are three questions I'm asking, as I look at these stories, as I learned from these miracles. Look at the first one, are you desperate enough to humbly and persistently seek God? Are you desperate enough? You know, the nobleman that came, the thing that really stood out to me in the whole story, is he's desperate, he's got nowhere else to go. He can't rely on his wealth, he's a wealthy man. He can't rely on his power, he's a powerful man. He can't rely on medicine, there was nothing else to help. He's desperate enough that he's willing to humble himself before Jesus and ask. You know, there's times I wonder as I look at it, and I read through scripture, Jesus talks a lot about persistently praying. Scripture points us to that place of being desperate enough you throw yourself to God. I mean, Jesus, in his first big sermon says, blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, blessed are those who know they have nothing in themselves. It's not a bad place to be at the end of yourself, and sometimes it's when we get to the end of us, that God shows up the most.

Tim Lundy: 27:07 You know, I resonated with Connie's story earlier, when she talked about needing her mother to just have enough sense to be able to sign these papers, to have her reason return to her. You know, years ago, my brother was an alcoholic, and he was in the process of drinking himself to death. And the alcohol haze had set into point, he wasn't thinking straight anymore. And kind of has an immediate measure, Lea and I had taken in his two daughters. What we thought was just going to be a short season while we got him help, turned into not just a short season, ultimately, they became our daughters. And I remember we hit a point where I needed him to sign some legal documents, it was going to make it a lot harder if he didn't sign as we went through that legal process of getting the authority of the girls. And I flew down to Tampa to see him, and he was pretty far gone at this point. And I had the papers all drawn up and I talked to the attorney, and she said, you need to get him to sign, but here's the deal. you've got to sign it in front of a notary. This has to be notarized, or they're not going to accept it in court.

Tim Lundy: 28:20 And it was hard enough to get him out of the house, much less to a notary, I didn't know anybody to call. All I knew is right down by the Publix grocery store, there was a little UPS store and they would notarize there. And so I went down, and through it at this point, he had alcohol dementia and there was a lot of paranoia. When I pulled out legal papers, he was real skeptical. And all during that day, I kept talking to him, and we actually went to the UPS store three times. And I'd get him to a place where he would get in it, and then you'd just see this wave of distrust come over him, it was just like he was gone. And he'd go, what do you want me to sign? You're trying to take my money, aren't you? No, I'm not doing this, and he'd go out to the car. And a few hours later, I took him back to the UPS store, the same little clerk that was there, he's watching this all play out.

Tim Lundy: 29:17 And the third time, I finally had to explain it to him, hey Todd, I got to get the girls in school. Todd, we need to move forward. Todd, I've got to be able to do this. And I thought he had it, and we literally were walking in the UPS store. And again, I just, it almost felt like darkness came over him, and he got that evil glare at me, and he didn't trust me, and he started to walk out. And I literally, at that point, I was just desperate. And I just said, God, would you please help me? I can't do this, I don't know what to do. And in that moment Todd stopped at the door, and he turned around, and it was like evil was gone and his eyes cleared. He walked over to me and he put his hand on my shoulder, and he looked me in the eye and he said, do you promise me you'll take care of my girls? I said, Todd, this is what this is all about. I promise you, please come sign, and we put it on the counter and he signed. And I'll never forget the clerk, who's seen this play out three times that day, he's kind of looking skeptical. He was like, I'm not sure about notarizing. And I mean, I leaned over and I said, you were going to notarize this or you and I are taking it outside. And he said, yes, sir. And he reached over, there was no miracle there, it was brute force at that point. But I mean, I was like, after all this, you will notarize it. And in that moment, I remember walking out with those papers. And as soon as we walked out, he was gone again, we lost him to the haze for the rest of that trip. And really, I didn't see him many more times after that where he was ever clear again. But in that moment, I'm going to tell you it was a miracle for me, because I couldn't control it, I couldn't do it. But God showed up.

Tim Lundy: 31:37 And I don't know what you need, maybe it's a miracle, maybe you just need God to move, maybe you need something in your life. Don't discount the power of prayer, don't write it off. But don't go into it holding anything that you can do, there's this place in scripture where God wants us to be desperate, so desperate that we realize we need him, and we have to humble ourselves before him.

Tim Lundy: 32:03 The second question, I'd ask you, are you willing to take him at his word and do what he says? You know, in both these stories, Jesus gives a direct command. He tells a one official, he says, hey, I'm not going with you, but I want you to go, you just trust me, and the guy goes. The guy whose laid there for thirty-eight years, he looks at him and he says, hey, here's what I'm telling you, get up., i's time to get up and pick up the mat. And the guy trusted him, and he obeys. And again, it may seem too simplistic, but I'm telling you part of these stories is just learning, do we just trust Jesus at his word? Do we just trust what he's telling us? Do you just trust him enough to actually obey scripture as it applies to your life? To actually apply it to your life when it comes to your finances? And you trust him enough with it, that you'll obey like Mike Anderson, no matter what it means. Do you trust him enough with your dating life? Do you trust him enough with your marriage? Do you trust him enough with your sex life? Do you trust him enough with forgiving someone? Do you take Jesus at his word and trust him?

Tim Lundy: 33:20 Do you trust him when he asks you to step out by faith, to do something that maybe he's not asking anybody else, but he's asking you to trust him? You know, one of the emails I got about miracle stories, there's a young woman in our church. And she wrote about when she was in college a few years ago, she felt like God was really telling her that on the Sabbath, on Sunday, that she wanted to honor it, to really make it a day of rest, to make it what God had designed. Not put a bunch of rules on it, but she made a commitment before God, she said, you know what, I'm not going to do my schoolwork on Sunday, I'm just going to give that to you. And it seemed fine until one weekend she came up to it and she had this paper she was working on, and she literally worked on it until midnight, Saturday night. And she said, am I going to live up to this commitment or not? She goes, yeah, I think God's calling me to, I'm going to trust him. She didn't work on it Sunday, got up early Monday, tried to finish it, but wasn't finished. She's walking to class with this unfinished paper, she knows it's not going to be good. She's like, all right, Lord, you're just telling me to let go. As she walks up to the class, she sees a note there, the class has been canceled for today. Hey, you may think it's coincidence, I don't.

Tim Lundy: 34:37 In fact, just a few weeks later, she found herself on another weekend, another paper. With all that she had going on, she had a full load, she had a busy schedule with that. And again, she was struggling, can I get this paper finished? And she couldn't, if she was going to honor her commitment on that Sunday. Monday morning, she's walking to class, and again, she doesn't have her paper. And she's really hoping, all right, God, are you going to cancel the class? Are you going to cancel the class? The class wasn't canceled. She went and she sat on the back row, everybody starts handing their papers. In fact, one of her friends looks over and says, you didn't do your paper. And she's so embarrassed in that moment, she's like, okay, God, you're obviously teaching me a lesson about grades or something. And right then the professor speaks up and he goes, you know, this paper was a really hard assignment, wasn't it? Do you guys want some more time? Yeah, I'm going to give you more, hey, push the papers back. Y'all take some more time, you can turn it in later, we don't have to turn them in today. Again, in just that moment, God shows up. Now you may write it off as coincidence. Do you know what I ascribe it too, it's not this massive miracle, nobody's life was saved or anything else, but let's face it folks, no miracles are big to God. And God decides in that one day for a young woman who said, hey, God, I think you're leading me in this, and I want to take you at your word, I want to trust you with it. Then God shows up.

Tim Lundy: 36:17 Final question I'd ask you today, and this one I really want you to ask yourself, are you open to letting go of your preconceptions of how God works, so that you can actually experience the work of God? Are you open? Because I think a lot of people have a preconception. In fact, I think most people walking on the planet, some of you have a preconception, there is no God. And so you look at these stories, and it doesn't match your worldview, it doesn't match the way you think the planet works, and you just write it off. Some of you, you've got a conception of God, but can he really work in these kind of ways? Can he work in dynamic ways? Can he still show up today? And you're quick to dismiss it, you're quick to not look at it.

Tim Lundy: 37:08 In fact, a lot of us in church, even in Bible church, we get a little uncomfortable with miracles. I think we kind of see the ways that it's abused out there. I see some of the, you know, the health and wealth preachers, I see people, they kind of do those campaigns, and there's parts of it that really turns me off. And I can in my own flesh kind of pull back from it, that I go, I don't want to be associated with that at all. But do you know what I can do in that, I can start creating these preconceptions of how God works and doesn't work, and I think we can miss out on what he wants to do. See guy's, we serve a God, who when he walked on this planet, and by the way, he walked on this planet in time and space, and he did these events and he did these miracles, and he did them with witnesses. And he gave us a written transmission and history of it, because he's trying to blow some of our preconceptions, that he really did what he said he did, he really accomplished it. If you've never investigated it, you're doing yourself a disservice. You're letting your preconceptions keep you from seeing the greatest miracle in all of human history, the life, and the death, and the resurrection, of Jesus Christ. He still works today. And if you're like me, and you're a follower of Jesus, here's what I'd encourage you to do. Open your eyes more, open your heart more, we don't chase miracles, but we never want to limit our God. And as I read through it, and see these ways that God works, it's amazing how it affirms your faith.

Tim Lundy: 38:54 In fact, I'll close with one final story, it comes from Mark Batterson, he's a pastor in Washington, DC. He talked about years ago he was on a mission trip, he was down off of Ecuador on the Island of Santa Cruz. And they were there with the team, and they're sharing, and they were headed to the port, they had to catch the ferry. And they're literally driving down this one little road in the jungle on this bus, this crowded bus, and suddenly this guy appears in the middle of the road. The bus stops, and this guy gets aboard the bus, and Mark says, you can tell by looking at him, I mean, he looked like he'd been out there for days, he hadn't had a bath in several days. This guy kind of comes aboard the bus, and there's only one empty seat, it was next to Adam, one of the guys on the team. And Adam had had the seat because the day before he had fractured a vertebrae in his back, so he was trying to lay down to keep from being in pain, but he sat up to give a seat to Raul.

Tim Lundy: 39:56 Raul sat down, and as they started talking together, Mark said, you know, out of their team, Adam was only one that was fluent Spanish, and so he was able to have a conversation. His seat just happened to be open. As they started talking, Raul opened up pretty quickly, and he told Adam that he had tried to commit suicide the day before. He literally had tied a cinderblock around his feet, and was about to throw himself into the water to commit suicide. His wife of 30 years had just left him, and he was despondent. And Adam sat there listening to him, and he could understand. He said, you know, I know exactly how you feel, a few years ago, my wife of 15 years left me, and I almost committed suicide, I didn't know what I was going to do. Raul looked up at him and he said, what did you do? And Adam smiled and he said, I turned my life over to Jesus, and Jesus met me in my lowest point. Raul said, I've always felt like God was never there for me, God never cared about me. As Adam pointed out, well Raul, we're a team from America on a lonely road with the only open seat on this bus, and you and I share the exact same story. But through it, I found Jesus, and I think God placed me here because he wants you to discover him too. There on that bus, Raul prayed in Spanish with Adam, one of the few guys that could share Christ with him, and he found Christ that day.

Tim Lundy: 42:05 Guys, we serve a God who shows up in unexpected ways. A lot of times it's out of our preconceptions, it's different than we would have ever scripted it, but it's just as real. My prayer for you is maybe you're at a place in life where you've not even opened your mind, or opened your heart, to even believe any of this. Would you just take the first step of investigating it for yourself? And maybe you're here today, and you're somebody, you do believe in Jesus. But somewhere along the way, you stopped believing that he still does miracles, that he still moves, that he still shows up in big ways and in small ways, that he still cares about you. Don't let your disappointments, or your preconceptions, keep you from seeing the story of what God is really doing. We serve this amazing God, who when he walked on the planet, he did amazing miracles. And he's still doing things today to show us how much he loves us, and how much he cares.

Tim Lundy: 43:29 Will you pray with me? Father, I do thank you. I thank you for Raul and Adam. I thank you for Connie. I thank you for meeting me in a UPS store in my desperation. I thank you for the miracle that each of us that know you has experienced, the miracle of life change, the miracle that Jesus would die and rise again for us. Lord, I pray for anybody, maybe they're listening to this, they've been skeptical until today. Lord, would you give them a heart to believe, to trust, that you really do show up like this, that you really did do this. Lord, I pray for maybe somebody today, who've they've known you, but they don't really believe you're alive and active. Would you open their eyes today? God, we want to be a church where we're seeing miracles, not in the way we would prescribe, not in a weird way, we just want to see the miracle of people coming to know you like Raul, of people experiencing a life change, of people who can trust you like Connie. Lord, I thank you for the ways that you've done this in my life, I pray for each of us that we would turn to you. And I pray this in Christ' name. Amen.



Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032
408.997.4600