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Summary: The church and the individual have mutual responsibility in finding a place for new believers.

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August 25, 2002

Morning Service

Text: Mark 8:22-26

Subject: Receiving From God

Title: Heads Up, Hold On, and Hide Out

Do you like tee shirts? I used to have a large collection of tee shirts. Some of them were eye-catchers for the world to look at. One of them said, "I am not opinionated, I’m just always right". That came from some friends who thought they knew me too well. I have a tee shirt given to me by my family way back when I was struggling with staying in a church. It had a man hanging horizontally onto a vertical tree in a violent windstorm and the caption said, "I know you’re in control Lord, but do You want me to hang on?" Well, I hung on as long as I had to, until the Lord clearly let me know it was time to go.

One of the real problems I see in the church today is the number of people who seem to slip through the cracks and sneak out the back door before anybody even realizes they are gone. One of the reasons people get saved and then fall away is that, historically, the church has done a very poor job of assimilating people into the congregation. By that I mean, we haven’t help people find their place in the church. Whose fault is it? The Pastor? Yes! The elders? Yes! The entire congregation? Yes! We all have a part to play in this. That is the main reason we are taking things slowly here in our first year. We want to build a structure that will be able to support all those who come into the faith as new creatures with old tendencies. That does not take away individual responsibility. As new Christians come into this church we will be sure to help them mature in their walk.

Our passage today speaks of physical healing. But in these few verses there is enough information to show us how to receive anything from God. And this information isn’t just for new Christians. There is something here for you who are mature.

Our passage toady tells us that if we are to receive anything from God we have to be heads up, we have to hold on, and we must hide out.

Let’s look at some practical steps we can take to receive more from God.

I. Keep your heads up. (Verse 22) Friends tell friends about Jesus. Friends give friends an opportunity to be healed/saved. Someone recognized in Jesus that there was power. A large part of Jesus’ ministry took place in Galilee. Here is a capsule of some of the events. Approx. 2 years. Healed a demoniac

Cured Peter’s mother-in-law; Healed a withered hand; Raised the widow’s son; Jairus? daughter raised; Woman with an issue of blood healed; Feeding of 5000; Then 4000 fed... The word had gotten out that there was something good going on. Nicodemus went to Jesus and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." We are like Nicodemus because we recognize something in Jesus.

How fortunate we are. How many times do people miss the opportunity to receive because they: 1)Didn?t have anyone to take them to the Lord. 2)Didn’t make an effort to get there on their own.(even though they’ve heard about Jesus)The woman with the issue of blood was determined to get to Jesus. 3)Looking to the wrong source. In John 5 the healing at the pool, the man expected healing from the pool of water when he needed to look to the Lord.

Verse 22, "They begged Jesus to touch him." It was the faith of others that got this man to Jesus. Nothing is said about the blind man having faith. But they got him to the point where Jesus could do something and then they asked. Matt. 6:8, "the Father knows what you need before you ask Him." But we are to ask and it shall be given to us. Matt. 18:19, "If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven." Matt. 21:22 "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." James 4:2, "You do not have because you do not ask God". Keep you head up and your spiritual eyes open. Be alert and ready to ask God for anything.

II. Hold on. (23-25) You have taken the first step toward receiving something from the Lord. Now follow Him and do what He says. "He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village." You have to get away from the distraction of the world. Luke 9:62, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." What is your responsibility here? To let nothing get in your way of being with Jesus. Make sure nothing becomes a god to you. That means staying away form the old crowd you used to hang out with. If you are trying to quit drinking, you don’t go hang out in the bars.If you are trying to quit smoking you don’t go hang out at the coffee shop with the other smokers. If you are seeking miracles from God you don’t go to a church that has placed God in a box of formal worship and legalistic beliefs. Where do you go? To a church that believes in miracles. You cannot put new wine into old wineskins. Once you get alone with Jesus, allow him to work. Get yourself out of the way. "Cast all our cares on Him, for He cares for you." (I Peter 5:7) Get rid of it. Let Him have it. Quit trying to fix it yourself, or worse, stop living with a situation as though God can’t do anything about it. Get out of the way and give it to Jesus. Maybe you think you don’t have enough faith. Look what happened here. (Verse 23) Did Jesus have some super ingredient in His saliva that brought healing? He was fully man, no different than you or me. (Except for the sin issue.)But He spit on the man?s eyes. Excuse me but that would have been a hindrance to me!!!! It was different. Jesus doesn’t want us to think there is some specific formula that we have to follow in order to get healed. It is the power of the Holy Spirit working through Him and our faith in the ability of that power to flow through him.

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