Summary: 1 of 3 messages setting the vision for ministry at Meridian Christian Church. In three weeks we explore and examine the core values of MCC.

8/5/07 – Helping People: Our Method

Helping People Find The Way Home

Helping People

Have you ever thought about how some things just didn’t seem to belong together.

For example a Karate Studio and Senior Home just don’t seem to fit well with each other. Or consider the idea of starting a business that was a combination Pizzeria and Health Spa. I just don’t think that will fly and what about the idea of being both a divorce lawyer and a wedding planner? Nope – it just doesn’t work.

It is far better to focus on one thing and to do it very, very well.

So if we apply this concept to the church – what is the one thing that we are all about? What is the key to what makes us who we are?

Today I’m beginning a three week discussion on what the Meridian Christian Church is all about. We use a phrase, and you have probably noticed it, that when you scrape off the paint, get past the brochures and stop the music – is the very heartbeat of Meridian Christian Church. At the core of our being we are focused on one thing – Helping People Find The Way Home. This is not a slogan. This is not bumper sticker material. This is best way that I know to describe the focus of Meridian Christian Church.

Today let’s take the first two words, “Helping People”. Helping People is our method. This is our modus operandi – or in other words this is how we operate. It is what we do to express God’s love to our world.

But let me hurry to say that this is not something that we have invented. This isn’t anything hugely original. In fact, this methodology has been the operations plan of God’s people since the first days of the church. It is the only method that really works to prepare the hearts of an unbelieving audience to hear – really hear about the love of God which is expressed in Jesus Christ.

Now let’s look together at a little studied passage in Acts 9:32-43 that tells the brief stories of 3 completely different people. They are mentioned by name and seem to have nothing in common between them.

First we shall meet Aeneas - who happens to be a paralytic. Then we’ll meet Tabitha – who happens to be a faithful servant. And finally, we’ll meet Simon, the one we know the least about. Who are these people and what do they tell us today about the work of Meridian Christian Church?

Let’s look.

God Cares about Hurting People

32 As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. 34 “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. 35 All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

Acts 9:32-35

Aeneas was not in good shape. We don’t know his age – he could be a younger man or he could be a senior citizen – we just don’t know. What we do know is that he has been like this for 8 years. For eight years he has been lying in a bed – day after day – 24 hours a day; 7 days a week.

This guy was as useless as you can get. Aeneas could do nothing productive. He just laid there. He could not contribute anything to society. His friends were few and he was pretty much abandoned by most everyone else in life. He was like that branch in a river that got caught in an eddy and was stuck up against the edge of the stream. Aeneas was going nowhere – and going there fast. Imagine what it must have felt like to be Aeneas. It was pretty sad.

We have people like this in our society. Not much has really changed in 2000 years has it? We’ve had in our own community a reminder of this in the situation of both Pam Turpin and Micah Magnesun. In one case there is a tragic accident and a young mother is confined to wheel chair. In the second situation, an artery in the brain stem of young man bursts and suddenly he is confined to a bed in a coma.

It is pretty easy to write off this kind of person. They are unproductive. They offer nothing of value. Yet, God cares and so do we.

God cared for Aeneas sent the apostle Peter to this little town to heal him.

Please Notice two very important things here:

First: Peter tells Aeneas that it is not Peter who has the power to heal – it is Jesus.

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