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Summary: The first step in the process of healing, as revealed in John 5.

Healing the Hurts You Don’t Deserve:

The Healing Choice

Scripture Reading: John 5:1-9a

Like so many things, you can’t comprehend it

unless you see it with your own eyes.

In central California,

on the western slopes

of the Sierra Nevada mountain range,

grows a kind of tree that is one of the wonders

of God’s creation:

Trees that look like skyscrapers,

trees so big around that if one were

growing right here it would reach from me to the back door,

giant sequoia and redwood trees.

And in most of the parks where those trees are protected, rangers can show you a cross section of one of those trees,

and show you how the rings of the tree

tell the story of that tree’s life, year by year.

Here’s a thin ring, a year when the tree hardly grew at all because of a drought;

Here’s a couple thick rings, reflecting healthy years, when the tree grew by leaps and bounds;

Here’s where the tree was struck by lightning;

Here’s a year of savage blight and disease;

Here’s a fairly normal year of growth.

“And that’s the way it is with us,” says Dr. David Seamands, in his groundbreaking book, Healing for Damaged Emotions. “Just . . . beneath the protective bark, the concealing, protective mask, are the recorded rings of our lives.”

There are scars of ancient, painful hurts . . .

There are wounds that never properly healed . . .

There are more recent injuries,

something someone said,

something someone did,

something someone neglected to do.

Some go so deep

that they shape who you are even today,

and some are so incredibly sore

that it just takes a word

or a look

to open the scab,

and create fresh hurt on top of hurt--

the hurts you don’t deserve.

Good morning. My name is Bob Hostetler, and

this morning at Cobblestone Community Church we begin a four-week series of messages from the Bible, entitled “Healing the Hurts You Don’t Deserve.”

You see, many of us here are intent on

launching a new, distinctive, and dynamic church here in the Oxford area next Palm Sunday, April 8.

And yet there are things to be done,

things that--if we are wise--we will take care of before we proceed very far in that process.

And so, just as a dentist cleans out all the decay from a cavity before filling it,

just as a housepainter scrapes off all the flaking paint from the house before applying a new coat,

so we want to begin this venture by asking God’s help in cleaning out any detritus and deadwood that may be in our hearts and souls so that we can start this new venture with whole hearts,

clear minds,

and clean hands.

So let me ask you to turn in your Bibles please to the Gospel of John.

If you worship here regularly, I encourage you to get in the habit of bringing your Bible with you to read for yourself--and even mark in--your own Bible.

If you’re here without a Bible of your own this morning, no sweat, that’s why we put a couple copies in the center of each table.

And if you don’t have a Bible of your own, please take one of ours home with you.

So, having said all that,

please open your Bible to the Gospel of John,

the fourth book in the New Testament

--that’s Matthew-Mark-Luke-John if you’re new to the Bible like Jim Lillibridge is--

John, chapter five

--that’s one-two-three-four-five if you’re new to numbers like Deb Saas is--

John 5, and we’re going to study verses 1-9 this morning and see what God’s Word, the Bible, can teach us about healing the hurts we don’t deserve.

Look with me at John chapter five, as I read aloud from the New International version:

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews.

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 paralysed.

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.

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