Summary: A sermon based on the book, "Surprising Insights from the Unchurched" by Thom Rainer. Jesus’ miracles drew a crowd. Why isn’t the church drawing a crowd?

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Why the miracles?

Purpose: Jesus cared for people enough to do something about it. People saw his love in his actions and responded to him personally.

1. Why did Jesus perform miracles? Why did he heal the lame, the blind, the diseased? It was just a few here and there. He couldn’t have healed everybody. Why did he perform miracles?

2. What percentage of people in America are in church this morning?

· Sometimes we’re overly optimistic. We live in the South, in the Bible belt. We have a pretty low crime rate. Portland is a good town. We might think that most of our friends and neighbors are in church this morning.

· Sometimes we’re too pessimistic. We look at the world around us, wring our hands and think that if you’re not in this building that the other 9,900 people in Portland are on their way to Hell. If we can’t see them in church, they must not care at all about spiritual matters.

3. But surprisingly, people overwhelmingly say that religious faith is very important in their lives. That’s the good news. (Give statistics from Figure 1.2).

4. But that being said, most people aren’t coming to church. Only 41 percent of America is in church this morning. Why? (Give statistics from Figure 1.1)

· People are hungry for faith, but they’re not coming to church.

· Either they’re not really hungry, or we’re not feeding them. (Quote from pg. 34 just before Figure 1.1)

5. That’s alarming (drive the point home that we should be shocked by those numbers). If that statistic is true, 6,000 people in Portland are unchurched. If they’re unchurched, it’s probably that they don’t have a relationship with Jesus. If people don’t have a relationship with Jesus, the Bible says they’re headed for an eternity in Hell.

6. Could it be that people aren’t coming to church because they don’t see the difference between us Christians and the really nice people who belong to the Lions Club, the Chamber of Commerce or the ladies at Curves?

7. Back to my original question: Why did Jesus perform miracles? You know what I think: He really, really, deep down loved people and cared for them where they were. He wanted to make things better.

8. John 2:1-11 and John 11:38-45: people "believed" because of the miracles.

9. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus loved people and met their needs. The people believed and wanted to follow him.

10. Seeing is believing today too. When people see the love of Jesus acted out, by you, in flesh and blood, sometimes they will respond. They rarely will respond to theological theory. That’s just talk … and nobody cares about talk.

11. I have a tattoo. I got it about a week before I met Dana. I got it in college. My roommate Matt and I were bored. We were walking in a mall. I forget which one of us said it, but somebody said, "Let’s go get tattoos." We got a phonebook, looked up tattoo parlors, drove about 45 minutes to a dive of a tattoo parlor and got tattoos. I spent $15 on a small tattoo on my right shoulder. It was over in five minutes. I’ve had it for over 13 years.

12. Why do I tell you that? Because if I didn’t tell you about it, or show it to you, you’d never know I had one.

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Paul Carlson

commented on Apr 28, 2009

Where is the teaching of the text?

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