Summary: What it takes to receive all Jesus has to offer.

The No Nonsense Jesus

Part One: You Have to Want It

John 5:1-17

Trey Harris

The movie Seabiscuit captured a portion of the American Dream. It portrayed the unlikely partnership of a washed up race horse, a has been trainer a troubled jockey named Red Pollard and wealthy businessman Charles Howard, himself with ghosts in his past. The movie champions the second chance and proclaims that anyone or even anything has value and is therefore worth our trouble.

In one scene, Tom Smith, an old farrier and horse trainer, stops the shooting of a lame race horse. He tells the owner he will take it. When the owner says the horse is no longer worth anything, Smith says that at least it will save him the bullet. Later that evening, he is visited by Charles Howard, a wealthy American businessman.


Howard climbs through the surrounding brush to get to Smith, who is having his dinner in front of an open campfire. Howard looks over at the damaged horse, whose leg is now wrapped up with a poultice. Smith says that it is Hawthorne root, designed to increase the blood circulation. Howard asks if the horse will get better, and Smith replies that it already has. Howard wants to know if the horse will ever race again. Smith says, "No, not that one." Howard asks, "Then why are you fixing him?" And Smith tells him, "Because I can. Every horse is good for something. He could be a cart horse or a lead pony, and he’s still nice to look at. Y’know, you don’t throw a whole life away just ’cause you’re banged up a little."


People can be quick to throw things, and people, away when they no longer meet their expectations. When they can no longer see profit in others, they also lose the ability to see potential.

Jesus is different. Jesus spent much of His time among the rejected of the world because He loved them, and knew that He could transform them. He took the wretched of the world and healed them. He took the orphans and made them His sons and daughters. He took the powerless, and made them a priestly kingdom -- all because He could. He knew that everyone, no matter how banged up by life, is good for something. (

We’re starting a new series today called “The No Nonsense Jesus”. While ministering with his disciples, Jesus offered life to humanity before laying down his own; his followers today are called to do the same. Friends, following Jesus is a no nonsense business.

Our first message deals with a man whose life, to the casual observer had no worth. The man had been ill for thirty-eight years. He thought his life was over, he thought his life had no worth and I’m sure his family and friends had come to believe the same. After all, he had no to carry him to the pool as the waters were disturbed. Thirty-eight years of no healing had caused everyone to desert him. He was alone, he was discouraged, he was depressed, and then along came Jesus. Jesus offers life and healing to all people, even those who have forgotten (or don’t even believe) that they need it. We can all learn valuable lessons from the Man at the pool of Bethesda.


Have you ever noticed that Jesus never forced anyone to follow him? He offered, he invited, he encourage, but it was always up to the person to make up his or her own mind. Friends, if you want to have all the life Jesus offers, if you want to experience the full life Jesus promises, if you want to be healed of your fears and your pains and forgive your sins, you have to want to be healed.

You’d think that anyone who was offered healing would accept it. You’d think everyone would want to be healed. Right?

This past Friday night I went to a meeting at Munholland UMC where Bishop Hutchinson and the cabinet of the Louisiana Annual Conference were introducing to the membership of the New Orleans churches the plan for rebuilding Methodism in New Orleans. The same plan was revealed to the clergy of the conference last week. It was the plan I reviewed with those of you in attendance for Wednesday night services. It is, in my opinion a bold, brash, innovative plan that has tremendous possibilities for reversing declining memberships and strengthening struggling UMCs in New Orleans.

The plan calls for the creation of a Mission Zone within the four parish area of Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines. Within that four parish area there will be set up seven teams to which will be appointed a lead pastor and from two to three associate pastors. Those pastors will be the team who supply pastoral care and leadership to anywhere from four to seven churches depending on geography and membership of the churches on the team. There will also be several “Station” churches that are strong enough and vibrant enough to support there own pastors. Gretna UMC falls into this category. Our job will be to help the various teams with expertise in outreach and evangelism and worship, basically to be a resource church for the various teams in the Mission Zone. There will also be a Mission Zone Director (yet to be determined) who will work with the D.S. in directing the ministry of the churches of the Mission Zone.

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