March 21, 2010
He stood there staring up at the sky, he still couldn’t believe his eyes, and it was as if he was seeing the sky for the first time. In a way he was, even if it was the same old sky that he’d always looked at it, he was seeing it through a whole new perspective. Actually he was seeing it through a hole in the roof.
If you were here last week you’ll remember the story, how Jesus had returned to Capernaum and while at Peter’s home the word had gotten out that he was there. People started to arrive to hear and see this one that some had dared to call the Messiah, until finally the crowd was so large that you couldn’t get near the door. And into the crowd came four men carrying a friend who was paralysed and couldn’t walk. When it became obvious that they weren’t going to be able to get him through the crowd they managed to get their friend onto the roof of Peter’s home, tore a hole through the clay and lowered him in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their devotion he healed their friend. If you weren’t here a week ago you’re going to have to take my word for it. That was the story. And out of that story I spoke about four characteristics that those men had that we would do well to emulate.
Their Love. If you read through your New Testament you would discover that Jesus didn’t really lay down new commandments, he simply refined or clarified the old commandments. But Jesus did lay down at least one new commandment John 13:34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
Their Dream These four guys had a dream of what could happen if Jesus touched their friend. They knew that if Jesus wanted to that he could heal their friend and he’d walk again. If we are going to accomplish the things that need to be accomplished in this life then we will first have to dream of the way they could be. Remember “If you don’t build castles in the air, you’ll never build anything on the ground.” Just because it’s never been done before doesn’t mean it can’t be done. But before you can do it you have to see it and you have to leave the road of what is and venture down the path of what could be.
What are you willing to do to achieve your dream? They probably could have been doing any numbers of things that didn’t involve carrying a man on a stretcher across town in the heat, climbing a ladder and tearing a hole in a roof.
Seriously it took all four of them working together, one couldn’t have done it, two couldn’t have done it and it would have been tough with three. Instead it took four people working in unity to get the job done. Notice I didn’t use the word uniformity, there is a difference between the two. Throughout the New Testament, Paul compares the church to a body, made up of different parts, doing different jobs, but all functioning for the common good.
Part of Christ’s last prayer is found in John 17:23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
That’s what we preached on last week, but that isn’t what we are going to preach on today. I truly believe that Cornerstone Wesleyan Church is a loving church, not to say we can’t become more loving, I mean we can never be too loving. And that’s not to say that we can stop loving people, cause you can’t store or bank love for a future use. If we are to continue to be all that God wants us to be we must continue to love people.
And I believe that the people of Cornerstone have a dream. Not just a dream for a church but a dream of touching lives and changing a nation, a dream of seeing people introduced to Jesus and of the difference He will make in the lives of people and families.
And I know that we share that determination. From the group of fifty who committed close to four hundred thousand dollars as a down payment on this building and property to those who are here every Sunday taking part in ministry, to our staff who if they were in it for the money would be somewhere else.
And as a church we are united and there is a sense of unity within the body here. We as a church have caught the vision for what God would have us to do and where God would have us to go. And we are pushing in that direction and sharing in the sacrifice.
But we aren’t going to talk about those things this morning, cause that is what we preached on a week ago. This is today, and there is another question that must be asked. Because if a week ago we were interested in knowing who kicked the hole in the roof today we have another question that must be answered and that is this “Who fixed the hole in the roof?”
Never thought of that did you? It never really bothered you that when all the excitement died down, when the paralysed man walked away, and his friends ran away rejoicing. When the crowd left puzzled and the scribes left angry, when Jesus and the disciples were through that there was still a great big gaping hole in the roof. So that’s the question isn’t it? Who fixed the hole? Who took the time to patch the roof? I mean someone had to, it didn’t fix itself.
Sometimes it is easy to get so caught up in all the excitement that we forget the mundane, the everyday things that make up life.
Beulah camp will be starting in four months, for some Wesleyans the year is divided in two by Christmas and Beulah. And some of you will get a chance to get up before it’s over and it will once again prove to be 10 days of spiritual ecstasy. The speakers will be used to bring the word of God alive, the music will take us into the throne room of God. The Christian Fellowship is incredible, but that’s not life. When paralytics walk and the blind see, that’s wonderful, but there will come a time in our life when the roof needs patching and somebody is going to have to do it.
And before we can discover who fixed the roof we can probably narrow it down to who didn’t fix the roof.
The Curious Didn’t Do It. These people weren’t involved in the work; they were only there to see what was going to happen. They were attracted not by Christ, not by his teaching, or by his life, they were just attracted because he said he was God, and they had never seen anyone who called himself God before.
Curiosity is a wonderful thing, you can tell the average person that there are 10,987,654,321 stars in the universe they will believe you, but if the sign says “wet paint” they have to find out for themselves.
And so the first group of people were there to satisfy their curiosity, not because of Jesus. They would have been just as quick to rush down the street and see the monkey riding a bicycle. No, I don’t think they would be all that interested in fixing the roof.
The Naysayers Didn’t Do It These people weren’t nearly as interested in building up the Kingdom as they were blowing it up. They weren’t there to help only to hinder. The only way they would have fixed the hole in the roof is if they thought by doing it they could damage Jesus reputation. And there are still people like that in the world today, and unfortunately some of them are in the church. These people haven’t learned that knockers belong on doors not in churches.
You know the type, they would have you write it, sing it, play it, paint it, carve it, or preach it, but only the way they would, if they could. And the one thing we know about the critical person is that they are more interested in imparting their valuable knowledge, than in helping.
They could at least learn from the mule, which has discovered that you can’t kick and pull at the same time. To continue to mix our metaphors it very difficult to row and rock the boat at the same time.
No, the critics were too busy issuing a dissertation on the proper methods of roof construction and the theological and philosophical ramifications of the entire project to actually help do anything.
The Bunny Believers Didn’t Do it. These are the folks who hop from church to church, they are the folks who want the thrill without paying the bill. They are sincere believers but they really aren’t all that interested in contributing to the work. Kind of like the family that got home after church and were having roast preacher, none of you ever have roast preacher for lunch do you? Anyway, one of their teens observed it all and interjected, “Well, what do you expect for a buck?”
I’ve got a little bit of Scot in me, kind of feel like the Scotsman who wrote the local paper and said “If you continue to make disparaging remarks about Scotsman being so cheap, I shall cease to borrow your paper.” And I get right excited down town when I find a parking meter with 10 or 12 minutes left on it. But I’d don’t get too impressed when people come to church and park on somebody else’s nickel.
The Bunny Believers kind bounce around never, make a commitment to church, never get involved and never give more than a tip. And if the church had to rely on them for anything there would be no church.
The Bunny Believers are always on the move, where there is a free spiritual food that is where they will be found, but they are always taking never giving back. My dear sainted Grandmother was almost 90 years old when she went home to be with her Lord, and for the last fifteen years of her life she was a self-professed church tramp, if there was something going on in a church it didn’t matter what church, she was there. But on Sunday morning her and her money were at Grand Harbour Baptist.
The Bunny Believer is all wound up and excited and they always want to be telling you about the last singer they heard sing, or the last speaker they heard speak or how great the worship is at this church or how great the preacher is at that church. But they are always taking in and never giving back. They talk a good talk but they don’t get much done. The thing about the Bunny Believers is that they look like they are doing a lot, I mean they are all excited and talk a good show but they don’t fix many roofs.
When I was fifteen I went to work with my Dad on the tugs in Saint John Harbour and one day my dad pointed another one of the deckhands out and said “Watch old Bill.” And I started watching old Bill. And Bill always had a paint brush in his hand, or a marlin spike for splicing rope, but I never saw Bill do any painting or any splicing. But he always looked busy.
Friends it’s not how high you jump or how loud you shout but how straight you walk when you hit the ground. I like jumpers and I like shouters but I would trade a whole handful of jumpers and shouters for a quiet worker. Now if’n you can jump and shout and work, that’s a bonus.
The Pew Warmers Didn’t Do It. This was the week to week crowd. They were there whenever Jesus preached, they were solid followers but they only cared for themselves and theirs. Face it they wouldn’t even move to let the crippled man in. It was their lack of concern and love that necessitated the hole in the roof.
I heard a sermon once on “Sacrificial Pew Sitting.” You know what I mean; after all it’s why the back rows fill up first. But Denn when you sit down front you get a crick in your neck. And if’n I was sitting in the middle what would happen if I had to get out? Same thing that would happen if you were at a movie sitting in the middle I guess. And something to think about, better you should get a crick in your neck, then the guest who hasn’t been in church for twenty years and decided to try Cornerstone out. And it’s the same story with parking and in a lot of churches when it comes to expanding it’s the same old thing. When we pastored in Truro we were at the place where we were averaging 25 more each week then the church would sit. And during one of the meetings to discuss expansion, a Christian, who had been on the way and in the way for forty years or more questioned why we needed to expand the parking lot and the church because he always had a place to park and a place to sit.
And one day a teenage girl who attended our church told me that her twenty six year old brother who hadn’t darkened the door of the church in 10 years decided to try out the new preacher and see all the commotion was at the church. But he arrived a little late and there weren’t any parking spots, so he left. The believers who took the very best parking spots may have saved themselves a walk but they might have cost Jimmy his eternity. At some point some of us are going to have to start parking out on Gatehouse Run so there are spots in the parking lot for newcomers and you may need to sit in the front row, gasp, so there is room behind you for newcomers.
No the average attender wouldn’t have fixed roof.
I’m not even sure that it was the Original Four. Cause it a whole lot easier getting things done while the excitement is running high. We can do a lot more things in anticipation of a good time then we can after we’ve had the good time. I love to cook and I love to make special meals, but I’m not nearly as enthused about cleaning up after the meal. Ever notice that people are a lot more enthused about decorating the reception hall before the wedding reception then they are about helping to clean up afterwards.
It probably wasn’t a conscious thought on their behalf to not fix the hole but they were just so excited that Fred could walk; they wanted to get him home and show him off to his friends and family.
So, you’re asking Denn, who fixed the hole? I don’t know. Thomas probably doubted that it had happened at all. Judas complained about how much it was going to cost, Peter was outraged and complained about the hole in his roof, John and James were fighting over who would be mentioned in the Newspaper account of the miracle.
But someone looked up, and saw a need and filled it, and probably didn’t put up a big sign announcing that they were doing it. And the Kingdom of God is filled with people like that. Joseph of Arimathea gave up his tomb for Christ, Noah worked 125 years building an ark and int the book of Acts Stephen and Phillip were willing to wait on tables.
It takes special people to have the love, the dream, the commitment and the cooperation to knock holes in the roof. But we also need people with selfless love and quiet determination who will fix the roof as well.
The type of people who minister in a dozen different ways at Cornerstone and at every other church. People just like you, people who greet people at the door, who read scripture and pray in the service, people who work in the nursery and the Children’s church, and people who are on the worship team. The ones who if they are walking across the parking lot and see a piece of garbage they pick it up, people who write a cheque every week so the mortgage and salaries get paid and the lights stay on.
You ever notice after a potluck or social event here at the church there are always those who say their good byes, thank you for a wonderful evening and leave, and there are those who are quietly putting away chairs and doing dishes and cleaning up.
They don’t do it for the glory and recognition they do it because they love Jesus and enjoy Cornerstone and know those things have to get done.
Stephen R. Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” wrote “Without involvement, there is no commitment. Mark it down, asterisk it, circle it, underline it. No involvement, no commitment.”
And so if we want to show your commitment don’t tell me about it, get involved. Sit up front and park a little further away from the door, offer to help out with something, anything! What would it take for you to help Jennifer out in the Nursery, or Marilyn in Jr. Church and Children’s church and will help put on coffee and clean up afterwards
So where you at?