It’s True, Jesus Came for Everyone
We must believe that God is ready to work in people. | by Ray Johnston
What impresses God? Think about that for a minute. What could possibly impress God? Is LeBron James impressed watching a bunch of third graders shooting hoops on a playground? Would you take a baby gift to Kate Middleton and hope to impress the royal parents?
If you’re God, what could ever impress you? The only thing I’ve ever found in Scripture is this: “When Jesus saw their faith” (Mark 2:5). Jesus was moved by the faith of the paralyzed man’s four friends. It was their faith that led to actions that triggered a miracle.
You will never lift anybody up until you start to believe that God has not stopped working in the lives of people. The four friends expected Jesus to work in the life of their friend, so they brought him to Jesus. If you quit expecting God to show up and work, don’t be surprised when that happens.
The four friends Mark recorded somehow knew if they could just get the guy in a room with Jesus, three things would happen. Their friend would
- hear Christ’s words.
- receive Christ’s forgiveness.
- experience Christ’s power…and never be the same.
By the way, that’s a great definition of a church service—hear the Word of God; receive God’s forgiveness and a brand-new start; experience His power; and leave changed by the Word of God, the grace of God, and the power of God.
You will never raise people to higher levels until your faith raises your expectations.
Someone asked me about the church where I pastor. I said it’s like an In-N-Out Burger. He said, “I love that place.” (Who doesn’t?) Then he asked, “What do you mean?”
In-N-Out Burger has a simple menu. They’ve never changed. Twenty years ago when we started Bayside, we had a simple menu. We worship God and teach the Bible. We’ve never changed.
In our very first service, I gave a crystal clear invitation to receive Christ. A sea of hands went up indicating those who had prayed and committed their lives to Christ. That was twenty years ago, and ever since people have made commitments to Christ in almost every service, every week. We finally started a table called “I Raised My Hand.” People who want to know more about Christ and to receive Him as Savior and Lord can come to the table, talk to someone, and pick up a book.
For a six-week series called “For Atheists Only,” we put up a second table called “I’m Thinking About Raising My Hand.”
We said, “Those of you who raised your hand and received Christ, go to that table. Those of you who are thinking about raising your hand, there’s a bunch of smart people who will answer questions at this other table.” People flooded both tables in every service for six weeks.
A visiting pastor once asked me, “You actually expect people are going to become Christians in every service, don’t you?”
I said, “Absolutely. If the day ever came when people did not respond, I would be shocked. There’s a spiritual principle at work. My experience tells me that you usually don’t get what you deserve—you get what you expect.”
Jesus “saw their faith.” What does He see when He looks at you?