Connecting Point – August 9, 2023

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of four friends bringing their paralyzed friend to Jesus (Matthew 9, Mark 2, Luke 5). In that story these 4 friends put their paralyzed man on a mat and carried him to the house where Jesus was teaching. And then, because they couldn't get through the crowd around the house to bring their friend to the Lord, they took some stairs up to the top of the flat-roofed house, and then dug and chopped a hole through the roof, until they could lower their friend into the presence of Jesus. And the Bible says that when Jesus saw "their faith" (the faith of the four friends), He forgave the paralyzed man and healed him completely. And the man was able to pick up his mat and walk home.

The Lord has called us to be like the four friends who brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus. And this Sunday (August 13), is the perfect time for us to do so. This Sunday is FRIEND SUNDAY, an annual event at Celebration where we ask all of our members/attendees to bring some Friends with them to our Worship Services. We all have people in our lives that we love and care for who need to experience the transforming power of Jesus in their lives, circumstances and relationships. FRIEND SUNDAY is a great time to bring those friends and family members with us to our Church services so they can be encouraged by the Lord's people, by God's Word, and by the Holy Spirit. I can almost guarantee you they will be encouraged and excited about coming back with you in future weeks. And as a bonus, we're going to have special activities for Children and Pre-Teens in and around our worship services.

Sometimes people ask me about the best ways to invite friends and family members to come with them to Church services. One way is to simply call and talk with your friends and family members, and then ask them to come with you to FRIEND SUNDAY. A second way is to send them a message via text or social media. You may want to use the following message to send to your family members and friends.

  • Hey, August 13 is FRIEND SUNDAY at Celebration Church. And since you're one of my best friends, I want you to come with me. I believe you will enjoy the service, and our Pastor is beginning a new series titled, FRIENDOLOGY, where we can learn how to be better friends to one another and to others. It would encourage me greatly if you came with me, and I believe you will be encouraged by attending. Message me back and let me know if you can come with me.

The Lord wants to use your witness to help your friends experience the transforming power of Jesus in their lives, circumstances and relationships. So be sure to reach out to them this week in some kind of way, asking them to come with you on FRIEND SUNDAY.

Church Is Hard was the title of a social media post that I came across last week, that ministered to me and to many others who read it on my social media posts. I believe it will minister to you as well. Check it out.

Church is hard for the person walking through the doors, afraid of judgment.

Church is hard for the pastor's family, under the microscope of an entire body.

Church is hard for the prodigal soul returning home, broken and battered by the world.

Church is hard for the girl who looks like she has it all together, but doesn't.

Church is hard for the couple who fought the entire ride to service.

Church is hard for the single mom, surrounded by couples holding hands with seemingly perfect families.

Church is hard for the widow and widower with no invitation to lunch after service.

Church is hard for the deacon with an estranged child.

Church is hard for the person singing worship songs, overwhelmed by the weight of the lyrics.

Church is hard for the man insecure in his role as a leader.

Church is hard for the wife who longs to be led by a righteous man.

Church is hard for the nursery volunteer who desperately longs for a baby to love.

Church is hard for the single woman and single man, praying God brings them a mate.

Church is hard for the teenage girl, wearing a scarlet letter, ashamed of her mistakes.

Church is hard for the sinners.

Church is hard for me.

It's hard because on the outside it all looks shiny and perfect. Sunday best in behavior and dress.

However, underneath those layers, you find a body of imperfect people, carnal souls, and selfish motives.

But, here is the beauty of Church-

Church isn't a building, mentality, or expectation. Church is a body.

Church is a group of sinners, saved by grace, living in fellowship as saints.

Church is a body of believers bound as brothers and sisters by an eternal love.

Church is a holy ground where sinners stand as equals before the Throne of Grace.

Church is a refuge for broken hearts and a training ground for mighty warriors.

Church is a converging of confrontation and invitation. Where sin is confronted and hearts are invited to seek restoration.

Church is a lesson in faith and trust. Church is a bearer of burdens and a giver of hope.

Church is a family. A family coming together, setting aside differences, forgetting past mistakes, rejoicing in the smallest of victories.

Church, the body, and the circle of sinners-turned-saints, is where He resides, and if we ask, He is faithful to come.

So even on the hard days at church - 

The days when I am at odds with a friend, when I've fought with my kids because we're late once again. When I've walked in bearing burdens heavier than my heart can handle, yet masking the pain with a smile on my face. When I've worn a scarlet letter, under the microscope. When I've longed for a partner to hold, or fought tears as the lyrics were sung. When I've walked back in, afraid and broken, after walking away.

I'll remember, He has never failed to meet me there. (Copied)

Be sure to bring some friends with you this Sunday to Celebration Church.

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