Love Will Make You Do Crazy Things

Anyone that has been in love will tell you that logic goes right out the door.  That’s why they call it falling in love because there’s a lil bit of a sense that things are out of control and I like it that way.  People in love will stand in the rain for hours holding flowers.  They’ll drop everything to run to the airport and stop a plane.  They’ll even spend their whole savings on a tiny little rock and get down on one knee in public.  Love will make you do crazy things.

And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.  And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.(1)

Now I know many of us have read this story before but lets not miss the obvious.

There are four grown men on a roof!

What a crazy situation!  These men couldn’t get their buddy in the front door so they go with plan B.  They tear the roof apart while Jesus is speaking and lower their friend right in front of him.  I’ve had people texting during my sermons but I’e never had to deal with a distraction like this one!

I guess love will make you do crazy things.

These men loved their friend and they knew if they could just get him in front of Jesus it would all be worth it.   When is the last time you found yourself in a situation where the only possible explanation is Jesus?  Has love compelled you to do something crazy lately?

See, I’m pretty sure God likes our faith to be a little bit crazy.  Lately, I’ve seen this crazy love a bunch in scripture.  The time eleven guys were running around scared on a boat while just one steps forward and is crazy enough to believe he can walk on water.(2)  The time a whole army was running around intimidated and one boy walks up with nothing more than a sling because he’s crazy enough to believe he can defeat a giant.(3)  The time a dreaming brother gets thrown into a well but is crazy enough to think God can turn what was meant for evil into good. (4)

It’s been awhile since I’ve looked a little crazy but reading these stories awakes something in me that my 9-5, rational, objective, organized mind has trouble dealing with.  This same God invites me to climb on roofs, walk on water, challenge giants, and see the palace in the dark of the pit.  This God is one of adventure, hope, faith and a love that’s just a little bit crazy.  This God is crazy enough to leave 99 sheep just to chase after me.

I don’t know about you, but I think I may be falling in love all over again.  Who’s crazy enough to join me?

 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”(5)

1.  Mark 2:3,4

2.  Matt. 14:29

3.  1 Sam. 17

4.  Genesis 37

5.  Mark 2:12

Set Back or Set Up?

A few years ago, I was heading home from a speaking opportunity in Lake Chelan when my car broke down.  It was in the middle of the night in the middle of no where.  I called for a tow truck and two hours later Larry arrived.  He was a heavy set older man with a bushy grey beard and a gruff voice that said, “First thing we’re doing is you’re buying me coffee.”

We were both irritated by the situation.  The AAA dispatch had woken Larry up and I was still hours from home.  After hooking up my dead car, we piled into his old red tow truck and headed for home.  Once the coffee entered our veins, we began talking about the weather and sports and how stupid tourists like me have ruined Lake Chelan.

About an hour or so into our journey, Larry started talking about family.  I found out his wife had left him and he missed his kids deeply.  He regretted not being a better man and seemed to be deciding right there in that red tow truck to stop drinking.  I just sat and listened, but I did start to pray.  Before that, I was angry at God for the set back. I was mad about my car dying and sticking me in this awkward tow truck with some old angry guy, but then Larry started to open up and I caught a glimpse of what God might be doing.

There is this cool story in the Bible of the prophet Elijah and his servant in the town of Dothan.(1)  They are rebels being hunted by an army and they’ve had their share of set backs.

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

To call this a set back would be an understatement.  Elijah’s servant sees they are surrounded and death seems to be likely so he freaks out.  However, Elijah sees something different, and maybe we should as well.

He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.(2)

Elijah sees God’s army has got things under control.  In fact, this is not a set back at all but rather a set up.  Turns out God was there the whole time with a plan and purpose but Elijah’s servant was just not able to see it.  Can you relate?  I know I can.

I am blind when I only see the immediate inconvenience.  I am blind when my agenda trumps God’s plan.  I am blind when people become nothing more than objects to assist me.  I was blind and unable to see Larry that night.  That is, until God opened my eyes.

The sun was rising as Larry and I pulled into my neighborhood.  We were both exhausted but refreshed from our conversation.  As his engine shut off outside of my house, neither of us moved.  This moment had been divine and we both knew it.  We prayed together in his old red tow truck and my gruff grey bearded friend began to weep quietly.

He asked God to be with him that morning and as I said goodbye to Larry, I couldn’t help but think, “God is already here.”

We both had our eyes opened that morning.

Praise God for gracious set ups.

1.  Dothan had a reputation for God turning set backs into set ups.  It’s the same town where Joseph got thrown into a well by his brothers and left for dead.  However, God turned the pit into a palace. Read the story, starting in Genesis 37:17.

2.  2 Kings 6

Let ’em In

This beautiful painting is from Vincent Van Gogh entitled the “Church of Auvers”.

It’s bright, impressive, and successful looking but do you notice anything unique about the church?

It has no door.

According to scripture, the church is not a building, but a body.  The church is not a place but people.  Therefore, I have one simple question for you.

Are you letting people in?

Or do we want our lives to look impressive and successful and inadvertently rob the gospel of it’s power.  Jesus shares with us exactly how this works.

“You are the salt of the earth.”  -Matt. 5:13

Now, we already know salt is used to give food it’s flavor, but did you know that it was used back then for sacrifices as well?  So when Jesus reminds us that we are the salt of the earth he is inviting us to suffer.  He is asking us to reveal to the world all the things we’ve been saved from.  He is pleading for us to let people in.

Otherwise, the gospel loses it’s flavor.

If we do not let people in and show them our weakness, Jesus cannot be seen as strong.  If we don’t become vulnerable and express our failures, Grace cannot be seen sufficient.  If we aren’t willing to become nothing, Christ cannot become everything.

Has your message lost it’s flavor?  I’d drop the facade and start letting people in. Who knows, they could take a step back and say, “Wow!  So that’s why grace is amazing!”

“Taste and see that the Lord is good”   -Psalm 34:8