Continuing on we are looking at how coming face to face with God will change you. Sometimes there is a little construction involved. How’s the effort going to meet Jesus? Have you taken the time to seek him out? Let’s take a look and figure out how we can fix this hole. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We have many opportunities to help others. I know at the racetrack when someone has a problem there are many who are ready to lend a hand. I think that is one of the greatest things about the racing family, their willingness to help when there is a need. Sometimes though help requires a little more than lending a hand. I remember an engine change on Joe Brady’s modified. A group of guys worked to get the engine out of the car while another worked to get the backup out of the hauler. Because of space limitations it took some pretty strong guys to lift the motor out and onto the ground. Sometimes you need more than help you need brute strength.

The Scripture I want to start looking at this week tells us about some friends who wanted to help their friend out. In the end they needed brute strength to cut a hole in the roof. They also needed a roofer to come back and fix the hole. Was it worth it?  Read along and we’ll talk about it.

MARK 2:1-12, A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

    Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

    Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, `Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, `Get up, take your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . .” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Have you ever reached out to help someone and it ended up costing you something? Most times agreeing to help someone means there is a cost. We know we are willing to help in any way when we don’t count the cost. Referring back to the engine story, not one guy who helped with the engine change lamented their helping. There were smiles of accomplishment and pats on the back for the difficulties they overcame for their friend.

Think about these friends who wanted to get their friend to Jesus so much that they cut a hole in the roof. They knew he needed to get to him, the crowd was too big and so they took matters into their own hands and lowered him through the roof. I wonder how much discussion went into the decision. I think it was much like something at the track. There’s a problem, let’s fix it. When the first guy is committed to the solution others will follow and soon enough the challenge is overcome.

How do we feel about those we care about? Do we think they need to meet Jesus? Are we willing to take the risk and the expense to bring them to Jesus? If we think that meeting Jesus face to face will change their life why then won’t we will go to any length to bring someone to Him? We can come up with many reasons not to but the fact remains if we believe Jesus is the answer we need to make every effort.

If we don’t think it matters whether they know Jesus or not then we will come up with all kinds of excuses why it is not worth the effort. Our commitment and faith in Jesus determines how far we will go to help someone change their life. These friends dug a hole in the roof. What are we willing to do?

Another component of this passage was the people in the house. What were they there for? Jesus was returning home and I am sure there were friends and family who wanted to see him. There were people who heard about the miracles he performed and hoped to see one for them. There were those who needed healing and came with the hope that they would be healed. There were those who were skeptical and sought to trap Jesus and prove he wasn’t who he said he was.

There were so many people the house was full and there wasn’t room for these friends to get to Jesus. Let me note something, most of the people were there for good reasons but they were focused on themselves and they blocked someone else from getting to Jesus. I am glad that the guys that brought their friend were not deterred and dug a hole in the roof.

The life changing encounter with Jesus had an interesting effect on the crowd. Jesus forgave the sins of the paralytic, but that wasn’t enough for some in the crowd. Jesus knew what was on their hearts and met their challenges head on, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . .” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”

Take notice that the wall to wall, standing room only crowd was no more. The man picked up his mat and walked out in full view of the people left. Where did the crowd go? I think some realized they were in the presence of the Living God and left because of their transgressions. I think others left because Jesus could see right through them into their heart. Some knew they had crossed a line by challenging God; they would have trouble dealing with that.

I thought about all the people that jump on the bandwagon and want to be around until it gets uncomfortable, they start to drift away. What you have left are your true friends, those you can count on. Amazing isn’t it. When you come face to face with the living God you don’t leave the same way you came.

We can learn a few things, first and foremost, Jesus can and will forgive our sin. He will give us a new, fresh start. Jesus can and will heal our physical problems. We should not be deterred because there are obstacles in our way. Desire in your heart to meet Jesus face to face and you won’t leave the same way you came. Our commitment and faith in Jesus determines how far we will go to help someone have that opportunity. These friends dug a hole in the roof. What are we willing to do?

HEADED SOUTH- When you read this, barring any unforeseen detours, we will have had Chaplains at the tracks in Georgia and Florida. The season has already started and we have a little catching up to do. The 410’s have been racing at Bubba Speedway Park with a couple of familiar names visiting Victory Lane. Thanks to Joe Kelly for being there as things got started.

Our plans have us at Screven, Volusia, Bronson, New Smyrna and Bubba to name a few but I’m not ruling out a visit to Daytona to cheer on some teams with Modified roots. We’ll see how it goes. If you are in the neighborhood track us down and say hi. Looking forward to meeting some old friends and making some new ones.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.