“Some men arrived carrying a paraplegic on a stretcher. They were looking for a way to get into the house and set him before Jesus. When they couldn't find a way in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof, removed some tiles, and let him down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus. Impressed by their bold belief, he said, ‘Friend, I forgive your sins.’” (Luke 5:18-20 MSG)
Here is the first of seven ways a small group can reach people for Jesus this Christmas season:
Give caring, consistent love to those who don’t know Jesus.
Like the four friends who helped the paralytic, sometimes it takes something radical to lead someone to Jesus — and sometimes it just takes the caring, consistent love of a small group of Christians. As we enter the holiday season, I encourage you to plan with your small group to reach out to friends and neighbors who do not know Jesus.
The reason God used the four friends mentioned in Luke 5 is because they cared for the paralytic. Just like those four, your life mission should start with love — caring for those around you and caring enough about those who do not know Jesus that you reach out to them during this holiday season. The number one reason Christians don’t share Christ with others is that they are too preoccupied with themselves.
Before you can care about others, you must become aware of them. When your small group meets, try to identify the people you know who need to know Jesus.
Then start praying, that God will give you an opportunity to share your faith in a non-threatening way and that he will soften their hearts and yours as well.
Then, make a plan for how you can reach out to these people as a small group.
Watch a short video sample from Pastor Rick on the importance of love. Saddleback Resources offers 40 Days of Love, a six-week, video-based study for small groups or individuals that searches the Scripture for what love is, the characteristics of love, and how our relationships can be transformed by love.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2011 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.