“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 fourth of seven ways a small group can reach people for Jesus this Christmas season:
Your small group must overcome difficulties.
When the four friends saw the path to Jesus blocked, they had every reason to feel discouraged, but they didn’t give up. They looked for another way to bring the man to Jesus.
Everybody gets discouraged at times, even and sometimes especially during the Christmas season. But in order to share Jesus with our friends, we must persist through those difficulties. I remember a small group at Saddleback who prayed for a lost friend for two years before that person made a commitment to Jesus. I know that man is glad the small group didn’t give up after a year and a half of prayer.
Jesus told a parable about seeds falling to the ground. Some of the seeds never developed deep roots, so they fell away once they encountered problems (Matthew 13:21). But Jesus wants us to deepen our faith in him so we can “produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” (Matthew 13:23b NLT)
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.