Christ Our Healer

I was just nine years old when my dad had a massive stroke that left him disabled. And as my son gets older and I get older, but specifically as my son gets older and closer to that age that I was. I appreciate it in new ways just how tragic that was. The first prayer that I remember praying on my own, a prayer that wasn't prompted by a Sunday school teacher or a parent, was for my dad's healing.

I remember kneeling on my bed and asking God to heal him. Sometimes we say that God answers prayers in one of three ways. Yes. No. No. Or wait. Not yet. And that has been God's response to that prayer for 30 years. You can imagine how disappointing that answer would be to a kid begging God to fix his dad.

My pain's not unique. Every one of us here has a story of suffering. We don't need to look far to see the brokenness and pain in our world. Whether it's personal struggles or the larger issues that we see in our society. We need a healer. But in these moments, when all seems lost and hopeless, there is one name that brings comfort and hope, Jesus.

So before we talk about healing, specifically the healing we find in Jesus, I want us to have a robust theology of pain and suffering. It's crucial that we don't shy away from the difficulties that we face. Sometimes Christian churches like to minimize the pain and suffering that we all experience. And we do ourselves a disservice when we ignore the fact that life hurts sometimes.

So today we're going to explore how pain and suffering impact each of us. We're going to talk about how it shapes us, how we navigate through it, and how it has the power to transform us. And that right there is probably ten years worth of sermons. So we're not going to go very deep this morning.

But we have to talk about pain and suffering if we're going to be a church that has a strong theology and practice of inviting people to receive Jesus as the one who heals their sicknesses, their broken relationships, their emotional struggles, and spiritual wounds. Suffering is a universal human experience.

Merry Christmas. I told you this was a weird sermon for the week before Christmas. And while suffering is a universal human experience, together, as a community of faith, we can find hope in the midst of this pain, and ultimately, we can point others to the incredible healing power of Jesus Christ.

Let me share with you an encouraging verse from 2 Corinthians 4. 16. It might be a little depressing too. It says, Therefore, we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed. Our inner person is being renewed day by day. This verse tells it like it is. It's telling us that we are indeed decaying.

We're dying. The decay and death of our human bodies is a part of the curse. The result of sin entering our world. As I went bald in my early twenties, way too soon, and now my beard is graying, it's all an undeniable reminder that I'm getting older. And these are just the first difficulties that I hope to encounter as I age.

Many of you know better than I that challenges come with aging, right? One of my grandmothers used to say, getting older isn't for wimps. But this verse also reminds us that while our outer selves may show signs of decay, through Christ, our inner selves are being renewed every day by God's grace. Now, when we talk about healing, it's important that we address the tension that we see.

On one side, we have hope, and we see that through prayer, people are experiencing miraculous healing. But on the other side, many are not experiencing that healing. And that's where it can get really tough. And if we don't have a robust understanding of suffering and pain, disappointment and confusion is going to creep in.

And that's the last thing that we want to have in our relationship with God. We don't want to stop praying for healing because we don't want to get our hopes up. We can't stop praying because we don't want to be the little boy disappointed in God's answer of not yet. So we have to equip ourselves with a deep understanding that suffering is part of our journey.

In fact, it's through pain and suffering that we often encounter God in the first place. We come to the end of ourselves and we realize that we need a savior, a healer. And in those moments, Jesus is there to meet us with open arms, if we'll let him. And as we come to know Jesus, we know that he knows our suffering.

In the book of Isaiah, written hundreds of years before Jesus birth, in a passage that's often referred to as the fifth gospel, Isaiah writes this about him. He says, Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains. But we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities, punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds.

So Jesus both understands our suffering and is the source of our healing. Through his death on the cross, he paid the price for our sin and our brokenness. The Bible is a story of gardens. The first garden, Eden, was where everything began. It was God's perfect creation without sickness or pain. But when Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree, sin entered the world and with it came suffering.

The second garden is Gethsemane. In this garden, Jesus prayed fervently to his father, knowing that he was about to suffer on our behalf. He sweat drops of blood as he wrestled with the weight of our sin and suffering. The third garden is the Garden Tomb. After Jesus was crucified and buried, he rose from the dead on the third day, conquering sin and death once and for all.

And now you and I, those of us who have professed belief in Jesus Christ, we look forward to the final garden described in Revelations as a garden city where those who believe in Jesus will live with him forever, where there will be no more tears or pain, only joy and perfect healing in God's presence.

That's what we have to look forward to. And this is our ultimate hope. It's a world made right. We have a God who loves us and is actively working to restore all things. But this hope is not just for the future. It's a hope for today because we currently live in an already, but not yet reality. Jesus has come and he has brought healing and restoration with him, but we are also still waiting for the fullness of that kingdom to be revealed.

And in this tension of this now but not yet, we have to pray for our future healing to spill over into the here and now, knowing that God's ultimate intention isn't for us to remain in suffering. While we wait for the complete restoration of all things, we need to seek healing and restoration in the present, trusting that one day it will all be made right.

In this waiting season. We had to find purpose in our pain. God is not the author of suffering, but he can use it for our good in his glory. Which is what I told my church when I was diagnosed with cancer. I climbed into the pulpit. Many of these people had not seen me since my wedding a couple of weeks earlier.

And since then, after coming home from our honeymoon, my life went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. But I knew from my experience as a child, from my understanding of scripture, the testimony of friends and family, and my faith in Jesus, that my cancer was for my good and his glory. And I was intent on living in that reality.

And while I got up in the pulpit to reassure the congregation, to point to the source of my strength in Jesus, I believe that he was glorified. But he was also glorified moments later when a man from our church who had been assigned to pray a funnel prayer, starting with a big this of the world issues going down to national, state, local, congregational.

He got into the pulpit. He paused. He began to cry because God is glorified when we find our strength in him. But God is also glorified when we turn to him for comfort, when we're brokenhearted before him. When we're brokenhearted for others, my experiences of suffering, God has redeemed into blessings.

And I don't say that to minimize my suffering or yours, but to give you hope that God can bring beauty from ashes, healing from the pain. I believe I shared with you before, but one of the times I was most scared of my cancer journey was after an ultrasound confirmed my cancer and moments before I took a CT scan to determine how bad it was.

Whether I was going to live or die. And as I broke down and despaired for my life, I felt the Holy Spirit urge me to open my Bible to Matthew chapter 8. And so as we talk about Christ our healer, I want to share what I read that morning with you now. Jesus went into Peter's house and saw his mother in law lying in bed with a fever.

So he touched her hand and the fever left her. Then she got up and began to serve him. They brought to him many who were demon possessed. He drove out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick, so that what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled. He himself took our weaknesses and carried our diseases.

So in this passage, we witness a profound display of Jesus' compassion and power as a beautiful illustration of his capacity to bring healing and restoration to every area of our lives. Let's unpack what these verses reveal about Jesus, our healer. First, I want you to take note of the setting. Jesus enters Peter's home.

This healing is personal. It's intimate. Peter's mother in law is bedridden with a fever. This is a relatable, it's a personal moment. This isn't a grand spectacle. Jesus truly sees her in her suffering. And this is our first takeaway. Jesus is intimately aware of our individual struggles. Jesus sees us in our pain, whether it's physical, emotional, or spiritual.

Now let's observe his actions. He gently touched her hand. In a simple yet tender gesture, Jesus reveals his deep compassion for our humanity and his desire to alleviate our suffering. Miraculously, the fever immediately leaves her. And this profound encounter not only demonstrates Jesus's healing power, but also illustrates the speed at which he responds to our cries for help.

In our moments of desperation, when we yearn for healing, Jesus can swiftly transform our circumstances in ways we could never have imagined. And how does Peter's mother in law respond to this miraculous healing? After being healed, Peter's mother in law springs back into action and starts serving everyone.

Her response to her healing is to take care of others. And I don't want you to miss this. Jesus's healing power is not just about relieving pain or discomfort. Jesus's healing power is about reigniting our purpose. You are healed for a reason. You're healed for a purpose. When Jesus heals us, it's to empower us to fulfill our unique roles in his kingdom, to serve him and make a difference in the lives of others.

And this gets to the tension. Why are some healed and others aren't? We all have experiences of unanswered prayers, of loved ones who have not received healing despite our earnest pleas. And it's in these moments that we have to remember Jesus purpose. He came to heal the sick, yes. But more importantly, He came to save us.

And sometimes that salvation looks different than what we expect. We see this in Jesus own life and death, right? He suffered greatly on the cross, but through that suffering, He brought ultimate healing for all of humanity. His wounds became our cure. Through His sacrifice, we are redeemed. So sometimes, God is using our suffering to bring about a greater good.

Even if we don't understand it in the moment. The Apostle Paul is an example of this, right? He was given a thorn in his flesh that he pleaded with God to remove. But instead of healing him, Jesus told Paul, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Even when we don't receive physical healing, God's grace is enough.

His power shines through our weaknesses. Our purpose is to reveal His glory regardless of our circumstances. Whether we're healed or not, we praise Him. Back to the passage. As evening approaches, the focus shifts from individual healing to mass healings. Matthew writes that many who were demon possessed are brought to Jesus, and with just a word, he cast out the spirits and heals all the sick.

Here we see the boundless extent of Jesus's healing power. It extends beyond one person or one type of ailment. His authority encompasses all forces, whether physical illnesses or spiritual oppressions. And then look what comes next. Matthew directs our attention back to Isaiah's prophecy, reminding us that Jesus healing ministry was part of God's long standing plan.

The suffering servant in Isaiah is Jesus. He himself took our weaknesses and carried our diseases. And this isn't just about physical healing. This is a profound statement about Jesus taking on the full weight of our human frailty. Our sins, our sorrows, our brokenness. And this is important for you to know, when you pray to Jesus for healing, don't just ask for physical healing, ask for complete restoration of your mind, your body, your spirit, your relationships.

Jesus is our ultimate healer and he desires to heal us in every aspect of our being. That's our future hope. That's what we will have in his garden city, complete and full healing and restoration. You can imagine how reading these words in Matthew 8 would bring comfort to me. Let's look at another account of healing here in Matthew.

Verses 1 through 4, the beginning of the chapter. It says, When he came down from the mountain, large crowds followed him. Right away a man with leprosy came up and knelt before him, saying, Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean. Reaching out his hand, Jesus touched him, saying, I am willing. Be made clean.

Immediately, his leprosy was cleansed. Then Jesus told him, See that you don't tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded as testimony to them. This story is truly remarkable. It goes beyond just a miraculous healing. You can't say just a miraculous healing, but it goes beyond the amazing miraculous healing.

Because what's happening here is Jesus is challenging societal norms and religious taboos.

Jesus comes down from the mountain, followed by a big crowd, his teachings still fresh in their minds, and then a man with leprosy appears. Society has rejected him, considered him unclean and an outcast. This man is not just suffering physically, he's suffering socially, emotionally. And I want you to notice this man's approach.

He comes up and he kneels before Jesus. This is an act of desperation, it's an act of faith. He doesn't demand, he simply states the truth. Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean. And in a society where lepers were untouchable outcast, Jesus does something revolutionary. He reaches out his hand and he touches the man.

He demonstrates that no one is beyond the reach of God's love and compassion. The immediate cleansing of the leprosy is a miracle, but the real miracle might be the restoration of relationship between the man and his community and between the man and God. Leprosy in those times was not just a disease, it was a sentence to life of isolation.

Jesus is not just healing the man physically, he is restoring his dignity, his humanity, and his place in society. But there's more to this story. Jesus then instructs the man to show himself to the priest and offer a gift commanded by Moses. So why does Jesus add this instruction? It's because this wasn't, or this wasn't just about adhering to the law.

It was meant to be a powerful testimony to the religious leaders. It was proof to them that something new was happening, that the kingdom of God was at hand, and it was down and God had knocked down the barriers that humans had erected.

In our lives, too, there's leprosies, right? Might not be a physical disease, but we can allow experiences, mistakes, circumstances that isolate us, that make us feel unworthy, unclean. I once worked for a godly man who was born with cerebral palsy and he prayed fervently for healing. And he carried so much shame and grief because the Lord didn't see fit to heal him.

He thought it was his fault because he lacked faith, because he wasn't good enough.

But like the leper, we can approach Jesus. We can be confident in his willingness to reach out to us. To touch our lives, not just for physical healing, but for total restoration. Because there is nothing that you can do that would cause God to love you any less than he already loves you. And nothing you can do that would cause God to love you any more than he already loves you.

Your healing is not based on how God feels about you or your obedience to him.

We don't earn his love, it's a free gift. The leopard didn't earn his feeling. And his circumstances didn't disqualify him from receiving it. Jesus saw a beloved child of God in need of healing. When Jesus looks at you, that's what he sees. My cancer was maddening because we didn't know what caused it.

There's some cancers where you know, right? If you have liver cancer, there's a good chance that you drank yourself into that situation. If you have lung cancer, there's a good chance you smoked yourself into that situation. Mine just happened.

But you still wonder. Did God allow me to have cancer because I didn't have enough faith or because I made some terrible mistake? That's a lie of the enemy. Are suffering as a result of sin? Yes. But Jesus was without sin yet. He suffered more than any of us ever will. Rather than feeling shame about our suffering, we need to recognize that it is being used by God to bring about a greater healing and restoration, both in our own lives and in the world around us.

We need to see our suffering as an opportunity to give God glory and to step into the life that he longs for us to live. To further emphasize this point, we're going to go to verses 5 through 13. When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him pleading with him. Lord, my servant is lying at home, paralyzed in terrible agony.

He said to him, am I to come and heal him? Lord, the centurion replied, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but just say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, having soldiers under my command. I say to this one, go, and he goes, and to another, come, and he comes, and to my servant, do this, and he does it.

Hearing this, Jesus was amazed and he said to those following him, truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith. I tell you that many will come from east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Then Jesus told the centurion, Go, as you have believed, let it be done for you, and his servant was healed that very moment. Now, a Roman centurion was the last person you would expect to see chatting up Jesus because he's part of the Roman occupation. But the centurion or this centurion has a problem.

His servant, his back home, paralyzed and in terrible pain. But he also has tremendous faith in Jesus's authority. He believed that Jesus could just give the word and bam, healing would happen miles away. And Jesus is amazed by this. I have to imagine that it would take a lot to amaze Jesus. This Roman, this outsider, understood something that many in Israel missed.

He saw beyond the idea of Jesus as just a physical liberator. He saw Jesus for who he really is. The one with authority over sickness, over distance, over everything. And Jesus responds by saying that many will come from east and west, from all over to join the big family of God. Because it's not about where you're from or what group you belong to.

It's all about faith. You don't have to be the right person to be saved.

This story hits me hard every time because it makes me ask myself, do I have this kind of faith? Do I really believe that Jesus can do the impossible even when I can't see it happening? But it also reminds me that Jesus's love and power doesn't have boundaries. They don't stop at city lines or nationalities.

His healing and his kingdom are open to everyone who believes, no matter who they are or where they're from. Amen. We should be bold in our faith, just like the centurion. Let's not limit God with our small expectations. Let's believe in his power wholeheartedly, knowing he can work beyond what we can see or understand.

Let's also remember that in Jesus's eyes, everyone's invited. Everyone. It doesn't matter if you feel like an outsider, or if you think you're not good enough, or if you're just plain different. In His kingdom, there's a place for you. But there's more here. The servant healed by Jesus did nothing. He did nothing.

It was the centurion's faith that moved Jesus to act.

This reminds us that we also have a role to play in bringing healing to others. We are agents of His love and healing. We can pray for others, we can encourage them, and point them towards Jesus, who is the ultimate healer. If you don't have enough faith to pray for yourself, ask others to pray for you. We are community, and we can support each other in our journey towards healing.

Just like the paralytic was carried to Jesus and lowered on a mat by his friends through the roof, we need each other to bring our needs before Jesus. I think one of the most common lies that we Christians tell each other is, I'll pray for you. I want to challenge you. That when you commit to pray, you actually do it.

And if you can, pray right then and there. Why delay? Lay hands on them. Pray for them. As I went through my cancer battle, I leaned on all kinds of people. All kinds of people for prayer. I sent out emails with updates, and I sought out friends who are prayer warriors, and it was incredibly comforting and amazing to see the power of their prayers in my life.

Years later, I would hear a pastor say that he didn't understand the urge for people to share their prayer requests with all kinds of people because one person's prayer was enough. And yes, one person's prayer is enough, but knowing you have a whole army of people bugging God on your behalf. That's comforting.

The last story of healing in this chapter begins in verse 28. When he had come to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes, two demon possessed men met him as they came out of the tombs. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, What do you have to do with us, son of God?

Have you come here to torment us before the time? So out of the tombs, a place of death and despair, come two men, not just sick, but possessed by a legion of demons. They're so wild, they're so fierce, that no one even dares to pass by. This isn't just a bad day, it's a living nightmare. The demons in these men, they don't just see a man, they see the Son of God.

And they're terrified because even demons recognize Jesus's power. Verse 30. A long way off from them, a large herd of pigs was feeding. If you drive us out, the demons begged him, send us into the herd of pigs. Go, he told them. So when they had come out, they entered the pigs and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water.

These demons, these rebels against God, beg Jesus, if you're going to kick us out, at least send us into those pigs. Think about that. These forces of darkness need Jesus permission for their next move. And with a single command, go, Jesus sends them packing into the pigs, which then rush headlong into the sea.

This is a scene straight out of a movie. And the story isn't just about freeing two men from demonic possession. It's a showcase of Jesus absolute control over every form of darkness. It's a dramatic display of his power to break the chains no matter how strong they seem. In our own lives, we might not face demons in the literal sense, but we sure know what it's like to battle darkness.

We grapple with our fears, with our doubts, with our struggles. Amen? And sometimes life feels like we're up against an invisible force, just trying to drag us down. But here's the game changer. Jesus authority is the ultimate trump card over all these forces. This story tells us that no matter how deep we're in, no matter how hopeless it seems, Jesus can set us free.

His authority is recognized and feared even by a legion of demons. So let's hold on to this. Jesus, our healer, is also our deliverer. In his presence, there's freedom from every form of spiritual bondage. He's the light that shatters the deepest darkness. In him, we find hope, liberation, and the power to break free from whatever holds us back.

As we reflect on these passages, let's not just be amazed, Let's be changed. Let's be people who, in the face of darkness, confidently say, I know someone who can handle this. Let's turn to Jesus, trusting in his power to bring healing and restoration to the most tormented parts of our lives. And let's live in the freedom he so powerfully gives us.

Because friends, this is our inheritance. It's what awaits when Jesus returns and touches earth, making everything right. Until then, we pray for his healing to spill over into the here and now, as we look forward to his perfect healing later. During his time on earth, Jesus devoted a significant part of his ministry to healing the sick.

God takes joy in healing his people in every aspect. Relationally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. His healing is a profound display of his love for you and for me. These miraculous healings not only validate him as the Messiah, but they showcase his deep compassion. He drew crowds who came to hear his message.

Yet there was a more profound purpose at play. Jesus was initiating a grand restoration project. He was giving people a glimpse of what was to come. Because He is the Great Physician. He is the God who heals. Sickness was a result of the curse. But He took our curse upon Himself on the cross. Scripture tells us that through His death and resurrection, He disarmed the rulers and authorities of this world.

Therefore, because of Christ's victory, we can seek healing here and now, but how much healing can we expect in the present? To be honest, it's a challenging question. We see instances of healing, and we see times where healing doesn't seem to come. In a few minutes, we'll have an invitation for healing prayer, and some of you may leave this room healed, while others might take a step of faith and not experience immediate healing.

But this is what I know. Jesus has inaugurated his kingdom, and he has already won. Although its fullness awaits, awaits his return, sometimes the kingdom spills over from the future into the present. I want to take a look at James chapter 5. Verse 13 says, Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful?

He should sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? You should call for the elders of the church, and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. Their prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. When we confess our sins and pray for each other, healing can happen. The earnest prayer of a righteous person is incredibly effective.

And we're about to put this into action. But before we do, remember, it's not just about receiving healing. It's about offering it. You're healed for a purpose. You're healed to get back out there and to serve. To bring glory to God. As Christians, we are anointed ones. We're commissioned to bring healing to the world.

We have the privilege of bringing heaven's life and light into the earth today. Praying for healing in every aspect. I want us to step into that calling together. In John 14, Jesus says, Truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father.

You will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father. Don't limit your expectations on what in Scripture because He will do even greater works through you than what we read in the pages of Scripture. Open yourself up to the infinite power of God in your life.

As a church, we want to be faithful to this call. We want to bring the peace, presence, and power of Jesus everywhere we go. And one powerful way we do this is by praying for healing beyond these walls. In the already but not yet kingdom of God, our role is to bring the future reality into our present. In the Gospels, we see Jesus commissioned the 12 and then later the 72, instructing them to pray for the sick.

And while they don't receive many instructions, at least not that are recorded in the Gospels, this command stands out. Pray for the sick. As Christians, we are sent out, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to see the pain and suffering around us and respond when prompted by the Holy Spirit. We need to have eyes to see, and when the Spirit nudges you to step in courageously, do jesus was anointed for healing, and He anoints each of us to carry on His work. I've experienced healing in my life. Not instantaneously, at least not that I was aware of, but healing nonetheless remains a mystery to me. I've also seen situations where we prayed persistently for healing and breakthrough only to witness seemingly no change for year after year.

What I can say with certainty though, is that deep down, every one of us longs for ultimate and complete healing. We anticipate the day when the new heaven and the new earth will be set and we'll receive our glorified bodies. Our hope rests in the second coming of Jesus, in his full consummation. But in the meantime, our suffering and pain can draw us closer to Jesus.

We suffer for a reason. As we navigate this, in the meantime phase of life, we continue to ask for his healing in the here and now. But here's the thing, my friends. We have to ask. So today, we extend an invitation to Jesus, the ultimate healer to come. We walk in faith desiring to catch glimpses of heaven touching earth this very morning.

In our pain, in our suffering, we declare that even if healing doesn't come as we expect, our praise will continue. This is the essence of our faith. It's an invitation to a deeper connection with our loving creator. What we're going to do is have an opportunity for you to respond. And as James tells us, call the elders.

Call the elders and ask them to pray for you in the name of the Lord and anoint you with oil. I've handed oil to some of the elders. We'll just put a little bit on you. We're not going to douse you in it. But if you need healing, will you come forward? Will you come forward during this next worship song and allow us to pray for you?

If you don't want to be anointed with oil, that's fine. You can pass. But don't reject the opportunity for prayer. Let us pray for you. And, friends, we're a community, and I believe strongly in the priesthood of all believers. So while we have elders who we have recognized and commissioned to be leaders, and Scripture does call them to a special ministry of prayer and anointing with oil, turn to one another.

You pray, too. Because the same power that lives within our elders, the power of the Holy Spirit, lives within all believers. So during this next song, you can come forward and talk to one of the elders or pastors will be standing up front, or you can turn to a neighbor and ask for prayer. And otherwise we invite you to stand up and worship the Lord and sing praises in his name.

We're going to also be taking offering in a little bit. I'll have Travis prompt you at that time. But let me just share with you that this ministry of healing that we get to be a part of. This is something that you can do out on your own, but it's also something that we want to equip you to do as well.

We want to help train you and give you opportunities to do it. And one of those opportunities is our Blue Christmas service that's coming up this Wednesday. It's an opportunity for those who are grieving, for those who are struggling to come and be comforted by the light of Christ. And so in your bulletins this week, you have an invitation card.

It says, sit with me. You can hand that to a friend, to a co worker, and invite them to come to our Wednesday night service. You can also use that same card to invite them to our Christmas Eve service next week. And that's just a tool for you. It's just a tool for you. Because you can do the work of healing and praying for people without engaging in that opportunity.

But that's an opportunity that we have for you. Part of that opportunity is we know that there are people who are lonely this time of year. Or just people who want to enjoy fellowship. And so at 530, we have a reception before the 630 church service for Blue Christmas. And what we're asking because we're providing heavy refreshments is we're asking that you would sign up for that.

And so after service today, you can go out to the Welcome Center and you can see Precious. And Precious will be there and she will sign you up for that. And that way we'll know how much food to prepare. And I'm looking forward to this great night. A great night of food fellowship, but of hope and healing.

Let me pray and invite the team to worship. Father, will you help us to step forward in faith, to believe that it is your desire for us to be healed. And whether we get to experience that today in an instant, or when we go be with you for eternity, Lord, we look forward to knowing that ultimately you are victorious.

And that we will spend eternity healed and whole with you. In my pray, amen.