Posted by: pastortomvabeach | August 14, 2012

Thought for the Week August 19, 2012

If you were able to attend the service on Sunday, the commissioning of our leaders and ministry partners was moving and powerful. I believe that each of the individuals on whom we laid hands has been called by God to fulfill demanding and vital responsibilities in this local church. Laying our hands on them and calling on the Lord to empower them provides encouragement and support for them and gives the congregation great confidence so they can trust those who serve. I believe that God was there.

I mentioned on Sunday that I see two general categories for which “laying on of hands” was practiced in the Bible. The first we practiced right then – preparing or sending people into ministry. The other category is in conveying blessing and miraculous power (such as healing).

Jesus is certainly our example since He spent much of His public ministry serving people by meeting their desperate need of physical healing. While He did not always lay hands on those He healed, in many instances, He imparted the healing by the touch of His hands. Some of those instances may seem different than how we might “lay hands” on someone. For instance, putting His fingers into the ears and touching the tongue of a man who could not hear or speak. Still it was His touch that passed on healing.

The amazing thing about this is that Jesus said that you and I would be able to touch the world in the same way. In Mark 16:17-18, He said, These signs will follow those who believe: In My name…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. In John 14:12-13, He said, Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. I know He didn’t specifically say we would see people healed by laying on hands in this reference, but if that was even one of the “works that I do” to which He was referring, can we not say that’s part of what He had in mind?

Add to that Paul’s declaration about the powerful manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Among these Paul says, The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all…to one is given…gifts of healings by the same Spirit…the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. (I Corinthians 12:7-11) The idea is that the Holy Spirit makes His gifts available to individual members of the body of Christ as there is a need and He decides when and to whom, so it could be to anyone who trusts in Christ at any given time.

Let’s flesh this out to see if we can apply this teaching. Read again the verses in Mark 16 and John 14. When you read them wherever there is a pronoun (those, they, you, he, etc.) put your name. For instance: These signs will follow Tom: In My name Tom will… Then find the reference in I Corinthians 12 and do the same. Read them several times with your name in every spot.

Now answer two questions. 1) Do you really believe that what you just read is really real? In other words, do you believe that you, by Jesus’ promise and in the Spirit’s power, could touch someone on His behalf and they would be healed? 2) If you really believe that, what is keeping you from practicing the “works that I do”, in the context of your everyday life? Imagine with me the impact we could have if we were just bold enough to believe Jesus and actually touch people with His power.

But, pastor, what if I do this and the person I touch doesn’t get healed? Let me turn that around. What if they do?! Our job is not to reason how, when, why but simply to trust God and step out in faith. May I suggest that the simple act of offering to pray for someone for healing or blessing and touching them on the shoulder or hand to pray is vastly more than most would expect and tells them that we care enough to make their need a priority to us and identify with them. This is powerful in itself. By the way, I don’t think we should stick our fingers in their ears or touch their tongues, unless we are absolutely sure God says to. A hand on the shoulder is good.

Add to the act of caring and touching the promise that Jesus did say the signs would “follow” those who believe. He didn’t say the signs would lead. So our faith, our witness, goes first and then the Holy Spirit comes along and confirms what we say with signs following. Again I ask what might happen in our circles of influence if we just take a small step of faith and touch people in their need? What’s holding you back? Just a thought.

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