One of the big questions in my life is, “If God loves me, why does He delay so long to help me?” “Why did He let my dreams die!?” Most of you probably are not where you wanted to be. We wonder if God is too busy, or taking a vacation or has lost our cell phone number. Mary and Martha were asking the same thing about their very sick brother, Lazarus.
So they sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” And here is the surprise; when Jesus heard the urgent news, he stayed where He was for two days longer! (sound familiar?)
During those two days, Lazarus got sicker and sicker. You can imagine Lazarus asking Martha to look out the window to see if Jesus is coming down the road. “Are you sure He got the message?” Mary says she is sure. But Lazarus starts to breath less and less and nothing.
Four days later Jesus shows up and Martha lets him have it. “If you were here before, my brother would not have died!” Jesus shocked her, “your brother will rise again.”
She, being a good Jew, believed in the bodily resurrection in the last day, but not now. Then Jesus shocked her more, “Lady, you are looking at the Resurrection.”
Mary, the other sister, comes and says the same thing, “If you would have been here…” but she says it worshipping on the floor.
Sometimes we questions God with a closed fist, like Martha, and sometimes we question God with both hands wide open in worship saying, “God I don’t understand what your hand is doing but I trust your heart.”
And that kind of worship deeply moved Jesus into action.
He asked them where they put the body. In other words, where did you stop believing?
They believed Jesus would come and heal their brother but when He did not show up on their time schedule, they stopped believing. Jesus wanted to know where they stopped believing.
Have you stopped believing in God because of a great disappointment in life, because you were praying for something that never happened? I know what it is like praying for a dear friend to live but he died. It rips our heart out. But Jesus is so loving He comes to that hurt place where we stopped believing and dreaming.
Then He tells them to remove the stone. The ladies remind Him the body has been rotting for 4 days in the heat. It will stink to high heaven. But Jesus challenges them,
“If you believe, you will see the glory of God.”
And Jesus calls Lazarus by name, “Come out.” Good thing He called him by name or who knows how many dead people would have risen, saying, “Did you mean me?” Jesus promises the day is coming when all the dead will hear His voice and rise. I remember how nice it was to hear my Mom’s voice waking me up, saying, “Today is your birthday.” One day you will hear Jesus waking you up, too.
The only answer religion has for the dead is to put flowers on the tomb to cover the bad smell, but Jesus takes away the stone! Religion only tries to cover up our stinking sins but Jesus cleanses us completely.
We want to be a church that does not hide our sins but rejoices in the forgiveness and freedom from sin. After Lazarus walked out alive, he was still dressed like a mummy, in grave clothes. He could hardly move. Jesus could have said, “Be free.” And the clothes would have dropped op, but He says to the people, “You loose him and set him free.” He wants us to help unbind each other in the church. That is what small groups are for- a small group of friends who help us get free from bondages from our past. The whole ministry of the church is not the pastor ministering to me, but all of us ministering to one another. The Bible tells us to pray for one another, encourage one another, receive one another, and sing to one another. In the New Testament we find the phrase “one to another.” So we want to be a “one to another” church, helping each other without judgment get free. Some think they don’t need church, just Jesus. Well, good luck getting out our your grave clothes.
In my book, The Safest Place on Earth, I share some embarrassing things I did. I worried if people read the book, they might say, “Pastor Andres came out of the garbage. I’m looking for another church.” Well, we all have had garbage; just some people have it covered with flowers.
And that is why Kathy had her women’s conference last week – STARS! A time to invite Jesus into the parts of us that died. A time to look at the stars and dream again.
About Team McMillan:
In 1994, the McMillan family traveled to the kidnapping, murder, and drug capital of the western hemisphere to plant a church and a foundation. God thought Medellin, Colombia a good place to raise a family. And turns out He was right (as He usually is). It became a very large family: The church, Comunidad (Community), is now the largest church in Medellin with over 8,000 members, the Foundation, Viento Fresco, cares for over 150 high-risk children, and a non-profit coffee shop, New Hearts Cafe, serves cups of caffeine and the love of Jesus to thousands of college students.
God is doing so much in Medellin, and we write about here on the Teammcmillan.orgblog!
There are four ways to get involved.
- Become a prayer partner.
- Donate to Team McMillan via our Mission South America Paypal.
- Buy Andrew´s new book on Amazon The Safest Place on Earth.
- Join us in Medellin for a Missions Trip.
You can contact us at TeamMcMillanColombia@gmail.com