28 Jan 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
On 27 January, I attended the cozy service of New Life Restoration Centre in Cheras from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. It has a congregation of about 100 people consisting of more than 60 percent of youths.
After a lively worship, brother Philip Liew preached a message entitled “Trust God no matter what.” He expounded on Mark 5:21-34 as the congregation read the passage together.
He also shared about Luke 8:40-48 which tells a parallel story with Mark 5:21-34 to give a clearer picture. Both parables are about a continually bleeding woman who was healed when she touched the cloak of Jesus.
Jesus was supposed to go to meet Jairus, one of the synagogue leaders, to heal his dying daughter in his house. Far from being a supporter, Jairus did not believe in Jesus and even questioned him when He healed during a Sabbath day. Nevertheless, when Jairus’ daughter fell sick, hehad nowhere to turn to but Jesus.
“In our life today, we have people who do not need Jesus because they are sufficient. But one day, when they need Jesus, they would come,” said Philip. “Jesus did not turn Jairus away although he did not believe Jesus earlier.” In the same way, how many times have we only look for Jesus when trouble comes?
Who is this woman? Nobody knows her. Philip called her, “Miss Faith.” So, what can we gather about “Miss Faith”? She had a serious medical problem of bleeding for 12 years. Although she probably spent immense amount of money seeking medical help, she was still unwell. One would think how desperate she was to change her life and how she had nowhere to turn to but Jesus Christ. And with the powerful faith that Jesus would heal her, she pressed into the crowd quietly, trusting that she will be healed just by touching Jesus’ cloak.
24 So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him.
25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.
26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
And how did Jesus respond when the woman touched his cloak?
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
He asked, “Who touched me?” (Mark 5:31). This question is odd as the bible verse before describes the crowd following and pressing around him (Mark 5:24). Everyone was touching Jesus in the eyes of His disciples.
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
But Jesus felt that His power went out from Him (Mark 5:30).
So, why did Miss Faith touch Jesus in such a quiet way, unlike the boisterous crowd? The first reason is she was embarrassed with her problem and secondly, she was considered unclean in the Jewish law (Lev 15:25). Because of that, she was isolated and lonely for about 12 years!
25 "'When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period.
Philip shared that this woman had to overcome several hindrances before she got to Jesus. Firstly, she lacked in her finances due to her medical condition. Secondly, she might have given up in her problem. Thirdly, she might also experience psychological isolation. And fourthly, she could have procrastinated.
“We procrastinate a lot as well in receiving Jesus into our lives. The woman did not waste her time. She did not wait for a better weather. She did not wait for Jesus to be alone. She did not wait foranother time,” said Philip. She was desperate and ‘now’ was the best time for her.
Fourthly, this woman was all alone with no help at all.
“Her eyes was on Jesus alone. Her focus was on Jesus alone. For example, when we’re in church, we notice who’s late or what a person wear. But now, when you come to church, focus on Him,” said Philip.
Many times, we go to church expecting a general message for the whole congregation. But we should come expecting a specific message from God for us.
“If you really have your heart open to Him, God would speak to you through the worship, sermon, prayer and many more,” said Philip. “Ultimately, only God can meet your needs, not me or Pastor Jeffrey Lam. We’re just conduit for God. His power is overflowing and we just need to touch Him.”
Typical hindrances that we have in life are wrong priority, busyness, family criticism, lack of time, lack of energy, lack of money, fear of people and lack of spiritual perception of what God can really do.
“We put our God so small and our problem so big. But our God is much, much more bigger than your problem,” said Philip. "What did Jesus said in the end? He said to her, your faith has healed you."
Since this year is a year of Jubilee, he thanked God for the continual growth of New Life Restoration Centre. And for this year, they are focusing on five R’s for their members including release, restoration, rest, renewal and rejoice.
As a church leader, Philip made a commitment to walk with God, to raise cell leaders and invest more time in cell group. After the sermon, Pastor Jeffrey and other cell group leaders prayed powerfully for all the cell members.
A cozy and friendly congregation with energetic leaders leading a group of boisterous and tight-knitted youths, I look forward to see younger leaders to be born in this church. Hallelujah!
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