“LIVING AND SHARING THE GOSPEL”
July 16, 2017
“Lead Me To The Rock”
“Under The Shadow”
“We All Bow Down”
Prayers of Intercession
SERMON: David Perry
‘What About Evangelism?’
“Let There Be Glory”
Worship God in Spirit and Truth
Grow in His Grace and Knowledge
Share the Love and Hope we have in Christ.
by Joseph Tkach ~ GCI President
In our culture, the word miracle is often used rather loosely. For example, if a quarterback completes a 60 yard-long Hail Mary pass into a crowded part of the end zone to win a game, the TV commentator will likely praise it as a miracle. Here’s another example: ailing Dodger outfielder Kirk Gibson won a game in 1988 by hitting what was said to be a miraculous walk-off home run. Being highly unlikely, his hit was certainly entertaining, but it was not a miracle.
A miracle is a supernatural event that goes beyond the productive capacity of nature, though as C.S. Lewis notes in his book Miracles, “miracles do not…break the laws of nature.” When God performs a miracle, he intervenes in natural processes to do something only he can do.
Healing of the Blind Man by Bloch
(public domain via Wikimedia Commons)
Unfortunately, Christians sometimes embrace false ideas about miracles. Some say, for example, that there would be more miracles if more people had faith. But history shows otherwise—though the Israelites witnessed numerous miracles from God, they lacked faith. As another example, some say all healings are miracles. But many healings do not fit the formal definition of a miracle—many are the result of natural processes. When we cut a finger and it heals gradually, a natural process God designed for the human body has occurred. This natural healing is a sign (a demonstration) of God’s goodness as our Creator. However, if the cut heals instantaneously, we understand that God has performed a miracle—he has intervened directly and thus supernaturally. In the first instance we have an indirect sign and in the other a direct sign—both pointing us to the goodness of God.
Unfortunately, some who claim the name of Christ abuse and even fake miracles to build a following. You see this sometimes in what are called “healing services.” But such abuses of miracles are not found in the New Testament. Instead we find worship that is about faith, hope and love for God, looking directly to him for salvation that comes by way of the proclamation of the gospel. However, abuses of miracles should not diminish our appreciation for genuine miracles. Let me tell you about one I witnessed. I joined others in praying for a woman whose virulent cancer had already eaten away some of her ribs. She was receiving medical care, and now was being anointed, asking God for a miracle of healing. The result was that she became cancer free and her ribs grew back! Her doctor told her, “This is miraculous. Whatever you are doing, keep doing it.” She explained to him that it was not her doing, but God’s blessing. Some may claim that her medical treatments put the cancer at bay and the ribs grew back on their own, which they can do. But that would have taken a long time, and hers quickly returned to normal. Because her doctor said that her return to health was “not explainable,” we conclude God intervened and performed a true miracle.
Believing in miracles is not necessarily anti-science, and looking for natural explanations does not necessarily indicate a lack of faith in God. When scientists propose a hypothesis, they run tests seeking to falsify it. If their attempts at falsification fail, the hypothesis is strengthened.Thus we understand that looking for natural explanations for what might seem to be miraculous is not necessarily a refusal to believe in miracles.
We’ve all prayed for the sick to be healed. Some were delivered immediately and thus miraculously while others recovered slowly and thus naturally. In the case of those healed miraculously, it does not seem to have depended on who prayed or on how many prayed. The apostle Paul was not healed of his “thorn in the flesh” despite praying three times. My point is this: when we pray for a miracle of healing, in faith we leave the means and the ultimate outcome to God. We trust him to do what is best, knowing that in his goodness and wisdom he takes into consideration factors we cannot be aware of. Praying for a sick person to be healed is one of the ways we show love and compassion for those in need, joining Jesus in his faithful intercession as our Mediator and High Priest. Misunderstanding the instruction in James 5:14, some may be hesitant to pray for a sick person, thinking that only church elders are authorized to do so, or that somehow an elder’s prayer is more effective than the prayers of friends and family members. It seems that James’ intent in telling church members to call on the elders to be anointed when they are sick was to make it clear that elders, as servants of the people (and not lords over them), must make themselves available to those in need. Biblical scholars see in James’ instruction a reference to Jesus sending out his disciples in pairs (Mark 6:7), who then “drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them” (Mark 6:13). 
When we pray for healing, we must not think that our task is somehow to persuade (or otherwise condition) God to act according to his grace. God’s goodness is always freely given! Why then pray? Because through prayer we participate in what God is doing in the lives of others, and in our own lives as well, as God prepares us for what he will do according to his compassion and wisdom.
Let me add a note of caution: When a person comes to you asking for prayer concerning a health issue, and they say they want to keep the request private, their request for privacy should always be honored. People should never be made to think that their “chances” of being healed are somehow increased proportionate to the number of people who are praying for them. Such an idea reflects non-biblical, magical thinking.
In all our thinking about healing, we must remember that it is God who heals. Sometimes he heals through a miracle and other times he heals using the natural means he has placed within his creation. Either way, all the glory goes to him. In Philippians 2:27, the apostle Paul thanks God for having mercy on his friend and co-worker Epaphroditus who was deathly ill until God healed him. Paul does not mention a healing service or a particular power possessed by a particular person (himself included). Instead, Paul simply praises God for healing his friend. That’s a good example for us to follow.
Based on the miracles I’ve witnessed, and ones I’ve heard about from others, I’m confident God still heals today. When we are ill, we have freedom in Christ to ask anyone to pray for us and to ask the elders of our church to anoint us with oil and pray for our healing. It is then our responsibility and privilege to pray for others, asking God, if it is his will, to heal those among us who are sick and hurting. In all instances, we trust God for his answer and timing.
Thankful for God’s healing,
 Though GCI does practice anointing the sick with oil for healing, it does not consider this practice to be a matter of obedience to a command (as is the case with the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper).
†† Pastor’s Corner ††
Pastor David Perry & Jonnie
What a stormy week it has been, with lots of rain, wind, and storms. However, compared to the western part of the USA, where drought has caused many devastating fires, we are blessed to have all the rain. So far in central Indiana, this July is the 5th wettest on record.
Storms of life have and will come to all of us. How we deal with them is of utmost importance to our survival and well-being. These storms of life can easily cause damage to our lives, and to the lives of loved ones, if we aren’t God-Centered. Our God’s promise is real – keep focused on me as you go through the valley of the shadow of death, destruction and storms of life. Recently I posted the following on my Facebook Home page, a quote from FaithPanda:
At my lowest, God is my Hope!
At my darkest, God is my Light!
At my weakest, God is my Strength!
At my saddest, God is my Comforter! Amen!
Aren’t we glad that the Lord knows us intimately and loves us unconditionally. His grace and mercy are sufficient to carry us through this life and into eternity with Him forever. Hold on to His promises lovingly given to each of us.
Isa 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
We all have to be careful to not take for granted “Our Life In Christ”. Here’s an insightful & inspiring quote from Gary Deddo:
“God created us for real, personal relationship in which we participate, by grace, through Christ and by the Holy Spirit. All our responses are real participation in an actual relationship—the relationship God has established for us for the sake of koinonia (fellowship, communion) with him in dynamic, personal ways—the ways of freedom in love.”
All around us we can see anger, division, evil, frustration, accusations, fake news – but we must not let that keep us from resting in the mercy, grace and love of our personal relationship with our God – as Father, Son & Spirit. You are indeed loved-Pastor David
Prayers for our Country and Pres. Trump
Prayers for revival in God’s Church
Local Prayer Requests
Mary Coffey, Jerry Hudson, Helen Pavy – healing, strength & encouragement
Anita – niece of Barb Hudson – proper medical treatment & healing
George McFarland healing from surgery
GCI International Conference – In Orlando, the first week or more in August, over 1000 pastors, leaders and members from all over the world, will gather together. Prayers for travel blessings, protection & joy for all.
Deb Spangler – Praise – Back specialist said MRI showed nothing but arthritis in her back.
Peggy Perry – (Pastor David’s Sister) will have hysterectomy for Stage 2 uterine cancer on August 14
Lucy (Laf. – Anita Franz’s sister) Praise for the mercy of our Loving Lord for Lucy. Surgery on her left eye allowing her to see beautifully and colors are so vibrant. Now having issues with her right eye.
Janis Beck –Recovery & healing from tendon transplant surgery on left hand
Doug Whitlock – For full recovery from ongoing health issues
Tim Maguire – Update from Tim: Hi David. My leg is healing really well. Only left with a slight limp, which I’m hoping will go with time. Thanks for prayers
Leroy Joiles – GCI pastor in Jamaica –Prayers for full recovery from stroke
Nancy Ray (Hope) Ongoing back pain and problems
Stephanie Snyder (wife of GCI pastor Jeff Snyder) Various health problems that are affecting vision in one eye and overall health
Patricia Robinson (GC Indy) Healing of brain tumor that is getting larger
GC Indy – Prayers for Pastor Josh & Heather as they lead GC Indy – for insight & opportunities to share the life and love of Jesus in the Irvington area
Richard Cravens (friend of Jim & Donna Dunbar) Cancer
Joseph & Georgette Franklin, Our Haiti Church & School– Prayers for safety & blessing & provision.
GCI International Churches & Mission Leaders – Blessings, protection & provision as they share the Life & Love of Jesus, and train up new leaders and pastors. Prayers that they can share the gospel despite opposition.
Joe & Tammy Tkach – Protection, safety, wisdom & encouragement
Our Persecuted Christian Brothers and Sisters Around The World
For Divine Appointments To Touch Others With Jesus’ Life & Love