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Do You Want to Be Healed?

One of the reasons we stay stuck in our old life is because we cannot even imagine the real possibilities of a new life. Frankly, we don’t know how to live as resurrected people.

Consider the man in John, chapter 5, who was an invalid for 38 years, lying on a mat by the Sheep Gate pool in Jerusalem. For all those years, this man had to be carried everywhere he went; he could not move without someone moving him.

There was a legend about the Sheep Gate pool. It was believed that occasionally an angel would stir the waters, and if a person was blessed enough to get into the waters the moment they were stirred, they would be healed. This man lay constantly by the waters, hoping for a miracle. But as he said to Jesus, he had no one to lift him into the pool when the water was stirred. He was totally dependent on others.

When Jesus saw the man, He did not ask him if he wanted His help to lower him into the pool. Rather, Jesus asked him this key question, “Do you want to be healed?” (John 5:6).

As a member of the clergy, homeless men and women often approach me for help. I have noticed that for some, though certainly not all, there is no real desire to be freed from homelessness. They may want money for the next meal, or a drink, but not real help. Jesus was asking whether this man wanted a new reality—a new life!

That’s the crucial question Jesus asks each of us: “Do you want to be healed?”

Our old self is like a comfortable pair of shoes, worn thin with tatters and holes. Yet we know these old shoes. They are familiar. They are ours. In contemplating the idea of a new reality and a new life, the unknown aspect alone is enough to prevent us from answering the question in the affirmative. How would you answer Jesus’ question: “Do you want to be healed?” Do you want to live a new life?

The invalid in the story really did want to be healed—only, the method he was hoping for was more superstition than reality. Instead, Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk” (John 5:8, NRSV).

Jesus says the same to us. Many people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ are spiritual invalids lying on a mat waiting for someone else to come along and do a miraculous work in their life. Instead, Jesus invites the willing to stand up and take a step in faith, like the man in the story.

“At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.” John 5:9 (NRSV)

What did new life look like for that man by the pool? First of all, he was no longer dependent. Nobody had to carry him around anymore. Second, he could now work; he could find a job! Third, his relationships would be redefined. No longer would family members attend to his every need. His liberation from the bondage of paralysis set him free to become a responsible human being who could stand up on his own two feet, carry his own mat, and walk of his own volition and direction.

One of the more humorous parts of the story is when the rulers of the Temple catch the newly healed man red-handed, walking with his mat on the Sabbath. They accuse him of violating the law against doing work on the Sabbath. He immediately tells them that the man who had made him well was the one who had bid him to take up his mat—Jesus.

The irony is that the very systems of the world that seemingly promise us life can be marshaled against our being healed! So long as that man stayed an invalid, trapped on a mat, waiting for somebody else to help him, the system was content to leave him alone. But as soon as he began to stand and walk in the newness of life, he stood out as a sore thumb to be attacked by others, to be put back in his place.

Let me ask you again: Do you want to be healed? If the answer is yes, Jesus challenges you to stand up, pick up your mat, and walk.

Like the invalid, you will find a new level of freedom and personal responsibility in your new life. But like the invalid, you, too, may find that your freedom is a thorn in the side of the system or those who would have you stay on your “mat” and wait for someone else to solve your problems. Resurrected people are a threat to the status quo.

Don’t let those voices shame you into going back to the way you were. Claim the authority of the Name of Jesus as the One who told you to stand up, take up your mat, and walk. Use His name against the powers that would hold you back. At His name, oppressive powers must flee!

Take a step today into the newness of your Resurrected Life.

— The Rev. Charlie Holt


This is the full devotional from The Resurrected Life, Week 2, Day 9, (p. 40). Find out more about The Resurrected Life Devotional and Small Group Study here.

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The 5 Steps to Leveraging Easter Into a Church-Wide Small Group Campaign

Easter is one of the most powerful times of the church year. Church leaders are on the front lines when it comes to sustaining that excitement into a lasting life change. Use these 5 steps and The Resurrected Life materials to make the most of this upcoming season!


  1. Build A Leadership Team

The Senior Pastor is the one who casts vision for the congregation. In addition, however, a successful church-wide campaign requires key lay or staff members in the role of Administrator, Small Group Coordinator/Coach(es), Prayer Champion, Communications, and Worship Leader. These key team members will be the driving force behind making the campaign effective.

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  1. Recruit Hosts

Sample response card for The Resurrected Life
Sample response card for The Resurrected Life

Begin recruiting host homes at least a month before Easter. If you already have a small group ministry, those current group leaders are a place to start. However, if you want to make it a church-wide campaign, you’ll need more! Some recruiting strategies, in order of effectiveness:

  • Ask people directly, face to face.—Most effective
  • Put a response card in the bulletin.
  • Have a sign up table in the lobby after services.
  • Ask those interested to go to the website and fill out a form.
  • Ask those interested to call the office.—Least effective

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  1. Train Hosts

Hold a Host Rally two weeks before the campaign launches. Also offer Host Orientation classes for new hosts after weekend worship services. Instruct them to think of people in their circles of influence that they could invite to join their group. New hosts will be more comfortable if they already know their group members! Finally, hold a Connection Event the week before the campaign launches in order to connect group members with their hosts.

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  1. Distribute Materials

You get a much greater participation rate if the church purchases the materials, distributes them to the host, and then collects money at the first meeting to reimburse the church. Provide hosts with 6-8 sets of materials and an envelope to collect money in and then return to the church.

  • For The Resurrected Life, each participant will need a devotional for personal study and a study guide for the group sessions. Each group needs only one DVD, which the host will keep.

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  1. Recruit Participants

Although you have been casting vision and recruiting hosts for the past month, the last two weeks before launch is when you really start pushing for participant commitments. Some effective methods to increase engagment:

  • Make invitation business cards that church members can use to invite their friends.
  • Have a sign up table in the lobby after services.
  • Put notices on the church website and in the newsletter.
  • Put a response card in the Easter bulletin!

With a little planning and preparation, Easter can be a transformational season for the individuals and groups in your congregation.

Click here to watch an hour-long webinar in which this material is taught by Fr. Charlie Holt and some of his team members.

Click here for more information about The Resurrected Life, or use the links to purchase below.

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