2015 at Lakeside was the Year of Health. Now that 2016 has come, it is no longer the theme of our year, but the principles will never go away! Check it out to see what we did for 2015 to get healthy.

Jesus goes up to Jerusalem for a festival and he passes by this pool where a disabled man is laying, waiting for a miracle. Jesus approaches him and asks him a question that still baffles me sometimes, “Do you want to get well?” This guy has been an invalid for thirty-eight years. Does he want to get well? Of course he wants to get well! …Or does he?

See, being healed changes everything for him. It strips away the excuses. It restores his personal responsibility. Sometimes being broken is comfortable. Sometimes we get used to relying on our excuses. Sometimes healing comes with a price tag. Jesus doesn’t want to leave us that way. He wants us to take the step of faith towards him and embrace the life he has for us.

This year, at Lakeside, we’re focusing on health. We’re rallying together and marching toward health in five key areas. What about you? Are you willing to take the steps towards change? Are you willing to pay the cost to be healed?

Do you want to get well?

Jesus is sitting at a festival and out of nowhere he stands up and shouts out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” It’s a shocking outburst, but some of those that hear it immediately decide they want what Jesus has.

Sometimes, we feel like God is distant. We feel empty, we feel guilty, we feel insecure. What we’re really experiencing is thirst. We’re dry. The temptation comes along to try to satisfy that thirst with all sorts of substitutes that pale in comparison to the true living water from Jesus.

If anyone wants to be a healthy person, they need to start with their spirit. We kid ourselves if we attempt to believe that God doesn’t care about what we think, what we say, or what we eat. That the way we spend our money is somehow separate from our relationship with God.

Every side of us is important to God because he is the one who knit us together.

Everything is spiritual.

Jesus is asked by a teacher of the Law, “Who is my neighbor?” See, this question was an important one because if you could choose the definition of neighbor, you could constrain it to those you wanted to love. Jesus doesn’t let him off the hook like that, though. He tells the story of the Good Samaritan and shows him that the ones he must love are the ones he wishes to the least.

If the Gospel doesn’t touch the way we treat other people, it hasn’t touched us at all. There are no neat compartments for our relationship with God and our relationship with others. Loving God and loving our neighbor are commandments 1a. and 1b.

The healthy believer in Christ is one who has healthy relationships. Who loves their friends, their family, and their enemies. Passionate marriages, thriving relationships, and healthy friendships are not adornments, but hallmarks of a true follower of Jesus.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

Jesus warns his disciples to not be anxious about anything. He tells them to seek his kingdom and choose peace and joy. Paul later wrote that Christians should put on the “mind of Christ.”

See, Jesus knew then what science is only starting to uncover now:

How you think determines how you live.

Researchers are finding that ideas about our physical bodies determining how we think have it all backwards. In fact, how we use our minds instructs our bodies how to react.

This is why Jesus elevates something like lust to the same sin as adultery. It’s only a matter of time before those thoughts bear fruit. In a letter to the church in Rome, Paul gives us the answer to a question everyone wants to know. How do I change? How do I become more like Jesus?

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Jesus does a lot of things in the Gospels. He teaches, he debates, he travels, he eats. Another thing he does a lot of is heal. Jesus seems to be always healing someone.

I’ve heard people try to argue that Jesus doesn’t really care about the condition we keep our bodies in. That the physical is just less important than the spiritual stuff. For someone who supposedly doesn’t care about our physical health, Jesus seems to spend a whole lot of time focusing on that very thing.

What we do with our bodies is a matter of stewardship. God has given us these gifts and they are his for us to use. Let that really sink in. If that’s true, it changes everything. The way we see ourselves, the way we treat ourselves, the things we eat, the things we don’t. These are all open to being transformed by the Gospel in our lives.

It is our bodies, after all, that Jesus wants to be our living sacrifice for him.

Jesus tells his disciples that if anyone can be trusted with very little, he can be trusted with much. And if someone is dishonest with very little, they will be dishonest with much. We hear this and usually think it only means that if we’re faithful with little money, we’ll get more money to work with. I think that’s true, but it’s not the whole story.

See, to Jesus, money was more than just money. It was a barometer. If someone is faithful with the wealth of this world, Jesus knows they will be faithful with true riches. If someone is careless with material wealth, what use is the eternal for them?

The way we manage the money God has given us is of great concern to him. If we’re not faithful in that, how will we be faithful with anything more? Saving and giving are spiritual disciplines. They do more than help us feel good or gain holy brownie-points.

They show us who we really serve.