A Miraculous Turnaround

 

Theme: Jesus came to give us life. Proper 5 (10) - Yr. C
Object: A surfboard, if possible, or perhaps you could find a "Hang Ten" t-shirt.
Scripture: Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. Luke 7:14-15 (NIV)

This morning I brought a surfboard. Do you have a surfboard? Have you ever been surfing? Today I am going to tell you the amazing story of Bethany Hamilton. Bethany began surfing at a a very early age. In fact, she entered her very first surf competition when she was only eight years old. Unbelievably, she won both the short and long board divisions in her very first competition. There was no doubt that she had a very bright future in the sport of surfing.

When Bethany was thirteen, she was surfing off of the island of Kauai in Hawaii when she was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark. The attack left Bethany with only one arm. She lost 60% of her blood and went through several surgeries. Most people assumed that her dream of becoming a professional surfer was over, but it wasn't. Bethany had a positive attitude and a deep faith in God. Miraculously, just one month after the attack, Bethany returned to the water and continued pursuing her goal of becoming a professional surfer. In 2007, Bethany turned professional and two years later she placed second in the World Junior Championships. Now that is a miraculous turnaround!

Our Bible lesson today is about an even more miraculous turnaround. One day, Jesus and his disciples were walking toward a town called Nain. As they approached the town gate, a dead man was being carried out. He was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. She was very sad because she was left with no one to care for her. When Jesus saw her, his heart was touched and he said to her, "Don't cry."

Then he went up and touched the coffin. "Young man, I say to you, get up!" The dead man sat up and began to talk. Jesus gave him back to his mother and the young man and his mother turned around and went back home. Now, that is what I call a miraculous turnaround!

Jesus wants you and me to experience a miraculous turnaround in our lives too. The prophet Ezekiel said, "The soul that sins will surely die." Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." That's the miraculous turnaround that Jesus wants for us.

Father, thank you for sending your only Son to give us the victory. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

Note: Bethany has written an autobiography entitled "Soul Surfer" which has been made into a major motion picture. Learn more about this amazing young woman at http://bethanyhamilton.com/.