No one is outside Jesus' reach, Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church believes, and this is why he is sharing how people can help others find hope and healing through God.
"I believe that small groups are a vital part of helping so-called hopeless people find healing. One of the parts I like best about being in a small group is that you can pray for one another's 'hopeless' cases," he wrote in his website. "We can lean upon the faith of others when we start to doubt."
Christians should exhibit seven characteristics when dealing with such "hopeless" people as an alcoholic relative or a drug-addicted parent, or Warren said.
The first characteristic is compassion. People who are hurting need a lot of care, and they can definitely benefit from it. If people are not too preoccupied with their own needs, then they can exhibit more care and compassion.
The next is faith, and Warren cited the Bible verse Luke 5:20: "When Jesus saw their faith, He said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven.'"
"It wasn't the paralytic's faith that made him well; it was the faith of his friends. How many people do you know who are so paralysed they can't believe in God? That's when we have to believe for them," he urged.
The third important thing to do is intervene. People should definitely pray for their "hopeless" friends, but they need to take action as well. It will not be enough to just pray for someone who is hurting and caught in sin, Warren said.
The fourth is persistence. "We all get discouraged as we try to reach our family, friends, and acquaintances with the Gospel. But we can't give up!" Warren said.
People need to be innovative, too, when dealing with hopelessness, and this fifth characteristic can definitely help bring people closer to Jesus. "Small groups that won't step out of the box won't be willing to be messy enough to be instruments of healing," he said.
The next is cooperation. People in small groups need to work together in order to become a supportive community that will serve as a powerful witness to God. And lastly, people need to sacrifice. "Whether it's time, money, effort, or whatever, there is always a cost to bringing someone to Christ," he said.