Tag Archives: Peter

The new frontier

Other townsAs a newbie, Peter doesn’t understand why Jesus doesn’t stay in the spotlight. After all, the Lord has successfully gathered a great crowd after healing sick and freeing people from demons. Then, right when He’s won Galilee Idol, He sneaks off to pray alone.

Peter, who fancies himself Jesus’ campaign manager, comes and tells him, “Everybody’s looking for You.” (Mark 1:37)

Jesus just mystifies him: “Let’s go to other towns so that I may preach there also because that is what I was sent for.” Why wouldn’t he capitalize on the crescendo?

Peter didn’t understand, as many Christians today, that the highest priority is not popularity or prosperity. It’s extending the message of salvation to others and to still others.

Once upon a time, Americans looked for new frontiers. Some still do, scientists, for example. But Christians? Are we basking in the glory of perfect services with quality music and preaching while the huddling masses in other towns languish with no hope?

I’m taking on a new frontier. I’ve moved out of luxury and into poverty, from Santa Monica to Van Nuys. There’s a method to the madness: God has called me to save souls elsewhere. After a month, there’s already one family in the Thursday night Bible study — thanks to y’all’s prayers. (Sorry, I can’t resist “y’all” even though I’m not from the South. English needs a plural second person pronoun.)

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Christ the builder of the church

 

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. — Matt. 16:18 NIV.

Blood has been shed needlessly over this verse. Contention is so sharp wars have been waged. Was the rock Peter? Catholics say so in their argument for Papal succession. Was the rock his confession or revelation of Jesus Christ? Evangelicals say so.

I wish to sidestep the debate completely and focus on the main point. The central idea here is that Christ will build his church, not man. When you are a ministerial leader, you get the sensation that you are building your ministry. That sensation is strong until you fail. When you are fighting a war of attrition, then you want to reach out and find some sort of help. You remember that it’s God’s ministry, not yours. He will build.

Prayer focuses the True Builder of his church, although we humans wrongly feel we are building. In other words, get more involved the Guy who really does, and get yourself less involved (I was a ministerial work-aholic). Pray more.

 

Fishers of men

The fisherman THINKS he knows how to catch fish. He has done it all his life. He knows the behavior of the fish, where they are based on wind, sun, temperature and time of day. He is so much the expert that he forgets who truly brings in fish.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” — Luke 5:4-6, 8 NIV.

After this, Jesus commissioned Peter a “fisher of men,” which is what we are. Never forget the difference between the expert fisherman and the Expert Fisherman. Depend on Him to make the catch. Pray.

Worth $1 million

 

She had only a vague notion that her jade pieces might be valuable. But by the time the Antique Roadshow expert was done, she was flabbergasted. Four pieces were worth $1 million. An army man in China in the 1940s, her dad had collected them and bequeathed them to his children.

Sometimes we underestimate the value of the pieces God has place in our lives. This is especially true for the disciples under our care. Peter certainly didn’t seem like a headhunter’s prize, a highly capable exec stolen from a competitor. Our disciples have a latent value that suddenly explodes on scene when we least expect. Believe in the disciples God has brought you, because unexpected value is liable suddenly appear and be useful in the extension of God’s kingdom.

She’ll probably stop serving M&Ms out of that bowl. If we only understood the true value of our prayers… of our people…