Seed Of Faith

 
 

Weekly Seed of Faith 9/22/17

BE ON YOUR GUARD

Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples saying, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy."  Luke 12:1
 

Dear Seed Sowers:
 
Thank you, thank you!  I want to thank each one of you for your notes, texts, cards and especially your payers for me for I know that I could not walk through this chelation process without you.  May God bless you and keep you in His unfailing love.  (Unfailing is my word for the year.  Even during this five year season of boils and blisters, rashes and reduced energy, God has provided me with unfailing grace, mercy and love.)
 
In today's SEED OF FAITH, we turn our attention to Jesus’ words in Luke twelve!  While Jesus has their attention, he tells them, “Be on your Guard!” προσέχω (prosechō) ἑαυτοῦ (heautou) This is one of those imperative-active verbs that commands the disciples to continually be on their guard and to never stop being on their guard.  “Guard” is translated “to pay attention to, to be alert, to carefully consider, to be on the lookout for, to hold to, to give heed to.”  Jesus is commanding us to constantly pay attention, constantly be alert, constantly consider, constantly be on the lookout!  
 
What is Jesus asking the disciples to be on their guard about?   "Be on your guard against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees." The Greek word for ‘hypocrisy” means “play actor.”  Wow.  Be on your guard against play actors. 
 
In the closing of Luke 11, Jesus listed 3 woes for the Pharisees and 3 woes for the scribes. Now he’s talking to the people, “Be on your guard against the hypocrisy --- the play-acting of the Pharisees.  This hypocrisy is like yeast, it will keep rising and rising until it ruins everything.” What is this yeast of the Pharisees that Jesus was referring to?  I think it's this:  The Pharisees had added 6,000 laws to God’s ten commandments.  
 
Next, Jesus gives a few warnings! “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known" and "What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” (Luke 12:2-3)
 
Talk about a frightening set of verses.
 
When things go wrong, I tell myself that the truth will always stand.  The things in the darkness will be brought to light.  Lies won’t stand but the truth will stand. 
 
After I became a Christian, this passage in Luke convicted me.  I found myself talking negatively about a family member.  The Lord spoke to my heart, “Whatever is spoken or whispered in the inner rooms of your house, will be shouted from the rooftops.”  Talk about a frightening thought.  I told myself then and there that if I had something to say, it would be worth saying to everyone.  If you are guilty of talking behind other people’s backs—pay attention here.  The Holy Spirit will always try to convict us to speak words of life and not death.  I always say that when I point my finger at someone, there’s one finger pointing to them but there are three fingers pointing back to me.  You already know what I’m going to say, "One for the Father, one for the Son and one for the Holy Spirit!"  The saying you heard as a child is true,  “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.”   
 
BE ON YOUR GUARD --- CONFESS CHRIST
I know a woman who did an entire word study on “fearing” God.  This woman was a very fearful person—she was afraid of her own shadow.  When I asked her what she had learned about fearing God, she gave me the short version of her study.  "Fear has to do with loving what God loves and hating what God hates."  Jesus is saying here in these verses that we should not fear man…man cannot send us to an eternal destination of fire.  God can.  It’s a smart person who loves what God loves…and hates what God hates.  God loves goodness and God hates evil.  I've watched this woman grow in her faith throughout the many years we've been married. No longer would I describe my wife as someone who is afraid of her own shadow.  She has learned the value of fearing God, of loving what God loves and hating what God hates.  

We will continue our study in Luke 12 next week.  Your homework (or "So What?") for this week is really simple.  Am I on my guard?  Am I a play actor or am the real deal?  Do I love what God loves?  Do I hate what God hates?  (If that's too strong of language for you, use "dislike".)

Jesus is teaching us in this section of Luke that God sees through our outer shells.  God sees through who we are on the outside, who we present to the world and God looks through all of that and into our hearts. Is your heart on guard against the yeast of Pharisees?  Are you the real deal or are you a fake, an imposter-wanna-be?  Do you love what God loves?  If you are doing something that God dislikes, are you willing to have an honest "come to Jesus" moment where you repent and turn to the good?

Years ago, God revealed to my heart that I belonged to an organization that had a lot of yeast of the Pharisees in it. I struggled for years with the right decision.  I had many arguments of why I needed to belong to this group. Yet, year after year, the Holy Spirit gave me this verse.  "Be on your guard."  Just as my wife did a study on fearing God, I did a study on being on my guard:  pay attention to, be alert, carefully consider, be on the lookout for, hold to, give heed to.  There came a time when push came to shove. I could no long color-code or deny my white-washed tomb. I paid attention, I was alert, I carefully considered the ramifications of my decisions, I was on the look out, and I gave heed to the truth and held onto the truth for dear life.  This much I know, when I see Jesus after I leave my earthly tent, I think He will high-give me and say, "You guarded your life, Dave.  Well done."  Doing the right thing is not always easy, it's not always profitable but it's always right. 

My advice to you is for you to guard your life.  It's really all you possess anyway.  I'm praying for you as you do your homework for the week.  

In closing, I began my last two-week cycle of chelation this morning.  In two more SEEDS OF FAITH, I will have ten cycles of chelation (20 weeks' worth) under my belt for the year. I will still be "pulling" lead out from my bones for the month of October.  Testing will be done in November!  My prayer is that by the holidays, I will be lead free.  Can I get an AMEN on that?       

 
Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani---God loves you and so do I"
Mulungu aku daliseni --- God bless you
 
God loves you with an inexorable love and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

weekly Seed of Faith 9/7/2017

 
 

                                                           “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Luke 12:25
 

Dear Friends and Family:
I hope and pray that you are doing well and walking in the grace and light of Christ.  I am sorry I haven’t written in two weeks.  This last round of chelation has been hard on me.  I have been working slowly and trying to get the little things done each day.  It's like I have "so much" energy to burn and when I burn it--it's gone!
The good news is that I just started round 4 and, in two more weeks, I'll start the last cycle.  By the end of October I should be done with the medication-part of chelation.  The months of October and November are months to let the drugs attach to the lead in my bones and then wait while I detox.  By Thanksgiving, I should be able to be tested again--which means a day of the drugs and a day or two of the fallout.  I should have the GOOD NEWS that I'm healed from the lead accumulation by Christmas or the New Year!  Which brought me to today's SEED OF FAITH.  

 Today we turn to a wonderful passage in the Gospel of Luke.  Who worries?  Just the recent events in our world have brought up the "worry factor":  Hurricane Harvey, and Irma and the 8.0 earthquake in Mexico.  Plus, just the stress of life burdens us with worry.
 
What is worry? What is the solution for worry?

The English word “worry” comes from the old German word “to strangle or choke.”  That is exactly what worry does, isn’t it?  Worry strangles our lives, it chokes the life out of us.  Listen to how Merriam-Webster defines the verb “worry”: 

1    dialect British: choke, strangle
2    a: to harass by tearing, biting, or snapping especially at the throat
      b: to shake or pull at with the teeth 〈a terrier worrying a rat〉
      c: to touch or disturb something repeatedly
      d: to change the position of or adjust by repeated pushing or hauling
3    a: to assail with rough or aggressive attack or treatment: torment
      b: to subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort
4:   to afflict with mental distress or agitation: make anxious[i]

Isn't that quite a definition?

I read an interesting quote in one of my commentaries the other day about worry.  “Worry is a thin stream of fear that trickles through the mind, which, if encouraged, will cut a channel so wide that all other thoughts will be drained out.”[ii] 

Have you been to the Grand Canyon?  That one little river cut through and grooved out the GRAND CANYON.  The next time you are prone to worry, think about that!

The Greek word that Jesus used for worry is “μεριμνάω" [merimnao /mer·im·nah·o/], and it comes from the root word that means “to be drawn into two different directions.”  Worry draws us in two different directions.  Worry chokes and strangles.  Worry harasses us, pulls at us, assails us, nags us, and afflicts us with mental anguish.  Worry is that thin stream of fear that drains our minds of all other positive thoughts.   

So Who Here Worries?

There was an interesting statistic that came from the Bureau of Standards.  They discovered that when a dense fog covers a seven-block section of a city, the actual amount of water contained in the fog would be less than a glass of a water. If all seven city blocks of fog were condensed into water, it wouldn't quite fill a drinking glass.  Think of that for a moment.  A few gallons of water could cripple an entire city.  (This makes me think of the trillions of gallons of water that Hurricane Harvey just dumped into southeast Texas and Louisiana.)

This statistic also reminded me a vacation that we took as a family so long ago.  One summer, our family drove around the east coast of Lake Michigan in Northern Michigan.  We decided it would be a great experience to take the ferry across Lake Michigan so we could tour Door County in Northern Wisconsin. Not long after we boarded the ferry, a fog set in that was so dense you could not see five feet in front of you.  The captain of the ship came on the intercom and explained that the fog horn would be sounding every five minutes.  Every five minutes for the next two hours that fog horn bellowed in the darkness!  Fog so dense you literally could not see a thing.  What a terrifying feeling. Compare this to the things that we worry about. Like the dense fog, our worries can block our vision.  

Worry pulls us in two different directions, worry chokes and strangles, worry makes us feel anxious.  Worry is a deep, dark cloud of fog that envelopes our mind, our emotions, and our lives—leaving within us a well-worn out and deeply grooved "Grand Canyon of anxiety, doubt, and fear."
 
SOLUTIONS FOR WORRY
A good teacher knows that repetition is the way to bring the teaching point home.  Jesus is our good teacher!  In these verses, Jesus talks about worry four times.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.” Luke 12:21
"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"  Luke 12:25
“Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 12:26
 “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.” Luke 12:29

Jesus also spoke the words “You of little faith” several times to His disciples.  Once, when the storm was so strong on the lake, and Jesus was asleep in the boat, the disciples were afraid.  They woke Jesus up! Jesus replied to them, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. Matthew 8:26   The next time was when Peter started to sink as he tried to walk on water.  Peter took his eyes off Jesus.  We are told by Matthew that “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. You of little faith,” Jesus said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31 The third time was when the disciples were worried about not having bread to eat.  Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?” Matthew 16:8  We are in good company when we hear these words --- “you of little faith.”  I find it pretty amazing that when Jesus spoke these words, they were spoken to those who believed in Him, who already had faith.  Jesus wanted their faith to be stronger.  Jesus didn’t want His disciples to worry about what "would of, could of  or should of" happened.  "YOU OF LITTLE FAITH: DO NOT WORRY."  (That's my translation.)

I read a story about Abraham Lincoln. When Lincoln was on his way to Washington to be inaugurated, he spent some time in New York with Horace Greeley and told him an anecdote that was meant to be the answer to the question everybody was asking him: "Are we really going to have a civil war?" In his circuit-riding days Lincoln and his companion had been riding to the next Session of court.  They had crossed many swollen rivers on this one particular journey, but the formidable Fox River was still ahead of them. They said one to another, “If these streams give us so much trouble, how shall we get over the Fox River?” When darkness fell, they stopped for the night at a log tavern where they fell in with the Methodist presiding elder of the district who rode through the country in all kinds of weather and knew all about the Fox River. They gathered about him and asked him about the present state of the river. “Oh, yes,” replied the circuit rider, “I know all about the Fox River. I have crossed it often and understand it well. But I have one fixed rule with regards to the Fox River—I never cross it till I reach it.”[iii]

What’s the solution for worry?  What’s the opposite emotion of worry? Let’s go straight to the text.   Jesus says, “O you of little faith.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” Luke 12:31-32

The solution for the worry that plagues us is faith.  How often do we cross our proverbial Fox River before we ever reach it?  The trick for us is to trade worry for faith.  Once we reach the Fox River, then we will deal with how to cross it.  We waste so much time when the Fox River takes over our focus from the distance.

So What?
How do we gain more faith?  How do we seek the kingdom of God first and his righteousness?
Here’s your homework lesson for this week:  take a blank piece of paper and write at the top of one side, “WORRY.”  Under “worry” write all the things that you worry about.  On the other side of the paper write, “FAITH!”   When Jac and I made the decision for me to go to seminary, we had it all planned it all out.  I would work for the family business until Labor Day weekend when seminary started.  I got fired in June.  There went all of our best laid plans!  I was worried!  How would I make our house payment?  How would I pay for food?  How would I pay our bills?  No job equaled no insurance.  What if one of the five us got sick?  Friends, it was praying time in the Peters house! 

Seriously, Jac and I were sick with worry.  Worry is like sitting in a rocking chair.  You go nowhere…just back and forth over the same two feet—forwards a foot, backwards a foot.  After a few days of being worried, I felt like the Lord asked me to get out a piece of blank paper.  At the top of the paper, I wrote:  “DEAR GOD:” At the bottom of the paper, I wrote:  “Thank you for filling in this blank page of our lives.”  Jac and I signed it.  I put that paper on the wall in my commuter seminary room—three hours away from home.  I laid hands on that piece of paper and prayed when things didn't make sense, and I laid hands on that piece of paper and praised God for the days things did make sense.  Curiously, my tiny mustard seed of faith began to take root and grow and my worry began to diminish.

God had a plan.  Our community came together.  People started dropping bags of food off at our doorstop…and because it was a small town—they knew where we hid our key.  People came in and filled our cupboards and frig and freezer.  We received bills in the mail—but they were marked, PAID.  We didn’t pay them, someone else had paid our electricity, our gas, our water, our trash and even our property taxes. 

Paul wrote to the church in Philippi these words of encouragement: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:4-7

Jac loved this verse and she started writing on index cards every single one of our needs.  Then she would place it face down on the stove vent.  As we would walk by the index card, we’d say, “I’m not going to worry about how you are going to pay this bill.  I am letting my requests be made known to you, God.  Keep us focused on the big picture.  And THANK YOU.”  Soon Jac began keeping track of every donation.  She started with a tiny, little basket.  We ended up with a huge laundry basket!  Do you know that over our three years of seminary, we received about $20,000 in donations each year?  Between Jac's three jobs and mine, our income was a whopping $21,000—but with all of those donations—we made it. For three years, Jac and I felt like Jimmy Stewart at the end of “It’s A Wonderful Life”!  God had grown our faith from a tiny basket of faith into a huge, laundry-sized basket of faith!

Here is your assignment: take one sheet of blank paper, on one side write: WORRY and on the other side write: FAITH.  Under WORRY write down all the things you are worrying about.  On the other side write down Philippians 4:4-7.  PRINT IT OUT. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:4-7

The Grand Canyon of Worry wants to choke the life out of us.  Worry also releases neuropeptides which make us sick—body, mind, and spirit.  O YOU OF LITTLE FAITH, DO NOT WORRY! 

Remember the prescription for worry?  FAITH !  Here are a few acrostics:
 
Forwarding              Full                              Forsaking                    Forwarding                 Full
All                            Assurance                    All                               All                            Assurance
Issues                        It will                           I                                   Issues                          In
To                              Truly                            Trust                            To                                The
Him                           Happen                        Him                             Heaven                        Heart

Oh--that Fox River of ours likes to pop up in our thoughts every so often.  "What if?"  "What about?"  I think that we as the Body of Christ need to pray for one another here.  "Lord, please don't let me worry about the Fox Rivers in my life, just give me the wisdom to cross it when I get there.  And do the same for all of us who follow You.  Amen."

Have a great week.  If all goes well, I'll be back next week.  However, my wife keeps telling me that there's a Fox River of chelation ahead. I hope she reads this! 

Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani---God loves you and so do I"
Mulungu aku daliseni --- God bless you 
God loves you with an inexorable love and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

 


[i] Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
[ii] John MacArthur, Matthew, 1985, Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute
[iii] Clarence Macartney, Macartney’s Illustrations (New York: Abingdon Press, 1946), p. 415.
 
 
 
 

Weekly Seed of Faith 8/26/2017

 
 

The Light Within  
See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness."  Luke 11:35


Dear Faithful Seed- Sowers, and Saints in the ministry of Christ Jesus:

Light!  What comes to your mind when you hear the word “light”?
 
I think of the opening verse of the Bible.  In Genesis one, the Word tells us that God created “light” and called it good.
 
Genesis 1:1-5
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
 
When I think of light, I think of one of my favorite passages in Scripture, Psalm 27:1
 
Psalm 27:1-2
The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
 
In the Gospel of John, when Jesus came to the Festival of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, the priests lit four, huge candelabras.   So brilliant was the light from these candelabras that there was not a courtyard in all of Jerusalem that was hidden from this light.  Think of how we light the torch for the Olympics…it’s the same idea!  Just imagine how bright and brilliant those candelabras were.  The light was to remind the Israelites of their Exodus journey; of the fire by night that protected them, provided for them and guided them during their 40-year trek in the desert.  The fire would also remind them of the cloud by day that sheltered them from the desert heat (140 degrees). 
 
During Jerusalem's annual Festival of Tabernacles, millions of Jews were gathered together.  It was here that Jesus proclaimed one of His great “I Am” statements.  John 8:12 Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Standing amongst the four brightly burning candlabras, Jesus chose to make this statement.  Jesus knew exactly what he was doing and saying.
 
So What? What does it mean to you that Jesus says that He is the Light of the world?  I find it amazing that Jesus declared he was the light of the world--not just of Jerusalem or of the Jews--but the He was the light of the world!  What a powerful promise we have here to hang onto!    “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” It sounds so simple!  Follow Jesus and you will never walk in darkness.  I think of Psalm 23, "You lead me through the valley of the shadow of death."  It may be very dark where we walk, but Jesus--the light of the world--will walk us through the darkness.  This is a simple theology, but it is not easy!
 
Today we come to Luke 11.  Jesus has taught the disciples about prayer, has confronted hostile accusers and warned the crowds that were following him about unbelief.   Jesus now makes a very practical application.
 
Luke 11:33-37  
“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”
 
This past summer, my wife and I traveled by car to visit her parents in The Villages, Florida.  Jac and I enjoy what we have come to call "spontaneous" tripping.  Unless we have a deadline on our time travel, we tend to sleep in until 7 am and go and enjoy a good breakfast.  We are known to get in the car and drive from 10 am until midnight.  We stop at anything that looks interesting, and always ask the locals where we eat if there's anything we should see.  Jac and I had never planned to stop in Biloxi; we've driven by Biloxi several times in our lives, never having need to stop.  But this trip, it was getting late and Jac had been scouring the hotel websites.  She found this one hotel located right on the Gulf of Mexico in Biloxi.  It had been a hard year for us with the lead poisoning, chelation and moving.  We decided we needed a few days of rest before we traveled on to Florida.  We called our friend who manages a Hilton hotel here in SOCAL and he set us up with an ocean view room on the tenth floor!  After sleeping in and eating breakfast, we decided to take in some of the sights on a walking tour to explore the beach.  We stopped into the visitor’s center where we watched a delightful movie on Biloxi.  It talked about the Biloxi Lighthouse which sits in the middle of six lanes of traffic that runs along the ocean.  The lighthouse was built in 1848 and has withstood 20 hurricanes and numerous storms.  One of the worst hurricanes to hit the shores of Biloxi was Hurricane Katrina.  The Lighthouse took a severe beating, but it withstood the storm and continued to flash it’s light out into the darkness.
 
Another interesting note is that for 74 years three different women were the keepers of the lighthouse. Think of it, for 74 years these three women went up and down the stairs of that lighthouse every single day in order to clean the light and make sure it was working properly. Rain or shine, they went up and down the steps to make sure the ships could see the light. Even during storms and hurricanes, they went into the lighthouse to make sure the light would flash and provide safely, security and sanctuary for the ships that were out to sea. Think of the thousands of vessels that were brought safely to their destination by this flashing light. Think of the thousands of passengers who arrived safely to shore through the past 169 years of the existence of the lighthouse. Imagine the flashing light--on for three seconds and then darkness for one second. There stood the Biloxi Lighthouse:  three seconds on, one second off-- year after year, day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute. Second by second—the light flashed without fail. The movie in the Visitors' Center ended with these words, "After every one of the 20 hurricanes, there's only one thing to do:  REBUILD."  
 
SO WHAT?  What do these words from Dr. Luke mean to us today?  

At the Festival of Tabernacles, Jesus stopped and proclaimed that He is the light of the world.

Is Christ the light of your world?  Does His life light up your world?  Do you put the light of Christ in your life on a lampstand each day or do you hide it under a bowl or basket?  

Imagine the light from the four candlabras--not a courtyard in Jerusalem was left unlit from the brilliant light.  And it is here that Jesus says, "I'm the light of the world."  Not, "I'm the light of Jerusalem."  "I'm the light of the world."

The challenge for each of us this week is for us to be the light of Christ in our world.  Be the light of Christ in your home.  Be the light of Christ at work.  Be the light of Christ in your neighborhood. Be the light of Christ at work.  Be the light of Christ on the freeway.  Be the light of Christ in any line you wait in.  Be the light of Christ to your friends and extended family. 
 
This week, I encourage you to open up your Bible, ask the Holy Spirit to be the light that illuminates the words on the pages.  Start here in Luke 11.  Think about the darkness you run into each day—and be the light of Christ to someone.  What WOULD Jesus do?  Nike.  Just do it.
 
Jac and I walked by that little lighthouse several times a day on our way to and from the Gulf.  I thought about the many times the city of Biloxi has rebuilt itself. I thought about the 20 different hurricanes and I thought about how that little lighthouse shines it light 24/7/365.  Every single minute of every single day--there she stands, in all her glory, lighting the way.

God is so good.  God is so good to Jac and me.  God knew that we needed rest and that we needed rest in Biloxi, MS.  We were so blessed to know the story of the lighthouse. Jac and I have been through many storms in our lives. Each time the only decision to make is this:  rebuild.  Clear away the debris, and rebuild.  Shine the light of Christ in the storm and in the rebuilding.  Day in and day, night after night, shine the light of Christ.

When Jac and I checked out of hotel, we felt so renewed and blessed.  But the best was yet to come.  Remember the friend that Jac called to see if he could get us a better rate than the one that was posted online?  He blessed us.  Our three-day, two-night stay had been paid for by this man who knew nothing about the lighthouse but he knows about shining the light of Christ.  WOW!  The note on our bill said, "I wish I could do more.  You two deserve this."  The manager who checked us out said, "This hasn't just blessed you.  This has blessed me.  I'm already thinking about who I can do this for--and I'm thinking of my pastor and his family."

Don't hide your light.  SHINE.   
 
Friends, the Word of God is alive.  It’s redemptive—it buys us back --- day in and day out.  If you need this light in your life, pick up your bible and read it. The stories within its pages aren't just old stories--if we are willing, these stories can be made alive within us, too.  The blind parts of us will see.  The deaf parts of us will hear.  The dead parts of us will come to life.  The darkness in us will flee and the light of Christ will SHINE within us.  "I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD."  

Here's my closing thought:  the Biloxi lighthouse contains a live camera in it.  You can go online and see what's happening there any time of any day.  A tiny monument on a busy street.  All it does is simply shine the light contained within.

Think about that!  Be blessed this week.  Be a blessing.  Shine your light.
 
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
 
Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani---God loves you and so do I"
Mulungu aku daliseni --- God bless you
 
God loves you with an inexorable love and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

 
 
 
 

Weekly Seed of Faith 8/21/2017

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:31-36
 
Dear Friends and Faithful Seed-Sowers:

Lifting you up in prayer is one of my most favorite things to do.  You can always email me with your prayer requests.  I spend time each day praying for you.  My prayer today:  May our God surround you with perfect peace and a powerful, heavenly presence. Amen.

I have been thinking of the preamble of the Declaration of Independence.  Have you ever thought about these words?

We hold these truths to be self- evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This is the preamble of the Declaration of Independence which was signed by 56 representatives of thirteen colonies on July 4, 1776.   Some say that this sentence in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence is "one of the best-known sentences in the English language" containing "the most potent and consequential words in American history.” 

We hold these truths to be self-evident!   Have you ever thought about what truth is?
What is truth?  Here are just a few Scriptures from the Gospel of John that speak to the idea of truth, life and liberty:
John 14:6
John 8:31; 36

What is Life?
John 3:16
John 10:10
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

What is Liberty?
John 15:10

What is freedom?  
What does freedom mean to you?


Webster’s Dictionary defines freedom as “the quality or state of being free:
a: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action
b: liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another : independence
c: the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous”[i]

In our passage from John 8 above, Jesus is teaching those who follow Him.  Jesus says that faith is more than just believing Him.  Faith, for Jesus, was not only believing, it was holding onto His teachings and putting them into action.  Jesus is teaching in this passage about the cost of becoming a true disciple. Jesus is teaching that just having “head” knowledge is not enough.  Jesus is calling them to have “heart” knowledge, too.  Jesus is teaching about “spiritual freedom.”  Here in verses 31-32 Jesus gives us a conditional statement, --- “if --- then.” If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  Here is the simple formula that Jesus gives: IF you believe, hold onto His teachings, and put them into action THENyou will know the truth and have freedom!

Freedom from what?

Scripture teaches us that we have three major battlegrounds:  the world, the flesh and the devil.  In our lives, we have areas of bondage that trip us up at one time or another.  These areas of bondage are usually connected to our sin and our self. What Jesus is teaching us here is that when we really believe in Him and continue to believe in Him and hold onto His teachings and put them into action--we will know the truth-- about our flesh, about the world, and about the devil!  We will know the truth about Sin; we will know the truth about Self.  The truth is that many of us live defeated lives or, at best, only partially free lives! Some of us live in fear.  Some of us live in guilt and shame.  Some of us live in defeat. Some of us live in depression and oppression.  Some of us live in suppression and deceit.  The truth that Jesus is teaching us here is that He came to set us free!  Jesus tells us we will know the truth and the truth will set us free!  There is freedom in Christ!  There is freedom in knowing who are you are in Christ!  There is also freedom in truth.

When Jesus told His followers this, they responded to Him that they have never been slaves.  Somehow, they had forgotten that throughout the years of their existence they have been in bondage to Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greece, Syria and now they had Roman coins in their pockets.  Jesus responds by saying that anyone who sins is a slave to sin. Ah.  A different kind of slave; a slave to sin. 

In this passage, Jesus is calling us to leave our prisons of sin and self.  Jesus concludes this teaching by saying, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  The Greek word for “indeed” is ὀλίγως, ὄντως [ontos /on·toce/], and is translated “certainly, truly.”  In this sentence, this adverb is used to emphasize the main point:  freedom comes in and through one person--and that person is Jesus Christ.  You can put your money in the bank on this one.  It is a sure and certain thing.  If the Son sets you free from slavery to sin--you are free for darn sure.

So What?
Visitors to the Smithsonian Museum of American History view the flag that flew over Fort McHenry where Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star Spangled Banner" in 1814. The original flag measured 42 by 30 feet. It was the immense size of the flag that allowed Key to see it from his position 10 miles out to sea, following a night of gunfire. Do you know how that flag, of that enormous size, could fly freely on a flagpole 189 feet in the air?  The answer is that in one of the barracks were two oak timbers, 8 foot by 8 feet, joined as a cross and buried nine feet underground.  The National Park Service personnel discovered this cross-shaped support near the entrance to Fort McHenry in 1958, 144 years later. Not only did the buried cross help the rangers locate the original site from which the star spangled banner flew, but it answered the mystery of how such a large flag could have flown in the stormy, warring weather without snapping. This unseen wooden cross provided a firm foundation for the symbol of our national freedom.[ii]  "O say can you see?"

I know of another cross that does that kind of thing.  The cross of Jesus Christ provides the sure foundation by which our own faith is rooted and supported!

Every single day we should be celebrating our own personal freedom…won by Jesus Christ…who paid the ultimate cost for our freedom…His very life..on the cross. 

The “so what?” for us today?  Do you know the truth of Jesus Christ and are you set free from the prisons of your life? 

I do not know what your prisons are…but I do know this:  If the Son sets you free…you are free, indeed—you are free…truly!  You are free, certainly. 

Jesus is asking us to believe His teaching, to hold onto His teachings, and to put His teachings into practice.  IF we do these things....THEN…we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.  It isn't us that sets ourselves free; it is the truth of Christ that sets us free.  Whatever prisons are holding you captive, I'm praying for you to allow Christ to unchain you from it. 

I pray every day that you will make time to read the Scriptures and to make them your own.  I want you to put your name into the LIVING WORD.  Like this:  So if the Son makes  ME free, (pause—put your name right here), I am free, for definite sure!
 
Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani---God loves you and so do I"
Mulungu aku daliseni --- God bless you
 
God loves you with an inexorable love and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com


[i] Merriam-Webster, I. (1996, c1993). Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Includes index. (10th ed.). Springfield, Mass., U.S.A.: Merriam-Webster.

[ii] Preaching Today, Greg Asimakoupoulos, writer and speaker, Naperville, Illinois

Seed of Faith 8/9/2017

 
 

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15
 

Dear Saints and Faithful Seed Sowers
 
If you have been around me much over the years, you have heard me say that chapter eight of Romans is a chapter to read, reread and read over and over again.  Chapter eight of Romans would be a chapter to put to memory.
 
The whole chapter teaches us of the assurance we have of being children of God. It begins with these powerful words found in the opening verse --- “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1  

Take these words to heart!  If you believe in Christ Jesus, there is NO CONDEMNATION for you.  Your debt has been paid.
Your scarlet sins are white as snow.  Your sin is now on the SON.  
 
Romans eight also teaches us that all things will work out.  Romans 8:28 --- “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

If you love God, then all things are ultimately going to work out for your good.

Paul then teaches that we really can rest assured that God is for us.  Listen to the ending of chapter 8, it comes with a resounding crescendo!
 
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31-39
 
I
n our Wednesday night small life group, called GET A LIFE GROUP, we have been working our way through the book of Romans.  The book of Romans forever changed my life.  On a cold, winter's night in Illinois in January of 1981, Romans 8 stepped into my life and forever changed me.  My wife had been a believer for two years.  I watched as she grew and changed.  She invited me to attend a couple’s Bible Study on the Book of Romans.  I really didn’t know anything about the Bible. I was not what you call a Christian at that time.  I went to church but I did not know a thing about God nor did I really want to.  I went to the Bible Study for two reasons:  1.  to figure out what my wife was doing at Bible Study and 2.  to meet up with a former teacher who had been like a father to me in high school.  When we got to chapter eight of Romans, I read verses 14-17, and my life forever changed. Paul says --- For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. 

When I read those words--that God wanted to be my Father, I could not believe it.
 
After the study ended that night, I was super anxious to go home so that I could pray.  I got on my knees in my bedroom and said to God, “You really want to be my Father?  Well, I will give you a chance.”  I remember falling on my face and crying.  I couldn’t believe that God wanted to be my heavenly Father.   Wow!  Looked what has happened in those 36 years.  I gave God a chance and my life has been forever changed.
 
ADOPTED BY GOD
When Paul penned these words in Romans 8, he was teaching the church in Rome that God wants to adopt us.   You want to know something strange?  The word “adoption” is never used in the Old Testament.  The Jewish people did not practice adoption.  They had other traditions like Levite marriage and the kinsman redeemer.  Paul is writing to the church in Rome of a new concept:  adoption…by God…our Father.   Even Jesus is quoted in the New Testament referring to God as "our Father."   "When you pray, go into your room, close the door and say, 'Our Father.'"  We aren't told to pray, "Dear Jesus' Father."  We are to pray, "Our Father."
 
As Paul wrote the book of Romans, he took the Greek (not the Hebrew) word for “adoption” and used it five times in the New Testament, three of them are right here in Romans. The Greek word for adoption is “huiothesia” which means “to have an installation or placement, as a son or daughter”  For the Greek and Roman culture, adoption was the procedure by which a person was taken from one family (or no family) and placed into another family.  
 
SO WHAT
F.F Bruce wrote these thoughts about adoption:
The term “adoption” may have a somewhat artificial sound in our ears; but in the Roman world of the first century an adopted child was a child deliberately chosen by his adoptive father to perpetuate his name and inherit his estate; he was no way inferior in status to a son born in the ordinary course of nature, and might well enjoy the father’s affection more fully and reproduce the father’s character more worthily.[i]
 
When Paul is wrote this letter, he was encouraging the church in Rome to turn away from the ways of the world and to fix their eyes on God—as Father, Spirit and Son. 
 
Can you picture this?  Our Father has deliberately chosen YOU.  You are to perpetuate Our Father's name, and to inherit His estate!  You are in no way inferior to anyone.  Isn't it time we accepted this great love?  Isn't it time to more fully reproduce Our Father's character? 
 
During that cold, winter's night of January 1981, I decided to "give God a chance." What I really was doing was accepting God's affection and love.  If you have yet to become an adopted son or daughter, I encourage you not to miss out on this tremendous blessing.  Seriously, it's as simple as, "God, I want to be your child.  I believe Jesus is Your Son and I believe he lived, died and rose.  I'm going to give you a chance!"  (The last sentence is mine!)  

I don't write this tongue-in-cheek.  I mean it.  I meant it when I said I would give God a chance.  God took me up on my wager.  God has been my heavenly Father for 36 years now.  Each day I live, I live to reproduce in me God's loving character.  I perpetuate God's name.  I will inherit a portion of God's heavenly estate.  

The risk was all God's on that January night.  I'm so glad.

Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani---God loves you and so do I"
Mulungu aku daliseni --- God bless you
 
God loves you with an inexorable love and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

 


[i] Bruce, F. F. (1985). Romans: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 6, p. 167). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

 
 
 
 

Weekly Seed of Faith 7/29/2017

Seed of Faith
JESUS MEETS THE UNKNOWN AND MAKES HIS GRACE KNOWN
 
 
 
 

Dear Saintly Seed Sowers!

It's been a busy week in the Peters' home!  Jac has had her "PLEASE!" list waiting for me since April.  Note to self:  Don't move during Holy Week and Easter!  I think we accomplished almost everything on her list.  And then, the chelation pills arrived in the mail on Wednesday.  The 5-round chelation cycle of ten weeks has begun.  I truly covet your prayers.  For those of you who wonder, the pills make you feel sick like you have the flu--headache, chills, hot, bowel problems, lethargy.  Lead hides in the bones. As the lead in the bones is bonded to the chelation pill, the lead is pulled out of the bones.   This aches like a relentless toothache but after a few days or a week, that pain is gone and another bone starts to ache.  It's a weird experience.  I am on day #3 of 70!  My wife says she is going to make me a chain just like the one she used to use at preschool when the children were counting down the days until a special occasion.  I am prayerful and hopeful that, by the end of this year, I will be less than a 2 on the LEAD scale and that this will be behind me!  Amen.

We have been working on a series in which we have studied how Jesus met people where they were after His resurrection!  Then we've thought about how Jesus meets us where we are, too.  Last week, we looked at Ananias and how God used this unknown man to make known His grace.  I heard from many of you who shared that you, too, want to be an Ananias!  You want to hear the Lord call your name and ask you to be His hands and feet to someone in need.  One man wrote and said, "Pastor Dave, what if the Lord called my name and asked me to go witness to Osama Bin Laden?  Or to some other heinous character?  Saul was a murderer and he murdered people like me.  Would I be obedient?  Would I go to Straight Street and do as the Lord had asked?  I can only pray I would." 

Here's the clincher:  Ananias had no clue at how Saul was going to change the world for Christ.  Ananias simply said, "Yes, Lord."  The good news is that we can make the same reply.  "Yes, Lord."  I think of my friend who went on vacation.  He met a man who was despondent at a restaurant.  My friend prayed for the man but as he walked away, my friend heard the Lord speak to him.  "Give him $80."  It wasn't, "Give him some money."  My friend distinctly heard the amount.  The wallet opened and my friend handed the man $80 with a simple, "The Lord told me you had need of this."  The man cried.  We won't know until heaven how this simple, obedient act played out on earth.  "Yes, Lord."
 
How many of you have heard of Edward Kimball? Edward Kimball was Sunday School teacher in Boston in the mid 1800's.  He had a young, 17-year-old man in his class.  This seventeen-year-old was one of nine children and had moved to Boston to try to make a living by working in a shoe store.  Edward Kimball was a good man who tried to keep track of his students.  On April 21, 1855, Kimball felt that it was time to go find this young man and talk with him about a commitment to Christ.  Kimball headed for the shoe store.  He started to have second thoughts.  Walked past the store and then bravely dashed inside. He found the young man wrapping and shelving shoes. The young man was ready to listen. That day, D. L. Moody became a Christian.  D. L. Moody became one of America’s greatest evangelists.  Moody moved to Chicago and began his ministry there.  He trained young people for the ministry.  (When Jac and I lived in the Chicago area, we attended a yearly event at MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE in Chicago.  It was a life- changing event for those who'd found the love and grace of Christ.)  

God has now called Moody into the ministry and, while preaching in England in 1879, an evangelistic fervor was awakened there.  Another man in the audience, Frederick B. Meyer, the pastor of a small church, was forever changed by Moody's preaching.  This is part two of the story.
 
Part three of the story:  In 1883 a man by the name of Billy Sunday began playing baseball. His professional baseball career began with the Chicago White Stockings.  Three years later,  Sunday was converted to Christ at the local Chicago YMCA.  In 1890 Sunday was traded to the Philadelphia Athletics.  Billy Sunday began to feel a stronger call to preach. The YMCA  convinced him to leave baseball and preach at their services.  Bill Sunday left baseball for Christ.   "Yes, Lord."
 
Kimball.  Moody.  Meyer.  

Years later Meyer was preaching at an American college campus.  A student by the name of  J. Wilbur Chapman professes faith in Christ. Chapman then went on to hold evangelistic meetings across America. He hires a new convert, Billy Sunday, to work in his ministry.  Kimball.  Moody.  Meyer. Chapman.  Sunday.  
 
In 1924 Billy Sunday holds a crusade in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Thirty men form "The Charlotte Men’s Club" which met on a regular basis for prayer. Ten years later the club met for a day of prayer and fasting in a grove of trees at Frank Graham’s dairy farm.  One of the men, Vernon Patterson, prayed a dangerous prayer: “Out of Charlotte--the Lord will raise up someone to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.” Patterson had no idea that the answer to his prayer was standing a few hundred yards away, pitching hay into feeding troughs. Frank Graham’s son, Billy, commits his life to Christ.

Billy Graham has preached to over 53 million people at his crusades and rallies from 1947 to 1977.  There were almost 2 million inquirers who recorded decisions for Christ.  The total does not reflect the thousands or millions of decisions made by those who've heard or seen Graham on radio and television.  

Ananias to Saul...to you and me.
Kimball to Moody, to Meyer, to Chapman, to Sunday to Graham, to you and me.

The names of the people may have changed but the question is the same and so is the answer, "YES. LORD."  The Lord now wants to use you and me.  

God's speaking to Ananias was simple.  "Go to Straight Street.  Lay hands on Saul.  He's the apostle to the Gentiles."  Ananias could have said an entire slew of answers as to why he should not obey but he didn't.  "Yes, Lord."  Who is the Lord asking you to invest in?
  
I want you to know that I am here today because of several men who poured their lives and faith into me.  These men helped me to meet Jesus.  Leslie Springmire was my high school teacher.  Mr. Springmire came into my life at a pretty tumultuous time.  My brother had recently died.  My family was shattered.  He stepped into my high school life and was Jesus-with-skin-on.  Ten years later, we met again at a Bible study.  I was married with three, small children.  He was teaching on the book of Romans.  I rededicated my life to Christ.
 
As I studied this week, I was really blessed to stop and look back over my life.  I saw a bunch of “Ananias” people.   Men and women who've encouraged me and shown me "Jesus-with-skin-on" :  I saw a football coach, a wrestling coach, a track coach.  I saw my grandmother who cared for me as if I were her own son. I saw an English teacher, three pastors, and countless men and women who prayed me into the ministry.        

SO WHAT?
Are you ready for the Lord to speak to you?  Are you ready to obey?  Are you ready to be someone else's "Jesus-with-skin-on"?  

Edward Kimball had no clue what he was doing on April 21, 1855.  He simply responded, "Yes, Lord."  Ananias had no clue what he was doing, either.  But this book (the bible) is filled with Saul's writings. He's our brother, Paul, the apostle to the lost and lonely Gentiles--you and me.  Can we go and do the same?

“Father God, we stop and we pray.  We want to know you and we want to respond, ‘Yes, Lord."  Help us to be Jesus-with-skin on to all we know and love and to all we meet.  Help us to obey.    Thank You for saving us.  We pray for those who have been Jesus-with-skin-on to us and who have shown us the Gospel.  Give us the courage to listen, to pray, and to obey.  Thank You, Father, for Your grace and Your love.” Amen.
 
 
Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani---God loves you and so do I"
Mulungu aku daliseni --- God bless you
 
God loves you with an inexorable love and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

 


[i] Eckman, J. P. (2002). Exploring church history (p. 92). Wheaton, IL: Crossway
 

 
 
 
 

Weekly Seed of Faith 7/22/2017

JESUS MEETS THE UNKNOWN & MAKES HIS GRACE KNOWN

 
 
 
 

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered.  Acts 9:10

Dear Faithful Friends and Saintly Seed-Sowers!  
Please accept my apologies for not writing for a few weeks.  I just received the news from my doctor that I need to undergo another round of chelation.  My levels of lead did not drop like my wife's.  I dropped from 9.4 to 3.8--but 2.0 is the lethal limit and so I am facing another 70 days of not feeling well.  I will begin this week.  I need  prayer.  What I am praying is that my levels will drop to UNDER 2.0!  Alongside this health news,  our internet was hit by area construction and we've been without internet for several days. Life is about being flexible.  I think you will enjoy today's SEED OF FAITH. 
 
In the last SEED OF FAITH, we looked at how Saul (Paul ) was captured by Christ.  This week we are going to take a look at our own, personal response to Jesus!  I encourage you to read the story of Ananias’ encounter with Christ found in Acts 9:1-19.
 
We are not told anything about Ananias other than he was a disciple.  Ananias is living in Damascus on Straight Street.  (It’s a real street, still there today!)  As Ananias is going about his daily ritual, Jesus appears to him.  Again, we have another encounter of Jesus meeting someone right where they are.  Jesus meets Ananias right where he is and speaks to him about Saul of Tarsus.  What I find so interesting is that when Saul meets Jesus on the road to Damascus, Saul did not recognize Jesus.  “Who are you…. LORD!?”  But when Jesus shows up to meet Ananias, Ananias knows exactly who Jesus is and he responds right away, “Yes, Lord.” 
 
So What?

How do you and I respond when the Lord speaks to us?
“Who are you, Lord?” or “Yes, Lord.”  
 
We see and hear Ananias’ response to Jesus’ request for Ananias to go and meet with Saul.  “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel."  Acts 9:13-16
 
What impressed me this week in my study is that Ananias is not a well-known person.  His name is mentioned only here in Acts 9 and again in Acts 22 when Paul is retelling his story in Rome.  Ananias is not a major player … or is he?   The name Ananias means, “God is gracious.” 
 
Have you ever stopped to think of what Ananias was thinking when Jesus showed up and asked him to go and speak with Saul of Tarsus?  Ananias had heard of Saul.  Everyone had heard of Saul.  Saul was responsible for much harm.  Maybe Ananias knew some of the widows that Saul had left behind.  Saul was an enemy of the Christian faith.  Saul was not someone who Ananias wanted to be around.  It got me to thinking:  maybe this story is listed in the Bible to show us at least two important aspects of God’s grace.  First--Jesus really will meet us anywhere, even in our grudges, our hardness of heart and in our “unforgiveness.” And right there Jesus will ask us to forgive.   
 
Whoa!  Pastor, you are starting to meddle in my muddy waters?  Did I just state that Jesus will meet us in our muddy waters in order for us to forgive those who have hurt us?  Yes!  This is exactly what happened with Ananias.  You have to love a good story.
 
Ananias showed his namesake, "God is gracious."   Ananias was gracious as he showed the forgiveness God.  I am sure Ananias was afraid.  I am sure he did not want to go and pray for Saul.  Are you ready for the key to this story?  Listen to Ananias’ response to Jesus, “Yes, Lord.”  Ananias knew the Lord Jesus.  He trusted Him and he responded by traveling straight over to the house on Straight Street.  I am sure his heart was pounding as he knocked on the door.  I am sure he wanted to run away and hide.  I wonder what he was thinking?   I wonder if he had plan A, B and C?  Or maybe, just maybe, he totally trusted Jesus and obeyed his Lord.
 
Ananias went and did what Jesus asked him.  He spoke to Saul, who was blinded in his own self-righteousness, anger and hatred. Ananias told Saul how Jesus had sent him .  Ananias called Saul, “Brother Saul.” 

Let us read that encounter again ---   Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, … Acts 9:17-19
 
From this story, we know that Ananias went and did exactly what Jesus had asked him to do.  He even called "Saul" "Brother Saul."  Who does that?  It sure sounds to me that Brother Ananias knew the Lord and was only too happy to obey the Lord.  

I also love the word --- “immediately.”   Immediately, scales fell from Saul's eyes and Saul could see again.  I am sure Ananias was whooping it us with Brother Saul!  We can learn so much from little-known Ananias:  When we respond in faith, Jesus shows up and meets us with His grace.   Don't you see?  It isn't about US at all.  IT'S ABOUT JESUS!  Jesus can use little-known men and women like YOU AND ME!

I can hardly wait for next week's sequel to this SEED OF FAITH.  All I can ask of you is this, if you hear the Lord speaking to you today or next week, pay close attention!  Jesus is looking for a few, good Ananiases!  And Jesus will meet us right where we are.  We've heard story after story about Jesus meeting people...post resurrection style...exactly where they are.  Wherever you are, Jesus can meet you.  Your homework for the week is to wait for the Lord to speak to you and to observe how you answer.  I'm praying you say, "Yes, Lord!" and not, "Who are you?  Lord?"  

Have a great week!  I'm always praying for you.

Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani---God loves you and so do I"
Mulungu aku daliseni --- God bless you
 
God loves you with an inexorable love and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com


 
 

 
 
 
 

Weekly Seed of Faith 7/8/2017

SEED OF FAITH!
CAPTURED BY CHRIST

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He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.
Acts 9:4-5


Dear Faithful Friends and Saintly Seed-Sowers!

We've been spending a lot of time looking at the post-resurrection stories.  Stories where the risen Christ meets others right where they are.  It's been a terrific season of understanding that none of us are beyond the grasp of God's everlasting, unfailing love.  No, not one of us are too far gone for redemption.

Here's a few things to think about:
Have you ever been lost?  I mean really lost?  You've lost your compass and fallen off the traveled path.
Have you ever felt as if you have gone too far to return to God?  Your shame and guilt outweigh the return trip home.
Have you ever looked down on someone and thought, "They are too far gone, way beyond hope"?
Maybe you are too far gone, beyond hope?
 
This story of Paul’s conversion is for you! I encourage you to go find your bible and to take a few minutes and read Acts 9:1-19.  This is a really exciting story of which the headline reads:  Horrible Saul of Tarsus is "Captured by Christ."  And I also want you to know that we have something in common with Saul:   Christ wants to capture us, too. 

 The story of Jesus meeting Saul is a living example that we can never write anyone off as going to far or being beyond the reach of the love of Jesus.  Saul was arresting and killing those who believed in Jesus.  You can't get much worse than that.  Saul was a murderer--with fresh blood on his hands.
 
What I say to you now is that there is an incredible lesson contained here in Acts 9.  No matter what you have done, or how far you have gone, you are not beyond the reach of the love and grace of Jesus.  Jesus will meet you in our murderous self-righteousness, anger, persecution and hatred.
 
So what?
What can we learn from this passage today? The truth is that Jesus can reach anyone!
 
Jesus is the initiator in our encounters with Christ!  It is Jesus who makes the first move.  As I studied this week, I went and looked up the word "initiator."  According to the dictionary, an initiator is “an explosive booster."  Synonyms for "initiator" are: “originator, inventor, motivator, author or creator.”  Let's get this first thing here straight:  Jesus is the initiator, Jesus is the originator, Jesus is the inventor, Jesus is the motivator, Jesus is the author, Jesus is the creator of our encounters with Him.  
 
Listen ---  We did not find Jesus.  Jesus found us:
Jesus found Mary Magdalene in her tears.
Jesus found the disciples in their fear.
Jesus found Thomas in his doubt.
Jesus found Peter in his self-dependence.
Jesus found Peter in his guilt and shame.
Jesus found Peter in his judgement.
Jesus found Cleopas and the other disciple in their confusion and depression.
Jesus found Paul in his self-righteousness, anger and hatred.

Jesus will find you wherever you are!
Jesus is the initiator, the author, the creator, and the finisher of finding you and me!  Friends, THIS IS GREAT NEWS!
 
Saul’s destiny was about to change as he approached Damascus, a beautiful city on a green plain.  As he approached the city, there was a blinding flash of light, and Saul was left quivering and lying in the dirt. “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”  Jesus began his encounter with Saul with the traditional, formal, double intonation of Saul's name. But Saul did not know who was speaking to him. He did not understand what was going on. “Who are you, Lord?”
 
I wonder how often we are like Saul?  Living in our self-righteousness, anger and hatred?  How often have we written someone off, and even persecuted them, like Saul had been doing?  Jesus’ response to Saul hit home like a bolt of lightning: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (v. 5). Jesus’ words triggered an ongoing explosion within the young persecutor.  Jesus--the INITIATOR--of all encounters.
 
The light that Saul experienced on the road to Damascus burned one blazing image into Saul's mind:  It's true!  Jesus Christ is alive! 
 
So What?  
What can we learn from this passage today?
Jesus will find you where you are. 
Jesus is the initiator, the author, the creator and finisher of finding us where we are.  If Jesus found "Horrible Saul," "Murderous Saul," I'm pretty sure that Jesus can find us, too.
 
SO WHAT?
As I was working on the message this week, I was reminded of a personal experience I had in my first call.  In January of 1998, I was called to a little church in Southwest Missouri, twenty miles from Branson.  I was a brand-new pastor and I wanted to get to know the other pastors in town.  I joined a pastor’s group that met every Saturday morning at a local restaurant.  The restaurant was a small "mom and pops" location with a side room where the five to seven pastors gathered every Saturday at 6 am.
 
This was my first call.  I was used to selling tires and trucks.  I had to learn to discipline myself to write and preach every week.  In Seminary, I had a preaching professor who said, "Every month is a month of Sundays."  He was right.  I had to learn how to study every day, and how to craft all I had studied into a weekly sermon.  I also had to learn to how to make pastoral calls and how to counsel.  That first year of ordained ministry is burned into my mind!  

We lived 45 minutes from Springfield, MO.  One day after church, I told Jac that I needed to go visit a member who was in the hospital in Springfield.  I also had another meeting two hours later at the church.  Jac looked at me and said, “You have two hours to drive 45 minutes each way, park your car and go find the person in the hospital?  And then what?  Are you just going to poke your head in the door and say, ‘I gotta go now’?  I think you are having a Super Pastor moment, hon.” She was right, I so wanted to please everyone.  I had to learn to how to lead and guide a church.  I had to learn how to wisely use my time.  The ministry is a job that never ends.  Before being a pastor, I was used to having a list of things to do, crossing them off, cleaning up my desk each night, and going home.  That does not happen in ministry--your desk is mess and there's always one more visit, one more phone call, and one more prayer to pray.  I was drowning in the ocean of ministry.  But then I found the "OLD PASTORS" 6 a.m. Saturday morning meeting and singing group!
 
I will never forget meeting with these pastors in that old restaurant every Saturday morning.  Most of the men were in their seventies and eighties.  They could dance circles around my ministry.  The experience they had gathered in their ministries were shared freely as they gathered together each week.  We ate breakfast (with many of them buying my breakfast) and then one of the pastors would share a Scripture reading and then the preaching started.  You had a group of men who’d preached on that passage--year in and year out.  As the Scripture was read, you could see each of these old pastors search their hearts and minds.  Their years and years and years of study floated to the surface--and off they would go!  One pastor would start preaching, then another preacher would dovetail off of him and on and on it went.  At some point, they would just start to sing.  Acapella…right there in the side room of that restaurant without a piano, guitar or any other musical instrument.   And they'd sing the old, old hymns.  This small group of old pastors, burned the light of Christ into my heart.  I learned a lot from them. 
 
As I was studying this week, the Holy Spirit brought to my mind the song, “I Saw the Light.”  And there, in the middle of my study in Southern California, I was transported back to Southwest Missouri…1997...to the heart of a little restaurant filled with over 300 years of preaching expertise.  I saw the light!  Jesus met me once again.  "Dave, relax.  I have you.  I've always had you."  
 
 Here are the words ----I SAW THE LIGHT
Verse 1
I wandered so aimless life filled with sin
I wouldn't let my dear Savior in
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night
Praise the Lord I saw the light
 
Chorus
I saw the light I saw the light
No more in darkness no more in night
(And) now I'm so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light
 
Verse 2
Just like a blind man I wandered along
Worries and fears I claimed for my own
Then like the blind man that God gave back his sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light
 
Verse 3
I was a fool to wander and stray
Straight is the gate and narrow the way
Now I have traded the wrong for the right
Praise the Lord I saw the light[iv]
 
Don’t you see?  Jesus met Saul at the height of his self-righteousness,  hatred, anger, and rage.  Saul saw the light.  Saul’s name was forever changed to Paul and Paul’s life was forever changed. 
 
Jesus met me, too.  In the midst of lead poisoning, moving and doing my ministry, Jesus found me in my study.  And, there in the middle of my memory, I saw the light and love of Jesus once again.  I saw His burning light in the love and grace of those elderly pastors.  They were "Jesus with skin on" to me in 1997 and they ministered God’s love and grace that first year of ordained ministry.   

What a powerful memory.  As I remembered, I couldn't help myself, I broke into song.  I went and found my wife and told her about what had just happened to me.  How Jesus was meeting me…yet again.  On the shores of sunny Southern California, the Lord reminded me of a time when I was drowning in the largeness of my first year of ordained ministry.  Jesus initiated a group of old pastors to gather together, to preach the Word, and to sing His praises.  Then Jesus found me and invited me to join them.  Don't you see?   Jesus will meet you right where you are!
 
Jesus will meet you in your self-righteousness, hatred and anger. 
Jesus will meet you because Jesus is the one who initiates the encounter.  Jesus is the "explosive booster"--not us!  I didn’t go into my study this past week thinking that Jesus would meet me there.  I went into my study to do what I needed to do because it was the right thing to do.  I needed to study.  I must pray, read and study at least 20 hours a week.  But because Jesus is the initiator…the originator, inventor, motivator, author and creator, He met me right where I needed to be met.  Jesus will do the same for you.  This is what Paul is saying.  “I was lost.  I was lost but Jesus found me and Jesus chose me—evil man that I am …Jesus chose me…and Jesus will choose you, too." 
 
No one is beyond the grace of Jesus.  You have not gone too far or done too much that would disqualify you from being met by Jesus.  Jesus, the explosive booster, will meet us wherever we are.  Hallelujah!
 
Let’s pray, “Lord, right now we are going to pray for those who are lost.  We lift them up to you.  Lord, you know right where they are.  You know the road of destruction that they are on.  Lord, we can do nothing to save them except pray.  Today we pray and ask that you will initiate your healing love wherever they may be.  Thank you for Saul. Thank you for Paul.  Thank you for choosing a man like him to be the apostle to the Gentiles.  He is an example of the greatness of Your love and grace.  Thank you for saving me.  Thank you for showing me the light.  Be with those for whom we are praying right now.  May they, too, see the light.”

Do yourself a real favor.  Go play this Youtube by Merle Haggard and sing-along --- https://youtu.be/rqr2OW1Jwkg  Let the Lord remind you of where Jesus met you on your road to Damascus.

Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani---God loves you and so do I"
Mulungu aku daliseni --- God bless you
 
God loves you with an inexorable love and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

 

[iv] CCLI Song # 45064 Hank Williams Sr. © 1948. Renewed 1975 Sony/ATV Acuff Rose Music (Admin. by Sony/ATV Music Publishing) For use solely with the SongSelect® Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com CCLI License # 3278479
 
 

 

 
 
 
 

Seed of Faith 6/23/17

SEED OF FAITH ---
WHAT IS THAT YOU?

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When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”  Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you You must follow me." John 21:21-22

Dear Seed-Sowers!

Summer is officially here!  I'm writing on the longest day of the year!  Today we have the MOST AMOUNT OF SONSHINE of the entire year!  May it be a great day for you.  I hope and pray that you are doing well, and feeling well!

It's been awhile since I've written a SEED OF FAITH.  My wife and I have been on vacation for three weeks.  Since Jac cannot fly, and she felt like her mom and dad needed a visit, and since we live in California and they live in Florida, we decided to drive.  A week traveling, 5 days there, and a week traveling back home.  We've been planning this trip since Christmas so that Jac's parents could have something to look forward to.  We thought the lead poisoning episode would be handled by May and decided to take off the weekend school was out for Jac.  Little did we know that we were going to move our entire house by ourselves into another home in March. Then it was April and Holy Week and Easter! We were pretty burnt and roasted by then.  Add in that our 2003 SNOWY 51 GMC had too many miles on it to drive another 5,500 miles.  We splurged and bought a new car on the Friday before vacation and took off on Sunday!  You will hear more about our trip in the SEEDS to come.  Despite all the driving, despite all the rain (14 out of 18 days), I had a wonderful, restful three weeks.  

Summers are wonderful blessings for pastors.  My real year begins with Fall programming and "Back to Church" Sunday in September...then it's the holidays...Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas...and then it's the New Year... Lent...Holy Week and Easter...and then it's May--and for whatever reason, May is like the busiest month ever.  By the time June rolls around, pastors are able to unload, and de-stress, and get some much-needed rest.  

After two Sundays away, it's time to get back to work.  (I hear Larry and Jodi did terrific messages during my absence!)  

After Jesus rose from the dead, He met Mary Magdalene and the other women at the empty tomb.  He told them to go and tell the disciples to travel (80 miles) to Galilee and he would meet them there. Peter, and at least six of the other disciples, walked the eighty miles.  After arriving in their old hometown, Peter’s human nature kicked in.  He got tired of waiting for Jesus and went back to what he did before.  Peter went fishing.  Six disciples also jumped into the boat with Peter.  They fished all night--and caught nothing. Pretty amazing for seven, professional fishermen to not catch one fish don't you think?  But early the next morning, Jesus met the disciples in the midst of their disobedience.  Jesus was on the shore, they were in the empty boat.  As they hollered back and forth about their uneventful night, Jesus asked them to fish from the right side of the boat.  I would have loved to have been a fish that day!  I'm sure these seven guys were a little bit miffed that some guy was giving them directions from the shoreline.  But they did it, they did exactly what the guy said.  One hundred and fifty three fish later, John exclaims to Peter, "It is the LORD!" and Peter jumps off the boat and swims to shore.  

As soon as the boat landed at the shore, Jesus invited them all to join him for breakfast.  The coals were hot, and there were fish and bread cooking.  Jesus had been waiting for them despite the fact that they had gotten tired of waiting for Jesus!  Peter, whose last stunt was denying Jesus three times, could hardly believe his ears, and eyes.  Despite his past behaviors, despite his disobedience, Jesus met Peter right where he was.  Jesus saw Peter's potential and met him in the middle of his shame and guilt.  After breakfast was finished, Jesus had some work to do in Peter.  Three times he asked Peter if Peter loved Him.  I love the fact that Jesus restored Peter back to into ministry.  

Jesus meets us wherever we are:

Jesus meets Mary Magdalene in her tears.
Jesus meets the disciples in their fears.
Jesus meets Thomas in his doubts.
Jesus meets the disciples in their disobedience and self-dependence.
Jesus meets Peter in his shame and guilt.
 
So What? 
 
Can you identify with any of these situations?  Have you ever been overwhelmed with tears Like Mary Magdelene? Have you ever been overcome with fear like the disciples who are hiding in an Upper Room?  Have you ever been drowning in your doubt like Thomas?  Have you ever struggled with your own self-dependence that gets you nowhere? Have you ever found yourself swimming in shame or grounded in your own guilt?  I have good news for you.  It's really GREAT NEWS! 
 
Jesus will meet you right where you are.

What we can learn from the boys, Peter and other six disciples, is that no matter where we find ourselves today all we have to do is listen and obey.  I know these seven disciples did not want to throw their net in one more time.  They'd been out from dark til dust.  They'd thrown their net hundreds of times.  I am sure at some point during their "no catch and release" night that someone mentioned the fact that maybe they should have stayed home and waited for Jesus like Jesus had "suggested."  I'm sure that when Jesus appeared on the shoreline, he looked just like any other person.  You've been in a boat.  You know how hard it is to distinguish whose on the shore.  But they heard his voice, and they obeyed.  I seriously would have loved have been there.  Nets don't usually hold 153 fish!  Figure if the fish were just one pound each, that's 153 pounds of fish.  What if they were two pounds each?  What if they were five pounds each?  I hope you are getting the idea that this is no fish tale.  This is the gospel of John and John was on the boat that day.

There more to come regarding this story and it has to do with John and Peter.  But since this is so long, I will close it out with some final thoughts and we will carry on next week!  

God's mercies are new every morning.  That's in the the bible.  It's found in Lamentations 3:21-13, "Yet this is call to mind and therefore I have hope:  because of the Lord's GREAT LOVE we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."  Do you see it?  Compassion is plural.  The computer highlights this word and wants me to change it.  According to the computer, this is incorrect.  Ah...but God!  Here's the good news:  it's plural.  God will have compassion on us no matter how often we fail, screw up, disobey, don't listen, and sin.  And here's the other part of this good news that makes it great news:  His compassions are new every single morning.  Not just on the longest day of the year but on every day of the year.

For now, just soak up that SONSHINE.  



God loves you and so do I
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com 

If you want to get ahead, read John 21.  We will be talking about verses 22 and 23.  

 
 
 
 

Seed of Faith 6/4/17

 
 

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”  John 21:15

Dear Friends and Family:
Over the past few weeks, we have been looking at some of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ.    We have studied how Christ meets people where they are:  Jesus met Mary Magdalene in the garden, by the tomb, in the midst of her tears and her grief.  Jesus met the disciples in the Upper Room where they were locked away in their fear.  Jesus met Thomas in his doubts. Jesus met the disciples as they turned to fishing instead of waiting--all the while trusting in their own skills, abilities, wisdom and strength. I love how the New Testament tells us story after story of how Jesus met people where they were...both before and after His resurrection.  Quite amazing.
 
Today we pick up where we left off last week.  In the opening of John 21, the disciples went fishing. They had been instructed by Jesus to leave Jerusalem and go wait for Him in Galilee.  They walked the 80 miles and then they got tired of waiting.  Instead, they went fishing.  They fished all night and caught nothing.  Can you imagine 7 of the world's best fishermen going out all night and catching nothing?  Quite a story.  Our story continues as Jesus now appears on the shore.  He calls to them and asks them to cast their net on the other side of the boat.  I am sure some of these fishermen were grumbling.  "Who does this guy think he is giving us advice from the shore?"  Yet, in the midst of their failures at fishing, Jesus' advice helps them to catch a proverbial boat-load of fish --- 153 in all.  A catch that would have weighed close to three hundred pounds and strained the nets to the fullest.  Immediately, Jesus invites them to come and have breakfast on the beach.  It didn't take Peter very long to figure this out.  He jumps off the boat and swims to shore!  "It's the LORD!"  
 
It is at this breakfast where Jesus meets Peter right where he is:  in the midst of his failures, denials, disappointments and rejections. Jesus met Peter in order to offer him resurrection restoration. From this story, we will learn that Jesus will meet us, too, right where we are in order to bring resurrection restoration to us.  Another amazing story--only this time, WE get the resurrection restoration! 
 
Is there anyone here reading this who needs restoration?
 
Well then, this message is for you and for me!

RESURRECTION
The resurrection changes everything! The resurrection overcomes sin.  The resurrection brings light into darkness.  The resurrection conquerors doubt.  The resurrection overcomes fear.  The resurrection brings hope in the midst of failure.  The resurrection restores the rejected one. The resurrection brings life from death.  Here’s Peter’s dilemma:  What side of the resurrection will he choose to live on?  Will Peter stay on the side where he rejected ever knowing Jesus, or will he allow the resurrection to change and restore him?  (That's your question, too.)
 
RESTORATION
Finally after breakfast was finished, Jesus spoke.   I wonder what was going on with Peter.  I can only imagine that Peter’s heart must have skipped a thousand beats when he heard the Lord’s words recorded in verse 15, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” The Lord was asking, “Simon, do you truly love me?   After all that has happened, Peter, are you willing to say now that you love me?  Are you done saying you never knew me?  Are you ready to follow me?"  Jesus’ words to Peter were cutting to the heart of the matter.  “Do you love me more than these?”  I think that the minute Jesus turned to Peter and said his name, Peter’s heart began to race, his stomach churned, his cheeks burned, and his eyes misted. This was a tense moment.  Peter was thinking, “Here it comes.  Jesus wants to have a talk with me about the rooster crowing...not once...not twice...but three times?
 
Have you ever been where Peter is?  You’ve done something you are not proud of.  You’ve hurt someone you love deeply by your words and actions.  Jesus now meets Peter right where Peter is.  Before the resurrection, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times.  After the resurrection, Peter disobeys by going fishing instead of waiting.  You gotta love Peter.  I am sure Peter is thinking, “Come on, Jesus, YELL AT ME!  Let me have it!  I so deserve this."
 
Instead of giving Peter the “what for,” Jesus meets Peter where he is—on the sea fishing.  One of the “so what’s?” for us today is for us to hear that Jesus will meet us right where we are, too.  Jesus will meet us in the midst of our tears. Jesus will meet us in the midst of fears.  Jesus will meet us in the midst of our doubts.  Jesus will meet us in the middle of our grief.  Jesus will meet us in the midst of disobedience.  Jesus will meet us in the midst of our rejections of Him. 
 
Here’s an interesting side note:  Jesus has addressed Peter as “Simon son of John,” which was Peter’s name before he met Christ. This is a play on words. Peter’s old name, Simon, meant “pebble,” a light, unstable thing. But Jesus had changed Simon’s name to Peter –meaning “rock.” By calling Peter Simon, Jesus is asking Peter to make a choice:  are you going to go back to who you were before you knew me or is will you be the ROCK...the one upon whom I will build MY CHURCH?  
 
I think we can identify with Peter in a lot of ways.   I surely identify with Peter in a lot of ways.
 
Recently, at our mid-week Bible Study on Romans, we were studying chapter five of Romans.  We stopped and reflected on Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8)
 
What this story of Peter teaches us is that God knows the worst about us and loves us anyway. If God did not know all things, we might fear that someday something evil in us would spring up to startle God and turn his affection away from us. He would say, “Oh, look at that horrible sin! I didn’t know that was there. How terrible! That changes everything. I won’t have anything to do with that person anymore.” If God were not omniscient, or all-knowing that might well happen. But God knows all things. He knows the worst about us and loves us anyway.
 
This is what Romans 5:8 teaches us and this is what the story here teaches us, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
 
So What?
This remarkable story dimly reflects the burning emotion of Peter’s heart as he sat across the fire from Jesus on the shores of Tiberius and was drawn by Christ’s repeated questions to consciously reaffirm his love for Jesus. All Peter could see was the One who had loved him enough to die for him while he was such a sinner.   “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
 
Friends --- this story of Peter being restored is our story, too.  It does not matter how far you have gone.  It does not matter what you have said.  It does not matter what you have done.  You have not gone too far.  You have not failed big enough or often enough that God’s love cannot reach you. Jesus brought resurrection restoration to Peter, and Jesus will bring resurrection restoration to you.  What a story!
 
Here’s the final “So What?” for you today?  What side of the resurrection are we going to live on?  Are we going to live on the side where rejection rules?  Or will we live on the other side of Christ’s resurrection where restoration rules?  Will we allow Christ’s life, death and resurrection to bring us the restoration that we so desperately need?
 
There was a day when Jesus sat across that seashore fire (only it was in my bedroom after a bible study on Romans in 1981).  Dave, do you love me?  Go feed my lambs and my sheep.  I remember exactly what I said and I'm amazed that God took my at my challenge.  "I'll guess I'll give you a chance."  Jesus met me right where I was--in the middle of all my fears and shame and guilt.  "I guess I'll give you a chance."  He hooked me that night, and I've never been the same.  

How about you?  Are you ready for some resurrection restoration?  We live in a world that desperately needs to be loved.

Our mission is to go and feed Christ’s lambs and sheep. 
 
Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani---God loves you and so do I"
Mulungu aku daliseni --- God bless you

God loves you and so do I 
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com