Sunday, 21 March 2010

Why bother?

Peter had been fishing hard all night and was now cleaning his nets. Probably wondering where the next meal was coming from or whether his small business could survive another disasterous outing like the one he'd just come back from.

He was tired and fed up and then Jesus comes along and asks him if he would take the boat out again just so Jesus could teach.

When Jesus had finished saying all He had to say He turned to Peter and said 'let's go out into deep water and let your nets down for a catch'.

Peter, the fisherman Peter, the expert, the one who had been fishing hard all net and letting nets down all night and hoping all night and trying again and again and again said to Jesus 'we've already tried that and haven't caught anything'.

What was it that made Peter obey? Desperation? Hunger? Need? Was it to do with the words he had heard as Jesus sat in the boat teaching those on the shore? Was it simply the presence of Jesus Himself?

Whatever it was Peter says 'because you say so, I will let down the nets.'

Judging by Peter's later reaction to what happened I don't think he was hoping for much.

We have prayed and witnessed and tried to overcome and knocked on doors and hoped for breakthrough and imagined a catch that will meet our needs and the needs of others and we have pulled up our nets each time and each time the nets appear empty. So we sail into shore and begin to clean our nets and think about going to bed and wonder why bother any more.
Then Jesus gets into the boat and asks something of us: 'put out a little from the shore' - away from where you are now. Then listen. Then obey. Return to where you have no hope but this time return with Jesus. Then put down your nets - again.

When the messenger came from the house of Jairus to the synagogue ruler and said 'Your daughter is dead...don't bother the teacher any more' Jairus's world was about to collapse and then Jesus speaks - 'just believe' and 'Her spirit returned'.

At each of these points we see desperation and need. At each of these moments we see re-determination and trust. At each of these times we see Jesus.

We must put down our nets again. There are 100s who can tell of times when they had lost all hope and now are testifying to the glory and love and healing and majesty of God who had broken through. A God who made a way where there was no way. A God who has filled nets to overflowing and conquered death.

Lift up your heads o you gates that the king of glory may come in, who is he this king of glory? The Lord strong and mighty!

Monday, 8 March 2010

learning to ride

Grace learnt to ride her bike at the weekend.
It was remarkably easy to be honest - I held her for a while, directed her for a bit, stopped her from falling, gave her some instructions and then, when I felt the time was right, I just shoved her as hard as I could across the soft grass and she did it!

At OCF I want us to be mentoring each other into more of God and a deeper, healthier, more 'abundant' life than before.
We need to hold, direct, give instructions and then, when the time is right, just shove!

I've been shoved many times. My first sermon, my first meeting leadership, my first praying for someone, my first worship leading time, my first job, the first time I witnessed to someone, my first assembly at school etc etc
We all get shoved from time to time and it does us good when it's at the right time.

In OCF I want to encourage shoving (at the right time). On Sunday Kevin spoke of 3 principles:-
  1. Walk in the spirit of trust (1 step at a time)
  2. Praise in the spirit of faith (with internal disciplines)
  3. Step out of your comfort zones and shout (when God tells you to)
'We can't come into our tomorrows until we're out of the shadow of our yesterdays'

If I never let go of Grace then she would never have learnt to ride on her own. Yet now she decides where to go. She can travel a straight line across all kinds of terrain. Best of all is the smile on her face from the feeling of freedom she has found in achieving something wonderful.
Who are you mentoring, holding, directing, instructing, shoving?