Posted in doing the next thing God asks, Words For The Year

Sharing a Fish Taco

Have you ever thought of a person who had wonderful gifts but kept blowing his reputation by the things he said and did?

There is a song by a gifted songwriter, Branid Carlile who captures this essence in a song she calls “That Wasn’t Me”.  I understand it talks about a alcoholic family member who does something that is inconsistent with the real person they feel they are. “Whatever you see, that wasn’t me”. I would encourage you to listen to it. You can find it on iTunes.

Back to my question. I want to talk about living inconsistently with who we really are. It is a human experience. We want to do one thing and end up doing another.  Remember Paul saying it so well in Romans 7:15 (NLT):

“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”

Maybe Brandi was right. We see our actions going the opposite to our deepest desires. So we tell others don’t see us as we do but see us as we intend to be.  That may well be true. Think about it in your life. What is your experience?

Here is the dilemma.  Consequences of actions. They hurt. We may not even be aware of the results of our actions.  Someone else may have to tell us.

It has been my experience these are the worse kinds of injuries.  We don’t like to intentionally hurt others. But we really don’t like it when our actions have done just that and we were unaware of the impact to others.

Jesus knew this when he told Peter (Mark 14:29 THE MESSAGE) that he would deny being his friend three times in a very short time.  Peter knew deep inside he was a follower of Jesus and he would NEVER betray that friendship.  But Jesus was so right when later that night (Mark 14:66-72), some girls provoked him to refuse being one of the band of brothers. It took a rooster for it to really set in just what he had done.

What to do?

Well, he was in pretty miserable company for most all of the faithful twelve were nowhere to be seen at the Crucifixion other than John.

What do you think Peter felt then?

Seems likely he would want to rewind the tape and get a do-over. Or at least to somehow tell everyone who he really was affiliated to. Instead the story unfolds and you can imagine Peter unable to ever go to Jesus personally and confess. Read Luke 24.12 (THE MESSAGE) The deed was done. There were no do-overs. His world was filled with regret. And his friend was no where to be seen. Not even in the grave. He had done something unthinkable and now unforgivable. At least in his understanding of the moment.

The story unfolds that since they were fisherman, Peter decided to do what he did…go fishing. But it wasn’t a very good night for fishing. Some days you just hang out with the guys.

Mark 16:7 (THE MESSAGE) 

“Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty. Now—on your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You’ll see him there, exactly as he said.”

What should they do but go back to fishing in Galilee.  So Peter and the guys fished all night trying to figure out what to do next. Or maybe just sleeping away the weariness of meaninglessness. It was a very hard day to be a disciple – a follower needs someone to follow.  Yes, Jesus told them what He was going to do, but these guys had no experience in this supernatural stuff without Jesus being in the thick of it.  Oh yes, they had gone out two by two and stuff happened, but this was different. They really felt confused in their loneliness. Would Jesus come once again to them after the Resurrection?

Well, after a restless night, sunrise came.  Sure enough, Jesus was there that morning walking on the shore.

John 21 The Message (MSG)

Fishing

21 1-3 After this, Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time at the Tiberias Sea (the Sea of Galilee). This is how he did it: Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed “Twin”), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the brothers Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter announced, “I’m going fishing.”

3-4 The rest of them replied, “We’re going with you.” They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn’t recognize him.

Jesus spoke to them: “Good morning! Did you catch anything for breakfast?”

They answered, “No.”

He said, “Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens.”

They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish in it, they weren’t strong enough to pull it in.

7-9 Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Master!”

When Simon Peter realized that it was the Master, he threw on some clothes, for he was stripped for work, and dove into the sea. The other disciples came in by boat for they weren’t far from land, a hundred yards or so, pulling along the net full of fish. When they got out of the boat, they saw a fire laid, with fish and bread cooking on it.

10-11 Jesus said, “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught.” Simon Peter joined them and pulled the net to shore—153 big fish! And even with all those fish, the net didn’t rip.

12 Jesus said, “Breakfast is ready.” Not one of the disciples dared ask, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Master.

13-14 Jesus then took the bread and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus had shown himself alive to the disciples since being raised from the dead.

So now, you might understand the title of this blog post, Sharing a Fish Taco.  These guys were looking to their Master and He gave like He so often did, He took the fish and bread and gave it to them to eat.  COMMUNION.  I think this was more than just a little food break, a snack.  No, this was a revelation.  All of the disciples present saw Jesus in a fresh way.  They were encouraged once again.  They knew they were disciples of something, SOME ONE so much greater than themselves.  I think Peter discovered a new sense of his calling to be a Fisher of Men.  Renamed from Simon to Peter, the rock, he was learning something about himself as Jesus revealed it.  And here was the clincher. The one-on-one conversation between Jesus and Peter:

John 21 The Message (MSG)

John Do You Love Me?

15 After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”

Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.”

17-19 Then he said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I’m telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you’ll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And then he commanded, “Follow me.”

This journey would not be a simple one any longer, being a Gafishilean fisherman or a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth following where He would lead.  No, in a few short days, the Holy Spirit would guide Peter into his destiny.  And that would be more amazing than anyone could have imagined.

The turning point for Peter came when Jesus did not reject him for failing but encouraged him to do more than he had ever done.  The question Do you love me three times was not easy, but it was cleansing. Peter was forgiven of his past.  He saw himself from the perspective of his Master finally. What a day.  He would never be the same.

And Jesus gave this commission to him over a fish taco.

 

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Posted in ...and GOD said, Consider this, doing the next thing God asks

Are we there yet?

Image

Remember when you had kids or even better when you were a kid and the BIG question everyone asked was “Are we there yet?”

Tonight at our Wednesday night prayer meeting church, I had a distinct impression of this question at the beginning of the evening.  I felt like the little kid impatiently waiting for the ‘prize’ at the end of the trip – just being done with the traveling already. Impatience. Expectations. Opinions. All part of our selfish focus. The one that places us at the center of the universe and everything is supposed to spin around us.

WOW! Where did we get that idea? Ummm. I think it was in the garden when a tempting serpent questioned the integrity and motives of our Creator. Did God really say? We decided there was enough of a question there that the One who spoke Existence into being just with His voice should have to answer to us.

Just like the little kid who doesn’t want to enjoy the journey – we want what we want. NOW.

This was a great day for considering.

It is the third day of a really great new career at the youthful age of 60. I have been waiting for this moment for maybe thirty years. I think it should have come much sooner. With much less pain. And a lot less doubt and confusion and much, much more intentional step-by-step directions.

But sitting at my computer in my new office, I realized this long journey has been a wonderful place to learn the lessons I need for this moment in time. To be here was a plan set in motion long ago. Lots of events along the way equipped me.

Hey God, would you erase all those questions and tantrums and self-focused opinions of mine over the years? I think trusting you is a much better way to live. I will try to enjoy the ride more and pouting less.

Thanks for the patience you have had with me. Love, a slow to learn son,  Just Me.

Posted in Bearing Their Burdens

Look out world — Here comes Bearing Their Burdens

He is the same, yesterday, today and forever...

May 5, 2010

Today, Steve Chase and Emery Smith had an ‘aha’ moment.

GOD is in control and is inviting us on a day-by-day journey into the miraculous.  We met for coffee at our favorite place of inspiration, Mars Hill in downtown Hollister, CA.  As I walked the five blocks, I felt mostly empty.  Nothing substantial was in my soul to share with Steve.  I felt it likely that as always we would have great fellowship, but likely there would be little take-away.

I wanted more.  I asked.  He gave.

A dear friend dropped by and shared an update of her always-giving life with us and immediately I knew she was to meet a fellow friend of mine with a complimentary vision of what GOD wanted them both to be a part of; doing almost exactly the same thing and not knowing the other.  We then talked further and realized that her contacts were substantial in an business community where we felt we needed contacts.

I finally got it! GOD was ‘networking’ us right before our eyes.

Then another friend, a part of the behind-the-scenes force that made the coffee shop the restful place it is, came up and in our conversation,  Steve and I realized that GOD so wanted us to follow Him but He was not going to drop ‘an envelope with the day’s agenda’ in our lap.  We would daily have to seek Him and throughout the day for the next step, the next contact, the next idea.

CONNECTEDNESS. Fellowship. Trust. Waiting upon Him.

All I know is today I have to start talking about Bearing Their Burdens as a reality whose time has come…no more distractions, delays or darts from the enemy.  This is a GOD-thing in a GOD-moment and we are gonna cross the river to claim our rightful possession for His Kingdom to come.

The first step is to share the Facebook page with friends.  The next step is to begin the regular blog posts; what you are reading is the first of many to come.

My heart is incredibly full that GOD would choose to use two guys with a visible lack of earthly qualifications but hearts that yearn to see His Kingdom grow.

Thank you Jesus. Stay tuned—More to follow.

Posted in Consider this

Miraculous Signs…

Miraculous Signs…, originally uploaded by orchardrise.

…what GOD has given us in the written word of the Bible is enough evidence to believe…He has said it is so.

…and if He has said it is so, and the evidence is there, then should we boldly reject what GOD our Father has provided for faith?

…it might be said He has given us no excuse for unbelief.

…if a judge says there is enough evidence to convict or acquit, would we be so brazen to reject the court’s statements and chose our own wisdom?

No, we take our culture as truth…but we often reject GOD…how wise is that?

Posted in Consider this

What would happen if…?

Sunset at Santa Cruz

A long time ago, I heard of a minister preaching the same sermon for several weeks in a row. Finally, one of the elders came to him and asked him why he was so insistently preaching the very same sermon week after week. He was greatly disturbed that something fresh was not being shared in the sermons and felt it his obligation to make the minister aware of his error. The minister graciously received his questioning words of correction and replied, “I will keep preaching the same message until I see that you have heard and received it and begin to practice the admonitions of the Scripture.

What would happen if instead of looking for something new, something to tickle our ears, to pacify our troubled hearts, we began to practice what we have already know? The truth is I have heard in my five decades of life, far more than I can ever put into practice. Actually, all that I have heard could be part of my character if I would choose obedience to that which I know.

Several years ago, I asked my worship pastor what I should do when I know the destination but not how to get there. We commiserated for a while as I knew what I desired was to be understood and to have someone offer a game plan for my next steps. I even called that season in my life “the dilemma of the pickup sticks.” I wanted to remove some things in my life but all of the various troubles interwove in such a fashion that one could not be removed without disturbing others. I did not know what to do.

But at that very time, there was a message being shared by a variety of speakers, a very simple message. “Obedience is doing the very next thing God asked of me.”” Our minds created by an infinite God are complex and astounding but they are no match for the processing capability of the Creator’s mind Himself. And His words were basic, “Do not be afraid, be of good courage, take my yoke upon me, trust in me.” Instead, we want an alternative…not unexpected but with great consequences dealing with a lack of peace and joy in our lives.

So my question today is, what would happen if we did the very next thing God asked us to do as an act of obedience and trust? Would the world be a different place? I think so. God has much to share with us. It is His delight. He is waiting for us to do the next thing.

Be blessed His children.