On 4th November we were joined by Vicky Thompson from Darlington Baptist Church as part of the pulpit exchange scheme. Vicky told a fast paced story to set the mood about the man who builds his house on rock and the man who builds on sand. She had the kids and adults enthralled with a familiar tale.
Vicky from Darlington brought us the word today from John 21. She quoted from Theodore Roosevelt.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Vicky said that what inspires her is the person who dares. Our world seems to only value success and achievement then you are loved. Think about the recent news coverage of Teresa May in the news where she did a terrible dance. We love to criticise as a nation. We’re loved according to our likes on things on Twitter or Facebook. What if it is ok for us to just be who we are, not because of what we have or what we’ve achieved. What if we just get applauded for who we are.
We find Peter a good fisherman , one of a long line of fisherman. He knew everything there was to know about fishing, yet follows Jesus when he was called. He leaves everything to follow Jesus. He even changes his name. Simon means reed Peter means rock. It’s Peter who climbs out of the boat..it’s this Peter, the only one that dared to get out of the boat. He’s the first to recognise Jesus. Peter has this amazing journey to this point. Think about this Peter” . In the lead up to this passage, Peter had given up everything, this Peter who denies Jesus, he had all these experiences. Jesus has died and risen again and Mary is told to tell Peter. Peter the denier!
Vicky at this point offers a a quick short story of the father who hears his son shouting “Dad Dad help!” It’s thundery and the little one is frightened. Dad tells him “You know Jesus is with you!” His son replies ” I know, but I just need someone with skin on!”
Peter has gone fishing, after Jesus dies, everything has gone wrong so he goes back to what he is comfortable with. Jesus come to find him. He doesn’t leave Peter there. It’s the same for all of us. Whilst we were still sinners Christ died for us. God is love and loves us regardless of what we do. Rely upon the fact that God loves us completely and we can never change that.
Think about an auction sale. The auction item only worth what people will pay for it. You and I are worth what God says we are worth. We are worth his Son dying for us.
Vicky then shares the story of a little boy learning piano. His parents take him to see great pianist. The boy had a look around. Sees piano, opens piano and plays chopsticks. His parents are mortified, but the great pianist hears this. Keep on playing he whispers. It becomes the most magnificent tune as the pianist plays along with him. We get it wrong. We can allow the great pianist who is God to whisper keep going it’s ok. Don’t be crushed by guilt, don’t go back to the comfortable , keep going your doing great let God fill in all the other notes.
In this moment Jesus comes to Peter and they sit down for breakfast. Jesus addressed Peter’s failure. He talks about whether or not Peter loves him. The three types of love Agape Eros phyllo.
Jesus asks Peter do you agape me. Peter can only respond saying I like you. He’s asked again twice and eventually responds you know I do.
When you go out walking with a child you holds his hand tight, different to a child’s holding your hand they can let go. Your holding tight, you won’t let the child go. Neither will God let you go.
Do you love me more than the other disciples your hobbies your cars your houses.
Do you love me more than anything else is the question right through the bible. The Jewish have a prayer box that they put in the doorpost the forehead the wrist to show this love.
Examine how you spend your time and your money. That will tell you what you love. Do you love him enough to follow wherever he takes us. Our ambition is not to get from life to death safely. The call of Christ is one of obedience and love, it’s not comfortable or easy.
The credit belongs to the man in the arena , the one who has lived Jesus, who spends himself in a worthy cause. Let me encourage you to do the deeds of Christ. Follow Jesus to these places.