Followers of Jesus ~ Actually Follow Him and Step Out of the Boat

st_peterLast Sunday we looked at an interesting passage where Jesus comes to the disciples walking on the water. In the next moment Peter asks Jesus to call him out on the wind and waves. Jesus does, and Peter steps out. Then Peter starts to sink…

This seems to be the part that most of us remember and focus on. Somehow this has become a picture of Peter’s failure, when that misses the point completely. This isn’t a picture of Peter’s failure…but of Peter’s growth.

No one does anything perfectly the first time (expect maybe for Jesus). All of us learn through failing, succeeding, and trying again. What we forget is that growing often starts with failing. So when Peter starts to sink it’s not a failure, per say, but instead a moment where he grows.

Earlier that day Jesus had given him a clear command to feed the people. Peter refused. This time Jesus give Peter another clear command to come to him on the wind and waves. This time Peter doesn’t refuse but jumps over the side of the boat into the dark, turbulent waters. Peter is learning. And yes he sinks, but Jesus grabs him and together hand in hand they walk back to the boat. Peter learns that he can only do this thing  through and in Jesus.

This is the point for us, that we often are scared of failing. We don’t follow Jesus when he gives us clear commands (forgive, serve, give, follow, etc) because we are scared of failing. But here is the thing. Jesus isn’t scared of us failing, he is worried about us staying in the boat. Because Jesus knows that theory will never teach us better than hands on experience.

So if you want to grow as a disciple the next step is clear. Step out of the boat. When Jesus calls us…follow. Because that’s what disciples do.

We ended off the sermon with three ways to follow. First, get to know Jesus by reading the gospels this week. Read them and search not for information on Jesus, but for direction from him. Secondly, when you have direction, follow him and act on it. If you are moved by the difficulty of greed – step out of the boat – and give. If you are moved by the need to serve the poor – step out of the boat – and start. And lastly, get together with some other people because this isn’t meant to be a journey alone…but with Jesus and others…as we all try to step out of the boat to follow him…

Sermon Notes

Big Idea: Apprentices follow Jesus in action

Take Aways…

  • “Grace isn’t opposed to effort, its opposed to earning” Dallas Willard
  • The action of an apprentice is all about following
  • We see learning as becoming theory experts where Jesus sees it as mastering a craft
  • You will not grow without attempting things you cannot do
  • If Jesus is doing it, we can be part of it
  • Jesus doesn’t want to do ministry for the disciples but through the disciples
  • An apprentice follows Jesus even out into the wind and waves
  • You learn more through practice than through theory
  • Get to Know Jesus: Read the gospels this week listening for Jesus voice
  • Get Practicing: Take a step out when Jesus calls you
  • Get Together: Gather with friends to discuss the next steps Jesus is asking you to take

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What surprised you? What made you think? What made you laugh? What did you take away? What did you think of the difference between earning grace and showing effort because of grace? How do you make sure we don’t just end up “knowing lots about Jesus” without actually “becoming like Jesus”? Has Jesus ever called you to do something before (i.e. get rid of anger, forgive, start a ministry, etc)? Did you follow through? What was the outcome? What might Jesus be calling you to do today? How will you do it? Who can help you in it?

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Take a moment to sit down with your kids and talk about what “following Jesus” looks like to them. Talk about how for them it might look like sharing, forgiving, and reaching out to kids who don’t have friends. Talk about the specific things Jesus has called you to do in your life (maybe change jobs, talk to someone, or give up a grudge). Share how it made a difference and why it matters. Also share with them how you’d like to follow Jesus together as a family.

Challenge for this Week:

Get to Know Jesus (Read the Gospels), Start Following (Put into Practice what Jesus asks), Get Together (Share with Friends how you are trying to follow Jesus)


Failures You Learn from Aren’t Failures

1-Duccio_Calling1On Sunday we are going to be looking at one of the best known stories and misunderstood. Isn’t that funny? How the ones that are most familiar are actually the ones we often need to listen tomost. So on Sunday we are going to look at Peter’s failure as he sinks in the waves, water, and wind. We are going to look as his faith breaks, and he starts to slip. The problem is that we think of this moment as a failure. We think of this moment as a mistake. We miss the point that 11 other disciples are sitting in the boat, and that actually in this one moment Peter is making up for a previous mistake in the day.

So on Sunday we are going to look at how mistakes or seeming failures can be so much more than that. My guess is ~  that you already know what I’m talking about. That if you look back on your life some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned have come from mistakes or failures.

Personally, while it might seem odd, I have a list called “My List of Failures”. It’s fairly self-explanatory, and also long and growing. But like Peter if I fail, I want to learn from it and grow through it. Then it doesn’t become a regret, but part of the process of being an apprentice of Jesus…and that’s what following Jesus is all about…

Never Go It Alone ~ Peter vs Judas

On Sunday we landed on one main difference between Judas and Peter. They both betrayed Jesus. They both were attacked by Satan. They both felt deep remorse for their mistake. They both sought to confess it and make it right. But one went to Jesus, the other went to people who didn’t care. Jesus and Peter had a conversation, a connection, and ultimately a confession. Jesus and Judas never had that. Judas went to the religious leaders who simply heaped on the guilt, shame, and pain for Judas. He left feeling more alone than ever. Peter left Jesus’ presence with a purpose.

Sometimes the difference between having a mistake, betrayal, or failure being something that lasts, and something that is overcome is the difference between going to Jesus and going it alone.

Judas was left to deal with his betrayal on his own and he couldn’t do it.

Peter dealt with his with Jesus.

I think we can learn from this. Confession can heal the soul. Confession brings someone else in, so we aren’t going through it alone. Confession can bring life to a broken area because we are asking for help. This is the big difference between the path of life, and death; the path of Peter and the path of Judas.

So today my challenge is simple. If you have been holding onto something, trying to go it alone, dealing with it isolated and by yourself, bring someone else in. Confess what’s going on to Jesus. Confess it to a true friend, who isn’t interested in the details, but is interested in you. Peter makes it through because he walks with others. And so can you…

Judas vs Peter

Last Sunday we explored Jesus’ response to our betrayal. You can listen to the sermon here. This Sunday we are doing something a bit different. We are going to compare Peter and Judas. At first glance they might seem very different people. I mean, Judas we hate, and Peter we try to emulate.

But when you dig into the biblical text you see how similar they both were. They both betray Jesus deeply. They both are attacked by Satan. They both seek to make amends for their mistake. But one only finds guilt, shame, and death, while the other finds forgiveness, grace, and life.

The Didache an ancient Christian text says this: “There are two ways, one of life and one of death; but a great difference between the two ways.”

So this Sunday we are going to be looking at the differences between these two ways, and how we might find forgiveness, grace, and life. The real question we’ll be exploring is: What do you do when you betray someone? How do you respond when you realize you are guilty of betraying all that you hold dear?

As we’ll find out, there is one path that leads to life, and one path that leads to the darkness…

But what do you think? If you betrayed someone what would you do?