Saturday, January 31, 2015

ROWING INTO DEEP WATERS

IN LUKE CHAPTER FIVE WE FIND JESUS PREACHING from Simon Peter’s boat. After Jesus finishes he asks Simon Peter to do something that Peter finds rather ridiculous, here’s the conversation from Luke 5:4-11,

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

I like Peter’s first response, we’ve been fishing with no luck, but “Because you say so, I will let down the nets.” Something in Jesus moved Peter to do something he normally wouldn’t have done. He was tired having fished all night with no luck. He was most likely weary from keeping his boat steady and in one place so this traveling rabbi could preach to the crowd. He was probably just waiting for Jesus to finish so he could clean up the boat and nets and head home for the day, when Jesus says, “let push out to deeper water.”

It didn’t make sense to Peter and the others, but they did it anyway and the results almost sunk the boat!  It was then that Simon Peter and the others realized they were dealing with not just another some itinerant preacher. Something about Jesus and a boatload of fish moved Simon Peter to come face to face with his own sinfulness and even more amazing it would also move Simon Peter and his fellow fishermen to leave their boats and follow Jesus in a new adventure of fishing for people.

Pushing out into deeper water can be a fearful experience. One must row farther and the seas can be rougher and the work of brining up the nets from the depths more tiring, but the extra work, as these new followers of Jesus discovered, can produce amazing results. But catch this, they worked so hard at getting to the fish and bringing the overabundance of fish into boat, but once they got to shore they left it behind! Now, that’s what I can sold-out following, and I believe it is that kind of following to which Jesus calls each of us.

I believe that Jesus is calling His disciples at Felton Bible Church to push out into deeper water. Yes, it may require more work and at times seems fearful or foolish, but I can assure you that the rewards are worth the effort.  Not the rewards of catching more fish, though that is a great possibility, but the reward of seeing Jesus at work.

My new focus as Pastor of Spiritual Formation is to encourage us and help us push out into deeper water. To go to that place where trusting Jesus is paramount. Some may be wondering just what is spiritual formation anyway? M. Robert Mulholland, Jr., has written a book entitled, Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation. In his book Mulholland gives this definition:

“Spiritual Formation
 is process of being conformed
to the image of Christ
for the sake of others.”

It is a process of being conformed; that means we are being acted upon, we are called to surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit. The goal of spiritual formation is to be conformed to the image of Christ, to return to that original condition for which God created us in the Garden of Eden. (See: Romans 8:29 and Romans 12:1-2) This transformation is not just so that we would be as God desires us to be, but also it is for the sake of those around us, whether they be followers of Christ or still standing on the shore.


As one of the shepherds here at Felton Bible Church I call you to join me in the boat as we push out into deeper waters in order to experience the life-altering transformation that the Lord desires to do in each of our lives, for His glory and the sake of the world. 

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