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Grow - Peter

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Simon Peter - GROW!  Let’s grow by modeling those who experienced grace and knew truth as a person!

Offering:  Play SOHL Weekend Video/Baby Bottle Campaign

Sanctity of Human Life Weekend was established in 1983 to recognize the value of every human life.  Westerville Christian supports both local and global missions.  One local mission is the Pregnancy Decision Health Center.  We do so because PDHC provides hope to women & men facing an unplanned pregnancy, healing from the pain of their past and providing abstinence education for young people.[i]  I hold in my hand a baby bottle.  PDHC provided these and they are asking this BODY to fill each bottle with coins and cash and return it to WCC by February 16 and all proceeds will benefit their ministry of healing & hope.  Last year we raised $1,848.86.  Let’s beat the $2000 mark!

Rick Rusaw is the minister of the LifeBridge Christian Church in Longmont, Colorado.  Rick challenged our leadership last weekend for nearly 6 hours.  He made statements like, “If you won’t serve, you won’t grow!”  “Let’s live a kingdom story and not a church story.”  He also said, “Vision is a glimpse of the future.”  Bill Hybels altered that definition slightly when he said, “Vision is a picture of the future that produces passion. For Henry Ford it was the picture of a future where a Model T was parked in the driveway of every butcher, baker and candlestick maker. For Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. it was the picture of a future where two children, one black and one white, would sit across from each other on a seesaw, oblivious of the color of each other’s skin.  Their picture of the future made their heart beat fast and their minds race. What picture does that to you?”[ii]

For me, it’s Jesus’ church as the Body of Christ!  The vision of Westerville Christian is “Changing lives through Jesus Christ one person at a time.”  But what does that really look like?  I’m not sure if you were present at one of our three Christmas Eve Services.  If you were gone I told a story about Aaron Collins.  Aaron died last July and his last wish was to give an outrageous tip to a complete stranger.  Like $500 outrageous!  So we did that on Christmas Eve.  We took an impromptu offering for three separate pizza delivery drivers – Ben, Stephanie and Dylan.  My brother David received a text giving us a better idea of what God’s spontaneous generosity did for that third driver, Dylan.  Here’s the text!  “Dylan is the son of Lou Basso who died suddenly in 2012 of a heart attack.  Lou was the chaplain at Hospice of Morrow County.  This was Dylan’s first Christmas without his Dad.  He needed shoes.  The money was a HUGE blessing of course monetarily, but more so of God’s heart for Dylan.”

            I think our vision statement has a better punch when we read it this way, “Changing lives through Jesus Christ one DYLAN at a time.” I’m guessing here, but I think this past Christmas Eve will be one Christmas Eve Dylan will NEVER forget!  His life was changed through the generosity of God’s people.  Has Jesus’ generosity (died on the cross) changed you?  Add your name!  “Changing lives through Jesus Christ one GREG at a time.”  One _________ at a time! 

The goal this year is to GROW!  Let’s grow by modeling those who experienced grace and knew truth as a person!  I have two examples – one this week, one next week.  I’ll say it this way.  “Changing lives through Jesus Christ one SIMON PETER at a time.”  Open up your Bibles today to 2 Peter 1:1.  Do you need a Bible?  God used Peter and if you’re uncertain about how God might use you!  Go to our WGMMTB class Sunday Night from 6to8PM in Venue 471!  Applying that class will help you GROW!  Before we read God’s word let’s pray!  “Our Father God, we know you value life.  May we too value life/people every day!  May we not see the color of someone’s skin but the content of their character!  May we take to heart the words of Simon Peter who said, “Jesus, you have the words of eternal life!  May we believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.  Father, I pray for everyone in this room to believe that to be true!”  Amen (Let’s read 2 Peter 1:1.  (1-2)

My parents named me Gregory Neal.  Simon’s parents named him Simon Bar-Jonah, but Jesus called him Peter.  Why, because Jesus gave Simon a glimpse of the future.  Simon, this is who you’ll become!  Do you have a nickname?  If you’re short someone might call you “Short Stack” and if you’re tall they might call you “Stretch!”  Let’s play Name that person!  I’ll give you a nickname.  You name the person.  The Golden Bear - Jack Nicklaus.  Sweetness - Walter Payton.  Ike - Dwight Eisenhower.  Magic - Ervin Johnson.  The Hefty Lefty - Jared Lorenzen.  The Flying Tomato - Shaun White. The Governator - Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Jesus gave Simon the nickname Peter or Cephas.  I love the Christian Rock band Petra, but Peter was “Petros” which meant “a piece of rock or a stone![iii] 

            Peter calls himself Simon Peter.  One name reminded him of his past and the other pointed him towards his future!  He’s Simon.  John MacArthur said, “Simon was brash, vacillating and undependable.  He tended to make great promises he couldn’t follow through with.  He was one of those people who appears to lunge wholeheartedly into something but then bails out before finishing.  He was usually the first one in; and too often, he was the first one out.”[iv]  Ever play the game Simon says?  Oh, Simon said allot!  #1:  Jesus, I see that you are here with Moses and Elijah.  It’s good for us to be here, should I build three separate shelters?”  #2:  Jesus, I promise you these 11 might deny you, but I will never deny you!”  #3: Jesus, stop talking about going to the cross.  That’s not going to happen.   And Jesus called him Satan, because he was thinking like Simon! 

But he’s also Peter!  The man who saw Jesus walking on top of the Sea of Galilee.[v]  He was probably afraid, but he didn’t let his fear paralyze his faith!  He got out of the boat.  “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water.  Come Peter come!  I wonder if Peter tippy-toed on the water?  I wonder if he reached down and splashed the disciples still sitting in the boat?  I wonder if he saw a fish staring at him?  I don’t know how long it took before Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and onto the wind.  But once he saw the wind he sunk like a rock!  “Lord, save me.”  And Jesus did!  At that moment Jesus saw both Simon and Peter again!  Peter – great job on climbing out of the boat!  Simon – why did you doubt me! Why is your faith so small?  Let me show you who I really am!  Jesus and Peter get into the boat and the wind stops blowing!  And after everyone picked up their jaw they all draw the same conclusion! “Truly you are the Son of God!”  Peter’s life was changed forever that day!  Go back to 2 Peter 1:1.  How has Peter changed?  Notice how he describes himself.  (Read 1:1)  Peter describes himself as a servant and an apostle.  Why servant?  Because he’s a man under authority.  He now lives his life as a slave of Jesus.  A man asked the lifeguard to help him teach a young girl how to swim. "It takes considerable time and technique," replied the guard.   “I’m sure it does, but I know my sister would appreciate it."  "Your sister?" asked the lifeguard. "Just push her into the deep end. She'll learn in a hurry.”[vi]  We joke!  Sisters aren’t really people, right?  Human rights were non-existent in Jesus’ day.  Isn’t it hard to believe that not so long ago in America people owned people!  I don’t like the word slave or servant, but that’s what we all are.  It just depends on who your master is?   You?  Another person?  A philosophy?  An object?

Peter makes Jesus his master which gives him a new purpose.  He once was a fisherman who caught sardines, barbels and musht.[vii]  He caught fish.  Now he’ll catch people.  His life has changed because his purpose has changed.  He’s under the authority of Jesus.  What he saw Jesus do – he’ll do.  Jesus washed his feet and after a ton of kicking and screaming he’ll now wash other people’s feet. 

Let’s take a moment here.  What two words best describe you?  Is one of them servant? My life has changed because my purpose has changed.  I’m not just going to work.  I’m going to my mission field.  I’m not just raising a family.  I’m pointing my children to God!    

Why does Peter say he’s an apostle?  The twelve apostles are listed in Matthew 10, Mark 3, Luke 6 and Acts 1.  They all start with Peter.  Peter is not only a man under authority.  He is an authority.  What Jesus taught.  He’ll teach! 

A wife said to her husband, "The car won't start.  I think there's water in the carburetor."  "How do you know, hon, you don't even know what or where the carburetor is."   "I'm telling you there's water in the carburetor." "OK, let me check it out.  Where's the car?"  "It’s in the swimming pool."[viii]  Oh – that information would have helped.  That changes things! 

Did you know that 2 Peter is Peter’s last letter?  He’s going to die.  Jewish tradition tells us his wife will die right before he does.   His words are Jesus words.  Your faith is precious.  Don’t ever, ever, never stop believing.  Despite what Nero says or does know that the kingdom of God is greater than Rome!  You can be effective and productive as long as you remember you’ve been forgiven!  Don’t get swept away by teaching other than Jesus!  If it sounds crazy it probably is crazy!  Jesus hasn’t returned yet.  When he does we’ll all know!  Jesus is the Son of God.  How do we know that?  He resurrected from the dead!  Acts 1 provides an apostle requirement!  You had to have seen Jesus resurrected from the dead! 

We need another moment here.  Have you determined the two words that best describe you?  May I make a suggestion or challenge?  Why not use Peter’s words?  Servant – my purpose in life has changed.  Apostle like – I have been sent by God with authority to say those God places in my life - forgiveness is real and death is not the end. 

            “Changing lives through Jesus Christ one SIMON PETER at a time.”  Jesus changes us because we’ve been forgiven.  Jesus changes us because we know death is not the end!  Those two facts changed Peter’s life.  May they change ours too!  I don’t know what the HS is saying for you to do today, but I need people to come pray for Team Haiti! 

Lora Bradley                         Jane Flohr

Duane Gray                           Emily Griffiths

Gigi Hall                                 Sandy Hotchkiss

Danelle Jacobus                     Courtney Kramer

Greg Mangen                         Amy Martin

Aimee Moore                         Becky Reed

Abby Ritchey                         Roxanne Ritchey

Mark Stier                             Lisa Stumpf


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[i] PDHC Newsletter

[ii] http://pioneerminister.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/bill-hybels-on-vision

[iii] John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men, 34

[iv] John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men, 34

[v] Matthew 14:22-33

[vi] http://www.gcfl.net/archive/Swimminglesson

[vii] John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men, 37

[viii] http://www.gcfl.net/archive/The Carburetor

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