In September of 2008, the Ohio Valley experienced a unique weather phenomenon, a dry hurricane as the remnants of Ike blew through the region. Ike’s 85mph winds uprooted trees and severely damaged many roofs. There were wide range power outages for days.
Some storms do not bring water. While we don’t think of droughts as storms, they are severe weather patterns that don’t merely disrupt life, but pose serious life threatening conditions.
Have you have experienced a drought in your life? A time in your life when couldn’t buy a break. Simon Peter did; we can read about his drought in Luke 5:1-11. It was very early in Jesus’ ministry. He had begun to teach and perform miracles when he showed up in Peter’s hometown.
Peter and his partners had been fishing all night in the Sea of Galilee. They had caught nothing. As they set licking their wounds and tending their nets, Jesus came up and asked to use Peter’s boat. He wanted to teach from it to the growing crowd that was pressing in on Him.
I think it best if we let Luke tell the rest of the story (beginning in verse 4):
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7So 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. 8When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10and 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.” 11So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
While Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross is for everyone, He proved over and over again that God is a very personal God. His Kingdom is expressed through a community of individuals!
Let me share 7 Truths About How God Loves Us:
- He knows me – Out of all the boats on the shore, Jesus chose to get into Peter’s.
- He understands me – Jesus knew Peter had caught nothing the night before. He knew Peter was sweating the fact that he had nothing for his family to eat. And he had nothing to sell to his friends and neighbors either. And He asked Peter to trust Him.
- He meets my needs – Not only did Peter catch some fish, but he caught so many it took two boats to haul them all in and it almost sank them. Jesus’ provision is extravagant.
- He accepts me – Immediately Peter realized that he was in the presence of a holy man. He knew his sinfulness and was keenly aware of his thoughts the last few hours. Peter didn’t believe he deserved to be in Jesus’ presence.
- He forgives me – In John 21, a very similar event happens in Peter’s life. After Jesus had been crucified and Peter and denied Him, the resurrected Jesus meets Peter once again on the same beach. Once again Peter had been skunked after fishing all night. Jesus instructs them to cast their nets one more time. Again the catch was overwhelming. Then Jesus takes Peter on a walk down the beach and not only forgives Peter but reinstates him as a leader among the disciples!
- He invites me – in Matthew 4, Jesus says to Peter, “Come follow Me…” Jesus is not a dictator. He invites us to join Him in this incredible mission to restore His Kingdom on earth.
- He makes me – “I will make you fishers of men,” Jesus said. “What is impossible with man is possible with God!” God transforms ordinary people like you and me into world changers.
What is God inviting you to do and making you ready for? In Ephesians 2:10 we read, “We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” As I look at the rest of scripture it is clear that He also prepares us to do it. Your calling is what God has prepared in advance for you to do and you for!
Your calling is what God has prepared in advance for you to do and you for!
What is your unique calling? It isn’t some mystical secret that God has made hard for you to discover. Some people make a lot to do out of discerning God’s will. Many get too caught up in what God’s specific will for this situation may be. There are times God is very specific. And I believe when He is, He is capable of letting us know with no uncertain terms.
But discovering your unique calling is not all that hard. Take Peter, he was a fisherman – Jesus told Him I will make you a fisher of men! So how do you discover your unique calling? Look at the opportunities God places in front of you and then how He has prepared you to engage them:
- Your personality
- Your natural skills and abilities
- Your life experiences
- Your passions
- Your spiritual gifts
Then step out trusting God to make the impossible possible!
When I was going through one of the roughest storms of my life, one night I woke up at 3AM. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I had so many crazy thoughts running through my mind. So, I remembered a trick I had learned when I was in my twenties – write down your thoughts so you don’t forget them and then you will be able to go back to sleep.
I wrote down the first concepts of what would become the vision for the church we are planting: Discover Point. I believe God has called us to be an Acts 1:8 Multiplying Church, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Here is the way we have stated it at Discover Point:
Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we envision Discover Point developing a healthy culture of multiplying disciples, leaders and small groups and igniting a church planting movement of multiplying churches to impact Kettering, the Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio region, North America and the World.
Is this impossible for a man and his wife? Sure it is. Is it impossible for a single church plant? Absolutely. Is it possible with God? You know it!!!
In the midst of their drought, Simon Peter, his brother Andrew, and their partners James and John, laid down their nets, left their boats and followed Jesus. They had found God more than just faithful. They had found Him irresistible.
What about you? What do you need to lay down? Is it an unhealthy relationship? Maybe it’s money? Could it be the security of your job? Or the things you enjoy? God is more than faithful to provide. A life following Him is irresistible because God knows you; He understands you; He will meet your needs; He accepts you; He forgives you; He is inviting you; and He will make you.
Jesus has you!
Is God calling you to become someone’s friend? Does He want you to invite them into your life and into the life of His church so they can discover His love?
Is God calling you to start a small group? You may be thinking, “I can’t lead a small group.” Come on really? You can trust God to lead the group through you.
Maybe God is calling you to plant a new church. I know you are thinking, “I can’t do that!” And you are right, you cannot. But God can do it through you! Church planters are not just pastors. They are engineers, construction workers, insurance agents, teachers and the list goes on.
What opportunities are in front of you? How has God prepared you to engage them? Go for it – Jesus has you!
ACKNOWLEDGMENT – I would like to thank church planter and speaker John Honold for his insights into Luke 5.