A Word From Grace: Monday Edition - Blueprint to Boldness

This week, we’re going to transition out of our time exploring 1&2 Samuel. Today, let’s take a look at part of Peter’s faith journey. How did Peter go from frightened fisherman to bold gospel proclaimer?
 
The major turning point in Peter’s journey toward becoming a bold leader of the early church occurred one morning on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had been brutally murdered by the hands of the people he came to save. The unbelievable things that Peter and the other disciples had been experiencing were over. They simply did not know what to do next. One day Peter stands up and says, “I am going fishing,” but he might as well have said, “It’s over. I’m going back to my old life.”
 
It is in this moment of Peter’s resignation that Jesus shows up, and it is this encounter with Christ that will transform Peter more than all that he had experienced over the previous three years: more than the teaching, more than the miracles, more than the sense of purpose he discovered. As Peter’s heart drops and he heads back into the only life he’s ever known, Jesus arrives and asks him a profound and challenging question, “Simon, son of John (Peter’s old name), do you love me more than these?” One can almost picture Jesus indicating the haul of fish as he asks the question. Do you love me more than your job, Simon? Do you love me more than your old life? Three times he asks and each ask is like a nail piercing Peter’s hands and feet, as his old life is crucified there on the shore. I can imagine the scene, Peter screaming out, “You know I love you,” as he breaks down. After each of Peter’s responses, Jesus says, “Feed my lambs… tend my sheep… follow me.” The point here is incredible. Jesus is communicating to Peter that his former doubt and denial did not have to hinder his ability to walk with Jesus, to seek out the lost, and to build the church. Just a short time later, in Acts 2, we find Peter boldly preaching at the top of his lungs to a crowd of thousands (when formerly he denied knowing Jesus to a small group standing around a fire). Truly the old Peter was gone and a new creation had come. His love for Jesus and his consistent communion with the Holy Spirit had drowned out his fears.
 
Strange times like the ones we’re currently living through have a way of surfacing our fears. When that happens, you may be tempted to respond like Peter, “It’s over; I’m going back to fishing.” You may be tempted to stall in your faith journey or even to walk away. By doing this, though, you may miss out on the invitation of Jesus to take an honest look at your fears and doubts so he can help you overcome them. Like he did with Peter, Jesus wants to remind you of your love for him and his love for you, in spite of the doubts and fears you carry. His expectation is not that you go out and change the world on your own, but rather that you commune in love with him and his Holy Spirit. It is when the Holy Spirit comes alive in you that you can have the courage to boldly proclaim Christ to a world longing to be redeemed.
 
Application – Think/Journal through the following:
  1. In your own words, describe the characteristics of a bold Christ follower.
  2. What attitudes, habits, or fears hold you back from that kind of boldness? Confess these to Jesus.
  3. Take a minute to talk to Jesus, ask him to draw you into closer relationship with him, that you might love him more and commune more deeply with the Holy Spirit.

Sean's Picks

Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation – What do we do with the increasingly evident hatred of “the other”? Is there any hope of embracing our enemies? Of opening the door to reconciliation? In this brilliant book, Croatian theologian Miroslav Volf, proposes a biblical pathway toward reconciliation: embrace as the theological response to the problem of exclusion.
 
Alliance Life Magazine (GET IT FREE) – Did you know that as an attender of a Christian & Missionary Alliance Church you are able to get a free subscription to Alliance Life? This wonderful publication will give you a window into how the gospel is advancing through our movement all around the world. Sign up here!

Missions Spotlight:
First Choice Women's Resource Centers

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year's Baby Bottle Boomerang fundraiser for First Choice. Grace Fellowship Chapel raised $1,021.64!

Watch a 2 minute video from First Choice Director Aimee Huber about how God still does miracles during COVID - 19!
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