June 19, 2022
to Jewell White and the United Women of Faith for the gifts for the men of our church. They are located in the foyer area, please take one.
July 20-23 at Hendrix College in Conway. You can register online. If you want to get a ride, let us know. Anyone can attend!
Assembly is July 24-28 on the campus of Hendrix College in Conway. We will need to know the youth that will be attending ASAP .
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”.
Sermon- Anyone feel like they might be certifiably crazy these days? Whatever the cause?
There was someone who visited a mental health hospital and asked they director how they determined whether someone needed outpatient or inpatient treatment.
He said, well, we do a simple test. What is it, if you don’t mind if I ask?
We fill up a bathtub with water. Oh! To see if they will try to drown in it? No – we put a teaspoon a cup and a bucket in the room. Then we tell them to go in and empty the tub. Well, the visitor replied. Of course they use the bucket.
No, most of us empty our bathtubs by pulling the drain plug. Would you like a window bed or a private room?
Scripture gives us glimpses of people doing normal things in normal ways, with sometimes a twist here or there. I don’t know if we would ever say Jesus is crazy except maybe for taking on all of us. But there are moments we might wonder about Peter.
Normal is not necessarily what God is seeking in us it seems or maybe it is that God wants to know – wants us to know what the plans we have for our future include. Mainly among those are understanding that God loves us and how we can love God in return.
Part of that love is to provide our daily bread. In return, God expects us to join in that provision, by caring for others.
In order to partake in this “breakfast” if you will that Jesus is providing, we have to see that we need to come empty, hungry, letting go of the stuff that fills us to the point we have no room for what God is offering.
Peter seems to be full of past anxiety, but certainly wanting to move forward in his continuing to follow Jesus.
I think we find ourselves there more than we want or realize.
Jesus is in his last earthly days with the disciples. He wants to move them to the next step in ministry. To be able to not only care for themselves, but others. So that this kingdom may truly come.
So today, as in other stories, we see Jesus appearing to them, but they don’t recognize Jesus until he does something familiar. Like calling Mary by name, or breaking bread, or helping them with a miraculous catch.
How often has Jesus been reaching out to us, been present with us, and we missed or almost missed it?
Maybe it is because at first it just seems to mundane, almost part of our daily lives. Maybe because we thought “we got this” and were not looking for Jesus to help us at all.
In any or all of that – we might miss an opportunity to hear our call. To serve as Jesus would have us serve. Or to be healed so that we can offer something good – offer Christ – to others.
The disciples were in a unique situation. They unlike us, had the physical presence of Jesus in his humanity with him. But Jesus knows they need to see him in a new way. They need to learn to follow him, even when he is not physically present with him. They also need to take the reins for themselves and let the Holy Spirit be their guide.
So on the last day of VBS this is a good lesson for the kids. How will their summer be changed, their lives be changed, as they go out now with these lessons and put them into action?
And I think we could ask the same for ourselves today, in this moment.
Peter had been through some pretty rough stuff. We can relate to that. Peter is the strong one – the rock – even in this story, we get a glimpse of his physical strength as he swims to shore, then back to the boat and carries that heavy net full of fish back to Jesus. He is the “heavy lifter” we might say.
That can be a physical, mental or spiritual task. I think Jesus calls him to be all three. There is work to do because it seems Peter had slipped a bit, at least spiritually and his soul is still troubled by it. By something ironically that had occurred over another charcoal fire.
The one at Caiaphis’ house where Peter denies Jesus, not just once, but three times.
Strong Peter is still carrying that weight around with him.
Jesus sees this. He knows a hungry person needs to be fed, so he has the fire ready, some bread cooking, can you smell it? And he asks Peter to bring the fish. Work with me Peter. Which Peter eagerly does.
That’s how it is when Jesus calls us to something that is in our “wheel house” our nature. We are living out our call doing the stuff that we are comfortable doing. That is a part of God’s plan isn’t it?
We are all gifted with some way, some simple way to serve God and others. I think we can look around the room, look at ourselves and see that for ourselves.
Jesus then takes us a little bit deeper. A little bit further. And we see Jesus and Peter have a conversation that is so important it is recorded for us to hear as well. But not before Jesus offers himself to us.
That is how this works you know. Jesus never asks of us before offering himself to us. In this case it is with bread and fish. Like he offered in the upper room, with the 4 and 5 thousand, and now on the beach. In physical literal ways we still receive this sacramental receiving of Jesus in Holy Communion.
And the fish has become a Christian symbol beginning with the Greek that translates ichthus the word for fish – to be an acronym for Jesus Christ Son of God Savior. Some crosses had the shortened version HIS which means Jesus on crosses on the altar.
Sometimes when I am weary, and not where Steve can make me an egg sandwich, I grab a filet of fish sandwich. I think I must have eaten at least a hundred of those on the way to or home from seminary over those five years. There is nothing like a crappie fish fry with hush puppies, or yeast rolls at a luncheon. The kids at JAM loved when they got those fish sticks that Millissia Jones made. Simple stuff. Bread and fish. Comfort food. Jesus provides and then he asks for somethings in return.
He wants a conversation and a commitment.
First to know do you love me more than these.
What was these anyway? The other guys? The fish? The boat, equipment? Those are good questions. What are your priorities? These are important – where is Jesus among them?
Peter had thought himself above some things he was not. Remember when they were all in that upper room having a conversation about denial and betrayal and Peter said “ they might but not me! I would never. And then he did.” We have all been Peter doing that to Jesus at some point. So these questions are legitimate ones for Jesus to ask.
So he continues after Peter says “yes, I do love you.” And Jesus says start with the simple stuff. Feed the lambs. Well, in my opinion that might be the hard stuff first. But pretty exciting. Take care of those new in the faith. Nurture it.
Interesting that Jesus uses his birth name – Simon. Let’s go back to who you were Jesus is saying and I will ask you to start over. Do you love me – he asks.
Peter says Yes and Jesus tells him to tend my sheep. Take care of the whole flock in good and bad times. Whoa. Things are getting heavier, going to take a strong person for that one.
But Jesus is not done. A third time, he asks. And I don’t know about you – but I can hear the break in Peter’s voice this time. I can hear him surrendering. When he realizes Jesus knows him, knows his heart and knows how much he loves Jesus and wants to follow him. He cannot hide, or hold back.
So he looks at Jesus and not seeing disappointment in his eyes which he might have expected to see, he sees forgiveness, an invitation, the whole meal deal when he asks peter a third time and Peter gives his all saying yes, and then Jesus says feed my sheep. Help them grow. Train them, care for them, feed them. Three times Peter denies Jesus – Three times Jesus gives him acts of redemption. Jesus offers Peter all he needs to be the person Jesus needs him to be. The person God created Peter to be which is where Peter, flawed and all became.
I don’t know where you find yourself in this story, if anywhere. I think of that old Spiritual that says “if you can’t pray like Peter, if you can’t be like Paul, go home and tell your neighbor, he died to save us all.”
I know this. We are hungrier that we know. And so is the world. Probably a little bit crazy too. But Jesus knows. Knows you. And is calling you. Jesus is ready, willing and able to offer us all that we need to take care of ourselves and to care for each other. Maybe all we need is a little daily bread. Then we bring the fish – and cook it on a fire Jesus started with the Holy Spirit – We can do it – because Jesus is with us.
Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish
21 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.[a] It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus[b]), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[c] 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Jesus Reinstates Peter
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
Ronnie Jones, Millissia Jones, Addie Beckham (Fonda’s daughter), Carlton Bradley, Donna Flanagan, Jim Hampton, Hal & Harriett Lee, Patsy Miller, Bill Molton, Sandra Newton (Sherry Hicks’ mother), Bud Parsons, Pat Pruitt, Jackie Rayburn, Bernadine Reed, Philip Rehm’s sister, Kathryn Sims, Grace Black, Ukraine & those with Covid