John 1:35-42 – Your Simons…

John 1:35-42 – Your Simons…

 The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, ‘Look! There is the Lamb of God!’ When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus. Jesus looked around and saw them following. ‘What do you want?’ he asked them. They replied, ‘Rabbi’ (which means ‘Teacher’), ‘where are you staying?’Come and see,’ he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which means ‘Christ’). Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, ‘Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas’ (which means “Peter”).” – John 1:35-42NLT

Every year at our high school lock-in, we head out, while it’s still dark, for Table Mountain. As the sky is just starting to lighten, we head up the east face of the mountain, winding our way above the tree line in the crisp morning air. About halfway up, we stop to watch the sun rise over the Greater Denver Area. The lakes and ponds are like glass, the city is silhouetted against the orange streak of sunrise, there are wisps of mist settled in the dips and valleys of the rolling landscape. You begin to hear the sound of car horns and trains moving through the dawn, overlaid by the nearby twitter of birds. Its beautiful…and its profound.

Standing there, watching God’s beauty in creation and the sound of Denver coming to life, we talk about how we are called to that city and the people in it. Called by God to be about His work in our community, that the world will know Jesus.

What a daunting thought. As of 2019, there were over 7.7 billion people in the world (World Population Review). As of 2010, only 31% of the world was Christian, at best (Chappell, 2015). If you narrow that just to look at the Greater Denver Area, there are 3.15 million people (Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, 2019). Of that population, approximately 60% claim to be a part of the Christian faith, though the amount of people who also say that are active in their faith is significantly lower (Pew Research Forum, 2014). And here we are, this little band of believers on a hillside, overlooking a living city, full of people who don’t know Jesus…charged with bringing His truth to the world every day.

That task is immense…impossible…right?

As I read through John 1:35-42, I’m struck by a little piece of this passage, represented by verse 41NLT, “Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which means ‘Christ’).” Simon…whom Jesus would rename “Peter” in Matthew 16:18 and charge to lead the disciples as they shared the love of Jesus with their world.

What a pivotal moment. What a critical decision by Andrew. He told Just. One. Person. Yet this one man would lead a movement that would go from a hated, persecuted, brutalized, and murdered little sect of Judaism in a despised corner of the Roman Empire… to a recognized faith in the Roman Empire by the early 300sAD.

I want to reiterate that. Andrew told one man about Jesus…and how many came to a saving relationship with Jesus because of that one conversation?

What I’m saying is God has called us, His Church, to reach the world. But you, individual Christian, are called to bring Him to the hand-full of people who move within the sphere of your everyday life. They may be coworkers or bank tellers or coffee baristas or janitors or disc golfers or CrossFitters or homeless people or preschoolers. They may look like the greatest or the least, but they are all those for whom Christ died, and among them you have significant, little relationships that God may want to use to help one man or woman to know their Jesus… just as they are fully known.

So yes…pray for the world, but live for Christ with your everyday Simons…knowing that if God could turn five loaves and two fish into a meal for 15,000, He can use one person’s salvation to bring salvation for millions.

  1. What is most intimidating for you when you consider sharing your faith with people you know?
  2. Why is it so difficult for you to talk about your faith with others?
  3. How do you feel when you consider that God has called you to love the people in your life enough to tell them about Jesus?
  4. Challenge for the week: Make a list of all the people you have a relationship with who are not believers. As you look at the list, think about who do you have a particularly good relationship with or could have a particularly good relationship with. When you found one or two people, begin to actively pray for God to guide you in guiding them to Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:14-26 – More than Attendance

1 Corinthians 12:14-26 – More than Attendance

“For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” – 1 Corinthians 12:14-26ESV

Have you heard the claim the pinky toe has no purpose? If you haven’t, it was definitely something I’ve heard and never believed. I’ve stubbed my toe on the edge of a bed or bedside table enough times, trying to get to bed in the dark, to know stubbing the 5th piggy can really lay you out.

Well, it turns out, the pinky toe’s value has been proven in recent years! Apparently, loss of the pinky toe “can significantly inhibit a person’s ability to skip, run or walk” (Hoyt, 2017). In other words, that stumpy, sad-looking, finger-like appendage that may not even have a nail helped you balance when you learned to walk, made your childhood fun, and carries you through every early-morning run or evening olympic lift. Hard to believe something so small can be so important. If you lost your pinky toe tomorrow, if would take physical therapy to help you learn to walk without it.

As important as the pinky toe is to your body, you are just as important in your church! But the sad thing is…most of us never believe that. We view ourselves as mere “members” of the church, like we are members of a gym, showing up to get personal benefit but cutting it the moment the demands of life require a sacrifice somewhere. Or maybe, we dedicatedly show up year-after-year offering our presence and tithe, but never do more than consume the word of God in Bible study and worship.

But Christian…we are meant for so much more! In 1 Corinthians 12:14-26, Paul compares each believer to a part of the body, saying in verses 21 & 22 (ESV), “the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable…” In other words, every part of the body of Christ is critical to the work God is doing on earth. There is more to your life in Christ than warming a pew at worship or a seat at Bible study! Worship and Bible study are merely the nutrients through which the Holy Spirit works to help you live out your critical role!

Now, I know it can be hard to find your place…and that first step out to do what you feel God is calling you to do can be intimidating. But that voice in your head saying, “Don’t do it…you’ll only fail because you don’t know what you’re doing” or “Don’t do it, you’ll make a fool of yourself and no one will ever respect you again”…that voice is a lie from Satan to hold you back from exactly who God made you to be. Indeed, you may fail. When Jesus went to His hometown to share the Gospel they tried to stone Him to death (John 10)! And He’s God! But that does not absolve us from obedience…stepping into God’s calling because He knows what He’s doing…even if we don’t.

If your gift is making food…make food for a church meal or for a hurting family you know! That is a gift as important as the gift of preaching when it comes to God’s call to bring His love to our world.

If your gift is knowing how to fix things, help keep the church fixed up or use your gifts to be the most trustworthy, Christ-centered repairman in town! That is a gift as important as teaching the Word when it comes to God’s call to bring His love to our world.

If your gift is compassion for the hurting…you know they are everywhere inside and outside our church. I bet they’re even in your office building or your restaurant or school. Love people as Christ does! That is a gift as important as singing praises when it comes to God’s call to bring His love to our world.

Brothers and sisters in Jesus…God has crafted you and called you to so much more than mere “attendance”. You are a warrior called to the front lines to fight for the King to save our kidnapped family members. Step forward with your gifts, knowing the God who shaped the universe works in and through you. Even failure isn’t failure in His hands.

  • Make a list of the things you’re good at. Now underline the things you are good at that you are also passionate about, enthusiastic for, make you excited, or give you energy.
  • Now from those you underlined, circle those you are already doing in your day-to-day life.
  • If you haven’t been seeing these as an avenue to bring God’s love to our world, why?
  • Challenge for the Week: Spend some serious time in prayer asking God to set you free from whatever is holding you back from using your gifts for Him, whether it’s fear of failure or self-doubt. Then ask God to show you how to use your gifts to His glory. When the opportunity arises…take it!

References

Hoyt, A. (2017, October 16). Surprise, your pinky toe does serve a purpose. HowStuffWorks. Retrieved from https://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/parts/surprise-pinky-toe-does-serve-purpose.htm