Scripture of the week: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Today, we are starting a series inspired by the movie Soul Surfer. The film is the real-life story of an ordinary girl named Bethany Hamilton, who is living a hero’s life that is affecting tons of people’s lives. But even more, this series is about helping you live a hero’s life as well. We will learn about Bethany and her view of living for God, so we can too.
In the second half of John 10:10, Jesus says to his followers, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus came to earth not just to forgive you of your sins, but to free you to live a one-of-a-kind life that will lead you on the ride of your life and use you to change the world around you.
Now listen to the first half of John 10:10: “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” If he can’t make you bad, then the devil will make your life busy and boring. Following Jesus is so much more than staying out of trouble; it’s about discovering the life He put you on the planet to live.
Over the next 8 weeks, we’re going to look at one character in the Bible who impacted the world for Christ more than almost anyone, but he also definitely knew what it meant to face difficult trials. He definitely had faults and often stuck his foot in his mouth, but God used him anyway. Do you remember last week when Jesus got on at fisherman’s boat? Yep, the man we are talking about is Simon Peter.
Simon Peter was very tired and disappointed that they had been fishing all day and not caught anything. He probably just wanted to go home and get some sleep. But what did Jesus do? Remember he got in Simon’s boat. That’s a little weird, isn’t it. It’s like if I was washing my car and some stranger just got in. Then Jesus goes one step further and asks Simon Peter to go out in the deep water and fish again. Simon was probably thinking, “It’s been a long day, I’m really tired, and now you are making it even longer. Thanks a lot, man.” We don’t know what he actually said, but we do know what he did. Simon Peter obeys Jesus. Maybe he could tell from listening to Jesus that this man was something special, or maybe he thought it would be the only way to get rid of this guy. We don’t know. Basically, he was thinking, “What you are asking me to do is crazy, but I’ll trust you.”
Long story short, they caught tons of fish and Simon Peter realized that he was standing next to God! He left his boat and all the fish and followed Jesus to become a fisher of men. Catching a fish is cool, but actually helping someone know God and helping their soul catch fire for God – there is nothing better than that. We know from history that this man who was once just a fisherman went on to lead thousands of people to Christ. He changed the world.
The same is true with us. We have a choice like Simon Peter. We can live a boring life on the shore that is predictable and safe, or we can accept Jesus’ invitation to live a hero’s life…to step out into the unknown deep waters that take us out of our comfort zone and watch God overflow into our lives.
Sounds like a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t choose the hero story for their lives, one that is written by God himself? Unfortunately, in reality, more people settle for the boring, unoriginal and safe life. They do so for two reasons:
1. God’s mission for people’s lives is almost always HARD.
2. God’s mission for people’s lives almost always takes TIME.
We live in a culture that craves instant gratification. We want things NOW. We’re upset if the internet takes 30 seconds to load, or if our fast food takes five minutes. But as you look through scripture, you see that God did powerful things through the lives of person after person because they persevered and were patient for His timing.
Warning: Living a hero’s life for God will probably take a while!
So look back at the story of Simon Peter. Where are you in the story? Imagine that you are Simon. Now take a deep breath. What are you busy with? What are the things in your life that take up most of your time? Tonight, meditate on that thought for awhile. What’s one small way God could ask you to step out of your comfort zone to trust Him? Maybe it’s inviting a friend to church, maybe it’s sharing difficult things with others, maybe it’s giving up something of yours for someone in need.
Jesus wants to do outrageous, amazing things with your life. Ask God to overflow His blessing into your dreams. God has made you to live an epic story that impacts your world around you. This story is the whole reason you were put on the planet, and if you remain faithful, you’ll see God work in ways that will blow your mind. It will be difficult and will take time, and Satan will even try to tempt you to go with the flow and play it safe. But it all starts with the call. Will you allow God to take you to deeper waters? That’s where we are going with this series…make sure to not miss a Sunday.