06-08-2014 The Disciples: The Rock

I’m writing this Update on the fly a bit, because I just read that my eldest brother has just had another seizure of some kind, and I need to leave to go to Bloomington to find out how he is.  For those of you keeping track, my father had a heart attack a couple of years ago, my eldest brother had a stroke in November, and my middle brother had a heart attack at the turn of this year.  These would constitute reasons number 1, 7, and 8 for why I’ve been trying to lose weight and eat healthier since last Fall...

Speaking of that, our cookout this weekend didn’t help much.  Oh, I made sure to eat a grilled chicken breast instead of a hot dog and watermelon instead of chocolate, but there were also hamburgers, chips, potato salad, lots of desserts... basically, it was a great spread.  And even though we had thunderstorms on Saturday and rain this week, God was gracious and gave us an absolutely gorgeous day on Sunday for a picnic.

It was also a gorgeous day for baptisms, and we had the privilege to baptize Dakota Jeffries and Antonio Panama as the final portion of our service, right before we started our cookout.

The service itself was a blast, too, since we were able to celebrate Pentecost Sunday, fifty days after Passover -- the day when the Holy Spirit came and baptized the newborn Church with power and guidance and God’s own giftings.  To be filled with the Holy Spirit isn’t only to be marked as one of God’s own children -- it’s also to be changed, from the inside-out.

We talked about that a bit in our message, as we continued through our Summer series, looking at the Twelve Disciples.  This week, we looked at Simon Peter, the “big fisherman” whom Jesus called “The Rock.”

When you think about it, Simon was anything but a stable rock.  He was headstrong, impetuous, inconsistent, unfocused, and chaotic.  It was Peter who thought it best to build places of worship for Jesus, Elijah, and Moses, instead of seeing the Transfiguration as a time to focus on Christ.  It was Peter who was impetuous enough to walk on water, but inconsistent enough to begin to sink when he began to doubt.  It was Peter who repeatedly told Jesus that He was wrong, and that He should listen to Peter’s wisdom instead.  It was Peter who attacked those who arrested Jesus.  It was Peter who denied Him, even after promising Him never to do that.

The list goes on and on.

Calling Simon “The Rock” would seem like a huge joke -- but then Pentecost came, and the Holy Spirit took all of that unfocused energy, all of that passion, and focused it with laser-like precision into a world-changing power that brought three thousand people to the Lord in one day.  So using a huge joke like Simon to be “The Rock” is a testimony to God’s grace toward those Christians like you and me who seem to spend so much of our time not “getting” it -- if God could change and use Simon, then how do you think that He could use you or use me, if we allowed His Spirit to truly work in and change us today?

Isn’t that what we should be aiming for every day?