Friday, June 5, 2009

Are You Sandy Or Rocky?

Last week, Chad finished the “what’s so great about Jesus?” series. Throughout the series, he had been featuring testimonies from www.iamsecond.com . This time, however, he featured a testimony LIVE!! Life Church member, Rick Elwell, shared his testimony onstage about how he almost got a divorce, but that Christ brought him through his marital distress and restored him. Amen to that!!

Not only did we get to watch a live testimony (great job Rick!) but we got a great sermon too!! Chad talked about something I never really thought of before. He talked about Jesus and how He gave Simon the name Peter. Back then, Simon was such a common name. You had to be called “Simon son of…” in order for people to know WHO you were talking about lol! However, Simon wasn’t common. Just like all of us, we have purpose (and a calling). Jesus knew this. Jesus even gave Simon the new name of Peter in Matthew 16:17-18 after Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ.

It’s such a beautiful thing! Sometimes we grow up thinking that we are common and ordinary; much like Simon Peter thought. Ordinary man, ordinary job, ordinary life. Not so! God calls us to so much more! He made the distinction with Peter by giving him that new name. We know that Peter means “rock.” Chad illustrated the transition onstage with sand and a rock. Sometimes, we are unstable and unpredictable as shifting sand. But, with Christ, we are solid as a rock!

So, was that a done deal? Far from it!! Spiritual growth is a PROCESS! You don’t go from sand to a rock overnight!! In fact, that’s what was so great about Chad’s sermon. He used the life of Peter to show us that just like it was with him, so it is with us. Peter didn’t always act like the “rock” he was destined to be. It’s amazing to see his progress!! The letters that we read from him (and what we also read about in Acts) show a more disciplined, certain, and solid “rock” than what we see from him during the ministry of Jesus. So many times, we read where Jesus once again called him Simon (even after He named him Peter). “Simon” fell asleep when he was supposed to be keeping watch (Mark 14:37-38). “Simon Peter” drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest‘s servant (John 18:10). Jesus asked “Simon” in John 21:17 if he loved Him. On and on we see the journey (and sometimes back pedaling) of Simon/Peter. Yet, look how he ended up! It’s a process and a journey. Jesus wasn’t finished with Peter when He gave him a solid name. It was only the beginning! Likewise, we are also works in progress. He’s not finished with us yet!!

If we want to be able to progress in our walk with Christ, we have got to pursue Him with our whole heart (and allow Him to do the work in us). Like Chad said, “He’ll work it out.” ;) Amen to that!! Sometimes, that old name reminds us of the fact that we are acting like our old self; rather than the new self that we are meant to be. When he was acting like “Simon” hearing his old name likely reminded him of that. Those moments likely made him stop in his tracks and examine his actions. It can be very humbling, but what person doesn’t rethink their actions when they get a gentle rebuke/reminder? “Simon, Simon….“ or “Simon Peter….“ When your parents used your full name, didn’t that make you straighten up? LOL I know that when I would hear “Melissa Kay” that always made me stop and think!! ;) And, just as a parent disciplines the child they love, so God does with us (Proverbs 3:12). Refining isn’t always pleasant or pretty, but it’s necessary!!

Grace and peace to all of you!! It’s hard to transition from sand to rock, but it’s worth it!! God knows your true name (ask Him)!! It’s not common or ordinary, but precious and solid!! He knows who you are and who you are destined to be!! May you all bring glory to His name!! God bless you!!!

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