Summary: This message helps us to restore God’s design and our shattered dreams by looking at the restoration story with Peter.
God’s Design - Our Dreams
I want to begin this message with a word from Scripture and a line from a song.
One of the most thoughtful and most perceptive folk groups of the 60’s and 70’s was the group Peter, Paul and Mary. This group disbanded in the early 70’s, only to regroup at the end of the decade. In their album, Reunion, an album to celebrate their gathering together again, they sang a nostalgic song that looks back on the 60’s and forward to the challenges of the 80’s. The song is titled Sweet Survivor, and the song notes how the torch has been passed from one generation to the next generation in the struggle for freedom and justice. There is a line from the song Sweet Survivor that haunts me. I think it is a line that haunts all of the children of the 60’s and 70’s. I think it is a line that can haunt the children of any age.
¨ Children, who protested war, but lived lives of violence.
¨ Children, who stressed love, but used one another both physically and emotionally.
¨ Children, who sought peace, but brought fragmentation to their lives through the use of narcotics.
¨ Children, who stressed the rejection of materialistic values, and today are the ones wearing the designer jeans and heading the corporations of America.
¨ Children, who cried out for freedom, but became slaves to another form of slavery.
Indeed, I think the line of that song haunts all of us here today, regardless of generation, and that line is this: "And you wonder if the dreams we shared together have abandoned us, or we have abandoned them."
A word from Peter, "I’m going fishing."
A commandment from Jesus, "You follow me."
A line from a song, "You wonder if the dreams we shared together have abandoned us, or we have abandoned them."
God’s Design - Our Dreams that is what I want to think about this morning. For you see, in recent worship services, much has been said about dreams people have for First Christian Church. Many of the leadership have shared those dreams. Individuals have reiterated those dreams in the classroom and newsletters.
And yet, I wondered, as I was preparing this sermon … I wondered what about the hopes and dreams of individuals in the church. What about, not institutional dreams, but what about individual dreams.
Do our leaders still dream? Do our members still dream? What do we dream about? Who do we want to be? What do we want to be doing? What does God want us to be? What does God want us to be doing?
God’s Designs and our Dreams need to be wedded together.
John 21, you see, I think is a very significant part of John’s gospel. I think, that in part, what John is doing is recording an event that is very personal in the lives of the disciples. It is personal for those disciples that were in the boat fishing. But especially, it was personal for Peter and for John because, in those moments, Jesus gave his final words of parting.
I think it is a word that is so very personal for those of us here this morning. Because I think that it is an episode that calls on us to hold onto our dreams.
There are three things that I want to share this morning about God’s Designs - Our Dreams. I want to talk first of all about the Birth of our Dreams.
The birth of Peter’s dreams is not found in the last of John. It is found in the first of John. In John 1: 40, and 41, Andrew, his brother, has found the Messiah. He accepts Him as the Messiah, and he runs to tell his brother, Peter, "We have found the Messiah." Peter’s immediate response is to drop his nets and to go and follow this man who claims to be God’s Son, no longer to be a fisherman, but a fisher of men.
For you see, Peter, Andrew and the other disciples, in the opening pages of the gospel, realized that to find Christ was the reason for dreams. To find Christ and to accept Him as the Messiah, to accept Him as the Son of God, would give birth to a multitude of dreams.
It is as Mike Singletary, the Hall of Fame linebacker from the Chicago Bears, has said, " I think the thing that I learned most is that God can be trusted. I’ve realized that every day is a new day, a blessing from God. We have to realize that, no matter who we are, we are weak. No matter how hard we try, we control nothing. Nothing. No matter how hard I try to secure my future, I could wake up the next day with a lump on my chest, be in the hospital and die. When we finally realize how weak we really are, then we realize how strong God is. It was not who I was that mattered, but who God is. Now God was filling the void in me that had so long been filled by my ego, my sin, by the world."