Summary: If we will discipline ourselves to stretch spiritually, we will be strengthened to do God’s Will.
Stretched and Strengthened
The spiritual journey of the Apostle Peter has often motivated me:
• A down to earth-regular guy- so much so his friends probably called
him Pete… ‘Peter’ would have been too formal for him
• A commercial fisherman
• An ‘ear’ for authentic spiritual truth tho sometimes he struggled
with follow through
• A Jewish believer who appreciated his spiritual roots…but I sense he
was a man who was longing for more of God than his traditions pointed
out to him
• Pete was challenge - able and changeable
• He was stretchable
I want us to think about, be challenged by and respond to the scriptural principle of Stretching so we can be Strengthened.
Isaiah 54:2 says, “Enlarge the place of your tent, Stretch your tent curtains wide, Do not hold back; Lengthen your cords, Strengthen your stakes.”
This OT verse & passage refers to the future of the Nation of Israel – there were and are many promises that are yet to be fulfilled for Abraham’s family. But this verse can be applied to us as well for in Galatians 4:27 Paul takes verse 1 in chapter 54 & applies it to the NT church...
So by application God is saying to us STRETCH – REACH – BE PREPARED to run the spiritual race – Receive what God gives – STRETCH, GROW AND BE STRENGTHENED.
The Bible details story after story of men and women who learned to Stretch spiritually and in doing so set the example for us:
Abraham - Moses - Daniel - Job - Esther –
Mary the mother of Jesus and... Simon Pete the Fishermen!
When I think of stretching I naturally think of sports…
There are basically 2 kinds of Athletes:
The Pro and the Weekend Warrior
The Pro – no matter the sport, they always stretch their muscles – it keeps injuries to a minimum. After all, they have to stretch to catch or jump, stretch to reach or dunk, stretch to tackle or block, throw, run, serve, and a dozen other things that requires stretching…
The Weekend Warrior – some stretch adequately, but most don’t. Those who are 18 to 29 are the Studs & those 30 & up are the Duds – like me…
The older we get the more important it is to STRETCH – but few do!
The Value of Stretching, both physically and Spiritually is obvious:
1. You can reach farther
2. Keep injuries to a minimum
3. With a little pain, you can avoid big pain.
The goal of stretching is clear: the desire to stretch is hard to maintain.
• When Jesus first called Pete to follow Him, the big fisherman got
• He liked what he saw but didn’t always understand what he heard
• He learned new truth and tried his best to walk in it. Some days he
did great. Other days he failed miserably & got frustrated and
Thru it all he was being Stretched – Changed –
Matured – Strengthened! But it wasn’t easy…
I. The Biblical Pattern of Stretching
a. Life is full of Problems and Challenges – think about O.T. Joseph - (ad lib)
We also face frustrations, crises, sickness, poverty, spiritual warfare, consequences of sin, unhealthy relationships…
b. God gives us Promises and Choices – think about Job – blessed in greater ways after the testing than he had been before…