Summary: This is the fourth and the last in a series of messages for the "Just walk across the Room" emphasis. These messages are adapted from the book by Bill Hybels.
JWAR – THE FINEST STEPS - #4
(for powerpoint, check www.hueytownbaptist.com)
(THE DASH – 1996 Linda Ellis)
> It was In 1996 while on a lunch break that a lady name Linda Ellis penned these now immortal words. Working with a very large and successful corporation she has been witness to countless lives worrying far too much about things that were inconsequential and missing the important things. When you read her inspiration for this poem (which I have only shared in part), you see a person who wants to be the best person, live the finest life, and do the best job she could possibly do so, when death calls, she can answer with a clear conscience. She was inspired by many things, the rat race, Columbine, Her Father’s death, and a letter from a dying friend.
> I ask this question; what are you doing with your life? How are you spending your dash? Will you be proud of the things “others” say about how you spend your dash?
> Whose standards are you living by? In this room many will say, “I’m living by God’s standards.” Yet, last Monday night, Bro. Kevin Hamm was clear to us about what being alive in the Lord means & thus, living by His standards.
> The Word of God calls us to do certain thing. First, received Jesus by faith. Then, Walk in the Spirit. Then, be ready to share our joy, our faith. We have now spent four weeks being encouraged to simply “Walk Across the Room” to meet someone new and invite them to Christ.
> For several, this has been a life-changing month, a time of renewal. Sadly for others, we’ve allowed the truths of God’s word shed off of us like water off a duck’s back because we have left or lost our first love. And in doing so, we feel nothing on the inside & show nothing outside.
> (If I have just described you, may I offer 1 of 2 possible reasons and the help? First- maybe it because you need to begin a personal relationship with Christ. Or, it may be that you need to re-establish your relationship to Christ. To begin a relationship is to realize you need forgiveness and ask Jesus to forgive you. To reconnect is to repent.)
> The call for the believer is to be in the game of making a difference, to be a part of the process.
> You see, if we are going make a difference—we are not going to be satisfied with taking only the “First Steps”, or the “Faithful Steps”, or even the “Fruitful Steps” which we are called to take. Our call is to take the Finest Steps.
> Turn with me to Luke 5 if you will. We read a familiar story that is admittedly a little strange. Jesus does an unusual miracle. Let’s read this together. (READ & PRAY)
> Get the picture in your mind. Rough and tough Simon Peter and his Brother Andrew along James and John were professional fisherman. They KNEW how to fish. Their lives depended on their knowledge and ability to ‘bring home the…okay not bacon, but fish”.
> Enter Jesus teaching the crowd and the crowd was growing. The four fishermen were cleaning their nets (which was a huge task) and about to head home for some shut eye when, the crowd became so large that Jesus said, “let me teach from your boat”. Putting the nets in place, they moved out just a little from the shore, probably set out their anchor, and possibly laid down on deck to listen to Jesus teach the crowds.
> Jesus turned to Peter and said, “While I’m on your boat, let’s go fishing.” Now we get to, what I believe, is a defining moment in Peter’s life. Jesus is calling and what will Peter do? What are his options?
> I’ll submit to you the same call will go out this morning—and just as sure as Peter faced a defining moment—so do we! If we are to be “Walk Across the Room” people, I’ll argue that from our text we discover 3 requirements which are literally 3 words or concepts.
1) FORGET – (some personal things) Even Paul wrote, “Forgetting the things which are behind and reaching forward, I press on….” From this story, we learn that the initially, some of the finest steps we can take begins here. Let’s not ‘over think’ this story. Get the picture. Peter, Andrew, James and John were professional fishermen. To them this was NOT a sport, this was their livelihood and they were good at it. Coming in from a night of fishing meant there was much work to be done before they went home to get rest. On this particular day, these four fishermen had come into port after a fruitless night of fishing. Whether they caught anything or not, the nets had to be cleaned to prevent dry rot. As they were doing this difficult, tedious work, they were listening to this man of Galilee who was supposedly a great teacher from God. The probably casually listening as they went about their work. About the time the nets were clean and they were ready to head home, Jesus turns to Peter and says, “let me preach from you boat.” After the appropriate moaning and groaning (was probably a Baptist), Peter agreed. Jesus began to teach the multitudes from the boat. When He was through teaching, Jesus probably turned to Peter and said, “Pete, since I’m on your boat, take me fishing.” Now things get really interesting and the lessons begin to become apparent. Peter is being ask by Jesus to do what He normally does, except Jesus is asking Peter to do it when Peter thinks it POINTLESS and Jesus wants to “go along” for the ride. As I read this story, it is my belief that this request was a test for Peter as it is a test for us. Peter (& us) have to forget: