Our personal testimony – personal accounts of deliverance, healing, and forgiveness – are valuable. Others who have faced similar challenges or life experiences can relate and be encouraged. But this is always a secondary testimony. The testimony that must always take the lead is this: “The one who believes in the Son of God has this testimony within him… This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is found in his Son.” – 1 John 5: 10-11
We may have been delivered from addictions, unholy habits, unforgiveness, pride, etc. But the foundational and powerful truth is that we who are born again have been delivered from sin and the penalty thereof. We have received the gift of eternal life that is found only in Jesus Christ. He said "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14:6 Our testimony is not of our righteousness, but of the righteousness of God… “My tongue will declare your righteousness and praise you all day long.” - Psalm 35:28
There are a plethora of motivational speakers, therapists, and self-help blowhards who can tell you how they overcame this or that habit. They can give you ten steps to being a "better person." They can show you the before and after photos of all of their accomplishments. But this is not the testimony of the child of God. This is not the message of the disciple of Christ. Our testimony is of Him. Our testimony is to point to the righteousness of Christ, which reveals the unrighteousness of our own condition apart from him. Our testimony is not that we were bad and now we are good. It is not that we were struggling and now we are victorious. Our testimony is that we were DEAD and now we are ALIVE. Our testimony - is His testimony. It is HIS redemption. It is HIS righteousness. Jesus is victorious! He has concurred death and the grave. He has won the victory over sin and death and sorrow and shame and despair… He took the brunt of all of it… crying out on the cross “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!” And as he took that final breath, after praying for us “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” then he cried out “IT IS FINISHED!” Oh, what a blessed Savior! What a redeemer! What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. Our testimony is Jesus. He said “if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me.” And he was lifted up… on the cross to bear our sin. He was lifted up… from the grave! He was lifted up... into heaven, where he is seated at the right-hand of the Father. And we are to lift him up – to proclaim his goodness, his righteousness, his love, his grace and mercy… flowing freely from the cross. Let this be your testimony today. Let his life, his love, his mercy, his goodness and kindness and righteousness be manifested in and through you today.
May it be so in Jesus’ name.
Yes… you can nod your head in agreement – it’s not a trick question. In John 12:49 we read “I have not spoken on My own, but the Father who sent Me has commanded Me what to say and how to say it.” So yes, clearly everything Jesus said was perfect. But here’s an interesting thought… Jesus also knew PERFECTLY what NOT to say and when not to say it. Hmmm. If you know me at all you probably know I want to tell everyone – everything – all of the time. And when they don’t understand what I’m trying to say, I go to exhaustive lengths to try to explain it… and then follow up… and then explain it another way… and then try again… till at some point they get it, act like they get it… or just tell me to shut up. I’m so determined the most loving thing I can do is tell them what I am absolutely convinced they need to hear. And yes, if someone is heading towards destruction, it IS loving to warn them. That is what we are doing when we share the gospel. But it is at least as important to know when not to speak – probably more important. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is just listen. If we don’t listen, we won’t only not know what to say, we won’t know how to say it. Jesus not only spoke the words the Father gave him to speak – he spoke them the way the Father told him to. The inflection, the tone, the mannerism… all totally submitted to the will of the Father. And so, we must assume that everyone who heard his voice must have believed and clearly understood – right? I mean his words were directly from the Father, spoken exactly the way the Father wanted them spoken. And yet - nearly every time he spoke, he was misunderstood. A great example is the interaction between Jesus and Nicodemus. Jesus tells Nicodemus, the pharisee, “unless you are born-again you cannot see the kingdom of God.” And Nicodemus scratches his head and asks “how can a person be born again when he is old? Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time?” Then there’s the woman at the well. Jesus tells her that he can give her “living water” and she asks how he’s going to do that without a bucket. Jesus talks about the “leaven” of the pharisees and the disciples think he’s talking about bread. Over and over again Jesus is misunderstood. But you know what? He never misunderstands. He always listens and when he speaks, he speaks to the heart of the matter. His words penetrate and convict and inspire. And he so often ends his stories (which almost never come with an explanation) with the words “let him who has an ear to hear, hear what the Spirit is saying.” May we be slow to speak, quick to listen, and able to hear what the Spirit is saying. May we, as follower and imitators of Christ, speak only the words which He gives us – in the way that he tells us – to whom he tells us – when he tells us.
When the engagement announcement was made between the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana in 1981, they were both asked in an interview if they were in love, Diana responded, "Of course," while Charles said, "Whatever 'in love' means." Diana laughed it off, while Charles added that the phrase "in love" is open to "your own interpretation." That one didn't turn out so great. The Beatles famously sung “All you need is love.” The author Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote “'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” And Whitney Houston belted out “Learning to love yourself, is the greatest love of all.” But is it? What is love really?
Of course, the most important question is “how does the Bible define love?” I’m glad to report that Scripture spells it out in very clear terms. 1 John 4: 10 tells us “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” And John 15:13 tells us “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” There is, of course, the famous “love chapter” 1 Corinthians 13 that tells us love is… “patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” What a beautiful description of love - such depth of meaning, instruction, and purpose.
When Jesus was asked “what is the greatest commandment?” – he focused on love… “You shall love the Lord your God… and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Here’s a thought-provoking exercise… close your eyes and picture God. What does he look like? We are told multiple times in Scripture that no one has ever seen his face. So, as you can see (or not see), it’s an impossibility. And yet, we are told how we see God and help others see what God looks like. 1 John 4:12 goes on to say “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” Verse 16 tells us “God is love.” So, how do we portray God? The passage continues… “Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.” Wow! - In this world WE ARE LIKE JESUS. And finally, we are warned “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” Do you see? This is what God looks like… Love. What is love? Knowing God. Notice, it doesn't say "love is God" - it says "God is love." So, to know God is to know love. To attempt to know love outside of God is an impossibility - It will always end up in a perverse counterfeit.
We are living in a divisive world on the brink of self-destruction. We, as a society, kill our own children by the millions. We use one another for self-gratification and then toss each other aside like used merchandise. We go through relationships and marriages like they mean nothing. We ignore (and sadly even abuse) our children and wonder why they are so out of control (the stats on child abuse right now are staggering and heart-breaking). We are self-absorbed and resentful and unkind and ungracious and greedy. We divide and splinter into groups by race, political affiliation, doctrinal differences, and on and on. And there is little to no distinction between those in and out of the church. These are all symptoms of one thing – a lack of love… a lack of TRUE love. We live in a culture that says love is following your heart no matter who it hurts. We live in a culture that says love is “being nice” and “not offending anyone.” We live in a culture that says “live and let live” – “do whatever makes YOU happy.” But that is not love. Jesus said “if you love me, you will obey my commands.” God’s love doesn’t look the other way when it comes to sin. God’s love demands blood… and offers His own. God’s love demands that we be holy… and gives us His Spirit to lead us into all truth, convict us of sin, and empower us to walk in His ways. C. S. Lewis wrote “Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” One of the most loving things you can say to anyone is “repent.” One of the most loving things we can share is the knowledge of the coming judgement and the salvation found in Jesus Christ. Do you know someone who claims to be a Christian but is living in deliberate and willful sin? Do you have family members, coworkers, and acquaintances who are unsaved? Of course you do - tell them they need to repent, tell them why, and tell them how. Are you yourself walking in the Spirit… seeking the Lord’s will in your life? If you are holding on to unholy habits – repent. If you are holding on to grudges – repent and forgive (unless you forgive, you will not be forgiven). If you are being lazy, self-absorbed, or unloving – repent. And in that state of repentance, you will be enveloped in God’s love. You will know forgiveness and life to the full. You will be empowered to love, because you will know love… for God IS love.
The tongue-eating louse (Cymothoa exigua) is a parasitic isopod that enters fish through the gills and attaches to the tongue. The parasite severs the blood vessels in the fish's tongue, causing the tongue to fall off. It then replaces the fish's tongue by attaching its own body to the muscles of the tongue stub. What an amazing lesson from nature. The gills act as the lungs of the fish and it is directly affected by what it takes in from its surroundings. If it is swimming in infested waters it runs the risk of being infected with this horrible infestation. What waters are you swimming in? Who are what are you surrounding yourself with? What are you “taking in?” If you aren’t careful, very subtle but destructive ideas will enter and attach themselves and “take root.” Listen to the following warning in Proverbs:
Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity. - Proverb2 21:23
I find it interesting that this scripture distinctly differentiates the “mouth” and the “tongue” as two separate entities which need to be guarded. Incidentally, I found twenty other verses that use the same language. The mouth (peh), having the capacity to “break into pieces”, is like a blunt instrument that can shatter emotions and tear down what may have taken years to build. Trust, affection, and hope can be instantly broken by a harsh or poorly spoken word. How many friendships have been destroyed, marriages ruined, and loved ones alienated because of a thoughtless or harsh word? We all know that moment of remorse we feel when we realize, usually the instant after it is too late, that we have cut someone down by a harsh word or even just our tone. Likewise, we know the pain of being on the receiving end of such careless words. These are not pre-meditated words of destruction, but they cause damage nonetheless. But oh, the damage caused by the tongue. The tongue is the crafty, pre-meditated, intentional weapon tied more directly to the intellect. This is the more sinister of the two by far. I have been on the receiving end of this one, having been the victim of slander. I know the pain it can cause and how difficult it can be to reverse the damage that is done. If we are not careful – If our minds are not being renewed by the washing of the water of the word of God, the enemy can take root when we allow unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, or offense to attach itself to us. Rather, we must be quick to forgive, showing grace and mercy. If we will allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, we can learn to submit these terrible weapons to his leading. Proverbs 18:21 tells us “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” So, let us pray like King David “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” And Colossian 4:6 admonishes us “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt (prudence), so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
You can believe that mankind is basically good and that if you try your best, everything will be ok in the end. But in his unregenerate state, mankind is incapable of saving himself, no matter how hard he tries to "be good." There are two very different beliefs or "gospels" presented to this generation. The first belief is acceptable to the world; it does not require anything absolute from anyone. Simply say a "sinner' prayer" and get your ticket to heaven while continuing to be Lord of your own life. The second requires an awareness, an acknowledgement, and admission of guilt. It requires humbling oneself before a holy God and an encounter with the One who died to free us from the guilt, the penalty thereof, and the shame attached to it. But this encounter is an offense to many. Because this encounter involves the cross of Jesus Christ. This is why St. Paul said "I am determined not to know anything but Christ and Him crucified." It is the crucified Christ - the suffering Savior that distinguishes the truth of the gospel. Those who accept it have entered by the narrow way of discipleship - the loss of lordship of their own lives - and entered into a new and living way. They give up their own life, they validate His sacrifice, and commend the truth of it to others in the way that they live as well as the words they say. Any kind of religious observance that employs the name of Jesus, that does not make this requirement, and does not call the believer to this narrow way is a deception. My dear friends, we will be held accountable for what we choose to believe and what we choose to reject. You can choose to believe that you can "accept Jesus" as you Savior without accepting him as Lord. But if you do, you will hear on that great and terrible day "depart from me!" For Jesus said "“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?" Choose carefully what you believe... eternity depends upon it.
In the past week, there have been multiple shootings, stabbings, and murders in Macon, GA. Two of the murder victims were young women with children. At this moment there are 560 sex offenders registered in Macon, GA. This is just the ones who have been caught and prosecuted. A disturbingly large number of these sexual assault victims were children. On a scale of 1 to 100 (1 being lowest crime and 100 being highest crime) Macon rates at 95.1 (The US average is 35.4). And yet, our city has over 200 churches – one of the largest church-to-citizen ratios per capita. So, what is going on in our churches? Why are we so powerless to confront the darkness enveloping our city? Many of our pastors are addicted to pornography and divorce rates within the church are virtually the same as in the world. I have personally had many conversations with pastors who refuse to address issues of sexual immorality in their churches or the horrific reality of abortion. And we scratch our heads and wonder what is wrong? Sin! Sins is what is wrong! Pastors, you need to repent. You need to preach repentance. Christians, you need to repent! We are supposed to be the light of the world, but how can we be a light if we are walking in darkness? God’s plan for his church is that we would be known by our love for one another and that we would be ONE. So, why are we so powerless? Why are we so divided? Because light cannot fellowship with darkness. Turn from the darkness and repent. We cannot be one with homosexuals. We cannot be one with the sexually immoral. We cannot be one with cheaters and liars and drunkards. We cannot be one with murderers who kill their own children. We cannot be one with sin. Yes, we have all sinned. But we have been delivered from that sin, if we have been born again. We have been empowered to walk in newness of life to live righteous and godly lives, if we have been born again. God has called us to be ONE and he has called us to be HOLY. "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” - 1 Peter 1:15-16 / "I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me." - John 17:21
And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment – John 16:8
I am eternally thankful for conviction of sin! It is only God’s mercy that allows us to see the sinfulness of our sin. Our culture, the media, and unfortunately much of the “church” avoids the issue of sin, righteousness, and judgement. We live in a culture that not only fails to call out sin as sin, but in fact glorifies sin. If a husband cheats on his wife, he is excused and allowed to “follow his heart.” If a person struggles with same sex attraction, the world urges that person to “be true to him or her self – or it’s self – or whatever gender he/she wants to identify as… which is an abomination. In the beginning God made them “male” and “female” – very distinctly – and told them to be fruitful and multiply. Sorry, but two dudes or two dames can’t be fruitful and multiply. Since the tragic Roe-Vs-Wade decision, our country has legalized the murder of innocent babies (by the billions) and an alarmingly increasing number of pastors instruct their congregants that abortion is consistent with Christianity. Pornography is consumed daily by millions of Christians without shame or remorse. Unmarried “Christians” regularly commit fornication and it is accepted as the norm. Infidelity and divorce are rampant within the church and children are left, far too often, to their own devices – led by the school systems, media, games, entertainment, etc. straight through to the path to hell. So, what are we to say of our “Christian” values, our “Christian” churches, our “Christian” families? They are not Christian. Many are deceived and are heading into an eternity very different from the one they think they are destined for. We need in this day, more than ever, to preach the truth of the gospel. We need to warn of the coming judgement. We need to examine our own hearts and say, like King David, “search my heart oh Lord, and show me if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not ENTRUST HIMSELF TO THEM, for he know all people. He did not need the testimony about mankind, for he know what was in each person. - John 2:23-25
The term "Entrust himself to them" in the Greek is (Pisteauo) - To entrust a thing to one, his fidelity. This is the same expression used in John 3"16 (For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that whoever BELIEVES IN (Pisseau) him shall not perish but have eternal life). Our belief - our Pisteau - belongs to Christ alone. But our pride and ambition confuses our fidelity so easily. We are so quick to "entrust ourselves" to the people we look up to or those who make us feel good about ourselves. But it is a slippery slope when we seek the approval of man. Rather, we should appreciate the correction from a brother or admonition given in love. It is a joy to express our appreciation for a brother or sister in the Lord and it is uplifting to feel appreciated. But guard your heart - that place that belongs to God alone. There is a fidelity of soul that belongs only to him and when we give that away to anyone else, it can easily become lead us astray. It is from God alone that our soul longs to hear "well done, good and faithful servant" and it is he alone who deserves our Pisteauo. No one is more loving than Jesus and no one is more committed to the Father than he. We need to look to him who is the author and finisher of our faith.
When I first met Jay, she was severely disabled but still able to fend for herself to some degree. I remember one night when she stayed with us, she insisted on brushing her own teeth. So I held her up at the sink while she slowly and meticulously did her thing... my back was in agony by the time she finally finished. Every week I would pick her up and gently set her in the passenger seat and take her to the Messianic Synagogue where she would join the dancers in her wheelchair as they worshiped the Lord in the dance. She longed for the days when she, as a young girl, had been able to dance and jump and twirl - she loved to dance. But sadly her condition worsened over the years to the point that I could no longer pick her up and set her in a car. Her bones were too brittle. Eventually, she was confined to the nursing home and rarely able to leave. I would come by and wheel her to the dining room where I would feed her, as she no longer had the use of her hands at all. We would then go back to her room and sit in the hallway and I would read to her. Generally, several other patients would edge their way over to where we were and listen. Jay was not an easy person. She could be demanding and difficult at times - understandably. It was generally a very emotionally and mentally draining experience to visit Jay in this depressing, smelly environment. I loved her dearly, but didn't in all honesty always look forward to our visits. There were certainly other places I would rather be most days. But I want to share with you our last visit. I had just finished a particularly rough day at work and was looking forward to going to a Bible study where I could be "ministered to" and refreshed. But on the way, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to go visit Jay. I was not in the mood. I had nothing to offer. But I listened, turned around, and headed towards the nursing home. As I walked in the front door, the usual smell of urine and whatever other "old people smells" greeted me. I walked down the hall to her room and made some silly joke as usual as I greeted her. She struggled to lift her head, grinned, and let out one of her little "grunty" laughs. She was particularly weak and fragile. We didn't go to the dinning room or even out into the hall. I just sat close to her almost cheek to cheek - her voice was so week I had to get that close to hear her. We talked and joked for a while and as I was about to leave, I gently held her hand as I was about to pray for her and speak the Aaronic blessing over her as usual. And then I stopped. I said "Jay, I always pray for you. Would you pray for me this time?" Her face lit up and she nodded. I lifted her twisted tiny hand and gently laid it on my own and leaned in close so I could hear her. I couldn't tell you what she prayed - I couldn't hear most of it. But as she began to pray for me, I felt the most amazing peace come over me and began to weep. The presence of God was palpable in that room. I said goodbye, not knowing it was for the last time and walked through the same hallways to the exit. Only this time, I wasn't aware of the smells or the gloominess, or the dreariness of the place. I was walking in the clouds. I experience the love of God from this broken down woman who I had shared years of life with. Looking back, I had no idea in the midst of the journey what an impact this poor frail woman was having on me. I thought I was pouring my life out for her only to find in the end, I was the one who received the greatest blessing.
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. - Luke 6:38
In the book of Matthew chapter 4, we see Jesus call out to Peter "Come, Follow me." In the religious culture of the day, a young man had two paths he could generally follow. He could follow in the footsteps of his father and learn his father's trade or, for the chosen few, there was a different path... the path of the Rabbi. Peter, we are told in Scripture was a fisherman - like his father. Peter had no doubt studied the Torah and listened to the Rabbis in the village synagogue. There may have been a few young candidates who had the intellectual prowess or the discipline needed to become talmidim (or disciples) of their local Rabbi. But alas, Peter was not amongst the chosen few. For the few selected students, the Rabbi would come to them and simply say "follow me." It was a call to not only learn from the Rabbi, but to become just like him. But Peter had missed this opportunity... until the day Jesus came to town. And so we see Peter throw down his nets and what does he do? He follows Jesus. And for three years, he spends every possible moment with Jesus. Indeed, he becomes not only one of the chosen twelve, but he is one of the three - the inner circle, closest to the Rabbi. As the time of his crucifixion draws near, Jesus tells the disciples that they will all abandon him. Peter, full of indignation, says "Lord, even if these others abandon you, I won't." And Jesus tells him that before the rooster crows, Peter will have denied him three times. Note: The number three here is important, because in ancient Judaism, there is custom of saying a thing three times to establish it as final and absolute. And sure enough, as we read the account, Peter who fears for his life, denies even knowing Jesus once... then twice... and finally, the third time, he denies him with a curse. As if the moment is frozen in time, Scripture tells us that Peter and Jesus made eye contact at that very moment. Finally, Jesus is tortured and dies and agonizing death on the cross, the disciples are scattered, and Peter is despondent. All seems lost. Then, three days later, we read that Jesus - as he said he would - rose from the dead. The stone is rolled away, the graveclothes are folded neatly in and empty tomb, and Jesus is alive! His followers are confused, and excited, and wondering what will happen next. But Peter... oh, dear Peter... what is his reaction to this glorious news? "I'm going fishing" he says. He knows he has blown it. He has denied the Lord. He has failed him and has no option but to go back to what he knew before... fishing. So he, John, and James go out on the lake and fish through the night. But even this becomes a failure. They catch zero fish. The one thing Peter knows how to do is catch fish, right? And then a man in the distance... on the shoreline calls out to them. He tells them to place their nets on the other side of the boat. They have received this fishing tip from someone before... but could it be? No, surely not. Nervously they cast their nets on the other side of the boat... and bam! the net is instantly so full they can't haul it in. At that point John leans over to Peter... "It's him Peter - It's Jesus!" Peter, longing only to be near his beloved Rabbi one more time, jumps out of the boat and scrambles to the shore as fast as he can. He knows he is no longer worthy to be his disciple. But oh, just to be near him again! How he loves Jesus! Soon after, John and James (left to do the heavy work) join them on the shore. Jesus has made a fire and cooks them breakfast. The King of kings and the Lord of lords - the Savior of the world - the Son of God... once again humbly serves his disciples. Then Jesus looks at Peter with those same eyes that looked at him while Peter had denied him... and dives right into the heart of the matter. "Peter" he asks "Do you love me more than these?" Ouch! The words pierced his heart. I can just picture Jesus pointing to John and James as they looked at Peter nervously. Peter had pridefully said that even if they had denied him, he would not. “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” “Take care of my lambs" Jesus says. Again Jesus asks him "Peter, do you love me?" - this time leaving off any mention of the "others." “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you" whispers Peter. “Take care of my sheep” Jesus says. And a third time (remember the significance of repeating something three times) Jesus asks him "Do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” I can just hear Peter sob with tears streaming down his face... And Jesus said again “Feed my sheep."
This is usually where the Sunday school teacher will end the story. But they will have missed the great left-hook. They will have left out the punchline of the whole account. First, we see the mercy of God in the fact that Jesus asks Peter "do you love me" three times - the exact number of times he had denied him. And then... when Peter is at the end of himself. He has failed. He has been exposed. And he is completely at the mercy of Jesus. Oh, my dear friends, no two words were ever so sweet. Scripture tells us... Then he said to him, “Follow me!” You, Peter, who have failed the test... You, Peter, who have offended your friends... You, Peter, who have denied you even know me and who can't even catch fish anymore... You are PETER! And on this rock I will build my church! You are forgiven. My dear friends, have you failed the Lord? Have you let some word slip from your lips that you shouldn't have? Have you fallen back into some sin? Jump out of the boat! Scramble to the shore. Fall at his feet. He is waiting to restore you. He is waiting to welcome you. And he is ready to EMPOWER you. And then, not many days later, in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, Peter and the others are filled with the Holy Spirit. And this same Peter who denied even knowing Jesus proclaimed boldly... "this same Jesus whom you crucified"... leading thousands to the Lord. This same Peter would walk through the streets and his very shadow would heal the sick. Not by his own power - he had shown what he was capable of. But the love of Jesus, the forgiveness of the Father, and the power of the Holy Spirit... these are the legacy of St. Peter. And the same Holy Spirit is available to you. When the people were convicted of their sin, they asked Peter "what must we do to be saved?" And his response carries throughout the ages... "REPENT, BE BAPTIZED, AND BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT." Jesus is calling to you "follow me." Will you head the call? Will you lay down your nets and follow him? I promise you he is worth it. He requires that we lay down our life and pick up our cross to follow him. He promises that people will hate you because of him. But in him is found peace that passes understanding, joy unspeakable, and eternal life. For he is the way, the truth, and the life.
If you would like to know more about what it means to be been born again or if you have questions about what it means to be a follower of Christ, contact me at email@example.com.