Tag Archives: God Pursues Us

God Lovingly Pursues Us When We Fail: Peter…Again

Read John 21.

I. Jesus Uses You Where You Are.

Jesus can use you where you are on this earth as long as you are honest with who and where you are and humble yourself. The most important thing on earth to Jesus is His sheep. Sometimes he has to reorient us, like he did for Peter. Every task can only be done through Christ. He doesn’t ask for perfection. He asks for humility and honesty.

II. Jesus Makes You What You Want To Be.

How? The answer: “Follow Jesus.” John 13, Peter says he would die for Christ, and though he wasn’t ready then, he would be. In the end Peter was martyred by crucifixion for Christ’s sake. Jesus says, “Follow me.” Don’t worry about the other guys; it’s not worth comparing. “The Christian life is about direction not perfection.”

Jesus looks at a “failure” and says, “I can use you now.” There may be consequences to sin and He may not use you in the same way as you were used before, but He can use any of us wherever we are physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally. In I Peter 5:1-4, Peter exhorts others humbly to shepherd the flock of God, just as Christ had exhorted him to feed His sheep. At the end of the day, Christ is the Chief Shepherd; we are at best his undershepherds. God is the God of Second Chances ad infinitum. Praise be to God!

To listen to Dr. Doug Finkbeiner’s full sermon, click here.

Shared at the Heritage Bible Church Adult Retreat 2010 at the Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center.

God Lovingly Pursues Us When We Become Complacent: Peter

Read Luke 5:1-11.

Intro: In verses 1-3, Jesus preaches to a crowd in the presence of Peter, and in verses 4-7, Jesus performs a miracle for Peter. At this point, Peter had ministered with Jesus for about a year, so he knew Him, trusted Him. At the same time, Peter and his crew had been fishing all night without a bite (when was the last all-nighter you pulled for work?). He was wiped. So, when Jesus told him let down his net again, he may have been thinking that Jesus was crazy, but he was too tired to argue. He obeyed Jesus and let down the net.

I. Startled by the Greatness of God.

They caught so many fish that both boats nearly sank! What does Peter say? Not “Wow!” but “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Peter was a great fisherman. But even in regards to our gifts, talents, occupations, and greatest proficiencies, Jesus is still greater: He is Lord over all areas! Anything that I think I’m an expert in, compared to Jesus, I’m still a novice! God is supreme…in everything!

II. Surprised by the Grace of God

“Never minimize sin; always maximize the grace of God.” Isaiah 5, the prophet is pronouncing woe on everyone around him. In Isaiah 6, he sees the greatness of God and then includes himself in the “woe’d.” God is not giving up on me; He is continuing to pursue me! See Ephesians 3:8.

III. Submissive to the Call of God

Life is about more than fish; it’s about being fishers of men! It’s all work for the Kingdom, and even when we “catch fish,” it’s not us; it’s all God! Duty only goes so far; devotion picks up where duty ends.

Illustration: remember the following nursery rhyme:

“Pussycat, Pussycat, where have you been?”
“I’ve been to London to visit the Queen.”
“Pussycat, Pussycat, what did you there?”
“I frightened a mouse under her chair.”

How often am I “chasing mice” when in the presence of royalty?

To listen to the sermon by Dr. Doug Finkbeiner, click here.

Shared at the Heritage Bible Church Adult Retreat 2010 at the Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center.

God Lovingly Pursues Us When We Rebel: David

II Samuel 11:1; 12:26-31. The “5-star king” David falls.

II Samuel 11:2-12:25: Lust turned into adultery and began a rippling effect which involved a plot of lying and ended in a willingness to kill a friend to cover up sin.

When we sin, we desire a back-burner God, acting as if He doesn’t exist. In chapter 11, David “sent” for a messenger, he sent for Bathshebah, he sent for Uriah, and he sent for Joab. In chapter 12, the Lord “sent” the prophet Nathan to David. When God convicts, it hurts good. God exposes rebels, and there are always consequences to our sin.

David lusted after Bathshebah, then committed adultery with her, devised a plot of deceit to cover it up, and when that didn’t work, he murdered Bathshebah’s husband, one of David’s 30 mighty men, a friend. The prophet Nathan comes and tells him a parable about a man who had many sheep and stole the only sheep a man had to have it for himself. When asked how the man should pay, David gets furious and says he should restore fourfold. Nathan points his finger at David and says, “You’re the man.” Consequently, David did pay fourfould for his sin. The son Bathshebah bore him died, along with three other sons. Sin has its consequences.

But God forgives! In verse 8, we see an excessively gracious God. In verse 14, David despised the goodness of God, thinking he “needed” more than what God provided. We think, “I need that.” No, you don’t if God hasn’t given it!! Keep short tabs on sin. And live a life of repentance. God forgives. He forgave David. David and Bathshebah were married and had a second son, Solomon. God used this relationship that started so badly and brought the next king of Israel out of it; and that next king was part of the Messianic line (see Matthew 1)! Who says God doesn’t use broken people?! He can restore the messiest situations and bring peace and hope out of them.

For follow up, study Psalm 51 and Psalm 32. Sins are forgiven when confessed.

To listen to the sermon by Dr. Doug Finkbeiner, click here.

Shared at the Heritage Bible Church Adult Retreat 2010 at the Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center.

A Weekend Away: God’s Love in Pursuing Us

This past weekend, Bryan and I got to go on an Adult Retreat with our church, Heritage Bible Church, to the Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center in Brevard, NC. The Wilds is a special place to us: it’s where we met! We each served four summers, Bryan as a lifeguard for three summers and a counselor his last summer, and I as a waitress my first summer, counselor the next two summers, and Assistant to the Manager of the Snack Shop and Store my last summer. It was this last summer that we met. I had finished one year on contract staff at the Wilds after graduating from college. My second year on contract, Bryan was on my crew! It was here that we fell in love: we became friends, and then best friends, and then decided to stay best friends for life.

Three years ago, we went on our first HBC Adult Retreat and enjoyed listening to Dr. Doug Finkbeiner of Calvary Theological Seminary in Landsdale, PA. This year, he was back! We were so excited when we heard he’d be the speaker. We arrived Friday night for dinner and the first message, then he preached Saturday morning and evening (with a long free time in the afternoon to do camp activities and fellowship), and finished on Sunday morning with a final message, followed by brunch. It was wonderful! The weather was gorgeous, the music was beautiful and the entire experience was refreshing!

The theme of the weekend was God’s love, specifically as it is shown in His pursuing us. God pursues us when we suffer, when we rebel, when we get complacent, and when we fail.

The next four posts will be my notes from the sermons this weekend. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. If you want to hear them for yourself, you can download them at Sermon Audio here.