August 13th 2017: Peter Gleave

Peter-Glave -August 2017Luke 5:1-11 – Jesus calls the last disciples.

In 1869, Thomas Huxley, an avid supporter of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, often gave speeches on the subject. After one of his speaking engagements, Huxley was in a hurry to catch his train to his next engagement. He took a horse-drawn taxi and assumed the driver had been informed where he wanted to go. “Hurry!” Huxley exclaimed. “I’m almost late. Drive fast!”

The driver sped away. After a while Huxley looked out of his window and realised they were travelling in the opposite direction to the train station.

“Do you know where you’re going?” Huxley asked. The driver shouted back, “No, but I am driving very fast!”

There’s no use in driving fast if you don’t know where you are going. We need to spend time away from the business of the world, and spend time knowing what Jesus wants us to do. Put the brakes on and slowly walk beside the seaside.

Imagine you’re in this passage of scripture; it’s a warm sunny morning, a gentle breeze sounds around you, the Sea of Galilee lies before you, with its pebbly shoreline.  To the other side of you, six miles away, lie the mountains. Take in the scene, where there is a crowd following a man, pressing in on Him. We move in and start to listen to what He has to say. We need to see what God has to say to Penuel Chapel, to you and me and other churches.

This was not the first time Jesus had met the disciples, He had encountered them before (John 1 & 4). It is perhaps surprising then that these men, who Jesus has already invited to follow Him, where still at their business – fishing. We too can distance ourselves, tending to our everyday business and being too busy for God. If the disciples were to answer Jesus’ call they needed to make God their number one priority. Not even family, or work in Church should be more important than God. He has to be our number one priority. We don’t need to give up work or family, but in thought we should prioritise God and make Him first in our choices.

Jesus got into Peter’s boat and the boat was pulled a little further out. ‘He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon (Peter), and asked him to put out a little from the shore.’ (Luke 5:3). Now Jesus had Peter’s attention. Has God been trying to get your attention recently? God wants you in a position so He can speak to you and you can focus on Him, draw closer to Him.

We need to hear Jesus and see Him. What better way is there then seeing Him in the scriptures? Read, search, and study the Bible. What is God trying to teach us today? Look in the scriptures, it will help you become better fishers of men. Each of us can bear testimony to the fact the scriptures are life-changing. We need to study, study, and study some more – in personal life and essential Bible study with others. Be prepared.

One way of reaching out to the community is to participate in projects such as the ‘Community Bible Experience’, in which, a church buys a little gospel for members of the community, inviting them to later discuss what they have read. This is a great way to engage with a community.

Peter lends his boat to Jesus. He used what He had and gave it to Jesus. God will bless all we do in His name. Jesus says to Peter,

Luke 5-4

Peter may have wondered why Jesus, a carpenter, was telling him, am experienced fisherman, how to do his job. However, because Jesus had asked him to do this, he did so. I wonder, has God said something to you that is counter-intuitive – something which doesn’t seem to make sense to you? Perhaps it could be to try some evangelism that in the past didn’t work. Remember Peter’s response,

Luke 5-4-5.jpg 

There was a certainty that didn’t rely on Peter’s skill but on the Master.

Has God called you to a specific evangelism in Roch? If so, then do it. Be encouraged in faith, believe God will provide all you need for a great catch. It’s not our work that changes hearts and convicts, but the work of the Holy Spirit. We’re called to do the fishing, to let down the nets. Because God says so, we will let down the nets in Roch. Against all the principles of fishing, the disciples caught so much. Imagine you evangelise and the nets are so full. Jesus sent the fish to where the boat would be. God is all-knowing and in control. If God determines to fill your nets with men, women and children, it’s a reality waiting to happen. He wants you to be where the fish are.

Such was the catch, the disciples signalled their partners to help them. “When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that there nets began to break. So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them.” (Luke5:6-7). Spreading the news in the deep waters of Roch village is a job for all partners. All of you have a job. Maybe you’re not called to be a preacher or evangelist, but you’re called to use your gifts – whether it is knocking on doors, leafleting, praying, etc. You’re needed to serve God here in this church, in this community. Your role is just as important as everyone else’s. Be obedient and faithful.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” ” (Luke 5:8). Peter became aware of his own sinfulness. He recognised Jesus, not just as Master but as Lord. The closer we are to God, the more we realise our own sinfulness, the more we have a desire to serve him. Peter could have been so preoccupied with the wealth of fish, but he was no longer focused on fish, but on the new Lord of his life – Jesus. He now realised who Jesus was and where he stood in that relationship. Have we got a sense of the presence of God, so that everything else become insignificant and Jesus become central?

Then Jesus says something unusual to Peter, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” (Luke 5:10). What fear had Jesus detected in Peter? Possibly the fear of not having enough money to pay the bills if he gave up his job to follow Jesus. Possibly not being good enough for Jesus, that his sins precluded him from future service? What fears do you have? You may have fears and failures but Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid”. If you repent, Jesus can take all your fears and failures and restore you and commission you. What will you do today- will you answer Jesus’ call, make Him the Lord of your life?

Anniversary Service: August 7th 2017: Dave Norbury

Dave Norbury - Aug 2017John 20

We have a gospel and a faith, which to some extent is under attack. There are groups of people in the U.K. who would say our faith is a blind faith with no evidence. I beg to differ.

Our faith is rooted in history. There is objective evidence to what we believe. Jesus Christ lived, died and rose again. We have solid, reliable evidence on which our faith is built.

‘Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.’ (John 20:1). Here we have the reality. Mary Magdalene was a wonderful lady who loved the Lord deeply. Mary had watched the unjust trial and was with Jesus every moment of His awful suffering. She had suffered the trauma of seeing Jesus crucified, losing the one she loved most. She turned up at the tomb and found His body had gone. The stone was taken away to reveal an empty tomb. ‘While it was still dark’ tells us Mary Magdalene had not had much sleep.

Jesus had told his disciples repeatedly that He would die and rise on the third day:

‘The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.’ (Luke 9:22).

‘And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.’” (Luke 13:32).

‘For He will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging Him, they will kill Him, and on the third day He will rise.” (Luke 18:32-33).

This is pretty clear. It was the third day yet nobody thought, they didn’t believe Jesus would rise from the dead . . . Yet they came to believe. Why? The Bible tells us the disciples saw Him a number of times. They ate with Him, they touched Him. 500 people saw Him at one time.

Some people say they made it up. Let’s examine this. If you were to make it up, the last person you would say Jesus would meet would be a woman. Women in those days were not seen as reliable witnesses and were not even allowed to give evidence in court. Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus, even though she was of low status.

‘Then the other disciples, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead.’ (John 20:8-9). Did Jesus show Himself first to Peter and John as a risen Saviour? No, He showed Himself to Mary Magdalene. What an amazing, wonderful Saviour we have. He broke the cultural norms.

This is powerful, clear evidence, therefore the resurrection happened, then everything is OK. Jesus is really who He says He is. It is really true.

We have a faith that rests in the risen Jesus Christ. ‘But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb.’ (John 20:11). Notice the wonderful way John opens this truth to us. Mary Magdalene had been through a terrible trauma. Jesus had gone. She saw two angels in front of her, ‘And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain,’ (John 20:12). She saw Jesus but did not know it was Him, ‘She turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.’ She had two angels in front of her and Jesus behind her. When we’re overwhelmed, remember there are two angels before you and the Lord behind you. You are not alone. Mary Magdalene finally understood when she heard her name being spoken by Jesus. If you could hear Him today, He would be saying your name tenderly. Mary Magdalene then clung to Him as she put her arms around Him, but , ‘Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father, but go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’ (John 20:17).

Our faith experiences God Himself. This is not just objective, it is subjective. You and I, with all our sin, can be forgiven and experience God Himself. Mary held onto Jesus, but Jesus said not to hold on to Him. There are different interpretations of this. In my view you don’t need to hold on to Jesus now because He has ascended. We now have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is a greater experience than holding onto Jesus personally. The Holy Spirit is with us.

Have you known the touch of God on your life? Have you received a glimpse of His glory? There’s a personal, close experience you can know. You and I do not have blind faith. Our faith is rooted in history, it’s a faith that rests in the risen Jesus Christ. He comes to us in His Holy Spirit. He is known to us in a personal, subjective way. Our faith experiences God Himself.

 

Anniversary Service: August 6th 2017

Dave Norbury - Aug 2017

David Norbury

Penuel Chapel will be holding a mission weekend in October followed by a Mission Week next Easter. The EMW has helped 50 churches in mission weeks and all 50 have churches have said they have been felt blessed. It’s a big thing to reach out and go beyond your comfort zone. That’s what we’ll be doing. Everyday should be like a mission. It is challenging.

volvo


The car manufacturer Volvo was the first to invent safety belts in cars. This invention could have made the company millions. However, they gave away the design and patent to everyone. The reason for this, the chairman explained, was that some things are too important to keep to yourself and somethings are too good not to give away. If it’s good enough for safety belts, it’s good enough for the gospel! You can be safe for eternity.

The woman of Samaria: John 4: 1-42

‘A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (John 4:7). When the Lord Jesus was speaking to the woman of Samaria, where were the disciples? Shopping! “For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.” (John 4:8). The Lord Jesus draws into conversation with the woman. Even more interesting, the disciples didn’t come back until after the conversation had taken place. When they returned they saw Jesus speaking to a woman – a woman of ill-repute and a Samaritan.

The disciples’ minds were focused on caring for Jesus, ‘Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” (John 4:31). Then He tells them He has other food, “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:34)

The disciples were not thinking about a Samaritan woman of ill-repute being converted. They couldn’t see the revival happening. Jesus says to them, ‘What are you thinking about? There’s something major happening and you just can’t see it.’ How often have we said, ‘Nothing can happen here.’ God is working in a remarkable way. Sometimes we make excuses – what can one person do? One person is the Samaritan woman and she leads the town! John 4-29 Come see a man

The gospel is the power of God’s salvation. We may say, ‘I’ll speak to someone tomorrow.’ Why not today? We can make excuses, go shopping. We may say, ‘It’s not my gift.’ But we are all gifted with the glorious gospel. 

‘Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.’ (John 4:35).

The Lord Jesus is very clear with the disciples. He understands where they are at. Our God knows what suffering is. He knows our concerns.

Jesus says four things to the disciples:

  • Do not say ‘Not now, in the future…’
    Something is happening today. Do not say Why? What we say is from our hearts. Jesus says, ‘Think differently, change your desire, there’s a harvest out there. Change the way you think.’
  • ‘Look can you see it?’
    You have to start looking in a different direction. The gospel is happening now.
  • ‘Lift your eyes.’
    Change what you see. The Samaritan woman came with all the people.
  • ‘The fields are white for harvest.’
    It’s happening now. The people are coming towards us. Look for God’s blessing.

‘Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.’ (John 4:36). There are wages. Wages are given and fruits are gathered for eternal life. Look at the blessings. In verses 37-38 we see there is a partnership between you, me and the Lord Jesus Christ. We’re not on our own, He is with us. There is a mutual partnership with God.

‘Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” After listening to Jesus they declare, ‘We know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.’ (John 4:42). What a statement! They didn’t see it before, but they do now. The whole town has been converted. A woman of ill-repute has been converted and brought about a remarkable work.

Matthew 9:35-38: People are like sheep without a shepherd. The Lord of the harvest can change our thinking, change the way we see the lost, even those who despise and look down on us. Pray to the Lord of the harvest. ‘Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.”’ (Matthew 9:37-38).

Jesus speaks to the disciples in helpful ways. The Lord Jesus, as He spoke to the woman, did so in a winsome, loving and caring way. He is transcendent in the way He operates. We need to be winsome – full of grace and truth.

In John 4 verses 1-9 what does the Lord Jesus do?

  • He breaks down the cultural barriers. The Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. Who are the people you think you can’t talk to? He challenges us not to out up barriers. The Lord Jesus asks a simple question. He creates questions. Questions are wonderful. Use questions that you might find interesting. Change the way people think. Be winsome, use wisdom, desire to see people saved. Good questions are so useful – questions about eternity, questions about the gospel.
  • After breaking down cultural barriers, Jesus speaks of a spiritual dimension. The Samaritan woman heard something she had never heard before. Jesus steps into a spiritual relationship (John 4:10-11).
  • The Lord Jesus steps into the gospel (John 4: 10-26). He demonstrates the gospel and ends by gloriously declaring that He is the Messiah.
  • The Lord Jesus steps into a challenge – to the woman and her thinking (John 4:21). We should never be afraid of challenges.

This passage is so rich. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send us to reach out. Take one step to speak to the person across the room. The first step is the hardest. The gospel we have is too good not to give away, too good not to share.

volvo

July 30th 2017: Gerald Tait

Gerald Tait July 2017The Mis-understanding of God’s Love and the reality of it.

People ask where God’s love is when disasters happen, such as the Grenfell Tower. God’s love is not like human love, which starts and stops, people fall in love, marry and divorce. How sad that picture is – it is nothing like the love of 1 Corinthians 13, which is the exact opposite. Human love looks after itself, looks after number one.

God’s chosen example for His love for us is marriage. In the Old Testament God gives a shocking example of the marriage of Hosea, which describes the way God saw His people. It is a picture of what is happening in our world today. In the Old Testament the Jewish people were described as the adulterous wife of God, in the New Testament they are the Bride of Christ. Satan is trying to destroy the very image God is using to portray His love for us. Satan is at work, working against the church, destroying married life.

The reality of God’s love is demonstrated on the cross of the Lord Jesus. The only way you can understand the love of God is by looking at the cross, it is the starting place. In the event of you are not confident in your faith, if church has become a drudgery, if you’re losing your appetite for God, the place to go is the Easter story.

We have to return the love that is given to us. We love someone for what they do for us. We love the Lord Jesus for what He’s done for us and what He’s still doing for us.

‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ (Mark 12:30).

‘I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.’ (Ezekiel 36:26).

‘Clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the loving God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.’ (2 Corinthians 3:3).

Our love comes from within us. God has given those who trust in Him, a new heart. We need to tell Him we love Him. Let’s return the love that has been showered upon us. The cross as a symbol will stand the test of time. God’s love doesn’t start and stop, He doesn’t divorce us. The Prodigal Son is about a father waiting for his son to come home, waiting to embrace him.

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Loving-kindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.

William Rees

Tell the Lord how much you love Him. Thank Him for what He has done for you. Let His love become a reality for you.

Philippians 2-2