You ever feel like you are in a space knowing you could do more than you currently are? But you don’t know how to get there? It’s a despairing place. Somewhat maddening.
What you are giving your life to will make a difference that will unleash who you are and unlocks the space where the more capable is there.
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
This is a powerful moment of who God is for us.
Jesus comes to Simon with a need. But usually when I think of God, I don’t think of someone who has needs. I see him as self-sufficient.
But in this moment, Jesus comes to Simon not with something that he wants to transform or push an agenda towards. Instead, he comes with a need.
- Why do you think that Jesus comes to us in this way? Why would he not just tell Simon I’m going to do a miracle here. Instead he comes to Simon with his need.
- Have you ever heard God’s call to you with a need? For someone else… Maybe it was for someone you know? Share this with your group. Be sure to talk about how you felt through the experience.
- I need your boat to continue my mission *
Jesus often says that to us… I have a need. What I need is your life as a vehicle to create beauty and love in the world wherever you go in your life. I want to partner with you and it’s going to be brilliant. It will transform your life and the lives of many.
This seems scary. It’s easy for us to get into Jesus’ boat. Because I get to go in and have a good time and share with him what I need. And I can leave whenever I want to. When I’m in his boat, I can dictate the level of engagement. I can leave when it becomes inconvenient. But when Jesus gets in my boat, things change.
- In what ways have you gotten into Jesus’ boat? How about what ways you’ve allowed Jesus onto your boat?
- What did you feel were the tangible differences between the two?
The crazy thing is not only did Jesus get into Simon’s boat (who happens to be an expert fisherman who fished there all his life and has a crew of fishermen who are also experts), but Jesus then begins to tell Simon how to do his job better.
If I’m an expert at something, I know I get frustrated when someone else tells me how to do my job better. Especially if it’s someone I perceive as not having the experience that I do.
But this is just like Jesus to do soothing like that. We resist Him getting into our boat because he always starts speaking into what’s needed and pressing into this future that He has for us. And we usually begin to interpret it as Him telling us what to do.
- Have you experienced God telling you something about your life that you did not want to do or listen to because you thought you knew better? What happened? How did it turn out?
The second Jesus gets in our boat, he begins to inform us and speak into every single area of our boat.
The first conversation he has with Simon is not a spiritual one. He has an insignificant conversation about how to catch fish. This seems so small in the long run. Interestingly though, this small conversation means a lot to Simon because this is a need that Simon has right now. He had just been trying to fish all day with no success. He’s failed and failed that day and he’s tied and knows that this means he doesn’t meet his needs for the time being. Oftentimes we believe that when we speak to Jesus, that he is coming with these big things that are to correct us. We expect that Jesus is wanting to have this major spiritual overhaul right away, but most of the time he just first wants to have a conversation with us about the small things that we care about and have a need for. And this flies against the belief that when Jesus steps in he just wants to control or manipulate us.
A lot of times this is due to our history of experiences. We often have so many voices that come in and try to control or manipulate. So when Jesus speaks, we believe it just sounds like another one of those voices. And we resist listening to it and all the voices lumped together. WE often become paralyzed with it all and end up saying “No one is going to tell me what to do. No one is going to restrict me because I am a free person.”
- Have you experienced this before? What are the voices that you have heard in a controlling and/or manipulative way?
- What’s the voice of Jesus? Are you familiar? Have you heard it?
- Compare the differences.
We were designed to listen to a voice that guides and instructs. We were designed to be informed and formed by our creator. His influence on us helps us to influence others.
Some of you might have this disease… it’s called Chronic Uniqueness. That somehow submitting ourselves to something other than us means that we are losing a part of ourselves. We often don’t think about the real part of ourself that we are losing in the connection to our creator.
And when we go down that path, we find ourselves in hopelessness really quickly. Leaving us in the only space to react instead of moving forward with informed decisions. We leave the voice that leads us into life as we attempt to avoid all other voices and isolate.
Simon, bring an expert fisherman already knew that there was no fish that day. He was tired and disappointed. And now he is inconvenienced to go out again with Jesus now on board. He knew that he was going to go home broke, exhausted and frustrated.
- Have you experienced that?
- Maybe a season like that?
- Have you ever had the though to Jesus, “Just will you give me a break and lay off for a moment!”?
WE do this often because life isn’t turning out the way we want and we of course are the experts of our own life. :-/
One of our survival strategies is to become certain of what’s possible in life. That we become certain with what we can do and can’t do.
Often this is because we just don’t want to be disappointed again. We don’t want to be hurt again. We don’t want to be let down again.
Simon is here. How many of you are here?
- Have you become certain of your marriage and relationships?
Have you become certain of your financial situation?
Have you become certain of your brokenness?
Have you become certain of a future that will not come true?
Name all these things that you are certain of with your group. Speak into each about those certainties.
All Jesus wants to do is show you new possibilities. There’s open waters available. It’s just… Do you want them?
A new future requires you to release the certainty of what you know about the future.
He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’ ”
You can’t just patch over new skin onto an old wine skin. You have to find a new skin. In the same way, you can’t take old mindsets and simply sprinkle on a new idea of Jesus on it. That’s why it doesn’t work for us to just get into Jesus’ boat. Jesus wants to get into our boat because our old mindset isn’t working anymore.
For the new to come, it requires you to be all new.
For everything to be made new, you need to submit everything.
Simon gives up his certainty. He gives up all of his history and casts his net. He casts his faith into the future that is possible with Jesus out there. And he takes his present certainty and the past and sets it aside. It’s a scary place to be.
- What have you been holding onto in your certainty and your past that is holding you from experiencing God’s future for you?
- Pray to release that with your group.
When Simon cast out his net, he didn’t just pull in some fish. He had an overabundance. SO much so that he called over his buddies. Not only does Jesus full us, but he fills the people around us through filling us.
Without any more conversation or sermon to Simon, Simon quickly falls onto his knees and worships. Jesus changed him and renews his spirit and he is called immediately to respond with worship.
This is what happens when Jesus shows up in your boat. Our first response might be a little fear and anxiety. But when we see the abundance of his love and provision, we can’t stand it. We are brought into worship with awe and wonder. Not a religious moment. Simply Simon knowing that he is created in the voice of God and humbled that the creator has just gone fishing in his boat.
And then he invites Simon into the next step of faith.
He elevates us. To be a force of beauty to be reckoned with everywhere you go. God never stops. He is constantly going into what’s next. Elevating and elevating. We know the name of Simon and James and Peter because they made one choice… That is to allow Jesus to get into their boat.
This is what Jesus answers in the question of what should you give your life to. He brings it to abidance and the highest level of living without control or manipulation.
Are you willing to allow Jesus into your boat?
Pray with your group.