#221 (19/02/06)
Called to Soar Part II

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

Barbara is the president of the Center for Renewal; a resource center founded in 1997 for Christ centered organizations working to renew the cities of America. She is the author of “Street Saints: Renewing America’s Cities.” President George W. Bush awarded her the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for human rights in 2001. He recognized her work with refugees and the poor. As an international television correspondent in the White House, she also served President Ronald Reagan in the White House, office of public liaison.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" Praise to the Lord, the Almighty "

" Blessed Assurance "
“ Praise Ye The Lord ”

ALBERT MCNEIL JUBILEE SINGERS - "Praise Him in the Morning"
NITA WHITAKER – “The Power of the Dream”

The Message

When I think about being called to the position as Senior Pastor, I think about the calling that we see of various people in scripture.  Last week we looked at the calling of Moses in the Old Testament and today, I want to go to the New Testament and look at the calling of St. Peter.  It is fascinating to realize how many people in the Bible have the same reaction that we have when we are called.  When God calls people, they almost unanimously have the same reaction.  It just is astonishing to me.  In the gospel of Luke, chapter 5 we read the following calling of St. Peter:

One day as Jesus was standing by the Sea of Galilee, when the people crowded around Him and listened to the word of God, He saw at the waters 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, also known as Peter, 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 the nets out for a catch."  Simon answered, "Master we've worked all night and haven't caught anything.  But because You say so, I'll 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 they filled both boats so full that they began to sink.  When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees 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 Peter, "Do not be afraid; from now on, you will catch men."  So they pulled their boats up on the shore, left everything and followed Jesus. (Luke 5:1-11)

Jesus said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."  Often when we hear the words to follow Jesus, our immediate reaction is, I am not worthy.  I am not good enough, I am not smart enough, and I am not whatever it might be.  We have a host of excuses as to why we cannot follow Christ.  But the calling is clear.  The calling is real and the calling is true.  When we follow Christ and we do His bidding and we do what He asks us to do, life just becomes more rewarding and more fulfilling than you could ever possibly imagine.  St. Peter left everything and followed Christ.  Here he has, I can only imagine, this mountain of fish that they left on the beach.  Now I have had experiences where I've caught lots of fish. I remember going out with my son in the local water here, and we started fishing and he caught a nice little fish. Pretty soon his buddy caught another cute little fish, and then my son couldn't bring in a fish that he had on the line.  I said, "quit fooling around and bring that fish in, we've got to go find some big fish."  When he finally brought the fish up, it was a huge Albacore tuna.  Meanwhile, his friend caught an Albacore too! Finally, everybody on the boat got into this action and we stayed there for about four or five hours bringing in Albacore tuna that were about twenty pounds each.  The boat was full. I turned to everybody and said, "You know we have to clean all these fish. Who wants to keep fishing?"

I can imagine Peter looking at that mountain of fish, and thinking to himself, "I can clean all these fish, or I can follow Jesus and be a fisher of men."  When I look at the life of Peter, what he had done, where he had come from, I can equate with him.  Everything had to be black and white for Peter; you can't tiptoe around the subjects.  He just tells it like it is.  If he sees something going on, he jumps right in and does something about it. He had heard the teachings of Jesus, enough so that when Jesus said, "Can I borrow your boat?" Peter said, "Yes sure let's go."  And he followed the Master. Peter followed Jesus because he saw who He was, what He could do, and the impact He had in people's lives.  That's Peter.

Today God is calling all of us to do what we have been called to do.  For many it is to clean the fish.  The fish come in and they need to be cleaned.  For many of us it is to go out and gather the fish, to go out and do the labor and collect the fish.  For others it's to share the good news and to let people know that there's lots of things that God wants to do in our lives; to build faith, to build inspiration, to build hope.

We recently remembered Martin Luther King on his birthday.  Martin Luther King heard the call of a woman who wasn't allowed to sit on a bus just because of the color of her skin.  And it was as if God Himself was calling him.  And 380 days later, December 21st 1956, blacks and whites sat on the bus together equally - Because one man chose and decided to follow the call of God.  And others heard the call and they followed God.  And others heard the call and they followed God.  And when we follow the call of God, street saints are born.  People's lives are changed, the communities are changed, and cities are changed, and countries are changed and the world is changed when we open up to the calling of God and say yes.

The question is why do people consistently say no?  We listen to the negatives in our mind over and over again and its time to put the negatives away and listen to the positives, the reality, the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  You can do all things if you believe. 

St. Peter saw the miracles that Christ was doing.  He saw the miracle of the fish and Jesus says, "Follow Me."  Peter consistently says, "I can't do it, I am a sinner." Jesus continually says, "Follow Me," until Peter says, "Yes Lord, I'll follow You."  I think of all the individuals in the Bible I can relate to it is Peter. Peter is a guy's guy.  He looks at things just the way they are, no tip toeing around with Peter, "just tell me the real scoop here."  He's got calluses on his hands from working with the nets and the fish.  He takes up the sword to defend Christ. He cuts off the soldier's ear.  He's a man's man. He's ready to go. He denied Christ three times.  He's the only one in the Bible who was called not once, but twice.  He's the first one called in the New Testament and the last one called in the New Testament.  In John 21, we hear his second calling.  He is out fishing again.  He has decided that since Jesus is dead, He has resurrected and has ascended into heaven; he would just go back and do what he always did.  So Peter is out fishing again.  As he is fishing he hears a voice on the shore say, "Cast your nets on the other side."  He thinks this is stupid. But he thinks, "Well, we tried everything else, we'll just cast them on the other side anyway."  As he did, do you know what happened?  Just fish, tons and tons and tons of fish came into the nets. He realizes it's Jesus, who has done this, and he went ashore very quickly and he said, "Jesus, what You doing?"  And Jesus said to him, "Simon do you love Me?  And he said, "Of course, Lord." Jesus says, "Then feed My sheep."  And Jesus says again, "Simon do you love Me?"  And Peter says, "Of course I love You." Jesus says, "Feed My sheep."  And a third time Jesus says, "Simon Peter do you love Me?" and Peter says, "Of course I do."  Again, Jesus says, "Then feed My sheep."  And Peter is called again and this time Peter becomes the head of the church and he gives his entire life to Christ and to everything that Christ would have him to do. Peter takes the gospel to the very ends of the world and in Rome he is crucified upside down for his faith because he doesn't want to die the same way Christ died. 

When we are called by God and we stay true to that calling, and when we say, "Yes Lord, I am Yours, use me," God finds miraculous ways to use us. There are different ways He can use us.  He can use us to be a mentor to another person. He can use us to give a helping hand to someone who needs a helping hand.  He can use us to give a lifting voice; He can use us to support an institution which needs the finances to continue its mission.  He can use us to do a myriad of things.  But it requires us to say, "Yes, Lord."  It's time for us to turn off the negative thoughts in our mind which prevent us from doing that which God has called us to do. It is time to say, "Yes" to Jesus; "Where You lead I will follow."  That is our prayer today.  That is the prayer we need to pray today and every day.  And so I ask you right now, to join me in a prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, You are a good God.  You are a loving God.  You are a God who cares for the sparrows and if You care for the sparrows in the field, how much more won't You care for me?  And so take away the negative thoughts which hold me back.  Take away the thoughts which don't allow me to be the person that You have called me to be.  Give me the positive thoughts to realize that You will forgive my sins.  Give me the positive thoughts that You will give me everything that is required for me to do the job that You have for me to do.  Give me the positive thoughts that You will always be there, that You will always care.  That if we listen to You and we cast our nets, there will be far more than we can ever possibly imagine.  And so we thank You Lord for everything.  We praise Your name always, and we follow You to the ends of the world.  Amen.

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