When we need Him the most the Lord will meet us where we are.
The goodness of the Lord, I want that to be something that all of us can have, and that by the time we’re done, our soul will even be better. I think we’ll be better. I really want to see everybody blessed, and I have something that I want to share. We’re starting to make this journey together. We’ve got this new series we’re unveiling. I didn’t know it was going to be quite this way, but we’re going to start this series called Engage.
‘Engage’ has to do with putting our faith into action, and maybe in some way, it’s more meaningful than ever because of what we’re all having to walk through. If you recall a few weeks back, we went into Easter, and then just kind of sat with it for a while, the idea of ‘exhale,’ of sharing the goodness and the grace of Jesus. We were talking about the Lord, of being a people who have gracious words. We’re good news people. We share the message of Christ and we’re not reluctant to do so. We sat with Jesus and the woman at the well. We watched how the Lord modeled what it means to help people, how to speak words of healing and life. That’s been part of what we’ve been wanting to think about and consider doing in significant ways, sharing the good news of Jesus, sending out messages and words and prayers.
There is also another side to our faith. We’re going to be a people not only of good words but we’re also going to be a people of good works. It was Jesus in the sermon on the mount, some of us remember Matthew 5:16, where he said, “Let your light so shine before men, before people, that they may see your good works and glorify, honor your father, who is in heaven. That they may see the goodness of your life, the qualitative expression of faith that shows up in tangible ways in my name. And that in so doing, people would be drawn to me because of what you are giving away on my behalf.”
It’s a reminder that we need to be a people of not only good words, but also of good works. It is really a tremendous part of sew, water, reap. It needs to show up in the everyday-ness of our lives. In the way, we treat people, the way we love people, the way we ultimately will return to work or are working, and the way in which we are loving and blessing. This is something that needs to be more than just words. Words are huge. Words are important. Words have great meaning. The message of Christ is a product of words.
It’s spoken, but it needs to also be backed up in the way we live and love. Goodness matters. It does. Engagement matters. What we’re really talking about is following the example of Jesus, because Jesus didn’t just talk about what love was. He lived out what love was. Having loved them, the scripture says He loved them to the end. That’s what we’re supposed to do as well, follow in His example. Love God, love people. Speak good words. Do good works. Both are needed. It’s not one to the exclusion of the other.
Yet sometimes the truth is before we can give away our faith. Sometimes before we even can demonstrate our faith, there are things that God needs to heal up inside of us. Sometimes before we can put our faith into play, we have to let Him put us back together. In a way, that’s what this message is about, is about letting the Lord help us from the inside out. The conviction that there’s a connection between what’s going on inside of us, inside of our mind, inside of our heart, a conviction that what’s going on inside of us is going to affect how we express that outwardly to others.
With that in mind, I want to go to this wonderful, amazing passage of scripture in John 21. Not every passage is my favorite passage, but I have a few that stand out. This passage is one of them, partly because I just love Simon Peter. I love the way the Bible reveals this man. I love his earnestness, his passion. I love his sincerity, his authenticity. I love the genuineness of who he is, and yes, even his impetuous side. I love the fact that the Bible gives us a full picture of him. He’s not kind of a one-dimensional person, but he is revealed to us with both strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps it’s out of his flaws that I find myself most resonating as a follower of Christ.
I want to set the scene for what we’re about to see because what we’re looking at essentially is his restoration. The words that Jesus gave Peter are really words that I think he wants to give us at this time as well. It’s the other side of the resurrection. Soon we know that Jesus would ascend. He said He was going to leave them. He would send the comforter, His spirit. But during this remarkable period, that 40 day period between the resurrection and the ascension, Jesus would appear.
It wasn’t frequent. He was the same, but yet things were different. It was kind of mysterious. The disciples weren’t exactly sure when He would come. Everything is unclear. How to proceed was unclear. It’s true, the crucifixion and the horror of it have been overwhelmed by the victory of the resurrection just as he said it would be. But it wasn’t really clear what was going to happen. How they were supposed to be living their lives. How things were going to play themselves out. Of course, some of them, Peter, in particular, were not doing well.
Peter was very broken. We’re going to talk about how the Lord heals him. Let’s just jump into this amazing passage in John 21. It says, “After this, Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberius.” That’s the Sea of Galilee. It’s a beautiful place. I’ve been there a few times now, and I’ve always been struck by the pastels, the colors around the Sea of Galilee. It’s really the Lake of Gennesaret. The waters, the gentleness, but yet movement, the surroundings, the shades, the purples, pinks, blues, beige, and brown. You get what I’m saying. In the morning and dusk time, those are the colors that dominate, a little bit of orange and yellow in there as well.
It’s just a beautiful palette experientially. In your mind’s eye, it’s worth letting it sit. Jesus, we’re told, reveals himself. This is the way He did it in verse one. Jumping into verse two, “Simon Peter, Thomas,” who was called the twin. The one who would also be known down the years as Doubting Thomas, “Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee,” that would be James and John, “and two others of his disciples, they were all together.” They didn’t know what they were supposed to be doing. They had lived life together. They had walked through the trauma of the crucifixion together. They had experienced the victory of the resurrection together. So they were all together. But again, what’s next? There wasn’t a clear sense of what they were supposed to be doing. Even though Peter is a broken and beaten man at a certain level, there’s a restlessness in him. Finally, Peter, in a classic Peter expression, in his restlessness, exerts himself, and says, “You know what? I can’t take this anymore. I want to go fishing. I’m going fishing.”
That wasn’t meant as a muse, or as a way of just recreating to spend some free time. Such as, “You know what? I’m going to go have some fun and fish.” That wasn’t what he meant. Fishing had been Peter’s occupation. It had been many of their occupations. Peter was essentially saying, “I just can’t sit here and do nothing. I’m going back to what I know. I’m going to go fish. I have to make some money. I’m going fishing.”
Maybe part of him would resonate also with the feeling of being alive on those waters. Maybe fishing for Peter was more than just work. It was something he knew, understood, and enjoyed. He enjoyed the smell of it, the waters, the whole experience of it. Maybe he needed to get his mind off of what had been. This seemed to make as good of sense as any.
The others all said to him, when he says, “I’m going fishing. I just can’t stay here.” They said to him, “We’re going to go with you.” They went out and got in the boat. That night, we’re told, they fished through the night, through the morning darkness, and they caught nothing. That had happened before at an earlier period on that day when Jesus called them. They probably never forgot that day either. They were out there. They had caught nothing.
Just as the day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore. Yet the disciples, they didn’t know it was Jesus, we’re told. In verse five, Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” Maybe they thought that that was someone who was attempting to buy some fish for the market and wanted to know if they had a catch to sell. They said, “No, we don’t have anything.” He said to them, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some. They’re out there.” So they cast the net out. Maybe they thought, “Oh, he can see something from a distance. Maybe he sees a little glimmer. Who knows?” But they cast it out, and all of a sudden, the fish just started just filling those nets. They weren’t even able to haul it in. It was so many fish because of the quantity of fish. Verse seven says, “The disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, ‘That’s the Lord.'” Now, who’s the disciple? John always refers to himself in the third person. He never says, “John.” He always says, “The disciple whom Jesus loved.”
I love the fact that he makes that designation. That’s great. It is true, but I don’t know. “The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘That’s the Lord.'” John recognized him. I love the fact that he told Peter. Peter got so excited. It says that when he heard it was the Lord, he put out his outer garment, for he had been stripped for work, and he threw himself into the sea. Peter just wrapped himself up, leaped into the waters, and started swimming to shore. He’s swimming as fast as he can. It’s the master. It’s Jesus. The other disciples, we’re told, came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land. They were actually about 100 yards off. When they got on the land, they saw, to their surprise and delight saw Jesus. I might add they had all been working so hard. Fishing is hard work, casting those nets, pulling it in, casting those nets, pulling it in. It was a lot of work moving that boat around. They were hungry. It was morning. There were bread and fish, we’re told. Jesus, when they saw him, they saw a charcoal fire in place. There were fish laid out on it and bread.
You can all smell it. The crackling of the fish, the bread browning. Maybe it was a rock that they were being cooked on. Or maybe there was something that had been placed over the charcoal that allowed them to cook in some way. But the fish was cooking. It smelled so good. Jesus said to them, “Hey, bring some of those fish that you just caught. Bring them over here. I’ll cook them up.”
Simon, we’re told, Simon Peter went aboard and hauled that net ashore. It was full of large fish, we’re told in one of those unusual things the Bible does every now and then. We’re told specifically in verse 11. It says, “There were 153 of them.” Not about 100. 153. Think about that. Somebody counted that. It’s amazing, actually, that the Bible notes these things from time to time. It always gets me. Not 150, 153 fish. Although there were so many, we’re told the net wasn’t torn.
Jesus said, “Hey, come on. Let’s have breakfast together.” Nobody really said, “Lord, what are you doing here? Is this you? Why are you here?” Nobody said it. They knew it was the Lord. They could recognize it. That’s what we’re being told. Jesus came. He took the bread, and it was a kind of a different kind of communion if I can say that. He took the bread and he put the fish on it. He gave it to them. I imagine him handing the bread and some of the fish together. “Have this. That was very good.” This is, by the way, the 14th verse. This was now the third time that Jesus actually had revealed himself to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. Yet there was one person that Jesus cared about who was still not doing well. I’m sure there were very happy faces. It was a wonderful moment. Yet there was one man in the group who, though initially had been overwhelmed with excitement to see Jesus. As things settled and everyone was enjoying their meal, and the small talk came to some conclusion, there was one man, if you’ve seen it, in the group, who was not doing well. Simon Peter was still a very broken and wounded man. The one who had bragged that he would never deny the Lord had failed miserably. I think some of us remember that on that night of Jesus’s betrayal after Judas had departed, they were making their way to the Mount of Olives, and to the garden where Jesus would pray. Along the way, Jesus had said to them, “All of you, by the way, are going to be offended of me. You’re going to be scattered. You’re going to stumble over me. You’re going to leave me, all of you. I want you to know that I know that.”
It was a shocking thing for them to hear. Jesus didn’t say it with anything other than, I would assume, a sadness in his heart and in a certain way. Yet it was an honest word. When Peter heard it, some of us recall what his reaction was. His reaction was, “I don’t … No. That’s not happening. I’m not denying you. I know that for sure. There is no way. You do not know me if you think I’m leaving you. That’s not happening.” Then Peter says, “Now, I can’t speak for the rest of them. Look, even if all of these guys,” and he’s looking at his brothers. “Even if all of them deny you, I’m going to tell you one thing right now, and let everybody hear it. I don’t care what they do. I don’t deny you. That’s not who I am. I will die with you. I will die for you. I will not leave you. If there’s anybody you can count on, you can count on me. I am loyal to the core. No. If all of them fall away, I will not. I will not. I never will. I will never deny. I will never. I will never leave you.”
That’s, of course, when Jesus said, “No. No, Peter. No. Truly I tell you that … I tell you this, that this very night before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” I will say it this way, that Jesus says, “No, Peter. Before the rooster crows twice on this night, you will deny me thrice. You will break with me. You will leave me. You will deny me. You will have nothing to do with me. I am telling you this.” Peter says, “No. No. Even if I have to die with you, I will never. I will never deny you.”
Peter did. It’s true that in the garden, when they came for Jesus, this is important to remember, at that moment, Peter was willing to fight. At that moment, I do believe he was willing to die for the Lord. He pulled that sword out and swung it. Peter hit a man named Malchus on the side of the head, sliced his ear. It was one of those moments where Jesus says, “What are you doing? Stop. Put the sword away. Those who live by the sword will die by the sword. Things are as they should be. Put the sword away.”
At that moment, with all the adrenaline flowing through Simon, as they took Jesus away, everybody kind of didn’t know what to do. Later on, Peter finds his way back. I know a lot of us remember that. You read about the account and how he gets challenged. Ultimately, Peter’s trying to warm his hands around the fire. He doesn’t want anybody to know. He’s incognito. He doesn’t want to be associated with Jesus. Someone says, “Hey, aren’t you one of those followers of the Nazarene? Aren’t you one of his disciples?” “No, I don’t know the man.” Again, “I don’t know him.”
Finally, on the third time, everything hits at once. Peter says, “I don’t know the man.” He starts swearing. At that very moment, everything hits. We’re told that Jesus is being led through the courtyard, and he looks at Peter. The rooster crows. Peter is shocked in his denial. Everything hits, boom, boom, boom, all of a sudden. Then it all unravels, and he flees. Then Jesus is taken. The cross was so bad. Peter’s guilt, I think when Jesus looked at him, all we know is their eyes. I think what he says, “I told you. I know you. I know you.”
It broke Peter. It broke him because he didn’t just fail. The man who prided himself on his loyalty had emphatically broken with Jesus. It was a spectacular, devastating failure. By the time it was over, Peter was a broken man. It must have been a bitter pill and so hard to move forward because of it. In the end, he had not proven to be the man he thought he was, nor that the others, his friends and brothers, thought he was.
Again, I point out this fact that even after the scriptures tell us that Jesus, when he rose, even after the horror of the cross had been overwhelmed by the incredible joy of the resurrection, which we’ve just celebrated not too long ago at Easter. It didn’t change in Peter’s mind the reality that he personally considered himself a failure for having denied the Lord. I think that when Peter saw himself as damaged goods. Damaged goods. The shame, the guilt of it, was a heavy load. It was hard to bear.
Despite Peter’s good intentions, despite the fact that he had been specifically alerted by the Lord, he had not been able to stand. Jesus told him, “This is what’s going to happen.” But in the moment of crisis, he had failed. So the Peter that’s sitting there around the fire, with now a full stomach I suppose, is happy to see Jesus. They’ve all been laughing I suspect. There’s silence in the air. On the inside, he’s a broken man. He’s torn up.
Perhaps some of us can relate to Peter. I was thinking about it. At this time, you say, “What are you talking about?” I’m not necessarily suggesting that we can relate to him in the sense that we’ve denied the Lord. But the part about feeling broken on the inside a little bit. I think just the way I’ve been interacting with a lot of you in this community, and processing through. Everything that’s been going on in your lives, trying to help, encourage, strengthen, seeing all the different prayers that are taking place, getting feedback around the groups, all of our community engagement, and just trying to really stay connected to the church. How many of us are experiencing these things together that we’ve had to walk through the whole season that none of us wanted.
The shelter in place, the pandemic, all of this, how to transition back, everything. I think the truth is that some of us aren’t doing well. Some of us are hurting. We’re hurting. Maybe some of us feel beaten down, a little bit beaten down by the realities we have had to face for these past weeks. Some of us have had to battle with our thoughts. We’ve struggled with real anxiety and depression. We have fear and reluctance about how to potentially enter back in. What that all looks like. We’re having a hard time shaking it.
Remember, a lot of us had issues that we were already dealing with prior to this issue. Maybe we have parallel, simultaneous issues. They could be health-related, relational stuff that we were already working through. Some of us were under financial duress before this even hit. The point being is that a lot of us have had things that were making us anxious already. Then all of this on top of that, it just really has been overwhelming. Even though we love the Lord, we know the Lord is real, we know he’s alive, and he’s present, still, there’s a part of us that feels broken a little bit on the inside or at least very alarmed. We’re having a hard time. Or someone we care about is having a hard time.
That means that we’re also having a hard time because they’re having a hard time. It’s not an easy space for us. Perhaps it would be helpful for us, in our mind’s eye, to imagine ourselves this morning, if we could, with Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, with bread and fish upon the fire, sitting in the middle of a conversation and listening to these words.
Look at verse 15. It says, “When they had finished breakfast,” and I’m imagining there was a bit of silence, and a calm in the conversation. It says that Jesus broke the silence and said, “Simon Peter,” he said to him, “Simon. Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Now, again, I imagine the rest of the disciples who are there are watching this. It’s like they listen to Jesus and then they’re watching Peter. I imagine Peter putting his head down. I’ll ask you this question. “Do you love me more than these?” What do you think he’s referring to? What are ‘the these?’
A minor thought would be that these represented the nets, the fish, and his previous occupation. The Lord was trying to say, “Are you going back to what you were?” That’s certainly one legitimate way of looking at it. But I think the more accurate perspective of understanding what Jesus is getting at, and what is generally the more commonly held perspective or understanding, is that when Jesus said this, he looked at the rest of the group. Because remember, what had Peter said? “I’m not denying you. They all might. I won’t. That’s not who I am.” “Are you saying now that you love me more than these?” Man, the word that Jesus uses, by the way. Isn’t it interesting the other nuance in this passage? Because the question’s going to be asked three times, “Do you love me?” The first two times, because in Greek, there are multiple words that are translated in English as love. The word that’s used in Greek and in the manuscripts, the New Testament manuscripts, is the word agape or philia. Speaking of agape love, it’s the most sacrificial, devoted love. It’s the love that speaks of Jesus. That love. The utterly devoted, like the deepest, most meaningful love, committed love, sacrificial love.
That’s the word Jesus uses here. “Do you love me that way? Do you love me more than these?” You can see Peter, he hesitates. He dare not climb there. He dare not climb there. Peter says, “Yes, Lord, you know nothing of these, nothing of them. Nothing. You know I love you.” Maybe he puts his head down. “You know I love you, Lord.” But the word that Peter uses is the Greek word, philia. It means I care for you deeply. I have affection for you. He won’t match Jesus. No, not after what had happened. He will say, “I love you. I care for you. You have my affection. You do.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs. Feed my lambs.” Now, I don’t know. We don’t know what was the gap between the first, second, and third times. Sometimes you read it and you go, “Oh, it was just one after the other.” Jesus says, “Simon Peter, son of John, do you love me more than these.” Peter says, “You know I love you.” Jesus says then again, “Simon Peter, son of John. Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Again. Or was there a gap? Did the words linger? Was there space when all you could hear was the fire and the waves lapping on the shore, and maybe a breeze, but nothing more?
Out of that silence while they’re all thinking, comes the second question, “Do you Simon, son of John, do you love me? Do you love me?” This time it was just, “Do you love me?” And again, the word Jesus uses is, “Do you love me? Do you agape me? Do you love me with a love that is deep, devoted, and sacrificial?” Peter said to him, “Lord, you know I love you.” Again, he uses the word philia. “You know I care for you. You know I do. I love you.”
But all the bravado’s gone. It’s gone. It’s gone. Jesus said to him, “Then I need you to tend my sheep. I do.” We’re told in verse 17, that Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon,” and again, was there space? I don’t know. But, “Simon, son of John, do you love me? Do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said it to him a third time. Now it was interesting because Jesus drops down into Peter’s word for love. He uses the word philia. I love the fact the Lord meets us where we are. “I can’t get there, Lord.” If you can’t get there, he’ll meet you where you are.
How good is that? “Lord, I don’t have enough faith.” “I’ll get there with you. I’ll come to where you are.” “Lord, I don’t know, I’m not doing well.” “I’ll meet you where you are.” Peter says, “I care deeply for you.” Jesus says, “Do you care deeply for me, Simon? Do you love me as a friend?” “Lord you know,” and I love this. Peter is sad. “Lord.” He says he was grieved because he said to him a third time, and I don’t think it was a coincidence, three times the question of love, three times he had denied Jesus. It was the conversation everybody knew had to happen. It was the conversation of restoration.
Yet it grieved Peter. Jesus had to get down to that level. Jesus would say it for the third time, “Do you love me?” “What are you doing, Lord? Why are doing that to me? You know I love you. Don’t do that to me. You know I love you.” That’s what’s going on here. That’s when Peter says to him, “Lord, you know everything and you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Then I need you to feed my sheep. I do. I need you to shepherd my sheep. I need you to feed my sheep. I need you to tend to people on my behalf. I need you to strengthen your brethren. That’s what I need you to do. If you say you love me then let it show up in the what in which you love the people I’ve given you and I need you to care for. That’s what I need you to do.”
Jesus, right on the back of that, says, “Truly I tell you this. I tell you one more thing, Simon. I say it in front of all of you. I say to you that when you were young, yes, when you were young, you used to dress and walk wherever you wanted. That is, you were a self-directed, self-willed, very independent man. That is what you were. But when you are old,” look at it, “you will stretch out your hands and another will dress you and carry you where you would not want to go.”
In verse 19, the first part of it says, “This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God. Peter, just to let you know what you couldn’t do, you will do. You will do it for me. I need you to know that.” Think about that. “There will be a time. Now, it will be many years from now, because you will be an older man, but there will be a day when you will surrender your life for me. What you could not do you will do. You will be a loyal, selfless, servant of the kingdom to the end. Listen to me. Look at me.” That’s what he’s saying.
“You are going to finish strong. Remember, I told you. I told you you would fail, that you did not have it, that there was going to be too many things coming at you, things that you couldn’t even understand or see at a spiritual level. There were things happening you couldn’t understand. You didn’t even know yourself. Remember, I told you you would fail. You told me you wouldn’t, but I knew you would. I knew you would. You didn’t believe me, but you did. Remember, you didn’t believe me, but you did. So now I need to tell you, even though I know there’s a part of you that doesn’t believe what I’m saying, that you don’t have it in you, that you don’t have the ability. But I am telling you, the same one who told you at that time you would not be able to do it is telling you now that there will be a day when you will do it.”
“I am telling you that. Just as powerful a truth as that word was for you days ago, so will it be for you years from now. You are going to stand, and you will not fail. I know that’s hard for you to believe, but it is true.” After saying this, he said to him, in front of them all, “So this is what I need from you. The same word I gave you three years ago on this very place, I say to you, follow me. Simon Peter, son of John, follow me. Travel with me. Make this journey with me. We’ll go together. That’s what we’ll do.”
You hear Peter maybe silently say, “Lord, I cannot do it.” Jesus says, “No, not only can you, you will. As my father has sent me, so I will send you. Rise up and follow me.” That is powerful. A couple of things for us just sitting here, where we are, in this time and place. Remember, the Lord will meet us when we need it most. This is a word for some of you, and help us to find our way through. Why? Because the Lord longs to nurture us back to health. It’s what He does. He helped Peter find his way. He will help us as well.
I guess what I’m saying is he has bread and fish upon the fire, waiting for us. He has a conversation that he wants us to engage him in. Maybe that’s happening right now, actually. We’re having this with the Lord, us, and the Lord. He has words for us that he wants us to embrace. Listen, think, consider what is the word the Lord would have you embrace at this moment. Then remember this, our healing is not just for ourselves, it’s for the blessing of others. Jesus said to Peter, “If you love me, feed my sheep.”
Peter’s healing, remember this, was not just for him, but it was for all the people that he would affect. It was for all his life. It was down the years. It was for everyone who would be affected by the decisions that Peter would make. He would make beautiful ones in the years ahead. In a way, Peter’s decisions would affect us as well, at this very moment. Everything that Jesus said, “You feed my sheep,” in a way, he’s doing it right now. His very example, this very exchange, is feeding our soul right now, in this place.
That reminds me of our purpose as a church at such a time as this. It was not a coincidence that at the beginning of the year, we started with the vision sew, water, and reap. Has there ever been a time as marvelous as this to sew, water, and reap? Has there ever been a time like this for us? One of the emerging things that have come out of this particular season that we’re in, in this very moment, is the idea of isn’t God good? Sew good, sew God. Sew good, sew God. That’s a big part of what we’re trying to understand. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Sew good, sew God. That’s what this is all about.
You are loved. You’re so loved. I’ll come back around because I want to close us out with a blessing. But don’t forget that even though we don’t have a formal time of giving. As I said, there’s no way now, not the way we’re doing things right now. But so many of you have been able to do this. I would ask that you continue to do so as faithfully as possible. Continue to give. Obviously, you can give through our app. You can give online. But continue to honor the Lord with your tithes. I’m talking to the core of our church, but anybody who feels compelled and wants to honor the Lord, and help us continue to do the ministry we’re doing as faithfully as possible. I need to say this, thank you to so many of you who have not simply shown your love and your commitment in your words, but in your deeds. I know not everyone can do that right now. For those who can’t presently, may the Lord bless and provide according to his riches and glory. May the Lord provide for you as the days unfold. We really want to see the Lord create movement and breakthrough. For those of us who are able, continue to be as faithful as possible. Right now, I just want us to sit in this moment and be utterly blessed.
What a blessing to be loved by God. As we think about where we’re heading into the transitions that are in front of us, I just want to remind everyone, don’t forget the invitation that Jesus made to Simon Peter. “Follow me.” It’s the invitation he’s making to you and me. “Follow me. Follow me in this time.” Loved ones, follow Jesus. Follow him. Follow him through our fears. Follow him in this time of uncertainty and transition. “Follow me,” Jesus says. “Follow me. Stick with me. Travel with me in word and in deed, in sacrificial love, into a future that we cannot control, undaunted and unafraid.” In Jesus’ name on this good day, may the Lord’s grace rest upon you. May your mind be filled with great peace. You are not alone. He is with you. The good shepherd is with you. Be blessed this day in Jesus’ name. I love spending this time with you.