Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Breakfast on the Beach with Jesus

On our recent trip to the Holy Land, we spent a lot of time on and around the Sea of Galilee. On one of our excursions, we sat on the shore as Pastor Stan Allcorn brought a devotional about the time Jesus appeared to the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way:

Several of Jesus' disciples were  gathered beside the Sea of Galilee.  The group included Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, and James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

Suddenly, Peter said, "I'm going fishing." 

"We'll come too," the others said.  So they got in the boat and they fished all night, but caught nothing."

As the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn't make out who it was.  Jesus called out to them, "Friends, have you caught any fish?"

"Not a thing," they called back.

"Throw your nets on the right-hand side of the boat and you'll catch some!"

Did they do it?  Yes they did!  Did they catch any fish?  They caught so many fish that they couldn't even pull the net into the boat!

Then the disciple that Jesus loved said to Peter, "It's the Lord!" When Peter heard that, he jumped into the water and headed for shore.  The others stayed with the boat and dragged the loaded net to the shore.  When they got there, they found Jesus cooking breakfast — fish over a charcoal fire and some bread.

"Bring some of the fish you've just caught," Jesus said.  Peter dragged the net to the shore and there were 153 large fish.  "Now, come and have some breakfast," Jesus said.  Then Jesus served them fish and bread.

It just doesn't get any better than that.  Breakfast on the beach with the risen Lord! What would have happened if the disciples had refused to throw their nets on the right-hand side of the boat?  They would have missed out on a wonderful breakfast on the beach with Jesus.  What happens when you and I refuse to do the things Jesus has called us to do?  We miss out on the wonderful blessings that he wants for us!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked

From my early childhood days I heard and sang the song "I Walk Today Where Jesus Walked." I never really dreamed that I would truly walk where Jesus walked. I always imagined that it would just be in my mind's eye that I would see the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee, the Garden of Gethsemane or any of the other places I learned about in Sunday School.

Those dreams did come to reality in March of 2018 when I went to the Holy Land with a group of 45 travelers made up largely of members of my church. It was a wonderful experience and a great photo opportunity. I will share just a few of my favorite experiences with you.

The Jordan River was even more beautiful than I had imagined. About sixteen members of our group chose to be baptized in the river. One thirty year-old man was baptized for the first time even though he had made a profession of faith in Christ many years before. 

Many of the sites were brought to life by devotionals brought by our pastor, Stan Allcorn. At the above site in Caesarea Philippi, pastor Stan brought a challenging message based on the Gospel account of Peter's great confession that Jesus was the Messiah.

Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”

But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

JESUS PRAYS IN GETHSEMANE: They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed.

The Garden Tomb is operated by a nondenominational Christian charitable trust based in the United Kingdom. However, the tour guides who lead groups past a hill that could be Golgotha and into the empty tomb only go so far as to say, "It could be the actual tomb of Jesus."
The most important thing is not whether this is the actual tomb where Jesus was laid, but that the tomb did not contain Jesus permanently. The important thing is that he is not there. On the door of the tomb we see these words, "He is not here, he is risen."
I took over five hundred photos on this trip and then narrowed them down to about a hundred of my favorites. This represents a handful of those favorites.  I might share some other photos in future blogs, but with Easter just a week away, I wanted to share these to give us something to think about during this time.

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Light of the World

This year our church published a book of daily Advent devotionals written by various members of our church. The book was entitled "Songs of the Season" and writers told about their favorite Christmas carols and how those carols had brought a greater understanding of the season.

I thoroughly enjoyed the devotionals and reflected on how each carol had blessed the Christmases of my own life. I also reflected on various carols and tried to decide what might be my favorite. One song kept coming to my mind, The only problem was that it wasn't really a song that we traditionally think of as related to the Christmas season. That song was "The Light of the World Is Jesus."
 The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin,
 The Light of the world is Jesus;
 Like sunshine at noonday,
 His glory shone in,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
 Come to the Light, 'tis shining for thee;
 Sweetly the Light has dawned upon me.
 Once I was blind, but now I can see:
 The Light of the world is Jesus.

At this time of year, we see lights everywhere that remind us of the coming of the true Light that John tells us about in the prologue to his Gospel. There are trees adorned with lights, streets that are lined with lights, homes and businesses are outlined with lights. One of the favorite activities of the season is to drive around and look at all of the beautiful lights. Each Sunday of the Advent season, we light candles on the Advent wreath.

I wonder how many of us remember that the lights of this season are a symbol of the one true Light, Jesus, who brought light into the darkness of this world? As we light the candles on our advent wreath, the four candles remind us that Jesus brings hope, love, joy, and peace into the world. It is true, "The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin, the Light of the world is Jesus!"

During this season, may each and every one of us know the joy that Jesus, the Light of the World, brings.