What was it like to be Simon Peter's brother?

  I wonder what it was like to be Andrew.

 

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.” – John 1:40-42

 

I wonder what it was like to be the one to hear first, to go get your brother, but as quickly as you find him, to fall back into his shadow. To be introduced not based on your own identity, but on your brother’s, for he, and not you, is the one called the Rock on which Jesus will build His Church.

 

I wonder what it was like to be called at the same time as this brother, and a few other friends…

 

“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him." –Mark 1:16-20

 

… but then to watch as those three, and not you, are called aside and set apart for exceptional times with the Jesus you love.

 

“After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them.” – Mark 9:2

“They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him” – Mark 14:32-33

 

I wonder what it was like to be Andrew.

 

Did he feel pulled between contentment and disappointment? Knowing that he should feel grateful for the position he was given, but wondering if he would ever be the one lifted up? Did he dream that someday he would be the one to preach the sermon that changed the trajectory of the church in the world?

 

When his brother and friends get back from that special excursion up the mountain with Jesus, was Andrew twisted in his gut because of the scene they entered into, that healing the disciples who were left behind couldn’t perform? When that scene began, did Andrew hope this would be his chance, his opportunity to shine and to be seen, and he blew it?

 

When Andrew and the others ask Jesus later why they couldn’t perform the miracle, was the question accompanied by tears? Was the tone revealing of hearts plagued with the deep ache of “why not me”?

 

A little while later, when the disciples argue about who would be the greatest, I wonder which one of them started the discussion.

 

Was it a discussion of bragging or of longing? I wonder if it was a question posed by those who had been left behind a few scenes earlier, pondering whether Jesus would ever ask them to be the ones to journey up a mountain with him. Questioning whether they should dare to hold onto hope.

 

I wonder what happened in their hearts when they heard these words of Jesus in response.

 

“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” –Mark 9:35

 

To Andrew, were these words life-giving or spirit-squelching?

 

I don’t know how Andrew felt, but I do know how I feel: these words of Jesus are so much more difficult than we like to admit. 

On preaching, inadequacies, and life in Christ

If you would have asked me as a child or even as a college student about some future life aspirations, preaching sermons would not have made the list.  

Especially because I am a woman, and I grew up a paradigm that would not allow for me to be upfront.

 

Yet here I am, having preached for the fourth time in as many months and wondering what crazy work God has done and is doing in my life.

 

Before and after speaking, I swim in a swirl of emotions from wonder to frustration to doubt to joy to regret to fulfillment. I love it and hate it at the same time. I never feel a clear call that I am the perfect person to speak that message- or a clear call that I am not.

 

But I know my main goals are to step in and to listen.

 

Sometimes that listening is difficult.

 

The preparation for my message this past Sunday was particularly exasperating. I felt completely under qualified. The subject was new life in Christ. Which is pretty much the subject of the New Testament.

 

What could I add to the words of Peter and Paul? And what could I say in 30 minutes that would even scratch the surface of this message of the Gospel?

 

As I read and sifted and processed, I often wondered if I should pass the baton to someone who would be better at this than me. But I didn’t. Somehow it seemed that feeling inadequate was actually the perfect place to begin.

 

If I authentically believe that what I do is through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the strength of Christ, for the glory of God, then it’s not about my adequacy. It is about my trust. I have to lean into God more than I count on my gifts.

 

So I did that the best I could.

 

Does that mean I walked away with a message I wouldn’t tweak if I had the chance, with points completely polished, and with a conclusion that would take your breath away? Not in the slightest. There are several things that went well, and many more that I would do differently if I were to give this talk again.

 

Yet I believe that God uses broken vessels to shine His light. I believe He can speak through me because of my gifts or in spite of my gifts, depending on the circumstance.

 

If you would like to listen to the sermon, you can find the audio here. It has my name below it, and is titled "Abundant Living." Using the text of John 10, I talked about how Jesus offers us a full life in which we are saved, we are free, and we are known.

 

The message kicked off with this video called “Something more.” Definitely worth a watch.

Something More from Moving Works on Vimeo.

How would you describe life in Christ?

*Dear readers, would you like me to continue to link to my messages when I speak? Is it interesting or helpful to you in some way? Or does it feel like some sort of awkward plug not fitting for this blog space? I would love to hear your honest feedback if you have any. Either as a comment below or an email. Thanks!

You Came

I have a new respect for songwriters and other artists.  

This past Sunday, I wrote a spoken word style poem that was performed during our Sunday church service. I was terrified. Seriously. It is nerve-wracking to put something like that out there for people to see. I'm surprised I didn't throw up.

So I thought, why not make it even more public by putting it on this blog? {Gulp} And take it up a notch by making it a vlog? {Double Gulp}

I've heard a lot lately about facing fears, so here we go...

 


This poem was inspired by the intersection of my faith story and the story of the man born blind in John 9. I hope it helps you think about what Jesus can do when He comes into your life.

(Note: I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to video. Sorry about having it oriented wrong. Hope all else works well. If the embedded video doesn't work, you can also watch it here.)

You Came

The question swirled

What brought me here?

Searching

Wandering

Propelled by fear?

 

And then,

You came near

 

Who were you?

I didn’t know at first

But You reached down

Pulled me out

From the center of my worst

 

You came

Teaching

Healing

Loving

Revealing

 

You came

Put Your hands on my face

Delivered your grace

 

You came

Stretched into the muck

Broke me free

Released the future

And what I could be

 

You came

Generous

In the midst of life’s mess

 

You came

Light for my darkness

Companion in my loneliness

 

You came,

And changed my name

from “less”

To “righteousness.”

 

Your words poured out,

And streamed over my doubt.

Not to make it disappear

Or instantly make the cloudy clear

But to change

My heart

To rearrange

My life.

 

You came

Full of love with no condition

The way you saw

Restored my vision

 

You came

Into my crazy, You breathed peace

The grip of my anxieties released

 

You came

The search of my heart personified

The animation of hope that had petrified

 

Since You came

I know

I am

not dead.

Since You came

I know

I am

Your

beloved.

 


I am indebted to Maggie for her wonderful performance of this on Sunday at The Table, as well as her editing help. It's an honor to be part of such a wonderful community.