Soul Surfer Series Sermon 1
Tyson Graber, Herscher Christian Church
September 11, 2011
I am excited about our time together today studying God’s word. Turn with me to Luke 5 as we kick off this series and really so much more.
Over the next four weeks we will be in this series of sermons entitled “Soul Surfer.” In large part these sermons will be inspired by the true life story of a young woman named Bethany Hamilton who at age 13 lost her left arm to a shark attack while surfing and almost lost her life, but through the power of the Lord and her faithfulness to Him she was back in the water and surfing again only after 3 weeks.
I pray that this story, paired with the power of God’s Word would be an encouragement to many of you as it has already been to me. If you haven’t seen the movie or would like so see it again we will show it for Free in its entirety tonight starting at 6 p.m.
Looking for something Bigger
READ Luke 5:1-2: They had fished all night and had nothing. This was their lively hood not their hobby.
Luke 5:3: All these people and not one fish. Nobody wants to be the guy that gets skunked. These guys had nothing, they were looking for the big catch but got nothing!
NOTHING. This is how they survived. Nothing ... in front of thousands of people!
Then this guy ,Jesus, says, “Hey, can I use your boat? Keep me out a little from the shore.
Read Luke 5:4-7:
Think about this. What the Bible says here is true. Its unbelievable. They had just come in from fishing that area and had nothing.
Story of not throwing back in the same place you just fished. God commanded those fish to get into that net. Not one person would have said this happened by chance.
They left, searching for something bigger and their lives were changed forever. Maybe today is the day YOU begin to search for something bigger.
For long enough you have been chasing after things that just let you down. For too long you have just been getting by. I pray that today will be the day that many of us begin to search after things - not just of this world - but that we begin to seek after God’s will for our lives.
Here is where the rubber hits the road today. For some of you its time to Go Big or Go Home. Its time to Go Big for God and finally be blessed and stop just going through the motions with God ..., stop it because it is getting you no where.
God is wanting many of you here today to hear this. Its time to start searching for something bigger than just saying you believe in God and start really living for Him.
God did not just make us to deal with life and exist. God created you in His image to experience something more than this world has to offer.
Let me put it this so some more of you guys can get it. God did not make you to just put on the road in some beat up burned out late 80's Ford Escort. God intended you to blaze down the road in a 1970 Chevelle Super Sport with a 454 Big Block 4 speed and black racing stripes! (The details may not be important but I hope you get the point.)
[Pray (Help us to believe and search for something bigger through you.)]
“But, Tyson, how do I begin to search for something bigger in my life?” It starts by asking God to use you. It starts by knowing you belong to Him and giving your life to be used by Him. That is what Bethany Hamilton began to do at a very young age.
[Play the “God, Please Use Me” video clip in the Week One]
John 10:10, Jesus says
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
God is in the business of writing epic stories with people’s lives. He is doing it with Bethany and he wants to do it with you. Jesus came to this earth not just to forgive you of your sins, but to free you to live a one-of–a-kind life that will lead you on the ride of your life and use you to change the world around you.
But listen to the first half of John 10:10:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy...”
Satan has bad plans for you!
Many of you have heard it before, that 'Jesus knows your name.' So does Satan. He knows you. He knows your weaknesses. He knows you better than you know you. He knows you and he is trying to destroy you if you give him half a chance.
Satan is not going to just mess with somebody else. He is going to mess with you! He wants to destroy you. When the thief breaks into your house, he is not there for a glass of water. No, he is there to destroy and steal and even kill whatever he can to get, what he wants.
Understand the path of Satan is a tornado of destruction. I want everyone to hear this today. Satan’s plans for you are specific! He means to steal from you, to destroy you and to kill you. That is what he wants with you.
He knows your weaknesses. If your weakness is pride he will use it; if your weakness is pornography he will use it; if your weakness is thinking poorly of yourself he is going to use it.
Jesus says, though, that he has come that we may have life and have it to the full.
God offers an epic story.
Satan is in the business of writing boring stories with people’s lives.
How many have heard this before? “The Christian life is BORING!” Satan and the world want you to believe that following Jesus is more about staying out of trouble, but they have it all wrong. The Christian life is about living to the full, and its about finding out who Jesus really is and following Him.
Following Jesus is so much more than staying out of trouble; it’s about discovering the life He put you on the planet to live, and living it to the fullest. Its not just about do’s and don’ts, its about finding out the why's of our existence.
We see a glimpse of what this looks like in today’s story from Luke 5 and the life of Peter. Until Jesus encountered Peter on this day did you notice what he was stuck doing with little if any joy?
Remember, he had been fishing and doing very poorly until Jesus showed him the blessing of following Him, but ‘not catching fish’ was not Peter’s biggest struggle in life.
Turn back with me to Luke 5:8 and Read
I believe at this moment Peter began to see the power and purity in Jesus because he realizes his own proper place is with Jesus. Can you see it?
When we come into God’s presence and witness his power, when we really get it, let’s be like Peter was here. Let’s not get arrogant about our blessing, but be awed by His being.
When Peter saw these fish he didn’t get all proud, but he fell to his knees knowing who Jesus is and knowing who he was himself. ‘I am bad I have sinned.’ Our story with Christ cannot begin to take shape until we understand our role in this life. ‘Lord, I am not worthy to be in this boat with you.’
‘Lord I am not worthy to know you, I am a sinner.’ Some of you need to leave your pride behind today and call to Christ saying, “I am not worthy.”
1. God’s mission for people’s lives is almost always HARD.
Note that at that time, there were only a handful of Christians living in Ephesus, and it was illegal to assemble in Jesus’ name. After Paul planted this church, he was run out of town by thousands of angry people who wanted to kill him. So the mission to which God called the Ephesians was no doubt very difficult.
Here is the question. Do you take the easy road to average life or hard road to epic life in Christ?
When our kids remember me, our grandkids remember Tiffani and me, I want them to know one thing: That we loved Jesus and we were willing to do His work no matter what.
That’s what I want them to know. My current plan is not to try and work all my life to leave them millions of dollars. I want to leave them something more valuable than money; a good name, a willingness to do what’s right, a relationship with Jesus no matter what the world will try to throw at them.
Look through the different people written about in the Bible, and you will find a common theme: They had difficult lives. We are called to be overcomers of the world.
In John 16:33, Jesus even promises this to his followers. He says,
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
We are not called to just sit back and exist. We are not called to just be average. We are not called just to survive. We are called to be like Jesus and overcome to succeed, but many times success comes by way of a hard trail or difficulty.
In "Soul Surfer," Bethany Hamilton’s road to living an epic life was extremely difficult. Before getting to a place where she could be an inspiration to millions of people, she had to go through much difficulty. She lost an arm and came close to death. Watch this video of what happened after the shark attack.
[Play the “Hospital” video clip in the Week One folder on the Church Leader Resource DVD. Or, if you prefer a clip from the movie "Soul Surfer" and have access to the Internet, play the “H]
Warning #1: Living an epic story from God will be difficult!
2. God’s mission for people’s lives almost always takes TIME.
In Jeremiah 29:11, the prophet of God writes,
“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
Let me give you the context of this oft-quoted verse. It was written to the Israelites while they were in captivity in Babylon. Their worst nightmare had come true, they had been taken from their homeland and dragged to another country that believed in different gods. On top of this, it says in verse 10 that they will be there for 70 years. For most, this meant they would die in this foreign land. That’s a lot of time.
The problem is that we live in a culture that craves instant gratification. We want things NOW. We’re upset if the Internet takes 30 seconds to load, or if our fast food takes five minutes, or if someone doesn’t text us back immediately. But as you look through scripture, you see that God did powerful things through the lives of person after person because they persevered and were patient for His timing.
Bethany Hamilton will never get her arm back, but she chooses each day to live the mission that God has called her to.
Warning #2: Living an epic story for God will probably take a while!
Looking back at the calling of Simon, where are you in the story? I want you to actually imagine that you are Simon sitting on the beach, cleaning your nets as this guy speaks to a crowd a few feet away. Close your eyes and imagine the sand in between your toes. Really get into the moment; imagine being frustrated by your poor catch the night before.
“One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people 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.”
While Jesus was speaking, the future disciples were busy cleaning their nets. What are you busy with? What are the things in your life that take up most of your time?
“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.”
Jesus asked Simon to leave his spot on the beach and take him into the shallow end. What’s one small way God could ask you to step out of your comfort zone to trust Him? (Maybe it’s inviting a friend to church, making time to read your Bible each day, sharing difficult things with your small group, giving to someone in need…)
“When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’”
Jesus tells Simon to put the boat out into the deep water. Jesus does not want you to stay in the shallow end forever. For Jesus to do miracles in your life, He requires us to take a step of faith. So what does that look like for you? I’m not asking for ‘churchy’ answers here—really ask God to reveal to you what it means for you to enter the deep waters in your relationship with Him.
“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.”
Jesus didn’t need to do this miracle. He could have even just thrown a few fish Simon’s way. But instead, Jesus overflows Simon’s boat with fish just because He can. Jesus wants to do outrageous things in and through your life. What are the dreams or prayer requests on the forefront of your mind? Ask God to overflow His blessing into those areas of your life.
“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.”
When Simon realized that this was God he was talking to, his only response was to fall on his knees and confess his inadequacy. Is there anything in your life you need to confess to God? He always forgives us, but He requires us to be real.
“Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.’ So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.”
Simon learns that not only does God want to overflow into his life, He wants to overflow through his life. He had not made Simon just to catch fish but actually to catch people. So what has God created you for? What does He want to do through you? Spend some time this week asking God to reveal what experiences and passions He’s already entrusted to you.
God has made you to live an epic story that impacts your world around you. This story is the whole reason you were put on the planet, and if you remain faithful, you’ll see God work in ways that will blow your mind. It will be difficult and it will take time, and Satan will even try to tempt you to go with the flow and play it safe. But it all starts with the call. Will you allow God to take you to deeper waters?
That’s where we are going with this series...make sure to not miss a week