Waynedale United Methodist Church
Friday, October 19, 2018
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

April 1, 2018 Sermon

“Campfire Conversation
John 21:1 – 14
Re-Focused Mission”
John 21:15 – 19
Ted Jansen April 1, 2018 Waynedale UMC
 
Campfire Conversation
 
1.)        I am glad that you decided to join me around the campfire. When we sit and visit and eat around a campfire we are blessed and our lives are strengthened.   It might be the smell of the smoke, or the sight of the glowing flames, or the crackle of the wood burning, or the gentle heat coming from the embers. Life and conversations are better around a campfire.     
 
2.)        I want you to picture Jesus and the disciples around a campfire. They are having breakfast and enjoying some conversation. The smell, the sound, the sight, the heat all relax them as they spend time together.     
            They did not expect this time around a campfire. This was not planned this way at all. This is where Jesus chose to meet them after He rose from the dead. This is the third time after that first morning of His Resurrection. Jesus had some questions He wanted to talk to Peter about but first they needed to be together and share a meal.    
           
3.)        Peter and the disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee on this particular day. In John 21:1 – 14 we read why they happened to be on a boat.
After Jesus had risen Peter and the disciples headed back north from Jerusalem to Galilee. They are trying to fish one evening and after fishing all night they did not catch a single fish. 
Jesus had been watching them all in the boat as they were fishing. Jesus gets a campfire ready and He calls out to them and asks how the fishing is going.   
The disciples did not realize it was Jesus. They believe that some man on the shore by a campfire is calling out to them. They shout back to the man that they have not caught any fish. Jesus, who is still unknown to them, tells them to throw the net on the other side. That must have puzzled Peter and the disciples but for some reason they decided to try it. 
They cast their net on the other side caught an unbelievable amount of fish. John tells us that the disciples counted them and came up with 153 fish. This was so many fish that they could not bring them into the boat but had to haul the net in the water until they got to shore.   
 
4.)        Peter looked again at the man on the shore after they had caught the fish and saw that it was Jesus. Peter jumps in the water and swims to the shore to be with Jesus. He is so excited.   
Jesus is around the campfire cooking some bread and some fish. When they all get on shore Jesus asks for some of the fish they had just caught. Jesus adds this fish to the bread He prepared and invites them to come and have breakfast around the campfire.  
 
5.)        Though Jesus had risen from the dead and had been seen several times by the Peter and the disciples they did not recognize Jesus. Jesus was known only after the miracle of the catch of the 153 fish. 
I want to lift up the truth that Jesus goes before us in our lives and might not even be recognized until after something happens.    
            Jesus went before the disciples and He knew where the disciples were going (Galilee), and He knew what they would be doing (fishing) and He knew what would happen to them (they would fail at fishing). Jesus had gone ahead of them. He loved them and wanted to show them love and be with them. That is what I am sure they talked about around the campfire that day.     
 
6.)        We thank God that Jesus goes before each of us and knows where we are heading, He knows what we will be doing and what will happen to us.    
*What direction are you headed this week? I want you to know that Jesus has gone there ahead of you. 
*What will you be doing this week? I want you to know that Jesus knows what you will be involved with and will be watching you. He is alive and loves you. 
*What will happen to you this week? Jesus will guide you no matter what happens. If you succeed or fail the Lord loves you and can suggest a path or an action that you can do. Jesus knows what is best for us and is teaching us when we fail and make mistakes. 
Take some time and discover Jesus around a campfire. He is alive and wants to be with us. Jesus wants us to have some campfire conversation.  
 
7.)        Two weeks ago, during our Prayer Vigil, I went to our Prayer Room for my time of prayer. I sat in the chair and I had peace. It was as if Jesus was there giving me a hug and saying to me relax. Tell me what is on your heart and enjoy my love and living presence.      
There was peace as I prayed for you and the needs of the congregation, the community and our world. I allowed Jesus to be with me and it was is if we were having a campfire conversation.      
  
8.)        As I was thinking of this message a story from the past came to me about a moment when I knew that Jesus went ahead of us to prepare things for us. 
Sue and I were living in Kokomo and were in the process of purchasing a used minivan for our family. We had heard of a family member of a friend in Pendleton who was selling hers. We went down to look at it and agreed on the price. 
We had a CD in our credit union that was going to come due and we were planning to use that to pay for the minivan. We had not figured out the timing and details of things.   
The woman told us that she was going to go to Florida for a few weeks and then be back. We were not in a hurry to get the minivan since we did not have the money. We went home to Kokomo and she went to Florida. We realized that our CD still had time before we could use it.      
At some point the woman called us and said that there was a delay in her coming back from Florida and said she was sorry. She said she could work things to get the minivan to us if we needed it. She told us the date that she would be back and when we could have the minivan.     
When we looked at the due date of the CD we laughed and had peace that God was ahead of us and working things out.   The CD was due the same day that the woman said the minivan would be ready, with the delay in her plans. We cashed in the CD, deposited it and then drove to Pendleton to write a check for the minivan. We were amazed at this little miracle and believed the Lord had gone ahead of us.    
  
9.)        Jesus is going ahead of you in your day to day living and is preparing a campfire for you. Take time to stop and talk to Him. The campfire might be the prayer room, an easy chair, a moment when you pull in to a parking spot all alone.  
             
 
Refocused Mission
 
1.)        Jesus came to earth and loved, taught, healed and blessed the people.   Jesus was arrested, tried, beaten and killed. For three days He was in the tomb and darkness was strong. On the day of Resurrection God brought Jesus to life again. Jesus was alive and known to His disciples and followers. What a wonderful message we hold in our heart. The Resurrection is the foundation of our living faith in the living Lord.   
 
2.)        The Gospel of John communicates about three different times that Jesus was seen by the disciples. The first time Jesus was seen was on the evening of that first week. 
All of the disciples were in a room except for Thomas. Jesus came and offered His peace to them and told them to receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:19 – 25).
A week later Jesus met the disciples, and this time Thomas was there. Jesus told Thomas to touch his side and hands and believe (John 20:26 – 27). 
The third time that Jesus is seen by the disciples, in John’s Gospel, is on the shores of Galilee. You can read this account in John 21:1 – 14. 
The disciples are in a boat fishing and they are not able to catch any fish. Jesus, who was unknown to them, calls out to them from the shore on the Sea of Galilee about their fishing. They tell this man that they have not caught anything. He tells them to cast their net on the other side and they catch a lot of fish. This is when they recognize Jesus. 
Jesus is gathered with them around the campfire having breakfast.  
 
3.)        After breakfast we see Jesus asking Peter some questions. 
Jesus asks Peter, Do you love me?   Peter responds to Jesus, Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. Then Jesus tells him to feed my lambs. Jesus asks Peter again a second time, do you love me? Peter responds Yes, Lord. Jesus tells Peter take share of my sheep. Then Jesus asks Peter a third time, do you love me?   
John 21:17 tells us that Peter was hurt when Jesus asked him the third time. Peter’s heart was open and hurting. Why would that be? I believe at that moment Peter remembered the third time that he denied he knew Jesus.    
            As I thought of this moment, though the scripture does not tell us, I like to believe that Jesus spoke to Peter these words back to him. Peter, I love you! I love you! I love you!  
            Peter needed to go through a healing and cleansing process in his soul for what he did by denying he knew Jesus. He was hurting and having to tell Jesus three times made him think about his hurting soul.   Jesus wanted to heal Peter and give him a new direction. 
 
4.)        As we think of Peter I want to ask you if any of you got a cut or scrape when you were little. Did any of you show your Mom or Dad? If so, do you remember them washing your cut and then putting some cleansing alcohol, or red stuff on it? (What was that red stuff?). You knew that when the cleanser was put on it would sting! It hurt.   
            We did not realize until later that the sting was a sign that it was actually cleaning the wound and making sure that it would not be affected. It was a part of the healing process.   
            When Jesus was asking Peter, do you love me? it was like Jesus putting alcohol on the hurt. It was stinging, but helping him. After that the third time Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me.”
  
5.)        I had a picture of that moment with Peter and two objects. The first is an anchor and the second is a rudder.   
            An anchor weighs a boat down so it doesn’t move. You can stay in one place for fishing or staying still. If you try to move with a heavy anchor you can’t move, you have to pull it up.           
            A rudder guides the boat in the direction you steer it. If you don’t have a rudder the boat cannot be controlled. You need a rudder to set direction.      
           
6.)        Here is why these objects came to my mind. Peter’s past was like an anchor. He could not move ahead because the weight of the anchor kept him in one place. 
Peter had denied he knew Jesus and the memory in his soul was like a heavy weight. How could Peter deny he knew Jesus? This weight was heavy on his spirit and soul. 
            Jesus Christ came to Peter and began to lift the weight off of Peter’s soul. Peter was not able to move until the weight was off. I wonder if the reason that Peter went back fishing in Galilee is because it was too painful to think about Jesus and his denial. In a sense Peter was lost and not sure where to go and what to do.   
             
7.)        One day two men, a younger and an older partially deaf man decided to go hunting in the woods. 
            They had wandered around and after a few hours they eventually got lost.
The younger man says to the older man "Well we're lost, what do we do now?" The older man says, "Oh! I know what to do! Fire three shots into the air, and the ranger will come and get us. It's the signal if you get lost round here. But I haven't got any ammo left."
The younger man says, "Its ok, I've got some left", and fires three shots. After three hours pass they have not been found, so the older man pipes up, "He hasn't heard, do it again."
The younger man replies, "ok," and fires another 3 shots. After three more hours pass they still have not been rescued. So, the older man says, "He still hasn't heard, do it again."
The younger man replies, "I can't, I've run out of arrows."
 
8.)        Jesus sees that Peter needs a new beginning, a new direction, and has lifted the anchor off of his spirit. It was then that Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me.” When Jesus spoke that word it is as if Jesus is saying to Peter, take the ruder and aim it in this new direction. Follow me, don’t follow your own ideas.     
 
9.)        Jesus Christ helped Peter let go of his past and gave him direction. Jesus Christ can help each of us let go of our past and give us new direction for the future. 
Do you have an anchor on your soul? Do you have a weight from your past that is holding you down? The Lord wants to forgive you. What do you need forgiveness for? Are you ready for a second chance in life? We need to say with hurt in the heart, forgive me Lord.   
Do you know where you are headed in life? Do you have a mission, a purpose, a passion that Christ is calling you to? Follow me. Where is your rudder aimed? Which direction are you going? We need to say, Lord help me to follow you more faithfully each day.   
 
10.)      There is a story about three men and their sacks and how it affected them. 
Each man had two sacks, one tied in front of his neck and the other tied on his back. When the first man was asked what was in his sacks, he said, "In the sack on my back are all the good things friends and family have done. That way they're hidden from view. In the front sack are all the bad things that have happened to me. Every now and then I stop, open the front sack, take the things out, examine them, and think about them." Because he stopped so much to concentrate on all the bad stuff, he really didn't make much progress in life.
The second man was asked about his sacks. He replied, "In the front sack are all the good things I've done. I like to see them, so quite often I take them out to show them off to people. The sack in the back? I keep all my mistakes in there and carry them all the time. Sure they're heavy. They slow me down, but you know, for some reason I can't put them down."
When the third man was asked about his sacks, he answered, "The sack in front is great. There I keep all the positive thoughts I have about people, all the blessings I've experienced, all the great things other people have done for me. The weight isn't a problem. The sack is like sails of a ship. It keeps me going forward.
"The sack on my back is empty. There's nothing in it. I cut a big hole in its bottom. In there I put all the bad things that I can think about myself or hear about others. They go in one end and out the other, so I'm not carrying around any extra weight at all."
What are you carrying in your sacks? (H. Norman Wright, The Perfect Catch (Bethany House, 2000), pp.28-29; submitted by Bonne Steffen, editor, Wheaton, Illinois)
            Jesus Christ wants us to look at all the things that we have been blessed with in our lives and when we have bad thoughts or experiences that we put them the sack behind us and they fall out, they don’t weigh us down. 
 
12.)      Don Miller writes this story about a time he went to a concert with his friend Rebecca. … I heard this folksinger was coming to town, and I thought she might like to see him because she was a singer too. … Between songs, though, he told a story that helped me resolve some things about God. The story was about his friend who is a Navy SEAL. He told it like it was true, so I guess it was true, although it could have been a lie.
The folksinger said his friend was performing a covert operation, freeing hostages from a building in some dark part of the world. His friend’s team flew in by helicopter, made their way to the compound and stormed into the room where the hostages had been imprisoned for months.
The room, the folksinger said, was filthy and dark. The hostages were curled up in a corner, terrified. When the SEALs entered the room, they heard the gasps of the hostages. They stood at the door and called to the prisoners, telling them they were Americans. The SEALs asked the hostages to follow them, but the hostages wouldn’t. They sat there on the floor and hid their eyes in fear. They were not of healthy mind and didn’t believe their rescuers were really Americans.
The SEALs stood there, not knowing what to do. They couldn’t possibly carry everybody out. One of the SEALs, the folksinger’s friend, got an idea. He put down his weapon, took off his helmet, and curled up tightly next to the other hostages, getting so close his body was touching some of theirs. He softened the look on his face and put his arms around them. He was trying to show them he was one of them. None of the prison guards would have done this. He stayed there for a little while until some of the hostages started to look at him, finally meeting his eyes. The Navy SEAL whispered that they were American and were there to rescue them. Will you follow us? he said. The hero stood to his feet and one of the hostages did the same, then another, until all of them were willing to go. The story ends with all the hostages safe on an American aircraft carrier.   (Don Miller in “Blue Like Jazz.”)
 
13.)      Jesus came to earth and came close to each of us. He sees when we fail and mess up and when we do the right things. He doesn’t shout out to a frightened world, Follow Me, no. He comes to us and hold us and loves us and looks at us and lets us know that even if we have denied knowing Him we are still loved. It is time to follow Him.