GOING DEEP

CONFESSION / LORD’S PRAYER

(READ OUT LOUD:  IF WITH FRIENDS/FAMILY, TAKE TURNS READING EACH SECTION)

Faithful One, we long to trust your steadfast faithfulness. We yearn to know your life-giving love. Love us into faithful living. Wash over us with your grace. Nourish us with the water of your presence, and lead us to eternal life. In the name of your love, we pray.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever. Amen.

SCRIPTURE

(READ OUT LOUD:  IF WITH FRIENDS/FAMILY, TAKE TURNS READING EACH SECTION)

(Luke 5:1-11)  Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2 he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 

3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 

5 Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 

8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 

11 When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

PRAYER

God, help us to understand you more.  Help us to understand ourselves more.  Help us to live our lives and navigate our relationships the way you intend.  Thank you for this time of worship.  Amen.

SERMON

(READ OUT LOUD:  IF WITH FRIENDS/FAMILY, TAKE TURNS READING EACH SECTION)

 

(5:3a) He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore…

This is how it starts.  A bit of inconvenience.  A friend starts talking about — God.  A friend keeps talking about — God.  You weren’t planning on it, but you end up at a Sunday church service.  God weasels his way into your life.  God steps onto your boat.  He wasn’t invited.  But there he is.

Now, Simon could have turned him away.  But he doesn’t.  And you can always ask him to step right back out of your boat.  But don’t!  At least wait to see what happens.  What else do you have to do?

(5:3b) …Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

Who knows, maybe you enjoy having him on your boat.  He does his thing, you do yours.

Maybe you let him hang out on your boat — in your life — by going to church every Sunday for a few weeks, or a few months.  

But then he asks you to go deeper. 

(5:4)  “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”

Something in you longs to go deeper.  But deeper is scary — dangerous.  

And he tells Simon to go fishing.  But Simon’s been fishing all day.  You’ve been fishing your whole life and still haven’t caught what you’re looking for (U2 reference).  But now Jesus is on your boat — and he tells you to try again.  Will him being on my boat really make a difference?   Who is this guy anyway?  At this point, he’s just some guy — on my boat.  

On the other hand, crowds of people seem to think he’s worth taking seriously.  So, maybe…you take the risk.  Or you don’t.

I’ve had people who have wanted to go deeper in relationship with me than I wanted to go with them, and I’ve wanted to go deeper in relationship with others than they wanted to go with me.  One person invites the other person to take the relationship into deeper waters, which puts the ball in the their court — “should I go or should I stay, now (Clash reference)?”

You don’t say yes to everyone who asks you to sail into deep waters, that’s for sure. 

For instance, there are plenty of people I didn’t marry.  And then there’s Tiffany.  Tiffany and I both made the choice to go deeper — and now we’re in real deep — and loving it!

If you’re reading this, God stepped into your boat.  And maybe him doing his thing and you doing yours worked for awhile.  But now he wants to go deeper.  Will you go or will you stay, now?

I can’t tell you there isn’t risk involved.  Of course there is.  There always is.  Vulnerability.  Danger.  The sea in the ancient world, represented the unknown.  They could only imagine what Herculean monsters lurked beneath those murky depths.  Likewise, we can’t know what dangers lurk beneath and beyond the deep when “he calls us out upon the waters (Oceans).”  That is just the way it is with the deep.  

Many religious folks (along with the spiritual-but-not-religious folks) are very comfortable with God stepping into their boat — but not steering it.  He’s a great passenger, but hand him the wheel?!  

And then he pipes up — “You’ve given the steering thing and the fishing thing a try…now its my turn.”

The audacity — he wants a turn at the wheel!  …on Monday.

(5:5)  Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.”

Simon:  “I’m NOT comfortable with this at all.  But…okay.”  

Simon chooses the dangerous deep over the shallow shallows!

(5:6)  When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 

Then the miracle.  Jesus is no longer just some guy in the boat.  

Let him take you into the deep.  You’ll see.

He’s the answer to the questions you have been asking your whole life.  

He’s the end of your search.  He’s the destination.  He’s your DESTINY.

(5:10)  …Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 

Jesus:  “Your life will take on new meaning and purpose.  I know this feels bigger than you.  It is.  And you will now be a part of it.”

Peter’s life became about something bigger than him.

If you haven’t freaked out the way Peter did, you probably haven’t gone deep.  

If your faith has always been comfortable, you probably haven’t gone deep.  

It’s not too late.

(5:11) …they left everything and followed him.

This verse only makes sense at the end of the narrative.  You can’t get from “Jesus steps into your boat” to “radically reorienting your life around him” without the verses and experiences in-between.

You don’t get there without going deep.

It’s more or less comfortable allocating him to 1/7th of 1/7th of your boat, by spending 1/7th of your Sunday at church each week.  But that won’t get you to verse 11.

Don’t let Jesus be — just some guy in your boat.

Go deep!

“…where trust is without borders!”

APPLICATION:

What does deeper look like — for you — this week?

DEEPER IN PRAYER:  Not more, but deeper prayer.  (= practicing the presence of God)

Action:  Purchase the book, Practicing His Presence, by Brother Lawrence.

DEEPER IN SCRIPTURE:  Not more, but deeper reading.  (= re-read one passage every day)

Action:  Make yourself a reminder to read our weekly scripture passage each morning at 8am.

DEEPER IN COMMUNITY:  Not more, but deeper community.  (= deeper conversation)

Action:  Decide when and where you can pursue a meaningful conversation about your faith.  Contact someone you can invite to meet you for coffee or lunch (or…?) to create a context for you to pursue this action step.

LISTEN TO THE FOLLOWING SONG ON YOUTUBE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GGFb6LcX3U

(or type in: “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) - Hillsong United - Lyrics - Zion 2013”)

CLOSING PRAYER:

Thank you for giving us this narratival window into the life-giving encounter you had with Peter.

Thank you for climbing onto his boat, and for inviting him to discover and fulfill his destiny.

May we learn to respond to you as Peter did.

As Peter learned to trust you without borders, may we too learn to trust you completely.

As Peter became an unstoppable force in the world, may we too become stronger than our circumstances.

As Peter became a hero in your story, may we become heroes in the stories you want to write with our lives.

Lord, we welcome you in our boats and we invite you to direct them — even into the deep.

Call us out upon the waters — even into that great unknown where our feet will inevitably fail — so that we might discover that it is not the earth under our feet holding us up, nor those loose boat boards upon which we so feebly place our trust, but you alone.  You alone cause us to stand.  You alone hold us up.  Therefore, in you alone will we place our trust.

Amen.

Oceans

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep my faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sov'reign hand will be my guide


Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour

© 2018 by Woodland Hills Presbyterian Church

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