Category Archives: Jesus

Take a Breather

Mark 6:30–32 NIV
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.

Have you ever had one of these days? You know, the days when, with every great intention, you set out to make a dent in your world or at least your inbox. You lay down a vision for your day and wake up ready to kick some tasks and take some notes but before you even sit down at your desk the phone rings…

and then someone walks in your office with a crisis that needs your input…

then something in your workspace or building breaks…

then your kid gets sick at school and you have to pick them up and take them to the doc and then to the pharmacy…

then… and then… and then…

We’ve all been there, right?

This is where Jesus’ ministry staff finds themselves on this particular day. The apostles were right in the thick of this kind of ministry whirlwind. They came to Jesus for a staff meeting to share with him all that they have been doing and to get a little encouragment and development. The problem is that ministry doesn’t stop. Not for staff meetings. Not for office hours. Not when you’re on vacation. Not in the minutes leading up to the beginning of the Sunday servoce. Not. Ever.

Mark reports that people and problems kept interupting this personnel meeting and was so consuming that the apostles looked around a few hours later and realized that they worked right through lunch.

That’s when Jesus says, “Let’s go. Get in the boat. We are taking a break.”

Jesus sensed what they needed was some space, some breathing room. In fact, Jesus himself was probably stretched thin and, no doubt, was still greiving over the execustion of his cousin, John the Baptist earlier in this chapter. In the midst of ministry still left to do, Jesus hit the pause button and had everyone head to the lake.

So Jesus and the staff climb into the boat, cast off, and for a moment… there is quiet. There is stillness. There is no one and no situation vying for their attention. For a moment.

Mark 6:33–37 NIV
But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

The people needing to see Jesus and needing a word or needing healing realized what was happening and ran around the Sea of Galilee to meet them on the other side.

When I visited this region we took a boat across the Sea of Galilee and it took us roughly 45 minutes to an hour.

I’m not sure how long it took Jesus and the apostles to make the trip but I know this: They only had a short break before they were thrown right back into the thick of ministry activity.

Maybe I’m looking to deeply into this story but it resonates with my heart. On the far side of the lake, the apostles were fading fast. They were hungry, bombarded, and seemingly overwhelmed. They get into the boat, receive a short repreive from their work, and then they are seemingly ready for the next wave of pastoral care. On top of that, Jesus doesn’t let them off the hook when it comes to continuing to meet the increased needs of the people they are serving.

“You give them something to eat.”

I hear Jesus saying, “I gave you a chance to rest. It was enough. I am enough. Let’s show them what The Father is capable of.”

Today marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Culturally this is a season where you might hear Jesus-people talking about how they are giving up ice cream or posting on Facebook about how they aren’t going to be posting on Facebook for a few weeks. The season runs for approximately 40 days leading up to Easter. In the grand scheme of the year and certainity for the totality of your life 40 days isn’t a very long time. I mean, by comparison, the MLB season is 182 days.

What if you looked at the next 40 days as a time of respite and preparation for what is coming next?

For most of us in ministry, Easter Sunday is… a pretty big deal. I know that ministry cannot and will not stop completely for this season but how can you push pause and get in the boat with Jesus for a brief RnR? Maybe you make room in your heart through refraining from an activity or giving up sweets or deactivating your social media platforms or… what ever that looks like for you. Let God breath into you for the next few weeks.

Not because it’s trendy or a tradition or tantalizing but because you need it.

You need to rest because on the other side of the lake, there are more poeple to serve.

On the other side of these 40 days, Jesus needs you to feed his people.

Bringing the Heat

This Summer, I’ve been preaching out of Proverbs for my Summer Sermon Series: Wisdom for Living. Since it’s 4th of July weekend I decided to stick with the fireworks theme and talk about what God’s Word has to tell us about handling Relational Conflict. Light that fuse!

Where there are relationships, you will find conflict. When people interact and bump up against each other there will be conflict – big and small. Our culture loves to disagree over so many things: race, religion, family issues, politics, world views. You name it and people are fighting over it.

Now you might say, “Micheal, surely those of us who love Jesus don’t have to worry about conflict in the church!” After you’ve stop laughing and finished wiping the laughter-tears away, read this story:

In 1995, a man named Chuck Noland was stranded on a desert island after a horrific crash. He was alone on the island for nearly twenty years until a passing freighter spotted him on the beach last February. When his rescuers told him that they were there to take him home, he was overjoyed. Noland asked them if they would accompany him to the shelter he had built so that he could retrieve some of his belongings. When the group arrived at the shelter, they were amazed at how big and beautiful his island home was. Then someone noticed another structure to the right, larger and more grand than his home. When they asked Nolan what the other structure was he told them that it was his church – the place where he worshipped. Amazed at what Nolan had been able to build there in the jungle all by himself, the group turned to head back to the rescue ship. That’s when the saw a third building just as large and grand as the other two. They asked what this was and Nolan said in a hushed tone, “That’s the church I used to go to.”


The truth is that there is no perfect church because there are no perfect people. Churches split and relationships crumble, not due to conflict, but though the way we handle conflict. There are ways to approach conflict that can be life-giving and there are ways that can be soul-crushing. The number one reason that the church is irrelevant, ineffective, and gasping for air can be tied back to our unwillingness to deal with and work though conflict biblically.

As followers of Jesus Christ we must learn how to effectively deal with conflict when it arises. It is my hope through this lesson will help us, in light of our relationship with Jesus, RETHINK conflict and RELEARN how to effectively and positively deal with it in your life.

Here is what I truly believe: when we learn how to biblically handle conflict we will REVEL in our relationship with Jesus, experience RESTORED relationships with one another, and we will better REVEAL to the culture around us the God who pursues and redeems relationships broken by conflict.



Only One Life

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.

– CT Studd


When it is late at night and everyone has gone to bed I find myself alone in the quiet and stillness- often for the first time of day.

It is these times that I’m able to reflect on the events that have transpired over the course of the day. I think about things I learned or opportunities I missed. I think about places where I fell short and victories attained. It is in these times when I feel a strong hand form the Lord.

It is in these times that I know I am blessed.

  • I have a wife that loves me unconditionally.
  • I have a beautiful son who has a personality as large as his heart.
  • I have a beautiful daughter that is, right this minute, being knitted together by her heavenly Father.
  • I get to serve a church body that I love with all my heart.
  • I have men in my life that walk beside me as mentors, guides, and friends.
  • I have the ability to read and laugh and grow and share and the ability to do countless other things.
  • I have a Savior who, while I was still a sinner, died for me and purchased my freedom with his own life.

I live a crazy BLESSED life.

Want to know a secret? So do you.

Get quite, get still, and get thankful for all that you have been blessed with.

Sneak Peek

On Sunday I’m wrapping up our series UNSTOPPABLE on the life of Elisha. Our next sermon series is…

King's Speech iPad Wallpaper

THE KING’S SPEECH will be a study in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus has so much to say to us about LIFE, PRAYER, WORRY, and what it means to really FOLLOW HIM. I am so excited about this series! We kick it of on March 27th!


When I was a Senior in High School, I was injured during a football game and had to endure a few weeks of physical therapy in order to even walk without pain. The day I was cleared to return back to football was a Friday afternoon. Even though I knew I wouldn’t get to play that night I was so excited about being able to be on the sidelines, dressed in my gear, with my teammates. I couldn’t have been happier. That’s when it happened.

As I was driving to the game, I lady in a giant Cadillac t-boned me. She just decided that  she might try to cross 4 lanes of traffic by sliding under my Chevy pick-up. The back end of my truck popped up and I would have flipped or landed on my side but “luckily” the nose of my truck came down on the back end of an Infinity Q45.

I was disoriented. “What happened?”
I was angry at the lady. “Are you SERIOUS!!!”
I was confused. “Why did this happen to me?”
I was angry at God. “Why did YOU let this happen?!?!”

I had been blindsided. Things were looking up for me. Then out of nowhere… this. I had been enduring pain and frustration for so long. Now that I was better and things were getting back to normal how could this have happened? What’s the purpose? Why?

Have you been blindsided by life? I know you have because all of us have experienced a moment where everything changes in an instant.

The phone call with the test results.
When he told you that this isn’t working out and would like the ring back.
The heartbeat isn’t on the ultrasound.
A parent having to move in with you so you care care for them.
The scholarship that never materialized.
The rumors swirling around the break room about the cutbacks.

As I’ve been studying a preparing for my sermon this week I have been thinking about what our response to these moments should be. As children of God and as disciples of Jesus our response to pain, suffering, frustration, and disorientation is directly related to what we believe about God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

I wrote this down: In all things do not fret and do not fear, take courage and know that God is near.

God is with you. Jesus is here. That’s the underlying message of the Incarnation. God became flesh and dwelt among us.

Do you believe that? I hope you do. May that belief- the belief that God is with you- sustain you the next time the Cadillac of life decides to plow into you.

Do not fret and do not fear, take courage and know that God is near.

The Love of a Father

This Sunday is Father’s Day. I have been given the opportunity to preach again this weekend and I’ve been praying and seeking guidance on what God wants me to share about his nature, his Son, and the task set out before us as disciples. As I’ve been sitting here at my desk this morning I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around being a father and what it means to me a dad. My mind keeps going back to a video I showed in chapel back when I was a Campus Minister. The video told the incredible story of Dick and Ricky Hoyt. If you haven’t heard of these men, I’ll let this video from Ironman speak for itself (if reading in RSS, please click through in order to see the video).

I’m not going to lie to you. I weep every time I watch this. I don’t shed a tear or two. I don’t get misty eyed. My tear ducts let loose and torrent, my face contorts, and my shoulder move up and down. I boarder on sobbing. What a testimony to the love, commitment, and determination of a Father on behalf of his son!

I’m not sure yet what I’ll be sharing on Sunday but right now, the lesson of this video is shaping the way I want to parent. It is shaping the way I see Our Father.

Sermon: Over The Edge

Take a moment and let’s read the words of Jesus from Matthew 11:28-30.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 TNIV)

I’m here to tell you. I am TIRED! The month of April has wore me out! Anyone else here just plain tired right now?

When I about 12 years old I had a season pass to Wet ‘n Wild in Garland. I would ride my bike to the park and then spend the entire afternoon riding the rides and hanging out in the wave pool. Oh. I loved the wave pool! If you’ve never been to one of these water parks there is a large pool in the center of the park and every fifteen minutes or so a bell rings, kids go crazy, and everyone flocks to the pool to enjoy the waves. A giant machine pumps water into the big pool and causes these massive waves to build up and if I remember right these waves can get as high as 30-50feet (Don’t check that fact. Just trust me).  The wave pool really is a ton of fun but it can also be really, really dangerous. One time I was in the wave pool and I was extremely tired. I decided I was going to climb out of the pool at the ladder but I slipped, fell into the high waves, and then struggled to stay above the water. The waves kept coming and pounding me and I was helpless to do anything. By the time it was over I felt bruised, beaten, and helpless. I was done with the water park.

The sheer power of the water and the constant beat-down I received from the waves drained me of all energy and stamina. I couldn’t take the constant pounding. I just wanted to quit. I was tired. I was used up. I was done.

Maybe that’s how some of you feel today as you sit here. April has been a difficult month for us all and some more than others.

  • Stomach bug
  • TAKS test
  • Surgery
  • Illness
  • Accidents
  • Emotional pain
  • Allergies
  • Death

This week I heard a seminar teacher challenge me with this thought. He said each week, someone in your community is In Trouble, Under Tension, or Going Through Transition. That pretty much sums up our problems doesn’t it?

This week, some of you were In Trouble. Your marriage is in trouble. Your kid is in trouble. Your job is in jeopardy. The credit card payment is due and you have no idea how you’re going to pay it. The brakes went out and there goes your bonus. Trouble is beating you down.

This week, some of you were Under Tension. (Joker- Dark Knight Score- The tension just keeps being ratcheted up as the film progresses) That relationship you’re in did not get better, in fact it is now worse. You were tested this week to compromise your integrity and your faith. You are under tension. Some of you in here are Under Tension with God. Your faith has taken so many hits you don’t know if God is even real. You are struggling to even care about your faith. You are living Under Tension.

This week, some of you are Going Through Transition. You are adding a family member. That means a new budget and a new schedule. You got promoted and demoted. Your teen started driving or got in a wreck this week- either way you’re transitioning into a new payment plan with your insurance agency. Life may be full of transition but transition/moving is tough.

Trouble, tension, and transition can be overwhelming. For some people the problems in life get too much to handle. People get depressed, apathetic, and despondent. Life becomes way too much to handle. When life becomes this hard we can relate to these words of Lamentations:

“Remember, LORD, what has happened to us; look, and see our disgrace.

Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners.

We have become fatherless, our mothers are widows.

We must buy the water we drink; our wood can be had only at a price.

Those who pursue us are at our heels; we are weary and find no rest. (Lamentations 5:1-5 TNIV)

However, there is good news. Today’s message should not leave you feeling like Debbie Downer. Here is the Good News:

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then can condemn? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39 TNIV)

Have you ever heard of the Tojinbo cliffs of Japan. These cliffs on the northern coast of the Sea of Japan are a formidable sight. Powerful winds and waves have pounded these shores and over time they have carved these ominous and treacherous cliffs.

Just looking at these cliffs you can almost imagine the sheer power and the drama that carved these cliffs can’t you.

The country of Japan has been faced with a suicide epidemic over the last few years. The suicide rate in Japan is more than twice that of the US. According to Time magazine, 1 in 5 Japanese men and women have contemplated suicide and 30,000 a year for the last 10 years have committed suicide. That is 300,000 people! In fact the article I read was from 2009 and that year from Jan to April, 11,236 people had committed suicide that year.

Many of those suicides happen at the Tojinbo cliffs. When the weight of the world comes crashing down on people they come to these cliffs to contemplate the end of their lives.

Maybe some of you have been in a similar place in life. The weight of the world seems like it is about to crush you and you just need some help, some relief.

Some of you know what it is like to stand at the cliffs of Tojinbo. You know what it is like to feel overwhelmed, lost, afraid, and alone. I think feeling alone and abandoned is the worst part of our pain. And Satan loves to exploit this. He’ll whisper to you that God doesn’t care. God can’t hear you. God has abandoned you. Satan loves to make you feel alone.

For years, the people who went to the cliffs of Tojinbo to end their lives were alone. However, since 2004, they have someone looking out for them. There is now someone who meets them at the cliffs, who counsels them, and who takes them in.


For five years, Yukio Shige, 65, has approached people at the cliffs’ edge with a simple “Hello” and a smile. He might ask how they came there and at what inn they were staying. Sometimes after a light touch to the shoulder, Shige says, they burst into tears, and he begins to console them. “You’ve had a hard time up until now,” he says, “haven’t you?”

The retired detective from nearby Fukui City has patrolled the cliffs two or three times a day since 2004, wearing white gloves and a floppy sun hat, carrying binoculars to focus on three spots on the cliffs where suicides are most common. After he’s talked them off the cliffs, Shige–a trained counselor–takes them to his small office, (for) counseling sessions. For men, Shige says, the biggest problems are debt and unemployment; most of the women are there because of depression or health issues. “If it’s a case of sexual harassment, I’ll go with her to the office and confront her boss,” says Shige. “If a child has issues with his father, I tell the parent that he is driving his child to suicide and get them to write a promise to change. They hang it on the wall.”

In April, on the fifth anniversary of starting his operation, Shige sat reading a three-page, handwritten letter he had received that day from a Shizuoka man, one of many he gets from those he has helped. The letter concluded by thanking Shige for providing the man with an awareness of the love that surrounded him. As Shige finished reading, the melody of “Amazing Grace” rose from his cell phone. “I want Tojinbo to be the most challenging place,” he says. “Not where life ends, but where it begins.”

Guess what? In your life today at your cliff of Tojinbo- whatever your feeling, whatever your trouble, whatever the pain- you have Yukio Shige and his name is Jesus Christ.

You see, Jesus himself has been to the cliff. In Genesis, we find the first prophecy ever concerning Jesus. God warns Satan about the coming King by saying that, Satan will bite his heel but that Jesus will crush his head. One of the Hebrew words for a cliff is SHE-en and it means Sharp as a Tooth. Jesus triumphs over the Sharp Teeth that try and destroy us.

Jesus left the throne room of heaven to become a man. He walked the earth and lived among us. He didn’t just speak to us from afar behind the pearly gates. He didn’t call out from behind the clouds, “I feel your pain!” No! He came to earth and he touched and healed the sick, the poor, the hurting. He knows what you’re going through because he knew suffering while on this earth. His family rejected him, his followers abandoned him, he was beaten and hung on a tree.

Jesus deals with the true source of our pain- Sin. One of my favorite parts of the article is when Shige deals with the source of the people’s pain. If the problem is the boss, he talks with the boss. If it is a family member, he talks to the family member. He goes straight to the source of the pain and the problem.

For us all pain and hurt and confusion come back to Sin and its effects. Sometimes the sin is committed against us and sometimes we suffer the consequences of our own sin. God was no satisfied with sin separating Him from us.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2Corinthians 5:21 TNIV)

The Cross is where life begins. If you are struggling in your life right now with anything you are at a moment of challenge. How will you respond? Will you give up, abandon hope, abandon faith? Will you believe the lie that you are alone and that God wants nothing more to do with you? OR… Will you believe that through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ you have an advocate and a Savior more powerful than any problem in your life?

“We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

If we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:2-12 TNIV)

New Day, New Beginning

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomband saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.If you forgive the sins of anyone, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”

Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 20:1-21:25 TNIV)

Making Jesus Famous

If you have not read The Tipping Point, Blink, or Outliers than you are probably unfamiliar with one of the greatest storytellers and one of the most brilliant writers around- the great Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell’s latest, What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures, is a collection of his favorite articles written for The New Yorker. Gladwell has the uncanny knack of drawing you into something that is at first mundane and somewhat uninteresting. However, you quickly begin to find a hidden nugget of wisdom or truth right smack dab in the middle of a story about Hush Puppies or airline disasters.

That’s why it came as no surprise to me that as I was reading his article about Ron Popeil last night I was reminded of the most important truth for authentic God-honoring ministry- the key is making Jesus famous.

You don’t know who Ron Popeil is? I’m certain that you know about his greatest product to date: The Ronco Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ. The tag line is unforgettable: (Say it with me) Just Set it & Forget it!!! The Showtime has sold millions of units and made a billion dollars all because of a twenty eight minute and thirty second informercial filmed and financed and starring Ron Popeil. According to Gladwell, Popeil “didn’t use a single focus group. He had no market researchers, R&D teams, public relations advisers, Madison Avenue advertising companies, or business consultants. He dreamed up something new in his kitchen and went out and pitched it himself.”

Gladwell makes it perfectly clear that in the informercial- in any of his infomercials- Ron Popeil is decidedly not the star. The product is the star! Ron built a product that is designed well- designed in such a way that the user can see “the magic happen” and Ron simply shows the thing off. He lets the machine sell itself!

So what does that have to do with making Jesus famous? I am NOT comparing Jesus to a stupid rotisserie or even saying that ministry is about selling Jesus as a cheap product. Repeat: I am NOT comparing Jesus to a stupid rotisserie or even saying that ministry is about selling Jesus as a cheap product. Heaven forbid that I reduce the King of Kings to a thing like that! However, I have learned a valuable lesson from Mr. Popeil.

As a minister of Jesus Christ the greatest way for me to make Jesus famous is to allow people to see more of Jesus than they see of me.

Jesus said that when He is lifted up, then He will draw everyone unto himself. (John 12:32) That is a powerful promise! The power of love was made evident when Jesus was lifted up on the cross. The power of new life was made known when Jesus was raised from the dead. As Jesus ascended into heaven the power of mission was given to us. The power of Jesus is still best understood and radically experienced when we lift Him up to a dying and broken world.

If we would lift Jesus up higher than our churches, higher than our ministries, higher than ourselves… If we would make it our goal to make the name and person of Jesus Christ more famous than ourselves… can you imagine what would happen?

Do you want to make a difference in the lives of others? Do you want to see marriages healed and families strengthened? Do you want to see people released from lives marked by fear, greed, pain, and sorrow?

Than get out of the way and lift high the One who can really change broken lives.

Lift up Jesus Christ- put Him at the center of your ministry and life- and let him be the star.