Happy Wednesday, FCC! I don’t know if your day will be relaxed or busy, but remember God is not only working in you, he is working around you. He is at work drawing people to Jesus. Ask him to help you see his work and ask him to help you to join in with his work. Ask for opportunities to help the people you encounter today to meet, know, and follow Jesus.
"Do not be afraid"
Maybe you remember the story. Jesus is teaching the crowd on the shoreline, while sitting in Simon Peter’s fishing boat (Luke 5.1-3). After Jesus finished teaching, he told Simon to push the boat out into deeper waters and let down his fishing nets. Peter is startled that Jesus would tell him to do this. You see, Jesus isn’t a fisherman. He is a teacher who grew up in a carpenter’s home. Peter is a small business owner, and his work is fishing. He has a business partnership with other guys named James and John. And Peter, James, and John have spent the whole night fishing, and they didn’t catch a thing. Also, Jesus’ command to Simon seems to reveal that Jesus doesn’t know much about fishing, because Jesus is recommending that he fish with nets during the day. All the fishermen knew that you don’t fish with nets during the day--the fish see the nets and swim around them.
After an honest response to Jesus —”Master, we fished all night and didn’t catch anything” — Peter says to Jesus, “At your word I will let down my net.”
And this is where things get interesting. Peter and his partners go from having a terrible day in business to the greatest day in business. They catch so many fish that their nets begin to break and all of their boats begin to sink under the weight of the catch. But Peter isn’t celebrating. He is terrified in Jesus’ presence.
He tells Jesus, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5.8). Why such a response? Well, Peter is beginning to connect the dots about who Jesus is. Up to this point, Peter has seen Jesus heal his mother-in-law from illness, exercise authority over evil spirits, and heard Jesus teach with authority. Peter knows there is something unique about Jesus, but now in the boat Peter is learning more. Peter is realizing that Jesus is utterly unique in his possession of the power of God. Jesus is able to do things only God can do and Jesus is able to know things that only God can know, and thus, this Jesus is more than a miracle worker and teacher, he is God himself in Jesus. And God can’t sin, because God is holy, pure, and in him there is no darkness. Peter realizes that the holy, pure God is in his boat in the person of Jesus. Wow. No wonder Peter was terrified. Peter knows he is a sinful man, and Peter knows that God can’t stand sin.
It’s in this moment that Jesus starts to show Simon and us that God is different than what we expect. Simon expects punishment, expects rejection—he's a sinful man. But Jesus tells Simon not to be afraid. With Jesus, sinful people can be in the presence of God’s holiness and not be afraid. See, it is true that Jesus can’t stand sin. But it is also true that Jesus is crazy about sinful people. Jesus has come, not to punish our sins, but to restore us into relationship with the God against whom we have sinned.
When Jesus says, “Do not be afraid,” he’s not saying that because Jesus is soft on sin or because sin isn’t going to be punished. Jesus is able to tell Simon not to be afraid, because Jesus is going to take Simon’s punishment. Roughly three years after Jesus told Simon not to be afraid, Jesus was condemned to die on a cross. He wasn’t condemned because of any wrong he did. He was condemned because of the wrong we did. He wasn’t punished on a cross because of his sin, he was punished on a cross for Simon’s sin, my sin, your sin. Jesus cried out on the cross, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” You see, the reason we can be unafraid in the presence of holiness, though we have sinned, is because Jesus was rejected so we can be accepted.
Remember today, because of Jesus, you can be honest with yourself about yourself, and know that you, too, are a sinful person. But because of Jesus, you can also live without fear of punishment and condemnation or rejection by God. Jesus has taken the punishment and condemnation for you. Jesus has been rejected so you can be accepted.
Do not be afraid. God loves you, and Jesus proves it.
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We had a great kick-off to the “Encounter” series last week. I sure hope you were able to join us. If not, you can watch or listen to the sermons in the “Encounter” series at fcchudson.com or the FaithBase app.
This Sunday, Pastor Tim Prince will be helping us encounter Jesus as we learn about Jesus and his encounter with a “sinful woman” (Luke 7.36-50). This is a powerful encounter, where a very religious man is left shocked and dumbfounded at Jesus’ great forgiveness, and a sinful woman is brought close to Jesus and receives such great forgiveness, that she leaves with great love in her heart for Jesus, because she knows that Jesus has great love for her. I can’t wait for you all to learn about Jesus from this sermon. Be praying and thinking about someone you could invite, who needs to hear of the great forgiving love of Jesus.
Remember: Being on mission is as simple and important as being honest in your relationships about the impact Jesus has on your life and inviting others to meet Jesus for themselves.
Want to listen to this week’s worship music playlist? FCC is now on Spotify! Check it out here. (You’ll need to sign up for a free Spotify account to listen, if you don’t already have one.)
Come and hear an update in the services on the Szymans’ ministry, as they seek to play their role in making disciples among an unreached people group in the Twin Cities. After three years of ministry experience among an unreached people group in the Twin Cities, Zack, Angie and Jadon Szyman have recently joined the SALT team with Arrive Ministries. This team is seeking to obey Jesus’ Great Commandment (loving God and our unreached neighbors as ourselves) and His Great Commission (to make disciples of all peoples). The Szymans’ role will be focused on gathering a “Disciple Making Team” in their neighborhood, centered on building friendships with their unreached neighbors as they share their lives and God’s word, through oral Bible stories. They are investing in this people group and equipping other believers to do the same. Zack also has a unique job selling camel milk, which allows him to bless and meet more people within this group!
There are two additional opportunities to meet the Szymans to learn more about partnering in prayer, volunteering and financial giving.
Led by Chris Willeke
After both services in the Refuge Room
This workshop is based on the book by William Fay, “Share Jesus without Fear,” which was written to offer help in directing our conversations towards spiritual opportunities to introduce our friends, neighbors, colleagues and even new encounters to Jesus. Come for this workshop to learn a simple approach to sharing Jesus that requires no memorization and avoids unnecessary confrontations and arguments. Child care is not available for this workshop.
Romans 11:34-35 (God’s Character)
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
We look more like Jesus and experience the joy of community when we serve each other, our neighbors, and our city. Check out these new service opportunities (and more) at fcchudson.com or the FaithBase app:
LEARN ABOUT FCC events and registrations at fcchudson.com or the app. Search for “Faith Community Church Hudson” on the App Store or Google play to download the app.
PRAYER REQUESTS + CARE NEEDS are posted on the Prayer + Care wall on the FaithBase app. You can also sign up on the app under “Emails + Registrations,” if you would like to receive an email when new prayer requests and care needs are posted.
Wondering if something at FCC is canceled? Check fcchudson.com or the FaithBase app.