Sermon Series: Peter

4/15 - 6/4/2023

This series will focus on the man, Simon Peter, who followed Jesus during his adult ministry and experienced a deep relationship with the Messiah. Like us, he is imperfect. Like us, his deep desire is to draw nearer to Jesus. However, his best intentions don’t always play out in picture-perfect manner. That, we can understand. In this eight-week journey, we will discover the pivotal lessons and teachings for which Jesus bestows upon Peter in the gospel narratives and book of Acts, as well as witness to the reactions of Peter himself. This series is focused on our participation in Jesus’ ministry that has been bursting at the seams ever since those Galilean 1st century days, when Peter was first called to follow the Messiah. A masterclass in God’s redeeming grace, we will be reminded in this series that we cannot do it alone. And even when we fail, we aren’t hung out to dry. Our relationship with Jesus is the key, just as we see with Peter and Jesus.


6/3 - 6/4/2023 (June 3/4) | Peter and Cornelius

Peter recounts the story of Cornelius, explaining his actions to the leaders in Jerusalem.

5/27 - 5/28/2023 (May 27/28) | Peter’s Pentecost Sermon

5/13 - 5/14/2023 (May 13/14) | Peter’s Three-Fold Denial of Jesus

Peter not wanting Jesus to wash his feet — the joy of service and sacrifice in that. Deeper magic.

5/6 - 5/7/2023 (May 6/7) | Peter Confesses that Jesus is the Messiah

  Though the populace does not yet grasp Jesus’ true identity, in Matthew’s Gospel at least, the disciples are beginning to see. Sometime earlier, the disciples had seen Jesus walk on water in the midst of a storm, provoking them to worship Jesus and say, “Truly you are the Son of God” (Matthew 14:22-36). But now, in a peaceful setting, Jesus asks his disciples directly, “Who do you say that I am?” Perhaps speaking for them all, or perhaps speaking only for himself, Simon Peter states his belief — his confession — that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. Jesus responds by blessing Simon, proclaiming that his confession, his understanding that Jesus is the Messiah, is the work of God, who has revealed this to Simon. But … has God revealed everything about Jesus and his vocation to Simon? Evidently not; for not long after this, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must suffer. Peter didn’t see this coming. He didn’t understand, or didn’t what to. Jesus rebuked Simon Peter for being a “stumbling block,” even calling him “Satan” (Matthew 16:21-23).

Like Peter, we also struggle at times to fully realize the titles and identity of Jesus. The challenge is three-fold: understanding, believing, and sharing. The three of these are each unique aspects of following Christ, and each important. How can we learn from Peter’s honest conversations with Jesus and the lesson he learned from Jesus setting the record straight about our focus (16:23)? We quickly see that Jesus cares much more about our focus on the concerns of God, rather than human concerns. This is namely why the Church is important. It helps with this mission that Jesus has set before us and calls us toward. The church is the Holy Spirit-filled community of people who find a key priority in the concerns of God, regardless of what the world offers.

4/29 - 4/30/2023 (April 29/30 ) | Peter Witnesses Jesus’ Transfiguration

Peter being unable to comprehend a crucified Messiah- How can they not understand? God does not have to make sense to them … nobody understood this coming. This is the humility and pride of all of us.

4/22 - 4/23/2023 (April 22/23) | Peter Walks on Water … For a Moment

Jesus does the unthinkable. Walking out to his disciples, on the water of the sea of Galilee, he stuns them with his majesty and well, ability to walk on water. Like the disciples, we would want the same validation and confirmation of identity … I mean, is that really you, Jesus? Comforting, Jesus affirms who he is. Jesus greets us with a word of peace and calmness (14:27). Here we see Peter’s yearning for Jesus, as he suggests to Jesus that if he called him, Peter would walk out to him. And when Jesus said, “Come,” Peter climbed over the side of the boat. When he got out there, for at least a few moments, Peter walked on the surface of the water himself. With his attention fixed on Christ, he participated in the glorious miracle (of walking on water) too. But then the wind hit his face. He became overwhelmed and his faith in Jesus was challenged by fear of circumstance (the wind). When he prioritized the storm over attention on Jesus, he sank like a rock. Thrusting his hand upward, Peter cried out “Save me.” And Jesus did.



But he also rebuked Peter for his “little faith,” oligopistos. Pointedly, Jesus asked Peter, “Why did you doubt?” When Peter stepped out of the boat, he took a risk. It was only by taking a risk that he was able to walk on water at all, if even only for a moment. We don’t often think of our faith as being about risk-taking. We live in a country that makes it seem easy, without risk, to be a Christian — but that is an appealing lie. Being a Christian is risk free only so long as we don’t take it too seriously, don’t let our faith truly shape our priorities and agendas. Once we step forward to admit and to proclaim that Jesus is Lord of all creation, much less our own lives, we embark on a journey that is all about taking risks, about stepping out of the boat ourselves.

4/15 - 4/16/2023 (April 15/16 ) | Peter’s Invitation to Follow Jesus

Jesus is gathering disciples. When Jesus calls out to them and says, “Come and see” — they are introduced to someone who will forever change their lives. By this point, the pair know only what they have learned from John the Baptizer. Recognizing Jesus by his appropriate title, “The Messiah” (John 1:41), the brothers are off to a great start. This encounter gives us a feel for what it would have been like to uncover the best kept secret, as they did in that moment… the (long-awaited) Messiah is HERE. Present. What is the first thing Andrew does? To run (not walk, RUN) to get his brother, Simon (Peter), excitedly telling him the good news. It is “go and get” so Simon can “come and see” for himself. Sometimes in our cultural hustle, we lose sight of the call to “come and see” where God is calling us. The reality remains that Jesus actively and purposely invites us still, today. In this journey through the encounters of Peter and Jesus, let us turn our attention toward the practical faith which we have inherited: we must emulate this invitation and welcome all, just as Jesus did. Be bold. Be ready for the call. Come and see!

All Series

2/22 - 4/9/2023
Jesus is the King of Kings and the Servant of Humankind; the Alpha and Omega, and the Lion and the Lamb. He goes by a multitude of names, each one of them allowing a glimpse into the picture of Christ’s redemptive work for humanity. The Christological discourse serves as the underpinning for the work of the church and the past two millennia of human history at a macro level. Yet, the microlevel requirements for the daily interactions of a modern person feel elusive and confusing. Knowing that Jesus is the Beginning and the End, the Word of God revealed to Humanity is essential to our faith, but we are left wondering what are the basic teachings for our kids and ourselves. What are we to do with our faith? In all of his conversations and relationships, the venerated titles that Christ held were rarely of proclamations of his own. He made it clear that he was God, but did not seek active worship from the people of his time. His directive was, “Follow me.” The vocabulary implications of this simple request was that Jesus would be walking towards some end goal. We are to accompany him on that journey, or in so many other ways, he would be accompanying us in that journey. Our faith calls us to walk with Jesus. In the season of Lent, we are faced with the reality of the where Jesus’s journey would take him. The cross, the heart wrenching penultimate act of his ministry, is where the road would take him, and at no point does he look at his followers and ask them to not go further with him. The followers were called to be with him in every step until the end. In trying to understand what the personhood of Jesus means for our daily lives, the teachings we must rely on are the fundamentals he outlined from his earliest ministry day and continued to reiterate until those final moments.
More Than Conquerors
5/14 - 6/19/2022
In the early first century, culturally speaking, everything was positioned around the idea that a nation ought to expand and conquer to accumulate power and influence. In this way, the movement that began with Jesus was positioned well to be a religion that was focused on going out in the world, spreading its message to new nations, and converting others to this system of beliefs. The world was primed for a religious movement that would respond to the great commission, and in effect, go forth and conquer. Yet, the church was not about conquering. It did not hope to extinguish and assimilate every other person and culture. Instead, the early church grew on the basis that it had the ability to universally speak to the human condition of brokenness and offer hope and promise in the wake of that very condition. The church would be more than the conquerors. Everyone was coming to believe in the promise of God. The Gospel reached into different cultures, differently idioms and languages altogether. In this message, they preached and believed that Jesus would return again, and would return again sooner rather than later. Nobody could have fathomed the idea that 2000 years into the future, we would still be waiting on this return. They were teaching each other lessons and lifting each other up in the hopes that they would be alive to see the grand return. However, those lessons taught have a practicality that transcends any time period. In growing over this time, the church moved beyond the disciples. What was once an effort of individuals and leaders who had all had direct connections to, and conversations with, the risen Lord now transitioned to a movement of different ages, nations, and races of converted believers who had simply heard the Good News of the Gospel. They would lean on their own spiritual experiences of the divine rather than tangible interactions with God Incarnate. What will leadership look like in this new Church? Who can be a part of this faith movement? What will be required to participate? Most importantly, how do those messages speak to us today?
4/23 - 5/8/2022
Easter has come, Christ has been resurrected. We have enjoyed the big celebrations, the Easter egg hunts, and the family meals, but we forget that there was more than an empty tomb after Christ was resurrected. There were more visits than the brief encounter of the women in the garden. A fully resurrected Christ is a free Christ. Jesus could have gone anywhere and done anything after the resurrection, and yet he chose to search for the disciples. Jesus sought out the ones who abandoned and failed him more than anyone else. The ones who swore loyalty disappeared. The ones who followed in his footsteps for three years turned their backs on the suffering Savior. The ones who pledged to help transform the world abandoned the mission in fear and shame. Yet the story of the cross and resurrection is true for each of us through the power of God’s grace: we are more than our worst moments. The worst thing is never the last thing. What might those disciples have been feeling after the cross? Can you imagine the deep silence between them? The shared knowledge of their failures? The unrelenting question: “What now?” Brene Brown defines shame as “an intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love, belonging, and connection.” It is not hard to imagine the deep shame of these disciples, one that each of them knew intimately and yet did not want to name. Shame assigns identity based on our worst moments. It thrives on secrecy. It is “the fear that something we’ve done or failed to do, an ideal we’ve not lived up to, or a goal we’ve not accomplished makes us unworthy of connection” (Brene Brown, Atlas of the Heart, 137). We see over and over again in the Gospels and Acts scenes of redemption and healing through God’s grace. Jesus could have chosen to abandon the ones who left him at the cross, who pretended they did not even know him, to start from scratch with better disciples. Yet in God’s infinite grace and unrelenting love, the disciples were chosen for connection, relationship, and entrusted with the mission of Christ. Jesus confronts their failures head on. This is the Christian story: our deepest shame is redeemed and we are transformed into world-changing disciples