Posted on 17 October 2014.
Pastor Kristi J. Rhodes
Hillcrest Community Church
5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319
Over the years, I have had the privilege of being used by God to help many people, marriages, and families through some very hard seasons in their lives. Too often, people get stuck in a bad place and really struggle to find a way out. In many cases, some have resigned themselves to give up, believing there is no hope.
As a pastor, my calling is to point them to the hope—Jesus Christ—who is the hope of the world! There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain and restore hope to those who seem stuck in a bad place. Each new assignment brings its own challenges, but none that God can’t handle, for those who will trust him with the outcome in every situation.
As I was preparing my most favorite sandwich in the whole wide world (Jif peanut butter and almost any flavor of jelly), I was meditating on one of the most recent victories. I was in awe of God, praising Him for His power and thanking Him for trusting me with His precious child. I am amazed yet again of His amazing power to transform relationships for His glory.
The peanut butter on my sandwiches is always quite thick (yum) and I dropped the knife in the middle of the peanut butter and it stuck there. I got the knife out and cleaned the peanut butter off, then the lid to the jelly dropped on the peanut butter and stuck there. My thoughts went to—“hmm, I would like to get stuck in a sea of peanut butter.” Then I was reminded of how often we can get stuck in a good place, too!
We can get so comfortable in our peanut butter pews that we don’t want to go out and reach those who are lost or hurt, depressed, confused, or struggling in relationships, stuck in hopelessness. We can even become a hindrance to those who do. Those who won’t leave their comfort zone have lost sight of why the church exists in the first place. We dishonor God when we refuse to be used to expand His Kingdom.
When God has redeemed us and healed our broken relationships, healed our past hurts and scars, restored our dignity, and written our names in the Lamb’s book of Life, we should be so thankful that we want to help others. Just before Peter would experience the lowest point of his life thus far, Jesus told Peter in Luke 22:31-32, “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Peter was stuck in the worst place of his life—betrayal of his Lord—until he remembered Jesus’ words. Jesus’ powerful words restored Peter who in turn helped restore and strengthen his brothers. Let us be found faithful to Jesus’ Great Commission to “Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:19).