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Pastor's June Letter
June 7, 2021, 12:00 PM

 One of the worst problems for anyone to face occurs when a person pours out their very best hard work in the pursuit of a goal only to fail to achieve a reward for their effort. The worst case is when great effort makes things worse instead of better. During the Great Depression people worked hard but failed to make a living, others were killed as they worked because of a lack of safety standards. Still other workers who were willing to work hard found no place to work. In such situations people feel alone, worthless and shamed because they could not measure up to the own expectations or the expectations placed on them by others. A severe, life threatening crisis happens when there is no way for a person to find value, respect, or even life itself. In such a crisis the question is will a person turn to God or not?

brokenness and loneliness that come from failure creates a yearning for refuge and hope in some form. Often any form of relief and hope is tempting. Consider the Apostle Peter. Peter placed great expectations on himself. When he saw Jesus the first time, Jesus filled his nets after a night of futile fishing. Peter reacted to the blessing with the words “away from me Lord, I am a sinful man”. Peter was a failure in his own eyes and could not imagine how he could receive the blessings of the Lord. Later, before the Lord’s arrest Peter expressed his determination to follow the Lord ever if it cost him his life. Jesus knew of his inability and prophesied that instead of dying for Christ he would deny the Lord three times. Depressed and broken Peter always found it hard to trust in the Lord, even the resurrected Lord. Even after seeing the resurrected Lord twice, Peter decided to go back to fishing on the lake rather than living by the Lord’s promise that he and his brothers would be fishers of men. Peter’s anxiety drove him away from God, into deeper self sufficiency and deeper despair. only source of relief that could help Him was fellowship with the Lord.

Jesus knew this and sought out Peter and his fellow fisherman. The Lord found them, shared their burdens and gave them relief from their futile choices. Again, after a failed night of fishing the Lord filled their nets. He then served them breakfast using the fish and bread he al had and the fish the fisherman had caught. The Lord after the meal turned his attention to Peter’s lack of faith. Jesus rehabilitated His relationship with the depressed Peter, by first feeding him and then asking him to profess his love to the Lord three times. With each expression of love, the Lord told him to feed and take care of His flock. Jesus poured life into Peter. The life that Jesus gave was for Peter and also for those that the Lord would love through Peter.

The life, value and respect that Peter needed could only come from the Lord. Jesus used fish, bread and presence as the way He chose to bless Peter and the disciples that were with him. In a like way, Jesus blesses us today with providence that comes through created means and also even more crucially by His presence. Peter’s effort to provide for himself was futile. His own inability drew Peter into depression. Peter had to turn to and trust the Lord to have the life he needed.

person who has ever lived faces the same dilemma in Life. Jesus came to pour life into us like he poured into Peter, but we desperately desire to provide for ourselves. From birth and perhaps even from the womb, we learn how to manipulate people and our environment to get all we want for ourselves. We even do our best to manipulate God. Scriptures says that eternal life is to know the one true God. To know God is to trust Him and submit to His the source of our life, our encouragement and our hope.

discipleship and sanctification a person learns to trust God and turn to Him more and more which means turning away from trusting and turning to themselves. the body of Christ we learn to follow Him and encourage others to follow Him too. Faith does not come all at once, faith is a gift of God that is tested and grows constantly in life. As faith is tested, it is exercised and deepened so that even in the valley of the shadow of death, we will be encouraged and comforted by the constant presence of almighty God.

We are all sinners who would rather trust ourselves rather than the Triune God that is always with us. Trusting ourselves is ultimately futile and leads to great depression. The Lord knows this and seeks us out even when we do our best to run from him. May we all heed His call into fellowship with Him where he feeds us and affirms His love for us. With the power love He gives may we learn more and more to love Him and love others. This is how we can win over the great depression.

Have a great and blessed summer!!

Jon

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