3 Truths Learned from Peter’s Denial

3 Truths Learned from Peter’s Denial

Read Matthew 26:57-75

Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed. Matthew 26:74 (NLT)

The air was crisp. Peter shivered. Was the tremble from the biting wind or the ice revealed in Judas’s silver-lined veins? Was it a physical or spiritual chill on the night Jesus of Nazareth faced fate? Indeed, the whisp of frolicking demon’s wings could be felt. The Shepherd was to be struck down. His sheep fled. Even those that declared allegiance would falter that night.

Peter nestled to the warmth of the fire, wrestling with the idea of his Lord being betrayed by that…that… Zealot. Peter watched from a distance. Was he looking for an opening, an opportunity for an escape? It’s possible. But more than likely the range was to disassociate himself from the Wonderworker from Nazareth.

Peter was the outspoken disciple, but fear gripped his tongue. He cared for Jesus but was his affection enough? A few hours before, he had declared his unwavering loyalty. However, a mere servant girl’s question paralyzed this rugged fisherman that once dared to step on to a raging sea to follow Jesus.

What would cause Peter’s loyalty to wane? Some may say it was meant to be this way. And in a sense, they’re correct. Nevertheless, if we look closely, we can find at least three truths that we can relate to as followers of Christ. For Peter’s story, often is very much our own story.

  1. Peter was following Christ from a distance.

Matthew writes,  “Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and came to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and sat with the guards and waited to see how it would all end.” Matthew 26:58 (NLT) Although Peter was bodily close to the heat of a fire, his soul’s temperature declined because he was away from the one that fans the flames of men’s hearts. If we neglect to draw close to Christ through prayer, Scripture, and corporate worship, we will go the way of Peter. We might not verbally admit our backsliding, but our actions will tell the tale. We must always draw near to Christ and depend on him to keep our hearts ablaze. 

2. From this distance, Peter slipped into greater denial.

Peter’s denial was gradual. In his first encounter, Peter merely shrugged off the servant girl’s comments by saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about” (26:70). Peter was trying to get the heat off of him by changing the topic. Next, Peter denied knowing Jesus (26:72)! Finally, Peter began to bring a curse on himself declaring …” a curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man…” (26:74). Do you see the progression? People never wake up and say I plan to deny Christ today. It’s a slow fade brought on by a smoldering heart.

3. Peter repented.

In the end, Peter repented at the crowing of the rooster. God can use anything to arrest our attention and draw us back to Himself. In Peter’s case, He used poultry. King David’s heart was broken by the boney finger of a pointing Prophet. God has used family, friends, enemies, and even livestock at times to get his point across. You may have heard crowing in the distance as you’ve read this post. (It would not be the first time God spoke through an animal!)  Follow Peter’s footsteps and repent. Turn back to Jesus.

Peter’s story is our story. Often, we proclaim our allegiance to Christ, but we fail Him. It’s inevitable. We are all flawed human beings. We may not deny Him verbally, but we reject Him in action. However, Jesus’s grace is sufficient.  If we draw near to him in repentance, he will ignite our hearts again. Ask Peter. He went from cowering a the question of a servant girl to preaching on the Day of Pentecost. Ultimately, tradition tells us that Peter was crucified upsidedown because he refused to deny Christ. Will you draw closer?

 

img_0062

 

 

 



PS-

If you have found this post to be encouraging, please like, comment, and share it. Also, consider subscribing to the blog to have inspiring content delivered directly to your inbox. If nothing else, take few seconds to say, Hello! I like it when people say, Hello.

The Garden of Community

The Garden of Community

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)

 The community of faith is vital to living a fruitful Christian life. 

Spring is blooming in South Georgia. The Dogwood trees are flowering. The grass is perking up to a livelier shade of green. Vegetable gardens are planned and planted in the hopes of a fruitful harvest. Much like these gardens, some believers desire to be productive, but they neglect being planted in the soil of a faith community.

The church community is crucial to the discipleship of Christians for many reasons. However, I would like to highlight only two of these reasons. The first reason is that you encounter Christ in the community of faith. (Think about that for a minute.) Jesus states, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20 NLT) If one neglects to come together as the Body of Christ, they miss the opportunity to experience Christ in this manner. This fact alone should drive us to assemble with our brothers and sisters in the Lord! Often, I have been refreshed in my spirit by merely worshipping with others.

Next, reason two is that coming together encourages and hold us accountable to one another.  Like the old hymn says, we are prone to wander. Gathering regularly in Christ’s name gives us the accountability we desperately need. We need each other for the journey. You need a church; a family of disciples walking through life together.

Have you neglected church? You are missing out. You are selling yourself short. For if you are rooted in a thriving community of faith, you will bear the more fruit. Jesus said,  “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” (John 15:8 NLT) Find a church. Find a home and grow to your full potential in the Lord. 

img_0062.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Echoes in the Hills of Alabama

Echoes in the Hills of Alabama

“What were you doing in Birmingham, Alabama this past weekend?” 

People are curious. I assume their curiosity was piqued by the dust being blown off my cobwebbed Instagram account. (I am trying to get with the times.) A steady stream of posts of my son and myself ranging from our stop at the Huddle House for breakfast to us standing with Rick Burgess and Andy Blanks in the foyer of The Church at Brooks Hills. Its no wonder why people were interested in what the Bounds boys were up to.

So, what were we doing? We were growing closer to God and each other! At Christmas, my wife gave us the wonderful gift of tickets to the Make Ready Weekend held at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL.  Make Ready is an “interactive discipleship weekend for fathers and their children.”1 Honestly, I have never been to an event quite like this one.  The goal of this weekend was to see “dads and their children embrace the roles God has called them to and grow closer in Christ as a result.”2The event was sponsored by YM360, Iron Hill Press, and Burgess Ministries.

Make Ready featured a great lineup of speakers. Rick Burgess, from the nationally syndicated Rick and Bubba Show, was the punch-in-the-gut-challenge-you-to-commit-to-discipleship preacher and Andy Blanks, publisher and founder of YM360, was the nuts and bolts how-to teacher of the event. My legal pad overflowed with quotes and ideas concerning discipleship as I gleaned from these two men.

However, my favorite portion of this event was the Dad/Student sessions. The rubber met the road in these small settings. The Make Ready Weekend Event Notebook provided was more challenging than anything. In one section of the notebook, we studied Ephesians 6:1-4, which states,

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.  “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise:  If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4 (NLT)

Can you imagine a dad sitting across from his son asking him to share how he may have “frustrated him” instead of empowering him in the Lord? It was difficult to be open but freeing when all our cards were on the table. We found liberty in our relationship to share.

This liberty was not only found by us but by several more. After lunch and our discipleship session, I walked around on the campus seeing multiple holy huddles. Around every corner, a dad and child(ren) were gathered studying and praying together. It was a fantastic sight to see!

This weekend was amazing! I heard some excellent preaching/teaching, I even got to get my picture taken with Rick and Andy, but I have to say my favorite memory was captured at breakfast during one of our discipleship session in the photo below.img_0027-1

Rick and Andy thank you for this moment. I am, and will ever be grateful, for you helping me to refocus on the most important ministry in my life, being a dad. A shout out of appreciation to Iron City Worship for preparing our hearts with song, to The Church at Brook Hills for allowing us to gather in their facilities, and to all those behind the scenes.  Also, thanks to my amazing wife for being a huge Rick and Bubba fan and getting us tickets for Christmas. God bless you all! Finally, my request to God is may the tear-filled prayers, which were uttered in the hills of Alabama echo throughout the land and turn the heart of fathers back to their children.

img_0062

 

 

 

 

  1. Make Ready Event Notebook
  2. Ibid, 4