Week 5 Video:
(Click here to watch the video..from Rome!)
As I stood in front of St. Peter’s church in Rome, I couldn’t help but get overcome with love for our Lord.
I took in the sights, the sounds… the hustle and bustle of people moving, walking, chattering all around me and I marveled at how God can take a fisherman and turn him into a “Fisher of Men”… and how that change can ripple through time.
I was reminded that the work God does in a person’s life is always bigger than just their lifespan.
I needed to just be still and present in the moment. I needed to slow down and marvel at how Jesus turned a man, born with the name Simon, into a man named Peter: the “rock” of the church.
Earlier in the day, my husband and I toured the Sistine Chapel along with various other sites and museums. We learned that the Romans called the stones that paved their roads “Little St. Peters,” because years later, after his death, the Romans wanted to honor Peter. Since Jesus said Peter would be the rock of the church, they wanted these rocks, these stones, to be the foundation of Rome and remind their people as they walked on them the importance of Peter’s life.
How can we ever doubt what God can do in a person’s life?
Peter, a man who at one time was rough around the edges, considered “un-educated,” probably didn’t have words like “humble” and “servant leader” used to describe him before he met Jesus.
But then again, who really does?
Jesus is the ultimate name changer…
He turns Sauls into Pauls and Simons into Peters.
He turns the proud into the humble and the served into the servers.
I thought about what Peter was like in the early days when he was a new Christian: eager to change the world, but lacking the wisdom and humility needed to bring that change to fruition.
No, Peter needed time to walk with Jesus.
He needed time to see how the Good Shepherd took care of His flock.
He needed time to see what it took to shepherd others and lead well.
He needed to witness Christ’s sufferings…
And he needed to fail and be humbled by his mistakes.
Jesus knew in order to be a great leader, Peter first needed to experience what it felt like to be graciously forgiven…
I cried as I stood in front of St. Peter’s church and I thought about the man Peter had become, the man we see in chapter 5, a man who is now encouraging and instructing the elders and leaders of the early church to humbly and lovingly lead well. After years of walking with Jesus, witnessing Christ’s suffering, and learning through hardships, we now see him as a humble servant leader, not boasting in his position in the church but rather seeing himself as a “fellow elder.”
Imitating what Jesus modeled, Peter instructs the elders to be servant leaders.
We can never underestimate the power of living out our faith for others to see! If we really want to change this world for Jesus, we need to bring glory to Him through the way we choose to live our lives… even in the midst of suffering.
So how does Peter instruct these leaders of the early church, to lead those under their care?
He instructs them to:
1. See that they are shepherding God’s flock… and they need to be good stewards of those entrusted to them.
2. Lead not out of obligation, but from a willingness to serve God and the Body of Christ.
3. Not to be greedy.
4. Lead by example and not by force; lead just like Jesus modeled; be a servant leader.
5. Have hope, and remember Jesus is coming back!
I thought about Peter and all he suffered in his life as I stood there, and how even in his death his love for Jesus was displayed for all to see as he was martyred for his faith there in Rome so many years before…
What speaks the most to me is not what God did through him, but rather how God changed him. The testimony that was birthed from how Peter lived and died…
Peter was a man who denied Jesus three times when he was younger and newer in his faith. Because Jesus forgave this great hurt and continued to develop a relationship with Peter, a relationship developed that eventually Peter was willing to die for.
And I cried as I thought of Peter’s love for Jesus… ohhh, how I want to love Jesus like that! Peter went from being a man who was afraid to acknowledge a friendship with Jesus, to a man willing to suffer and die because of this relationship!
How can we ever underestimate the power of pouring our lives into someone else’s?
Ohhh friends, how we hate suffering, how we hate pain, but look at what came out of Peter’s life?! Not for Peter’s glory, but for God’s!
Let’s remember as we walk across the stones in our daily paths that this world is not our home… may we live lives that bring glory to God out of our love for Him! That’s how God is going to change our world through us!
Love God Greatly!
How has God used hardships in your life to better form you into His image? What are some ways you are giving Him glory through these hard times?
Week 5 Challenge:
Week 5 Memory Verse:
Week 5 Reading Plan: