Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Monday, April 25, 2011

Final Day: John 21 and some thoughts on Easter

What an awesome day we had yesterday! Easter Weekend Services at PCC saw almost 1,900 people physically come to one of our 5 services. It was really incredible. The band was really rockin', and I LOVED the B.B.King tune that they opened with. The choir was great. The 'Welcome to our Church' video was really cool. The dance was moving. And the twist at the end with the cross was a fitting end for the day, and for the series. And this doesn't even mention the dozens of other things that need to go right in order for us to experience what we experience - lights, cameras, sound, parking folks, greeters, PCC Kids folks, Online transmission, shuttle drivers, guest service food, coffee, Bibles, book store, Green Room, Student room, traffic control, grass cutting, building clean up and lock up, signage, information desk, ushers...the list goes on and on and on. I'm sure I've left some things off as I just try to think about all that it takes.

A large team of skilled, dedicated and very committed people put PCC together every week. A guy I know who's been coming to PCC for a while, recently started serving in the 'booth', learning to run sound. He said to me several times yesterday, "I just had no idea how much goes into making these services happen. You guys put in a LOT of time up here!" Yes, we do. Not just staff folks, but servers who volunteer hundreds of hours because they believe in what we do. If you believe in what we do and you call PCC your church, we need your help. Let me know - email me at and I'll help get you plugged in.

But after a day like yesterday, I find myself exhilarated and exhausted at the same time. So, I think I'm going to take the day off today and go fishing.

Which is exactly how we find Peter as John winds up his book. Peter had been hearing the reports of Jesus appearing. In fact, Peter had actually seen Jesus twice already (see ch.20). But the events of the past few days also left him in need of some re-group time. After the unbelievable events Peter had witnessed, including his own personal failure of denying Jesus in the moment when Jesus needed him most, Peter was a blender - spinning on high speed - churning a recipe of guilt, wonder, excitement, regret, anticipation, guilt, questions, fatigue, and fear. Can you imagine just how he felt? He needed to clear his head.

"I'm going fishing" he said.

I guess his friends could relate. "We'll go with you" they said.

That was probably the quietest fishing trip in history. I bet nobody said anything. They were all thinking, processing, and not catching a thing - which didn't really matter much...or maybe it did.

I wonder if the fishing was really about a decision. Think about this now. Jesus was gone. They knew who they were with him, but who were they now that he was gone? The temptation, of course, was to return to the way things were, and they were fishermen. There was a pull there for them. It would have been easy to just go back to the old life - the old habits, the old ways of thinking, the old 'me'.

If they had caught a boatload of fish that night, I bet their minds would have started to resolve to 'go back.'

But they were reminded, for one of the final times, that Jesus' resurrection leads to His presence. He is alive, but He is not gone. He is here. And His presence should make every difference to us. In a tangible way, Jesus demonstrated that to Peter and the gang that day. He told them to cast the net, even though they had caught nothing. They complied and caught the mother load. Then they knew: I can't go back to the old life. Living life with Jesus is better that the old life. Far better.

For me, there is an occasional tug to live the way I used to. Sometimes, I fail. I lashed out at a friend last week. That was the old me. I still sometimes neglect my family. That's the old me. I'm not always as devoted to what God wants me to do as I should be. That's the old me. The tug is there.

But I think, in hindsight, I'm becoming more like the person Jesus wants me to be over time, even it the progress is slow...even if I take 3 steps forward and a step or two back. That's still moving in the right direction.

So, I'm going fishing today. But not to wonder about the old life. Rather, I'm going because my family needs some time. Because I need to reflect and think and ponder and pray. And in it all, I know this: Jesus' presence makes all the difference. The question is: Am I responding or ignoring? Am I casting my net when He tells me to, or am I looking the other way?

Are you?


John Tiller said...

Thanks for a great study Brian!


jf said...

Thank you Pastor Brian for helping us really dig into the Book of John these last 21 days. I can't remember a time when reading the Bible and really thinking about and straining to hear from God paid off so profoundly. By Good Friday, my mind kept turning over what a dark day it must have been for Jesus and his followers. How much must he have loved us and desired for us to come to know and follow him, that he’d voluntarily go through that vicious, horrible death? And what a glorious day Easter Sunday must have been for his family and his followers.

Thank you so much Pastor Brian! You're doing a wonderful job of feeding his lambs, and you inspire me to want to do the same.

Ginger said...

Thank you, Brian for this online bible study. I've really enjoyed the format and the thought provoking comments from you and others in the study. It really made me look at things I read differently than I might have. Also, this is a really low-pressure way to ponder on what is said and comment your own time and at your own pace.

I hope you'll consider doing this again in the future.

I hope you enjoyed your fishing trip...saw a picture by Susan on FB and it looked like a great day on the water! It was a much deserved break!