Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bethany Bullet - April 21, 2015

Comfort food, comfort zones, a comfortable chair or cozy bed, they are all things we like to retreat to, to find peace and a respite from the chaos of life.  But today we will see that the Resurrection life is not really about retreating to our comfort zone, but by coming face to face with the One who brings true comfort.

In 2011 the beer company Corona introduced the “Find Your Beach” ad campaign.  There were quite a few commercials that showed people relaxing on the beach, or in the mountains, or by the pool with a lime topped cerveza.  They asked, “Where is your beach?” 

So, today I ask you, “Where is your beach?” 

Perhaps your beach has white sand or white powder; perhaps it comes with warm sun or a warm fire.  I’m sure you have a “beach” somewhere that you might call your comfort zone, a place you would like to retreat. 

It’s that familiar place filled with great memories, amazing comforts, and you long to return over and over again.  When the pressure is getting to you, when the stress of life or the sting of death is almost too much to bear, you long to find “your beach” and return to your comfort zone. 

Now, there is not anything inherently wrong with having a place to retreat to or to have a comfort zone.  In fact, it may just be necessary for most people.  But often times, places we think are safe, can get us into trouble.  When we retreat to these places of comfort we can lose sight of what is important and even lose track of who we are.  At times, the places we love to go are filled with temptations. 

Perhaps the lime-topped beer is just the start of the slippery slope of addiction.  Or what you think is your comfort zone leads to lust or distrust. 

And returning to the comfort zone over and over again soon spirals into sin and separation and you are right back where you started, with stress and grief, guilt and disease firmly fixed in your eyes. 

In an effort to find “your beach”, you have become shipwrecked by sin, shame and self loathing. 

The disciples returned to their own comfort zone as well.  They went from Palm Sunday and thinking they had conquered the world, to the depths of Good Friday thinking they had lost everything; to the shock and amazement of Easter Sunday and the knowledge that Jesus is risen, to the joy of seeing one who doubted join them in their confession –  to…the beach!

The disciples went back to fishing.  They went back to the craft that they knew, to their comfort zone.  Now, the text does not tell us exactly why, but allow me to speculate.  I think they needed a break.  The stress of the previous years had taken its toll.  They spent every moment with Jesus and in the confusion and chaos of the last few days; they were exhausted and needed to turn their brains off.  In so doing they lost sight of Jesus.  Peter says, “I’m going out to fish,” and the disciples said, “We’ll go with you…but that night they caught nothing.” (John 21:3) 

Have you lost sight of Jesus?  Is your life filled with confusion and chaos?  Would you like to just pack it all in, quit working so hard and just retreat to your comfort zone?  There are times I know I would!

But your comfort zone is not always as great as it’s cracked up to be. 

When the disciples retreated to their beach, Jesus sought them out.  Jesus was not waiting for them in the safety and security of the temple, just waiting for His followers to figure it out on their own, no, He goes to them and He finds them. 

It’s what our Lord is in the habit of doing.  Jesus left the comforts of heaven and came down to earth.  As True Man and True God, He lived with us, came to us, took our sin and wretchedness to the cross to bring true comfort. 
True comfort is found when we have been found by Jesus.  True comfort comes when Jesus seeks us out.  He still does this today.  Jesus comes all the way to us today.  He comes to you in His Word, spoken in this place.  He comes to comfort you in His meal that He has provided.  Your beach finds you, and it’s not a place but a person!!

When the disciples retreated to their comfort zone, Jesus appears to them and provides them with sustenance. 
The disciples retreated to what they knew…fishing, but in their encounter with Jesus they had been changed.  Jesus said it Himself, “And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” (Matthew 4:19)

In the presence of Jesus, their lives were fundamentally changed.  The same is true for you.  For it is in this place we find true comfort.  In this place we come face to face with Jesus who is in the business of changing lives.  Our Lord calls us not simply to be fishermen, but to be fishers of men.

Because of Jesus, you can Rise Up and get out of your comfort zone knowing that Jesus is already here.  When opportunity comes your way, when you have the chance to share the reason for the hope you have in Jesus, resist returning to your comfort zone and be comforted here in His comfort zone. 

Jesus comes to you today in this place to bind up your broken heart, to ease your pain of suffering, to announce to you that beyond a shadow of a doubt, your sins have been forgiven.  You are loved and that brings true comfort. 
Martin Luther once said, “No other comfort is to be found that that which is in Scripture and the Word of God…There can be nothing else which comforts the soul even amid the slightest temptations.  For whatever else exists by which a man wants to comfort himself, no matter how great it is—it is all uncertain.”

Because of the comfort that Jesus brings we can boldly step into the chaos of everyday life.  We can confront the pain of separation or sting of death and know that Jesus is with us. 

We also know that when we are comforted by Jesus, He enables us to bring His comfort to others.

The apostle Paul said it this way to the church in Corinth, “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Father who is compassionate and the God who gives comfort. He comforts us whenever we suffer. That is why whenever other people suffer, we are able to comfort them by using the same comfort we have received from God. Because Christ suffered so much for us, we can receive so much comfort from him.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)
 Jesus desires to have a relationship with you and to comfort you so that you can comfort others.  He is our true comfort zone. 

When you are tempted to retreat to that comfort zone, never forget that because Jesus has found you, you are forgiven and that is the most comfortable place to be!  In Him and in His Word we can Rise Up to comfort others and that is the power of the resurrection life. 

-Pastor Seth Moorman


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