Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Peter...Part II

“And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.”(Luke 6:13-16)

Yes Jesus put together quite the group of fellows. Some I knew well, others I did not. We all had two things in common. We were all pretty average, not a stellar education among the lot. I often wondered what Jesus saw in us, but I guess that’s one of my favorite things about the Master. He looks at us on the basis of what we CAN be through Him rather then what we ARE.

No one is more thankful for this than I am. It seemed I was always saying something wrong. In those early days, I definitely leaned too far to my own understanding. Without the love and mercy of our Lord, I would be lost in more ways than one.

I just want to tell you about a few experiences I had with the Master. I could never run out of stories to share, but my time is short. I will soon see my Lord face to face once again!

I’ll never forget the day Jesus healed my mother-in-law. She was so feverish she couldn’t even lift her head off of the pillow. For someone as given to hospitality as she is, this was very difficult. As a matter of fact, Matthew recorded in his Gospel “And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.” She got up and cooked us a delicious meal! The food and the fact that she was able to cook it were both amazing!

One day we got in a boat and head to the other side of the lake while Jesus stayed behind to pray. A huge storm came up and we were very afraid. Jesus came to us on the water and said “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” I (ever the impulsive one) asked Jesus to let me come to him. He bid me come, so I did! Before I knew it, I was walking on the water! Then I looked down and started to sink. He grabbed my hand, pulled me to safety and once again challenged me with his words "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” The storm ceased, and we worshiped Him for we knew He was (and is) the Son of God!

To Be Continued…
Andrew Gommesen

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Peter...Part I

“One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.” (John 1:40-41)
My name is Simon son of Jonah. I never did quite figure out if we were related to God’s great prophet, but growing up I liked to think so. I never ceased to enjoy hearing my Father tell the story of how this man of God (whose name he shared) ran away from God and His plan, and God used a storm and a whale to bring him back to his senses. Interesting isn’t it, how one can find mercy even in the whales belly.

I don’t mean to ramble. I am getting to a point. As a young lad, I had no idea the impact this story would have on me—and all mankind. I was simply focused on becoming the best fishermen I could be so that I could take over the family business. I was bold and brash. I carried myself in a way that told everyone I was in control. Until one day, a Jewish Carpenter changed everything…

I remember the day I met Jesus like it was yesterday. I can still see Andrew running toward me, the sand on the Galilean shoreline leaving great clouds of dust in his wake “Simon,” he said breathlessly, “We have found the Messiah!”

What could I say to that? I didn’t want to dampen his enthusiasm, but we had been waiting for God’s Chosen One for centuries. How could he be so sure? I’ve always been the practical one in the family, so I followed Andrew. I had to see for myself.

Two things spring to mind about my early days with the Master. First, he knew me immediately. He said to me “Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas.” If you’ve read the Gospels, you know me as Peter. He called me a rock. Though that probably makes sense to you now, it didn’t to me at the time. I was just a simple fisherman trying to make a living.

That leads me to my second observation. One day when Jesus was preaching he asked to use my boat. I did, but I felt uncomfortable the whole time. Usually when meeting someone new it is a human tendency for us to put our best foot forward and hide our flaws. With Jesus, I instinctively knew this was impossible. One look in His eyes, and I knew he could tell me more about me than even I knew—and that was bad enough.

He knew about the argument I had with my wife that morning…
He knew the pride in my heart…
He even knew my inner thoughts which often strayed to things unspeakable
He knew everything about me!

Perhaps that’s why I momentarily resisted Jesus’ call to follow Him! I’ll never forget the miracle catch of fish that day or my words to the Master “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Far more significant, were Jesus words to me “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” Little did I know where those words would lead me…

To Be Continued…
Andrew Gommesen

Saturday, March 13, 2010


“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:…” (Psalm 37:7)

I really don’t like waiting. Even when I seek after patience I want it now. Whether it’s in my ministry or other aspects of my life, it is a very difficult discipline to master. It is good to know though that we are not alone in this struggle.
The main Scriptural example that springs to mind for me at this point in time is that of the disciples of our Lord.
• As Jews, they were waiting for the Messiah. I can almost feel Andrew’s excitement as he said to Peter “We have found the Messiah,” (John 1:41)
• As his followers they were waiting for his kingdom. Unfortunately, they (not unlike us) sometimes missed the point “Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.” (Luke 9:46)
• After Jesus died, the three days before his resurrection had to be the longest of their lives. They must have been overjoyed to see Jesus! “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” (John 20:19)
• They waited for the Holy Spirit. “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.” (Acts 1:4)
All their waiting makes me feel better about the things I’m waiting for. Oh, I’m still excited about the future (and some things I’m waiting for have me on pins and needles), but I know that God has things under control. And think of this. The most exciting thing of all is that Jesus is coming back! “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)

Jesus is quickly coming;
’Twill not be very long
Ere we shall hail our Bridegroom
With all the bright, angelic throng.
Coming, coming, Coming again for me;
Soon I shall see my Savior, Like Him I then shall be.
--Thoro Harris

Andrew Gommesen

Monday, March 08, 2010

Spring is just around the corner!

"No man need stay the way he is."
Harry Emerson Fosdick

Every year it happens. I always hope it doesn’t, but every year without fail it does. Somewhere around early November (give or take a few weeks, I live Michigan after all) the first winds of winter begin to blow across the Great Lakes and straight into my bones. I do my best to deny it, but it does no good. Soon winter is here with all its fury. Snow covers everything, and you wonder (if only for brief moment) whether God will ever turn up the thermostat again.

I know I should be grateful for all things, but for a guy who has never found a running shoe to his liking and couldn’t do a jumping jack to save his life, (not to mention driving down a busy street in the street because he almost got stuck on the sidewalk) winter can be a challenge! I enjoy hot chocolate, candy corn, (not mint or chocolate) and Christmas or New Years gatherings with family and friends. For the most part though, the best part of winter is that spring is around the corner!

Isn’t that a great promise? Spring follows winter every time. Go ahead, think back, you won’t be able to remember a single time when this didn’t happen. Why? Because God is faithful! The same God who said to Thomas, “Be not faithless, but believing” says to you today “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24)

Consider also these words “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 No matter what struggles you are facing God is faithful! Believe me I know struggles. Some days wheelchairs are a pain, and cold feet that don’t work are well…cold feet that don’t work. 

On days like that, I try to remember that that spring is right around the corner—not just in this life, but also in the next! “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:1, 4)
Friends, I’m in a win-win situation. No matter where I am, spring is right around the corner! Someday I’ll throw my wheelchair away and be ready to run! My running shoes are on order. Will you be there when I try them on? I hope so. I’m going to need some competition!

Let us then be true and faithful,
Trusting, serving every day;
Just one glimpse of Him in glory
Will the toils of life repay.

When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Onward to the prize before us!
Soon His beauty we’ll behold;
Soon the pearly gates will open;
We shall tread the streets of gold.
--Eliza Hewitt
Andrew Gommesen