Memphis Belle

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Matthew 14:12-21


“And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.  When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart:  and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.  And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.  And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.  But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.  And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.  He said, Bring them hither to me.  And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.  And they did all eat, and were filled:  and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.  And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.”


The heart of a servant-leader


“Good morning.  No first service this morning, just the second service.  I was reading a little story, thought I’d share with you.  One Sunday morning the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the foyer of the church, staring up at a large plaque, it was covered with names with small American flags mounted on either side of it.  Well the seven-year-old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up and stood beside the little boy and said quietly, ‘Good morning Alex’.  ‘Good morning Pastor’, he replied, still focused on the plaque.  ‘Pastor what is this?’ he asked the pastor.  The pastor said ‘Well, son it’s a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the Service.’  Well soberly they just stood together staring at the large plaque.  Finally little Alex’s voice, barely audible and trembling with fear asked, ‘Which service?  The 8:45 or the 11?’  [laughter]  And the pastor answered ‘The 11’, so we’re all in trouble.  You’re taking a risk being here today. Let’s open in our Bibles to Matthew chapter 14…And then we have one more outdoor service, next month, August 21st, so again Sunday August 21st we won’t have the first service, just the second service.  I don’t know about you, I like meeting outdoors, I like changing the routine, I think it’s beautiful out here too.  Beautiful stadium, and we’re just blessed to have it right next door to our church.  And so we only have a limited time too in the way the weather pattern works in New England, we’ve only got so many months in the year we can do this.  Certainly you wouldn’t plan this in February.  So we’ve got one or two more opportunities, and one planned for sure August 21st. You know, considering the weather and the way of life in New England, I had a realization a little bit in the Spring time too.  You know, there is a flow with the way of life in New England, and it has a lot to do with the weather, even socially.  In the winter-time it seems that, and this is something we all know, but I was thinking about it related to ministry, and in winter-time it seems that we’re more inwardly focused, in the sense that we stay home more in the winter-time, we meet in smaller groups, generally the relational-social thing we’ve got going is usually in smaller groups, people at work, people at school, people in our families.  And so then in the summertime, with the weather being nice, we get out, we venture to places, and we also meet with a more varying group of people, it seems anyway when I look at New England.  Ah, we interact in the summer in even larger groups because of the weather.  And so I was thinking about that, thinking about ministry, and it occurred to me, if that’s the way the social-cultural life is in New England, that’s something we should respect as a church.  [Remember in the last sermon how I showed that Jesus mentioned a social law, law of human nature ‘that a prophet is not without honor except in his own town and his own house’?  This is apparently another ‘social law’ or principle ministry can work with, take advantage of within this specific New England area.]  And if it’s a more inward setting, smaller groups, wintertime, outward, bigger groups, summertime, that’s what we should do.  So if you’ve noticed, maybe since April, and we’ve done this by design, is we’ve started to do more outreach and to be outdoors more, and to do more evangelistic things in the summertime, in the spring, starting in April.  And we’re going to continue on that pattern  through September.  And then come October we’re going to then start focusing more inwardly with discipleship, having just our retreats and conferences through March, and do that by design every year.  So when it comes to April, you’ll know in the coming years, it’s time to do outreach and get outside and reach people, and reach into the community.  And then when it comes to October it’s time to maybe sit back and focus on discipleship, and having our discipleship classes.  And with that, one of the discipleship classes we’re going to have in October, when we get started, you know, I tried doing discipleship classes last summer and I realized it just doesn’t work in summertime, because we’re doing other things socially, we’re out and about and busy in a different way in the summertime.  It just more naturally works in New England in the wintertime.  So we’re going to begin our discipleship classes again in October.  One of the classes we’re going to do is “The Call To Serve” class.  And we did some classes last summer, and we’re going to repeat those too, and move on.  But “The Call To Serve” is a class that really focuses on the heart of a servant leader, what it means to be a servant leader, dealing with all the different attitudes of the mind and attitudes of the heart.  And no doubt the Bible says a lot about a servant and a servant leader, and what the heart is supposed to be, and the way I’m supposed to look at others, and to have an outlook on, as far as life.  There’s a certain lifestyle and heart with a servant.  We see that a lot in the Scriptures.  We’re going to study that in this class called “To Serve”, but we’re also reminded of that, we get a little bit of a preliminary look at our class by looking at the text we’re going to look at this morning.  We’ve left off in chapter 14, verse 13, and we’re going to pick up there, it’s the feeding of the five-thousand.  And this text has a lot to do with really a servant, when I look at it, I consider the life of a servant, the heart of a servant.  There are many principles that we can learn from this text.  And here’s some of the things that we’ll consider.  1) When it comes to serving the Lord, we must be 100 percent available, anytime and anywhere, we noted this before in other passages.  2) When it comes to being a servant God wants to use us to meet needs that are greater than ourselves.  When it comes to being a servant we need to overcome our feelings of inadequacy.  We must commit the little bit we have to the Lord.  We must follow him in obedient faith.  3) And when it comes to being a servant, we’re distributors, we’re not manufacturers.  4) When it comes to serving him, we get the privilege of witnessing firsthand the supernatural power of the Lord, but also you get blessed in return when you serve him, you get blessed in great ways.  And we’re going to see that now as we go through these verses, here verses 13 to 21, this feeding of the five-thousand.  Let’s say a word of prayer, and we’ll get started with verse 13.  ‘Lord, as we look at these Scriptures this morning, being outside, just thank you for the beautiful day, the beautiful weather.  Thank you that we can be together, all together for this time.  Of course there are folks on vacation too, that’s just the nature of the summertime in New England, people in other places.  But thank you that we can come together, those of us this morning, and be together and just serve and sing and hear the Word, and pray.  So thank you Lord for providing this facility right next to our church.  And Lord as we come now to your Word, I pray you would open our eyes to the wondrous things in your Law, and that you would give us that perspective of what it means to be a servant.  Teach us more things about being a servant, Lord, a servant of the Lord.  Incredible thing it is to serve you, things to be reminded of and to learn.  So Holy Spirit be upon all of us, and even upon myself now as we go through your Word, in Jesus name, amen.’


The feeding of the 5,000---repeated in all four Gospels---a very important passage


Verses 13-21, “When Jesus heard it, he departed from there by boat to a deserted place by himself.  But when the multitudes heard it, they followed him on foot from the cities.  And when Jesus went out he saw a great multitude; and he was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.  When it was evening his disciples came to him, saying, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late.  Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need to go away.  You give them something to eat.’  And they said to him, ‘We have here only five loaves and two fish.’  He said, ‘Bring them here to me.’  Then he commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass.  And he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.  So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained.  Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.”  Now this is a story, in the Bible it’s very important, as you study the Scriptures, this comes across, this is a very important story to understand.  Four times it’s repeated.  It’s the only miracle that’s repeated in every Gospel, all four Gospels, other than just the story of the crucifixion and resurrection.  All four Gospels gives us an angle to this miracle that occurs this one particular day.  So it’s important.  Interestingly though, there are even Christian leaders, there are a lot of people that try to write away and discard some of the things that take place here.  Of course there’s a miracle that happens here, and there are even Christian leaders that try to write it off, and we’ll note that as we go. 


Lesson # 1: For the servant-leader: we must be 100 percent available, anytime, anywhere


But something very important that the Lord has us focus on.  Remember last week, Matthew told us about the death of John the Baptist, how Herodias and her daughter Salome, they cornered Herod, Herodias’ husband, to have John the Baptist beheaded.  Now John the Baptist was somebody who was a prophet, somebody that Jesus tremendously admired and even loved.  He was also the cousin of Jesus.  So the disciples of John the Baptist, they go to Jesus and they share about this happening, that John the Baptist has been beheaded.  That’s where we pick up now in verse 13, because is says “Jesus heard about it.”  He hears word from the disciples of John the Baptist, and then with that, I mean, his heart is moved, so goes off to be alone, goes to a place where he can just work this out and think about this and consider this.  Now, as we learn in the other Gospels, it doesn’t take long before the disciples of Jesus, not the disciples of John the Baptist, but the disciples of Jesus they catch up to Jesus.  And then in Mark chapter 6, verse 31, we learn there the disciples have been busy, they’ve been sent out on a missions trip, in pairs, we noted that earlier, two-by-two, and commissioned by the Lord, and now they’ve come back.  And it’s in the other Gospels, it’s at this point they come back, and they report to Jesus also what Jesus has done through them, and some of the things that they’ve taught, miracles that they’ve witnessed.  But they’ve been very busy, and Mark even says, they’re so busy, people have been coming and going for such a period of time, and also being with Christ, that they’re tired. They haven’t even had an opportunity to eat.  So in verse 13, and it’s putting the Gospels together, Jesus then suggests to the disciples ‘Let’s go to a place that’s remote.’  He’s been alone, they’ve come to him, and they go further, they get into a boat, all of them together now, and they journey, from probably the area of Capernaum across the Sea of Galilee to the area of Bethsaida.  We learn it’s Bethsaida from the Gospel of Luke.  Now, the Sea of Galilee, we’re going to have another missions trip, or Israel trip I should say, next March.  And when you go to the Sea of Galilee it’s just a beautiful place.  But it’s one of those lakes that you can see all around.  Though it’s a large body of water, you can see all around it.  You can be standing on one side if the day is clear, and you can see clear across to the other side.  And especially to the northern part of the Sea of Galilee, you can easily run around the shores and get from point A to point B.  And what happens is, if you look at the Gospels, Jesus, the disciples, they get rowing, they get sailing across this lake, but it actually takes them longer to do that than it takes the people, the multitudes to figure out, ‘Hey, they’re going across the lake, let’s just run on over there and see if we can get there and be where they are.’  They actually, the multitudes, get to where Jesus and the disciples are before Jesus and the disciples actually get there.  They come up on shore where it says in verse 14, “and when Jesus went out”, that means he got out of the boat.  And as soon as he gets out of the boat, there are literally thousands of people that have already traveled along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and they’ve gotten there before them.  So now they’re tired.  Clearly from the Gospels, looking together, they’re tired, they haven’t eaten in quite awhile.  Jesus has also got a burden on his heart, he just heard about John the Baptist being beheaded.  So this is not an easy moment, you’ve got all this stuff going down in you internally, in you physically, and you step off the boat and here are thousands of people that want your attention.  They want you to speak to them, they want you to heal them, they want you to minister to them.  Now that’s a difficult place to be, that’s certainly a temptation, you would want to get back into your boat and paddle the other way, or maybe get a bullhorn and shoe these people away, say, ‘Listen, guys, enough is enough, I mean, we went across to get alone, come on, just leave us alone for a little while.  We need a break, we need a break.’  Not an easy situation to have that.  Of course, you know, there are times where we need a rest, you know, we need a break, we need to just get alone.  As a Christian I need to be alone with the Lord every day, in that serenity and solitude, to be spiritually refreshed, and even physically at times, letting the Lord minister to me and refresh me too.  I need that time, that’s important.  But what we see here in this story, is when you watch the Lord, and when it comes to being one of his servants, you know it’s a little bit of a situation at times in the sense that, well, there’s a lesson here, there’s a lesson for the disciples, and there’s a lesson for you and I.  You know when I read this, I think of single parents, think of parents in general, as far as a single mom or dad, working the job, busy with kids when they get home, you know, you just got off from your job and you’ve got kids to take care of, and it’s from sunup to sundown.  Your schedule is so busy that there’s few minutes alone, a few opportunities, maybe traveling in your car, maybe if you’re fortunate enough if you can get somebody to watch the kids, it’s a busy life.  I think of even parents, some parents that aren’t single necessarily, but have the same life, just a full life.  You’ve got little ones at home and they just demand all the time, and when they’re to bed there’s still plenty of things to do, so life goes from day after day just being busy.  Maybe even a family that’s juggling physical responsibilities, and also juggling ministry responsibilities.  Maybe you’re a single person, where you’ve just got a lot in your life, and you’re busy with all sorts of things.  And maybe that’s some of us here today, just you feel that way, ‘Man, it’s been a full deal.  I need a break, I need a rest, you’re about to shoe off your kids to another universe, you know, just get the bullhorn and they’re gone, I want them gone.’  You’d like to get in a boat and go the other way and just stay on an island for awhile, because of all that’s going down, all the needs around you that you’re trying to meet, and that are screaming at you. [I have a 14’ sailboat, and I’ve often dreamt of sailing it from it’s mooring area to the Isles of Shoals and camping out on one of the islands for a week.  But I know, doing it all alone, and I’d become restless after a day, and probably sail back home.  Now if I were married, and sailed out there with my wife for a nice retreat, that would be awesome.]  But here we learn something about the Lord and about serving the Lord.  One of the things that I learn is that he can relate to me.  I’m told in the Scriptures that I’m to come to him because I have a high priest that understands.  And he does understand, I mean, he’s in a situation like that right now, he’s emotionally going through stuff, physically, lots of demanding things going on, I mean, he’s gone without meals, he’s at a place where physically, I mean, this is not easy.  So he as a high priest says to me, ‘Been there, done that, I’ve been there too, I’ve experienced that, I know what it’s like.’  Yet in the business and the craziness and the inner turmoil and all that, we see what he does.  And what he does isn’t necessarily what he wants to do, but we see he’s able to yet stand in the midst of that and minister.  And in fact he requires his servants at this particular time to do the same.  And as they do the same, what they find is there’s incredible blessing in doing it.  As we get to the end, they are tremendously blessed, so much so that most commentators say, it’s recorded four times, all the disciples are impacted by this experience, so much so that they made sure to pen it and write it in their Gospel, at least John and Matthew here, and of course Mark who wasn’t a disciple but, and neither was Luke, but getting it from Peter or from their sources and including it.  It was very powerful the way this impacted the lives of the disciples.  And so they minister, busy, tired, yet as a servant God has a purpose in this.  They minister, and then they are actually blessed as they go through it, and God meets them there in the midst of it.  And maybe that’s a word for you, because you are like that, you’re wanting to withdraw and feeling you need a break, but the Lord doesn’t have it for you right now, you’ve got these kids that you need to take care of.  You have this ministry that God has given to you, and yeah it’s tiring, but yet God’s called you to it, and he wants you to keep at it.  There’s a reason in it, but also he’s going to bless you.  And to withdraw isn’t necessarily you’re solution.  I think of a friend of mine back in San Diego, and I used to mention him more often early on in the church because I had just moved out here.  His name is Glen Wade.  And when I was an engineer at Caterpillar in San Diego, Glen was also training to be a pastor and he was an engineer there.  And I was feeling God’s call in my life, and so didn’t know where it was going to take me.  But we would meet at lunch all the time, and he would just minister to me, I really loved Glen.  I still do.  Well eventually the Lord started to stir and began to work things out, that man, things started forming for me to get into an internship as, do some training as a pastor.  And actually this started to work out, to move to New England.  And Glen was part of that, bit by bit, he was the first one to read even my vision statements, you know about moving out here, I gave it to Glen, I said, “Glen, here’s my vision statement, this is what I believe the Lord has called me to do, and I want you to read it first.”  [In a quite similar fashion, the Lord inspired me to have a vision for this website, and part of that vision is contained in the Mission Statement, at  I’ve been working on this site for about 14 years now, two of them so far now full-time, after I retired to work full-time on it.  But it started out as a vision for spiritually nourishing the whole Body of Christ, at least the part of the whole body of Christ that is online.  The congregation this pastor is over started out with 12 members in a tiny Sunday Bible study.  In two years it had grown to 125, and in four to five years, tops 400 now.  This website started with one or two articles hypertext linked to the Homepage, which a Christian friend helped me design.  Part of the vision of this site is also contained at  Know this, when the Lord gives you a vision for a ministry, he is not just fooling around with you.  If you take it seriously, he takes you seriously, and builds your ministry which he has inspired and given you to do.  The Holy Spirit will speak to you about this, and if you ask, the Lord will actually give you signs he is with you on whatever he has given you to do, and that the vision is being backed up by him.]  Well anyway, if you’ve been around you’ve heard me tell this story, but I came out here to check out the radio station, that very day when I was leaving my office, well, the next day I was going to come here, but the last thing in the office at Caterpillar, he came by my office and he said ‘Steve, man, just want you to know I’m praying for you as you go out there, this is exciting, but listen, can you pray for my wife too, Pam.”  Pam was in her mid-thirties, maybe young thirties at the time, and he said “She just had this test, and she has a cyst an ovarian cyst, and they’re going to check it out, but just pray for it, there’s going to be some tests this week.”  So I came here and came back and when I got back, I remember Glen coming by the office, I was excited to tell him about this radio station that I had checked out, had just been donated to Costa Mesa, California, and I’m getting the opportunity of getting it on the air and come out here and run it.  And so Glen comes by my office, I’m all excited to tell him, and he wants to know, and I tell him, but you could tell something’s wrong.  And he then shares and says, ‘You know Steve, you know Pam had her test done this week, man, and it was the worst of the worst, they just opened her up and closed her again, she’s got cancer and its really serious.  Well anyway, she started the whole chemotherapy, and I moved out here, and she was still going through that, and I was only out here with my wife six months and she died.  And you know, Glen was my age now at the time, they had two young children, I have three now, but they had two young children, two young boys at the time.  And so now he’s lost his wife, he’s pastoring a church, he’s working as an engineer, and the reason why I bring this up is I was looking at this text, I looked at it the whole sermon I taught early on in Matthew, Matthew was one of the first books I taught when I got here, and I noted that I had just received news, Pam had just died a month before, and I had just received that letter from Glen, and in it was an example of a flyer that he had made, and it was an Evangelistic flyer, he was seeking to start a ministry to hurting people.  And so he wanted me to check out this flyer he had just made.  Now here’s a man that I know, other letters that I got from him, man, he was hurting, his wife had just died.  His life was over-busy at this time.  I mean, just overload busy.  And a lot of pain and confusing things, yet in the midst of that, feeling the call of God to even stretch out and minister in another way.  And I tell you this, that as he did, you can go visit with Glen today, he pastors a church, church is doing well, he’s remarried, but he’s doing great in the Lord.  And there was certainly, physically, a lot of challenges, and maybe humanly a temptation to just say, ‘Man, I’m just stopping and I’m just kicking back, I’m paddling the other way, this is too difficult.  Yet in the midst of all that, God stirred his heart, and he began to even minister to others in the middle of it.  And I tell you what, the Lord met him, and he was so strong, I’d call him up, I’d call him up and see how he’s doing, and he was always so strong, just so strong after having gone through that.  Maybe you’re here today, and you’ve gone through a season, and you’re hurting too, man, there’s pain that you’re trying to deal with, there is confusion, there are things that have come into your life that are difficult, and you’re trying to work that out, yet life is full, and you’re thinking ‘I want to just paddle in the other direction and just kick back, and I gotta deal with this stuff, you know.’  And yet all this is going on, all these needs around you.  But you know, it’s important that we listen to the Lord in the midst of whatever season we’re in, and we let the Lord lead us.  You never know, the Lord might want, instead of you withdrawing right now, he might want you to just serve and minister.  And I tell you, when you do that, what you find is an experience with the Lord that’s so beautiful, amazing what it can do in your heart.  [I was in the midst of a divorce, my wife of 19 years left me, while the Lord was inspiring me to put together this website, which at this point gets an average of 20,000 page-views a month going throughout all the articles on it.]  You know, they maybe feel they need a time of refreshment and a time of rest, but at this time it’s not the case, and that’s true of serving the Lord, we must be available to the Lord one hundred percent of the time, anywhere, anytime.  That’s the heart of a servant, ‘I’m always available to you, Lord.’  ‘It doesn’t matter what I’m going through, it doesn’t matter what I feel, it doesn’t matter what’s going on around me, it doesn’t matter what I’m dealing with internally, Lord I’m your servant, 100 percent ready, available, anytime, anywhere.’  And when you do that, there’s a sweet blessing in it.  And it’s a powerful life.  You know, the world will tell you otherwise, the world will tell you at these times of your life, ‘What you need to do right now’ and there are times to do this, for sure, but the world will tell you just about all the time, ‘If you’re struggling, you need to get alone, and you need to focus on yourself.’  ‘You’re having these hard times, what you need to do is, you need to take care of yourself, man, that’s what you need to do.’  There are times when that is important.  But you know as a servant of the Lord, the attitude and heart of the servant is ‘Lord, I’m always available.’  And that may not necessarily be possible for me right now, you may have another plan, and so you may want to use me, work through me.’  And I tell you, the disciples don’t regret the fact that they hung in there at this time.  Jesus doesn’t regret, I mean, he’s dealing with the loss of John the Baptist, his own cousin, and all these things.  He doesn’t regret ministering. 


The heart of Christ


Now, with the multitudes before him, you learn initially, it says here that he heals the sick.  He’s tired, but he starts healing the sick.  We learn from the other Gospels that he also teaches them, and he teaches especially about the gospel of the kingdom, about the kingdom of God.  I’m sure, Jesus’ disciples, you know he’s been doing this for a period of time now.  So now as you see in the passage, verse 15, it’s getting later in the day, and so it’s already been a long journey.  So they’re thinking, ‘Man, now it’s time, let’s end this ministry session, let’s send these folks off, they need to eat, let ‘em move on, and let’s close this day, and let’s take a break.’  When it says “evening” there in verse 15, there are actually two evenings to the Jewish culture, they have two different evenings.  One went three to six, and another that started at six.  And the Greek here suggests this is the first evening, so it’s sometime between 3 and 6pm, maybe towards the latter part of that.  And it’s time in their eyes, to let this day end.  They suggest to Jesus, you see there in verse 15, ‘We’re in a place’, they’re outside the village, it’s not necessarily a desolate place, but it’s a remote place, there aren’t shops around, ‘Hey, send them away so that they can go back to the villages, so they can buy some food’, the other Gospels say ‘even get some lodging’, ‘they have needs, they’re hungry, so let’s do that Jesus.’  So, again, an example, the disciples are thinking at that very moment, ‘Wrong time, wrong place for any more ministry, we’re done.’  But as you see there, they’re not done to Jesus.  In fact with Jesus this is the right time and the right place for a tremendous work that he’s going to do.  And so again, a servant, man, is 100 percent available to the Lord, all the time.  Now, these guys are hungry and weary, but as you see there, there’s something about the heart of Christ.  Verse 14, when he initially gets out of the boat, it says he’s moved with compassion.  And that’s what’s really driving him this whole time.  And that word “compassion” in the Greek literally means, it’s a very powerful word, literally means that he was in his very bowels yearning, that’s the way the Greek describes it, literally.  So it stirred his very insides so deeply, as he saw this multitude.  And with that compassion, of course, no matter how he felt, what he was going through, he physically, was moved with love for these people and wanted to make an impact on their lives.  And so the disciples are going to learn that, at this point.  You know, physically there may be in my mind a more convenient time, it may not meet my schedule at this point in time, it may not seem good to me at this time, but if I am not open to the Lord, then I’m in danger of not really having the heart of a servant.  The heart of a servant is going to have the heart of Christ.  And the heart of Christ, man, is going to at times be, regardless of how I feel, I’m gonna just minister right now, and be a blessing right now, and be used right now.  That’s the heart of Christ.  And that’s what’s needed at this point in time.


Lesson # 2: When it comes to being a servant, God wants us to meet needs that are greater than ourselves---greater than our abilities, resources


They say, ‘Hey listen, send these folks away’, he says, ‘Since when do they need to go away?  Why don’t you give them something to eat?’  Now, that would seem like a pretty big task at this moment.  Not the fact, too, I mean, they have thousands, they have more than 5,000, they may have as many as 10,000 people before them.  That seems just like a huge task.  But again, it’s not only that, it’s just been a long day, why start something like that now, you know.  He says ‘You feed them.’  I mean, you’re thinking, ‘Grocery shopping, lots of errands to the village, I mean, this is a big deal---feed all these people?  That’s a big project, Lord.’  Now when we compare all the Gospels we learn that John, in John, Jesus says directly then to Philip, he says, ‘Philip, where shall we get bread for these guys that they may eat?’  And John then adds the point that Jesus said this specifically to teach them, he’s showing them a point.  He wants them to learn a radical thing at this moment.  And I tell you, sometimes in our lives it’s at those moments when we least expect, it might be a time that physically I just don’t feel this is the time, but God may be preparing me where I’m going to learn a lesson that’s so beautiful and so powerful.  Mark follows in his Gospel that the disciples then respond ‘Shall we go and buy two hundred dinari worth of bread and give them something to eat?’  Now 200 dinari would be at least six months if not more, maybe eight months worth of wages for food, so you’re talking in today’s wages ‘Shall we spend $20,000, shall we get $20,000 worth of food?’  You figure 10,000 people, $2.00 a person, $20,000 to feed all these people, Lord?’  Philip then says, as John records, ‘200 dinari worth of bread, that’s still not even enough, that’s only going to give everybody just a little.’  It’s going to take even more than that.  So they’re baffled at the request of Christ, when you put all the Gospels together.  And they can’t even for a moment grasp at this very moment, how God can use them, in the situation that they’re in, use them actually to meet the need.  And that is often the struggle that you and I have as a believer.  I struggle at that moment, at certain times, going ‘How can the Lord use me anyway?  How can God use me in this situation?  It seems impossible, it seems so unreasonable, how can the Lord use me?’  But one of the things about being a the servant of the Lord, one of the things that I began to understand, and God wants me to understand, is that Jesus wants to use me to meet needs that are greater than I am.  He wants to use me to work in situations that are far beyond me.  That’s what he often is calling me to do. You know, I’ve typed up and hung on my office wall a prayer that I, I’ve noted this before too, Bob Caldwell, pastor of Calvary Chapel Boise, and his friend Guna in India, I went with them to India on a missions trip, they’ve started Chapel Missions India, and it’s incredible what God has done through them.  But as they were getting started, fifteen years ago, they prayed this prayer, and I put it on my office wall at home, I just wanted to be reminded of this.  And I pray it even now, often.  “Lord, do what no man can do, so that no man can receive the glory for what your great and mighty hand has done.”  ‘Lord, work.  Use me now in a situation that is beyond me, absolutely impossible for me, use me Lord in that situation.  Because, if you do, man, nobody’s going to be glorified here but you.  It’s a God thing at that time, a God-work.’  And that’s what the Lord is calling these disciples to understand at this point, he’s training them repeatedly, he’s calling them to a God-sized task, ‘I want to work through you.’  And that’s what the Lord wants to do through you too.  He wants to use you, now in ministry, in situations that are beyond you, they’re just beyond you.  If you’re only doing things that you can humanly do, then you’re not really a servant of the Lord.  You’re a servant of yourself, you’re just doing your own deal.  But a servant of the Lord is somebody that is walking with the Lord, and God is using you at times to do things that are beyond you.  Not goofy, crazy things, but to minister wisdom, to minister strength, to step out in faith and lead projects and ministries that are just beyond you, beyond you physically.  God calls us to a God-sized task, and that’s what we see here.  He wants to be glorified, and that’s why.  You know I pray as a church, it’s so important, man if we don’t do this, if we stop doing this, we might as well just, you know, break up our church and join other churches.  I’m personally not even interested…[tape switchover, some text lost]…what we do, if God ain’t working, man, let’s just fold up shop, really.  It’s a waste of time.  If God is not working, man, we’ve got better things to do, really.  We really do.  And when God works, he does his work, and it’s a work that I cannot do.  And so, that is so imperative, that’s why we’re having these classes too, to just consider this more, and spur that attitude more.  I thank God for the people we have.  I’ve been in places where the leaders of this church, and I thank God that type of vision, that type of understanding has permeated into this church, and many of us have that, but I’ve been with leaders where I’m at a point, where like man, this is so crazy, I’m going to just crumble here and now, this, I can’t handle this.  This is too stressful and too big. 


God-sized jobs


But I’ve been with elders and leaders who’re saying ‘No sweat, no problem, God will take care of it’, you know.  And I thank God for that, I really do, that as leaders in this church, we can stand, and we can look at situations that are like ‘Aye, yaey, yaey, man this is gonna cost a ton of money we don’t have, and this is gonna cost so much money.’  Or, ‘How we gonna work through that situation with the city?’, or ‘Man, I just right at this point’, there’s so many examples, I’m thinking of one, but I don’t have time to tell you the whole story, but man, some of you guys know, and that’s so important, a servant of the Lord.  ‘Anytime, anywhere, I’m available to you Lord.  But I also know you’re calling me to things that are bigger than me.  You want to use me in situations that are just so far beyond me.’  You know, right now, we are presently, you know about this, many of you, we’re presently seeking to buy the local Christian radio station we run, we run it, but it’s actually owned by CSN, the Calvary Satellite Network was originally owned by the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa station, we got it on the air, it’s just been a beautiful blessing.  We’re presently negotiating to purchase this station we’re currently running, with the intent that money from the purchase, there are FM licenses that CSN has, in this state, south shore of its capital city, also just west of here in the next town over, there are translators off of that in Providence, Rhode Island, in Warwick, huge potential with radio, and we’re negotiating to buy the station we’re currently running so we can get money to CSN so that we can then go with that money that they have, but do it with them, and go out and build all these FM stations---and do it all by April of next year.  [Now here’s the weird thing, what really happened was that CSN was sold to someone else who was not friendly with who owned them previously, making all of this really impossible to do---except for God.  Now all these stations are in operation and owned by this one church, a real God-miracle, beyond this pastor’s wildest expectations, a real God-thing.]  And that is a ton of work, a ton of work.  It also requires a lot of faith, a lot of little miracles on the way.  It’s a God-sized job.  And you know, the truth is, it’s a lot of dinari too.  These guys (the disciples) are going, ‘200 dinari’,  I wish (for us) it was only 200 dinari.  That’s a lot of money, what I’m talking about, it’s a ton of cash.  But, I think something’s going on, I think little miracles have already happened, I think God’s going to do it [and he has].  And so we’re gonna press on and see if God does it.  But if he does it, no matter what it costs, no matter what it requires, no matter how busy or crazy it gets, when it’s all said and done, there are FM stations broadcasting to zillions of people, and we get the opportunity of getting the Gospel out through that.  Now, I look at that and go, ‘Hey, man, God sized job, but let’s go and do it’, you know, ‘Let’s go and do it.’  Next week The Kry is coming, and the reason why The Kry is coming, as I’ve mentioned in weeks past too, is they’re going to come and talk to us, they’re a great Christian band, I mean, I think they’ve had four hits that have hit the top of the Christian charts.  But they’re from Quebec, and they have a heart to reach the French people of Quebec and plant churches, and also to plant churches in France.  We started this ministry called FOI, French Outreach Initiative, so we’re kind of getting together, there’s this Montreal trip the following week, and all that, you guys have heard about that.  But the point being, is planting churches in France is not easy, planting in Quebec is not easy.  You know, I think about France, I have a map on my wall, you know I was born in France, I’ve got French family, I was over there.  And I was, it’s interesting, I was just invited, and so in October I’m going to go over to Nice and actually teach on the French Riviera, it won’t be too hard [laughter], but actually teach at a conference.  I was asked to be the conference speaker, Calvary Chapel Nice, and so you can pray for me.  But I’m going to go over there and just teach.  But I look at my map, and I look at this river, and I look at the cities along this river, I’m like, ‘Boy it would be great to just plant a church there and go down that river and plant another church, and go down that river and plant another church’, and I look at that, and I’m like, you know, ‘France, a hard place, money, and all these things, this is not easy, this would be a lot of resources and a lot of time.’  But yet at the same time, that’s what God is calling us to do, is things that are so far beyond us.  [Very interestingly, France from the 1100s through the 1300s was the location of intense Waldensian and Albigencian evangelism, which was then wiped out with a majority of their numbers being slain by two successive French Catholic Inquisitions.  See]  Bill Smith is presently in San Diego, I was on the phone with him last week, and I can tell you little stories about what God is already doing with him.  He’s coming back, he’s one of our elders, training in the School of Evangelism, is going to start a School of Evangelism here.  But we are going to focus with a School of Evangelism here on reaching the French peoples, we’re going to train missionaries out of our church, starting next year, to train missionaries to reach especially the French peoples of the world.  [It never happened.  If something’s not God’s will, it doesn’t happen.  Bill was assigned to take over a tiny Bible Study in a north Midwest state, and is doing well in that venture which has become a church congregation of its own.]  Interesting, he’s out there, that’s the vision I’ve been talking to him about, and there’s a man I’ve been wanting to meet, I’ve heard about him, but I can’t get his phone number, well Bill calls me because he has a meeting with a man who was originally from this state, who then went to France and successfully planted 18 churches, whose now at the Bible College in Southern California, and him and Bill ended up in a meeting, and this whole meeting is about merging the School of Evangelism in San Diego with the Bible College in the way of missions.  And so now Bill is meeting with this guy from France, from this state, who knows how to plant churches in France.  Bill calls me and says ‘You won’t believe this meeting I just had.’  And you know, I believe the Lord’s going to do something [just not with Bill, as this pastor expected, although he’s still probably working things out in French missions, just haven’t heard any more about it].  We’re talking about starting a Christian school next fall, 2006, maybe that’s the will of the Lord.  [It was the will of the Lord, but not through this Calvary Chapel denomination, but through another Christian group in the central part of this state, and the school is doing quite well, a definite work of the Lord.  Apparently, Christian radio is a big enough bite for this tiny church congregation to take without spreading it’s resources, human and financial, way too thin.  Jesus always knows what’s best.]  You know, I’ve been warned, don’t start a Christian School, too much money, too many resources.  But then you go into Calvary Chapels that have done it successfully, and you see these dynamic ministries to kids, man, impacting the community, the next generation.  I saw all of that, as a servant of the Lord, it says anytime, anywhere, I’m 100 percent available, whatever you want to do.  But it also says, ‘Lord, you want to use me in ways that are beyond me, faith.’  All these ways I’ve mentioned, man, that’s a ton of money right there, zillions of dinari, really.  But I had on my refrigerator before I moved here that verse, and I believe it, 2nd Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace about toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”   And I believe it, man. 


You’ve got to include Christ in the equation


Verses 16-18, “But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need to go away.  You give them something to eat.’  And they said to him, ‘We have here only five loaves and two fish.’  He said, ‘Bring them here to me.’”  Well, they’re baffled in their response though.  So then Jesus says to them in Mark, we read this in Mark when we put it all together, he actually says to them, ‘How many loaves do you have?  How many fish?  Go see.’  Then that’s where we have verse 17, they then go and they come back, and they say ‘Jesus, we have five loaves and two fish.’  You learn from the other Gospels that Andrew actually mentions this little kid, this lad, and he says ‘Hey, there’s this little kid, he’s got five barley loaves, and he’s got two small fish, two little dinky ones.’  [And as a boy who loved to roam the woods, and ponds and swamps within those woods, I have caught dinky little fish, the size of minnows.  Just imagine what Jesus is about to do with those two dinky little fish.]  Little, you know, minnow kind of fishes.  And then he (Philip) says ‘What’s that, five loaves, two little fish, what’s that amongst all these people, man?  That’s just kind of silly.’  Although I wonder about that little kid, you know the faith of a child, he probably thought it was significant.  He was probably excited, ‘Hey Jesus!  Look what I’ve got, man, use this, five loaves and two little fish!’  Well look what the Lord does, man.  I wonder, the mom that was packing that meal that morning, I wonder if she had known how that meal was going to be used, she was packing lunch for her son, you know, fish, loaves, barley loaves and two little fish, she probably would have thrown in a little bit more, knowing a mom, you know what I mean.  If she knew there was 10,000 people that were going to be fed with that, I’m sure she would have thrown in some desert too and a few other things.  Well, Jesus uses the opportunity, man, he’s driving a point home, that’s the whole thing, he’s driving a point home.  He wants them to know who they are, who they are, and who he is, and the great difference, and then how they can be used in his hands.  They have seen, they’ve just come back, Jesus has provided for them personally, he sent them on a trip and said ‘Don’t take with you an extra staff or an extra cloak, I’ll provide for you.’  So they’ve learned that he provides for them individually.  But now he’s got, they’re going to learn that he can use them to provide for the needs of others, in great ways.  Not an easy lesson to learn, but an important one.  So often you and I, when Christ is stirring our hearts and showing us these things, we’re like, ‘Man, I got five loaves and two fish, Lord, I mean, come on, I just don’t get it.  I look at the bank account, I look at my resources and my life, and I’m like, this is all I’ve got, this isn’t going to cut it for the job.  I’m inadequate for the job, this isn’t adequate for the job.’  But that’s not the case with Christ.  They’re going to learn that it’s not inadequate for the job.  You give them what you’ve got, and you’ll see what he’ll do.  When you and I as a servant, I need to learn, and I always have to battle with this, that sense of inadequacy, not feeling it’s enough, not feeling I have enough. ‘I’m not enough as a man, I don’t have enough of this within me as a person, I don’t have enough of this in my bank account.  As a church we haven’t done enough of this or that, and no, we can’t do this.  But we have to overcome that, we have to move beyond that sense of inadequacy and just say ‘God, if you’re saying it, then I’m just going to move on and put aside these feelings.’  It’s not about us, it’s about him.  The greater vision I have of the Lord, the less I’m going to worry about my shortfalls and my shortcomings.  Now as you see the disciples, man, so often the case, they counted it all up, and they forgot to include one thing, they forgot to include Christ in the equation.  They’ve got five plus two is seven, and if you add Jesus Christ in there, that’s like seven billion, seven trillion.  They didn’t add him into the equation.  They never even considered the difference he can make.  And maybe that’s you.  Maybe you’re in a situation, looking at a situation, and you’re going ‘Five, two, I’ve got five loaves, two fish, I can’t do this.’  You’re looking at the bank account going ‘This isn’t going to add up.  Well maybe you’re not including Christ in the equation.  And when you include him in the equation, man, it makes all the difference.  Jesus says, verse 18, “Bring them here to me”, and that’s what he says to us, bring it to me, whatever you’ve got, you bring it to me.  You give it to me, you place it in my hands, and forget this inadequacy, you’ve got five loaves, two fish, you just come to me, and you give me what you’ve got, and let me use that.  The emphasis is not on what I don’t have, the emphasis is with what God can do with what I do have, if I follow in faith and obedience.  And so the point is, as a servant, as a servant we come, we commit to the Lord the little we have, we commit to him the little we have.  For a little is much in the hands of God, that’s for sure.  I mean, he created the wheat and the barley, he created the fish in the sea.  I mean, five loaves, two fish, he created them, so he can do a lot with them.  And, you know, I think of Paul in 2nd Corinthians, I mean, God begins where we are, and he uses what we have, and he does it for that purpose.  2nd Corinthians 4, verse 7, “But we have” by God’s design, “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”  By God’s design, earthen vessels, you are weak by God’s design.  You’re weak, so that the treasure, God may be glorified, because it’s clearly not you, it’s a God-thing.  2nd Corinthians chapter 12, verse 9, Paul in a situation said, ‘Lord, I need you to change something’, God came back, Christ came back and said ‘My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore, as you know, Paul said, ‘Most gladly I’d rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’  He said, ‘I’ve got these issues, man, this is not good’, and God says ‘I have them in your life for a reason, so that you are weak, so that you are in that sense, you know you’re inadequate, you know you are, and so then you’re going to all the more rely upon me and you’re going to watch what I will do now as I work in my power through you.  He says, ‘Bring ‘em to me, man.’  You just come to the Lord, give him what you have, and maybe you’re thinking it’s just a tiny little bit that you have to offer to the Lord, but God can do great with a little, it’s his hands, it’s his power that matters.


Lesson # 3: When it comes to being a servant, we’re distributors, not manufacturers


Verses 19-21, “Then he commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass.  And he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.  So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained.  Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.”  He commanded the multitude then to sit down on the grass.  John, like here, we’re out here with a lot of grass, John says they were in an area where there was a lot of grass.  Luke tells us specifically that Jesus didn’t say it to the multitudes, he said to the disciples, ‘You go out and you gather these people into groups and you sit them down.’  We learn in the other Gospels that he had them gather the multitudes into groups of 50s and 100s, and it’s probably for that reason we have a good sense of the number, 5,000, you know, 50s and 100s.  But imagine, all the people spread out on this field [they’re having this service on the town’s high school sports field that has huge cement bleachers on one side], 10,000 people, 5,000 men, along with women and children, maybe more than 10,000 people spread out on this field.  You’re going around, dividing them up into little groups of 50s, you’ve got five loaves and two fish.  And the Lord just said ‘We’re gonna feed them.’  That’s what they’re doing.  You know, I can read this story and go ‘Oh you guys, you disciples, you people of little faith, this is Christ, come on, man, he can do it.’  Would I do it if I was in that situation?  You know, they step out and they do the division, and they’re just as you see, they’re following the Lord, they’re following in obedience.  And when God is speaking to me about doing something, I go man, ‘Five loaves and two fish, I don’t have it, big job.’  What I need to do is just be obedient, and follow him.  I need to step out in faith and just follow the Lord.  And that’s so key, a servant must follow in obedient faith.  And if you don’t, man, you miss out on blessing.  If you do, I am absolutely convinced.  My wife last night, our station was off the air a lot yesterday, and thank God, we had some guys working on it and were able to make a little jury rig fix until we got some parts.  But you know, AM stations, four-tower array, 30 acres, 40 acres, things go bad a lot and have to be repaired.  But my wife was listening to BZ, and there was a guy who was on BZ last night, and she came in, and she said “You know, this pastor in Boston, you ought to hear him, he’s on BZ man, and BZ is a clear channel station at night, effectively 100,000 watts coming [beamed] inland.  It’s 50,000 watts, but it’s directional, so 100,000 watts.  And they get the whole country at night [due to the bounce or skip off the ionosphere], and you can hear them far away at times [like in Texas, or way out on the Atlantic Ocean], you can hear them as far away as the Dakotas or North Carolinas.  Here’s a Baptist pastor from Boston being interviewed, and the story was going that this man, this particular man, I mean he lives in the Brocton area, and there’s just crime, gangs and there’s drugs and it’s a mess, and he was feeling the strain of God’s heart to just go out and make a difference.  So he’s gone out and done different ministries to stop the flow of drugs, to reach out to the gangs.  And as he’s doing this, he’s getting death threats, and gangs that want to take his life.  So now he’s on WBZ, and this man is interviewing him, and he’s just telling his story.  And my wife was just being blown away, so I’m studying, and she comes in, ‘You’ve got to hear this man just share what he’s doing, and his heart.’  And he’s an example of a man that God has spoken to, and he’s just going with it, he’s got to worry about somebody taking his life, he’s got to worry about all kinds of issues in the community, I mean, stopping drugs, a pastor.  And how’s a pastor going to hinder the flow of drugs in a community and make an impact into the world of the gangs?  Well God’s using this guy, and he’s also now able to talk to a lot of the nation, potentially at night, if folks were tuning in at all, and a lot of people tune into WBZ.  The Lord was just blessing him.  But he’s going ahead in faith, obedient.  And I tell you, I tell you, I can’t say it enough, that if God’s speaking to you, just step up and follow the Lord.  God will work out all the details.  Man, we have lots of stories, and we’re running out of time, and I won’t give you all the details, but you have, I’m sure, I hope you have stories too.  Jesus takes then the five loaves and the two fish, and he blesses them, and breaks them, and you know you think of all the imagery there, of course with the Last Supper.  John tells us this is just before the Passover Feast, and it’s going to be just a year or so later he’s going to be at that time doing the same thing, but now, of course there’s a picture here, the loaves, his body, his body,  being broken.  He is the source of life. 


Lesson # 4: When it comes to being a servant, we get to witness first-hand the supernatural power of the Lord


When it says “broken” here, when he breaks the loaves, the verb is in the sense of continually, he starts breaking them and breaking them and breaking them, as he’s giving thanks in prayer, and so the disciples, he gives pieces to, he give pieces to, he gives pieces to, he give pieces to.  And they start going around, and they have baskets, each one has a basket, and he keeps loading the baskets up and they just keep going out and deliver the food to these different people seated, thousands of them.  In a radical way, man, God begins to work in the midst of it.  But the disciples, you know, they just take what he’s got, they give it out.  They take what he’s got, they give it out.  And what he’s doing, he’s miraculously multiplying the bread in his hands, it’s just like a huge loaf in the end, five loaves, he just keeps multiplying it, multiplying it, multiplying it.  And it’s happening so naturally, but it’s supernatural.  They get to be part of the midst of it.  The bread that’s being multiplied, they’re actually taking it, they making multiple trips back and forth, distributing the food to all sorts of people.  And they’re getting something as it’s happening, there’s something going down here that’s really wild.  And I’m sure they’re thinking about ‘This is beautiful, watch what’s happening.  I just keep going back, and I just keep filling up, and there’s something very beautiful happening here.’  They are right in the midst of it, man.  But they’re distributing what he’s manufacturing, and that’s something true of a servant, you know.  When it comes to ministry, man, if I just do it myself, I can’t do much, man.  But when I let the Lord use me, and I understand it as a servant, it’s his work, then what I do, I just become a conduit, I’m just a distributor of what he’s doing, his power, his work, his Word become a, his blessing.  He’s the manufacturer, I’m the distributor.  And that’s what we see here.  You know, Paul knew this same thing, he said “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you.”  He said that again, “For I delivered first of all that which I also received”, and they’re just receiving from the Lord, and they’re distributing out with what they’ve received.  And that’s a servant.  That’s the way it works. 


They weren’t just filled, they were stuffed---potentially where the “fish” symbol came from


Verse 20, as we come to the end of our time here, few more minutes, they all ate, and it says “they were filled”.  Now when it says “they were filled”, it wasn’t just like ‘That’s nice, it just kind of met their hunger’, no the word in the Greek is kordadzo, and it means to actually fill to an abundance.  Actually if you were to look in your Strong’s Concordance, it says “To gorge”, they were really full.  Five loaves, two little fish, thousands of people.  They were so filled, they were filled to overflowing.  And so, a powerful, supernatural work, the disciples get to be part of this.  And man, are they so radically blessed.  In serving the Lord, as a servant of the Lord, I get to witness firsthand his supernatural power.  And later, these disciples are so impacted by it, man, that, I mean, they include it in all the different Gospel writings, they are so blessed in return, as you serve the Lord, you are so blessed in return.  Interesting, this story so impacted the early Church, that even the catacombs in the early Church, as the Church was being persecuted, and they hid in the catacombs there in Italy, the catacombs are filled with Christian art on the walls, and so often, the art includes these five loaves and two fish.  This symbol of fish was a symbol of the early Christian church for that reason. [and in Judea, added to the fish’s tail was a menorah, symbolizing the early Judeo-Christian Church in Judea.  One of these symbols was found carved on a rock recently in an archaeological dig in Israel.  See and look to the upper right-hand corner of the magazine front-page.]  And of coarse even today we have the Ictus, the fish on the back of our cars and on our windows.  And that’s because of this day, what happened here, Jesus radically multiplied the loaves and the fish, and the disciples are so blown away, that this story impacts the early Church, and even today we have the Ictus, you know, on the back of our cars as a result [and the Messianic Jewish believers in Yeshua have the truly original version of it, as proven by recent archaeology, amazingly].  So, a servant, a servant of the Lord.  Man, I get to watch first-hand the supernatural work of God, and I get to see that it’s just incredible what God does.  But man, do I ever get blessed in return, as a servant, and to be used of the Lord.  I may be empty, I may be tired, I may be struggling inwardly, but boy when I’m done, what God does through me is so beautiful.  Spurgeon said it this way, “Those who wait upon others at Christ’s bidding shall have a fair portion for themselves.  Those who fill other’s mouths shall have their own baskets filled.”  When it’s all said and done, Jesus actually sent them out, in the other Gospels, he says ‘Go out and collect everything that’s left over.’  And it seems from the Greek word, it’s probably they don’t pick up the scraps that have been left over from eating, but probably ones that Jesus had multiplied that weren’t used [eaten], and each one had a basket, and they come back with a the basket full.  Each one has his own basket, full basket, good sized basket, filled with food.  And now did the disciples get to keep that basket?  Each one had one.  Very possible.  All those people fed, and now they get this abundance left over for themselves.  And there’s a picture, it’s that way, as you serve, man, God will just fill your basket, man.  You may be in a hard time, but what God will do.  You may think ‘I can’t for all these reasons’, what God will do in your life is so beautiful, it is so powerful, and we are wise to do it.  You know, the commentators, even Christian commentators will try to say that a miracle didn’t happen here, they say what happened here is, as Jesus started to break the bread, you know, the people had long sleeves, and they would have, as it was in the time, in their robes they would just have food and fish inside their sleeves and in their garments, so they just pulled out their own food.  Others will say that well he only multiplied little pieces, and so there must have been little baskets, I guess, you know what I mean, they got little teenie weeny baskets, that’s what they’ll say.  But there’s no doubt, when you look at the story, it was a miracle.  John even says, because of the miracle, after this, the people that witnessed this, right after this, John says, it says, “They wanted to make him their king.”  They’re like ‘This guy is incredible that he can do this.  Let’s make him our king.’   And so they physically wanted to take him away and do that, and, man, very clearly, what happens is nothing less of a miracle, and God does miraculous work.  And there were thousands of people that witnessed it.  Of course, as we’ve come to the end, the disciples, in the picture of all that goes on here, there’s that bread, and that represents the life of Christ too.  And today the Lord, he calls churches, he calls you and I as Christians, to go out, he’s going to give us the Bread that’s his life, and we’re to go out to a hungry world, and there are people in this community that are seeking to fill their hunger, they’re looking at all kinds of weird stuff, and they’re trying to be satisfied in all sorts of things, and they’ll never get there, it’ll never satisfy them, and I have the Bread of Life, I have Jesus Christ.  He is the Bread of Life.  And he indwells and fills me, and I can go out and just minister and minister, and people can be satisfied and filled in Jesus Christ.  Well, there’s a few thoughts on being a servant.  Let’s close in prayer…[a transcript of a connective expository sermon on Matthew 14:13-21, given somewhere in New England]

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