Written by Brent Bramer—NextGen Pastor, Crestwood Campus

I grabbed the little pair of tennis shoes and gently placed them in front of my son. I sat down in the middle of the kitchen floor next to him, relishing this moment with my tiny man. I looked down into his big brown eyes and said, “Okay, dude, here we go! Watch what I do, pay attention to every step, do what I do. Repeat after me!”

I grabbed my shoestrings and, with a deep wisdom to my tone, begin to explain the wonders of tying a shoe. But my son needed to experience it for himself—the feeling of pulling your shoes snug to your foot—knowing YOU did it yourself!

In the middle of the kitchen, I modeled to my 3 year old the tedious process of tying one’s shoes. I settled on the “bunny-ear-method” and I had his undivided attention in this moment. Keegan was embarking on a part of the journey to becoming a big kid—and it started with listening, with watching, with modeling, with repeating.

We see a similar method of modeling and teaching play out between Jesus and Peter in the New Testament.

Jesus spent nearly two and a half years with Peter. Peter was a fisherman turned faithful friend and follower of  “Immanuel,” “the Christ,” “the Image of the Invisible God,” “the Way the Truth and Life.” He witnessed the very character and nature of God lived out in Jesus of Nazareth. At night as his head hit the pillow, I imagine Peter replayed the experiences, the teachings, the transformational power from each day with Jesus.

Peter watched what happened when Jesus encountered Zacchaeus. The tax collector had sold out his own people to make a deal with the powerful, the political, the elites of the day—getting rich off of being a friend of the government. He was despised and an outcast—separated from any chance of knowing the Lord, until Jesus calls him by name and invites Himself over for dinner. Jesus wasn’t afraid or intimidated by the name Zacchaeus had made for himself. He invited him to forgiveness and faith and friendship with God.

Then there was the leper. There was no place in society for him. What started as a numbing of his hand had developed into open sores that covered his body. Banished to the colony with “the others”—isolated, cut off, untouchable—he was despised and disgusting to the average citizen. No longer able to hold the hand of his wife, to kiss his children goodnight, to provide for his family, to walk through the market without shouting “UNCLEAN! STAY AWAY!”

He was now a monster. A disgrace. A sickness. Broken. Empty. Hopeless. Until he saw Jesus. And hope filled his heart as he ran and fell at the feet of the Rescuer. Jesus reached out his hand, unafraid of the illness, unashamed by the gasps of those around him, and undeterred, Jesus touched the untouchable. The power of God was put on display. The sores disappeared from his body and the man returned home to his family.

Peter heard this, watch it happen. And each night he wondered at the goodness of God in the man from Nazareth. Day in and day out, he saw prayer modeled, he witnessed what it looked like to forgive the flawed, he was taught to have compassion for the broken. It was a lifestyle of worship on display. And now, Jesus says to him, “REPEAT. Do what I do. Keep your eyes on me…and go for it!”

Acts 3 tells a story about Peter—REPEATING. He and John encounter a man crippled since birth. He’s begging, broken, berated by those who pass by. Peter looks at him—and as the flashbacks to Jesus’ life and ministry play through His mind, he prays—and the man is healed! Peter saw it modeled and now he’s stepping into the Jesus way, the Jesus life—a life of power and boldness, prayer and humility.

Acts 4:13 says, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”


Today is the last day of Bible and Beach 2017. Tonight we’ll load on buses, drive through the night, and head back to our homes.

This week, nearly 1,600 students have seen, heard, and watched Jesus move and transform lives. They’ve worshiped and studied and seen the way of Jesus modeled. And now, like Peter, they are being challenged, charged, and sent to REPEAT—to do what He has done. To pray as He prayed. To love as He loved. To invite as He invited. To live a life of power and boldness, of grace and compassion, of truth and integrity. To REPEAT!

Would you pray with us, that we’d see a generation return home changed, transformed, and focused on REPEATING what they see in Jesus Christ. Pray for passionate followers of Jesus to rise up, to tell stories of the what God has done with courage and confidence—and that students would continue to see the Spirit of the Living God move in them and through them.

I see a generation rising up to be light in the neighborhood, goodness in their classrooms, grace amidst the chaos—repeating the ways of Jesus, being His church, sharing His love with the world!

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