Faith at 110 Stories – Philippe Petit [repost]

ThumbnailThis past weekend at Eastbrook Church, I launched a new series called “Beginning to Live.” The focus of this past weekend was faith and so my blog posts this week are all about faith. Here is one of my favorite stories that illustrates what faith looks like.

In the early 1970s, Philippe Petit, a French acrobat and high-wire artist, heard about the construction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. When he saw a picture of their design, it was like he heard a voice calling him to do something startling and risky.

After six years of planning, on August 7th, 1974, Petit and his friends secretly rode a freight elevator 104 stories up into the newly constructed twin towers of the World Trade Center. After stretching a ¾” metal cable across the 200 foot span between the towers, Petit illegally stepped out for a high wire act like no other. With the winds blowing, Philippe Petit was 110 stories – a quarter of a mile – above the sidewalks of Manhattan.

He walked the wire for 45 minutes, making eight crossings between the towers. He sat on the wire, gave knee salutes and, while lying on the wire, spoke with a gull circling above his head. After this spell-binding display, Petit was arrested, taken for psychological evaluation, and brought to jail before he was finally released.

Faith looks like that. We hear a voice calling us to action. We respond. And then we step out. It may seem startling and risky, but we will do whatever Jesus says.

Here is a trailer for a movie, entitled Man on Wire, about Philippe Petit’s risky steps as a high wire walk between the World Trade Center towers in 1974:

I first mentioned this story in my sermon called “Walk on the Waves” in our Risky Faith series.

||40days|| week five: follow wherever

“You can just follow me there.” I’m sure we have all had the experience of following someone in our car from one place to a final destination. We may not know where we are going, but trust the person to lead us around curves, through unexpected turns, racing through yellow lights to the destination. When we begin following Jesus we may not know where we are going, but we choose to follow wherever He leads us.

There came a time in Jesus’ life and ministry, when his dear friend, Lazarus, became very sick. Because of God’s purposes, however, Jesus did not go to him until after he died. Going to Bethany, where Lazarus and his two sisters lived, put Jesus right back in the vicinity of those who were most opposed to Him. In fact, His last visit to that area had ended with people ready to stone Him for blasphemy (John 10:31, 39).

Knowing these risks, Jesus went anyway. It was His disciples, however, that experienced the fear of this moment. Thomas – unfairly labeled only as a doubter – is the one who verbalizes both the fear, but also the faith of a follower:

“Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with Him.’ (John 11:16, NIV)

Even if Jesus was going to face death, Thomas wanted to follow Him. Regardless of the unknown elements of Read More »

God in Unexpected Risks (discussion questions)

Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message at Eastbrook Church this past weekend from Ruth 3 entitled “God in Unexpected Risks.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. As we continue our series on Ruth entitled “Unexpected,” this week we will look at chapter 3.  Whether you are on your own or in a small group, take time to read the chapter out loud.
  2. Verses 1-5 set the stage of the action that will happen in this chapter. Compare Naomi now with Naomi at the end of chapter 1 and beginning of chapter 2. What has happened with her? Also, take some time to notice Naomi’s original hope for her daughters-in-law (Ruth 1:8-9) with her plans here.Read More »

God in Unexpected Risks (Ruth 3)

This weekend at Eastbrook Church, we continued our series on Ruth called “Unexpected” by looking at Ruth, chapter 3. My message was entitled “God in Unexpected Risks.” The main point of my message is that as we step out with selfless risks, God works in unexpected ways.

You can listen to my message online at the Eastbrook web-site here. You can also follow Eastbrook Church on Twitter. I’ve included the outline for the message below:

Read More »

Unexpected: The Story of Ruth

This coming weekend, we begin a series at Eastbrook Church called “Unexpected: The Story of Ruth.”

God is always at work in the world and our lives. Some times it is easier to see that than other times. The Old Testament book of Ruth tells the story of God’s work in the very ordinary lives of Ruth, her mother-in-law Naomi, and a distant relative named Boaz. Through God’s unexpected work in their lives we get a picture of how God is at work in unexpected ways in our lives.

I will be teaching for this entire series, and the series outline is as follows:

June 9/10: God in Unexpected Circumstances
Texts: Ruth 1:1-22Read More »