I grew up going to the beach.  My dad is a Citadel graduate so Charleston, South Carolina holds my earliest memories of family vacations full of good books, riding the waves, freckles and “crabbing.”  As the years have gone by, I have more beach memories with my own kids on the Florida coast at Seaside and on the Georgia coast at Sea Island.  Bike riding and family pictures marking the years, more books and plenty of seafood are annual highlights. Summer isn’t summer without a trip to the beach.  So many important moments and memories happen at the beach.

Jesus has his own beach stories. He grew up in Nazareth, about 20 miles from the water.  In his case, it was the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee shows up with different names in the New Testament. Same water, Same place, different names including the Lake of Gennesaret, the Sea of Tiberias, and in the Old Testament, the Sea of Chinneroth. Jesus’ ministry centered around the Sea of Galilee. Of course, many important events happened in Jerusalem, but Jesus did most of his teaching and miracles along the shore of this freshwater lake.  Jesus will calm the storms, walk on water, eat breakfast, teach and heal all around the Sea.

With memories of your own shore experience fresh on your mind, we will spend the rest of the Summer “AT THE SHORE” with Jesus following Jesus on the beach and on the water.  Last week, we had a “soft launch” looking at the feeding of the 5000 which happened in the Galilean region.  This week, we see Jesus at the shore inviting Peter and Andrew, James and John into the adventure of a lifetime.  Jesus invited them to “Drop It.”  Drop their nets and begin a new life of fishing for people.

This scripture has a special place in my heart. My first sermon as your new pastor-elect was “You’re Going to Need A Bigger Boat” on this powerful call story. I said it then and I’ll say it again on Sunday. That day, Jesus showed the fisherman the catch of the lifetime. It was a harbinger of all that was to come.  They were going to see Jesus doing so many over the top, net-breaking, life-changing things.

He did it then in the lives of the disciples. And he’s doing it now here at GRACE Church Bethlehem. He’s doing it in our town, he’s doing it around the world, he’s doing it in you.  It’s what Jesus does.

I can’t wait for Sunday, where will reconnect to Jesus’ call on our lives and the adventure we get to be a part of here at GRACE Church.  We will take Communion together in both services.

From that day in April 2016 to today, it is a great joy and privilege to be…

Your pastor and friend,


Marnie Crumpler
Senior Pastor