577 episodes


The Sanctuary Downtown / Relentless Love Peter Hiett

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 38 Ratings


    The Adversary (An Alien Encounter)

    The Adversary (An Alien Encounter)

    Twenty-six years ago, I was standing in line for Alien Encounter with my eight-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, and nine-year-old son, Jon. Elizabeth was lecturing Jon on courage. Jon had been asking me, "Daddy, will I be OK?" He wanted my judgment. Elizabeth didn't think she needed it.

    Alien Encounter was an animatronic "ride" at Disney World. They would strap you into a seat and feed you a story. The president of XS Industries explained that he would now beam himself into the room from the other side of the Galaxy and materialize in the transportation module in the front of everyone. A startled technician suddenly yelled, "I've locked onto another planet in our transmission path… Oh no, It's an alien! It's carnivorous!" A dragon-like creature appeared to materialize in the glass tube in front of us.

    In that moment , I look at Jon. He looks at me. I smile. He's OK. He knows it's a lie.
    I look at Elizabeth. She won't look at me. She's looking at the thing in the tube.

    Suddenly there's a supposed power outage. "Get the alien back in the tube before it eats somebody!" yells the technician. Then we each feel a puff of warm moist air on our neck. Some warm fluid drips on our faces. We hear the sound of something feeding on something. And Elizabeth screams, "We have to get out of here... NOW!"

    I looked at Elizabeth and started screaming, "Elizabeth! Look at me! It's not real! It's not real!" But she wouldn't look at me. She was trapped in a lie. The puff of air was real. The warm water was real. The plastic shaped like a beast in a tube was real. But the lie was not real. And yet, lies can kill, and people who believe lies often do kill. Nightmares are not real, but they are very real for the one who is dreaming the nightmare and so is trapped in their own lies.

    1 Peter 2:11, "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh." The flesh always desires to exalt itself. Maybe this whole world is like Alien Encounter, except that we're the aliens, for this world — or at least the world we perceive — is not our home. And we need the Word of our Father to wake us from the illusion that it is.

    1 Peter 5:5, "Be clothed with humility toward one another. Be humbled... having cast all your cares on him for he cares for you. Wake up. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Resist him firm in the faith."

    Along with my wife, over the last 30 years, I've prayed with many people struggling with demons and witnessed our Lord's victory over evil. In at least four of these people, something other than that person has often taken over their body, spoken to me, and I to it, while that person later had no recollection of what had happened. In two of those people, over the course of many years, the thing that spoke, claimed to be Satan (the devil), and Jesus confirmed that this was so.

    People have often said, "Don't share those stories. They shrink the church. People think you're mentally ill. And they freak us out." Yep. I totally get that. But Peter just wrote "Wake up! Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion. Resist him." It's hard to resist him firm in your faith if you don't believe he exists. And he does. But maybe, in a weird way, he — the Evil One — also doesn't?

    Evil is a problem, philosophically and existentially. How could the Truth make a lie? How could the Good make evil? How could the Light make dark? How could the sun make a shadow? Well, it can't. And yet, perhaps, the sun could make the earth, then shine on the earth, and cast a shadow called "night." Perhaps the moon, which is normally a "faithful witness" to the sun, could occasionally eclipse the sun and thereby cast a shadow. Perhaps God could make man, and man — Adam — would cast a shadow... at least until Adam and all things were filled with light, and there would be no more shadow. When Jesus bore our sins on the tree, the sky grew black. And yet, it reve

    Fish Naked

    Fish Naked

    On Easter, as a special guest preacher, Simon Peter preached our message on the topic of Easter and his epistle, 1 Peter. He came with fishing gear to demonstrate his trade and shared with us that for him, Easter was all about fish.

    "Fish is Life" had been the bumper sticker on his boat. "I saw that fish was good for food, a delight to the eyes, and to be desired to make one wise," he shared. "I'd see the fish, take the fish, kill the fish, and consume the fish, and then crave more fish."

    He actually caught a fish in the sanctuary, and then he caught a woman (he said that she was his wife). He reeled her in — in Greek: "helkuo." It means "to draw" as with a line or a net, and metaphorically it means "to romance." He caught a woman but shared that loving her was more of a challenge; just as he consumed the fish, he could consume his wife. He caught friends, like his fishing partner, John, but jealous of John, he couldn't know or be known by John.

    "Imagine if I could catch God," he mused. "For me, Easter meant ‘Fish, friends, God, and glory,’ because that is just what I got in John 21 after Jesus rose from the dead."

    He had been fishing all night and caught nothing. A man called from the beach, "Try casting the net on the right side of the boat." When he did, he caught a boatload of miracle fish. He shared that pastors often spoke of the great obedience he demonstrated in casting the net on the other side of the boat — something that, to a fisherman, would've seemed entirely absurd. Faithful obedience is righteousness, and righteousness is glorious, and Simon Peter reminded us that many considered him to be the first Pope.

    "On Easter, people come to church wanting to know how to catch miracle fish, how to get this Easter thing to work for them, how to get eternal life. Well, in case you missed it," he said. "We didn't know it was Jesus on the beach, so we didn't get 'it' to work for us. And, secondly, in case you think I was being so obedient or righteous, in case you think that I was dressed like the Pope on Easter morning, you need to know that . . . I was naked."

    John 21:7, John wrote, "When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes for he was naked, and jumped into the sea."

    Peter then clarified some things: "1. I wasn't being sexy; it was normal to only have one set of clothes, and fishing is messy. So, we often kept our clothes in the front of the boat. 2. I didn't want to be naked. In our day, clothing meant honor, and nakedness meant humility and vulnerability. And 3. John was a poet, and he knew me. He was pointing out that I was naked like Adam was naked, like a newborn baby is naked, and a man, crucified on a tree, is naked."

    "I was naked," Peter said. "But this time was not the first time I had cast my nets at the direction of Jesus and caught a boatload of miracle fish. The first time, I wasn't naked," he shared. "And the first time, I knew it was Him — actually, I was putting him to the test."

    The first time (recorded in Luke 5), Peter fell at the feet of Jesus and begged Him to leave, saying, "Depart from me. I am a sinful man."

    "I obeyed. I cast the net where He told me to cast it. And I received fish, friends, God, and glory. And I begged Him to leave... Why?" asked Peter. "I got everything I wanted and couldn't want anything I got, because all of it was free. And I knew it. And so, it sunk my boat and ripped a giant hole in my psyche," said Peter. "You build a self, a soul, a psyche (in Greek) by catching things in your net. I suddenly realized that I didn't make the fish swim into my net; and I couldn't pay for any that had or pay for the One that would make them do so. God was in my nets, and He was ripping them to shreds."

    Jesus then said to Peter, James, and John, "Fear not, I will make you fishers of men (and women)."
    "I think I heard, 'I will give you knowledge to make yourself a fisher of men,'" said Peter.
    Jesus once told Peter, "You are rock (petros), a

    When You Encounter a Lion

    When You Encounter a Lion

    Turtle Pens and The Power of The Imperishable Seed

    Turtle Pens and The Power of The Imperishable Seed

    Twenty-six years ago, I said to my son Jon, "Let's build a pen for Myrtle, your box turtle." Jon was so excited. I thought, "This will be a great father/son project." We got to work, but at the age of nine, Jon wasn't the fastest of workers and seemed to prefer TV to hauling rock. Before long, I got grumpy. And before long, Jon began to shrivel. His eyes welled up with tears. He went inside... like a turtle. And I built the turtle pen alone.

    Twenty-six years ago, I was also preparing to preach on the same text that we're preaching on this week. When I had asked the Lord what he wanted us to hear in 1 Peter 5, I realized that it was something like this: "Peter, I didn't ask you to build a turtle pen. But I'm building a son, and I'd like you to help."

    How do you build a person as opposed to a bunch of turtles in a turtle pen?
    There are advantages to boxes and turtles in turtle pens — they feel safe.
    But turtles are unhuggable... and they bite.

    About ten years earlier, I was building homes in Mexico along with my youth group from Los Angeles. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Billy had bent a nail, couldn't seem to straighten it, and was now hiding that fact from me. I said something like, "Hey bonehead, try this," straightened the nail, made a joke out of it, and we all kept working.

    When I left Bel Air Presbyterian Church, Billy pulled me aside and said, "Peter, I want you to know how you changed my life." I hoped for a reference to some great message that I had given. But Billy said, "It was the nail." When I looked confused, he explained, "In Mexico, when I bent that nail, I fully expected you to curse me and ridicule me in front of my friends. That's what my dad would've done. But you acted like it was no big deal. It made me think, 'Maybe love is real, and God is Love.'"

    So, was I building houses in Mexico... or Billy... or maybe my ego?

    In my heart, Billy was like the poster child for "Peter Hiett Ministries." It wasn't long before I preached on 1 Peter 5, 26 years ago, that I received a phone call from the father of one of Billy's friends. He said, "Billy went for a walk at UCLA, pulled a gun out of a paper bag, and shot himself in the heart. He's dead." I don't know why Billy did that, but I know that I hadn't called him for a while, and I know that, just as I had felt pride, I now felt shame as if I had failed at building Billy. I had used Billy to build my own house, my ego, my turtle pen. But I'm pretty sure that I had helped him with the nail, not simply because I was trying to exalt myself but because — at least for a moment — I actually loved Billy, or Love loved Billy through me.

    My hope is that when Billy sees God, he'll recognize him from that day in Mexico and surrender his life to the one who gave him life in the first place. My hope is that Billy will recognize the Jesus in me because I recognized the Jesus in him. Jesus said, "Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me."

    I suspect that one day, Jesus will look at Billy and me and say, "You are the house that I am building." I bet he'll say something like that to Peter and Judas. And I bet they'll say, "Thank you for letting us help." I'm not the only one to lose a disciple to suicide.

    Jesus said to Peter, "You are Peter (Rock), and on this rock I will build my church." I bet Peter felt responsible for Judas.

    When John saw the New Jerusalem coming down, it was a temple — a house — built on 12 foundation stones upon which were the names of the 12 Apostles of the Lamb. Judas is the "Son of Perdition (lostness)," but Jesus came "to seek and to save the lost." And so, as Peter told us, "He went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison... and this is why the gospel was preached even to the dead that, although judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the Spirit the way God does."

    Jesus is building a house. And until you catch a glimpse of the house that He's building, you'll keep building turtle pens fo

    Calm and Quiet Your Soul

    Calm and Quiet Your Soul

    Walk On (and Just Remember I Love You)

    Walk On (and Just Remember I Love You)

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
38 Ratings

38 Ratings

Tzoltzor ,


I’m listening to the series on Revelation. Simply delightful. So good. What a wonderful and mysterious King we have. Thank you, Pastor Peter, for these sermons.

So thankful!! ,

Awesome happy

Love the messages i have heard but won't download want to listen when I have no wi fi
apple ipad

Ryan & Amanda Caldwell ,

Life changing


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