“Just let me in your boat”

11 years ago I co-led a small group at the Birmingham Dream Center with three friends. It began small, but then grew…

… and continued growing.

In fact, within two months, we had 100 people attending our “small group.” Then, three months later, there were over 250.

Here’s what makes it all the more strange…

We held the group in the middle of the inner city (in an area that, particularly at that time, wasn’t known for being safe).

At night.

And it grew throughout the summer.


The first few weeks we talked about the Cross— about everything Jesus achieved for us. I remember it well, because this was the season when I received an overdose of grace myself, effectively teaching in real time what I was receiving myself.

(The result of those 6 weeks studying the Cross became the book Redemption which you can download free below— or, purchase the paperback at full price— or the previous edition for just $5.)

We baptized dozens of those attenders, that Spring, outside of the renovated fire station.

We even gave them t-shirts with a special design that one of our co-leaders (my friend Rob, who led music for these gatherings each week) created.


What was the secret sauce?

I dunno.

Some people think it was because we fed everyone.

We initially fired-up the grill every Tuesday around 5pm. We fed everyone and started our group at 6:15.

In other words, we didn’t make people “sit through a Bible study” in order to eat. They were free to eat and leave. Or grab food and take it to family, grandparents, neighbors… anyone they thought needed it.

Others point to other factors.

My thought is this:

From the beginning, the four of us who launched the group agreed on two criteria: Jesus has to be elevated, and the event has to be fun. Both were important.

And, it was…

(In fact, the only thing that could kill it was a church— which is precisely what happened. But that’s a different story for a completely other time and place.)


After the first teaching series on the Cross, our team decided we needed to NOW teach people how to walk out their faith— many of them were new to this thing called Christianity.

So, we taught them THIS talk, as well as the next few I’ll share.

I’ll be honest: I haven’t reviewed these 5 recordings in YEARS. In fact, they’re a DECADE old.

But, as I was looking back, I thought, “I think it’s time to share these…”

👉 This was a season when I was overwhelmed by grace

👉 This was a season when I think I learned to teach complex things in simple ways

👉 This was a season that, despite the stress and strain of other factors outside my control, I had a great time doing the work of ministry

And, even if it was for just a short chapter, one I believed— and still do— closed all too soon, it was STILL an amazing ride.

In the words of The Cat in the Hat, “Don’t be sad it ended, be glad it ever happened at all.”


The first message of this introduces the basic idea that YOU AND I HAVE STRUGGLED. Things haven’t always gone our way.

To that, Jesus comes and simply beckons, “Just let me in your boat.”

That is, “Invite me into whatever space you think I can’t to something about.”

For Peter, it was a fishing debacle (see Luke 5). For you and me, it could be family or finance or fitness or friends or any other thing.

Then, after letting Him in, He challenges us with something like this: “Trust Me with something small, something tangible. An action that may not make sense but you clearly know is from Me. And let’s just see what happens.”


Listen in.

This talk took me back to so many solid memories, all while encouraging me in the here and now, too.



Be sure to grab the free eBook at www.Jenkins.tv/R 

Or, purchase the “old” version of the paperback here for just $5 = www.Jenkins.tv/redemption5 

Sure, you can grab the updated (new cover) version if you prefer: https://www.thehilltop.shop/product-page/redemption