Time to Get Our Feet Wet! (7/30/17)

Posted by on Jul 30, 2017 in Sermons | 0 comments

It was confirmation Sunday.  A Group of wide-eyed teens stood at the front of the church to declare the faith that their parents had promised to nurture in them when when they stood at the same altar years earlier.  These youth had “survived Pastor Jim’s Boot camp” in order to reach this special Sunday.

But what’s next?  Completing Middle School, entering High School, College, jobs, marriage, even having kids themselves?  So much awaits.  So much potential to fear and to become overwhelmed.

Time to step out in faith…

And so, Pastor Jim’s sermon was about the time Peter stepped out in faith- to walk on the water.

To listen to the recording, press the below “Play” button, then scroll down to follow along.

 

 

Our scripture was Matthew 14:22-33:

Matthew 14:22-33

22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home.

23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.

24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.

25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.

26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”

28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.

30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.

33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

 

Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

 

Impossible!

Making it through Pastor Jim’s Boot Camp?  Maybe that’s something that can be done… at least these confirmands did it.  But walk on water?!?  That IS Impossible!

Fishermen on the Sea of Galilee

The disciples had just completed a long day, and they were rowing across the lake to get home.  It was dark.  And then, out of the darkness, a storm suddenly hit them.  These were hardened fishermen.  They had been out on this lake many times.  But this particular storm came up so suddenly and was so fierce, that even they were afraid.  Worry overwhelmed them and they couldn’t focus on what they were doing.  Jesus wasn’t there (or so it seemed).  The harder they rowed the more they realized that they weren’t going anywhere.  The weather was rough and the disciples were beginning to think that this was going to be the end.

THEY were unable to get the boat under control.  Impossible!

 

How are WE going to fix this Problem?

Have any of you been out on a boat when a storm suddenly comes upon you?  Yes- it can be an unnerving experience.  Sometimes we go through life and all is good.  Then suddenly out of nowhere, we find ourselves in the midst of a storm.  We often try frantically to continue to deal with the storm under our own power.  And often, like the disciples, we exert a great deal of emotional and physical energy, and we find that we are getting nowhere.

This was what was happening with the disciples.  And yet, this “storm” came up right on the heals of a miracle.  Jesus had just finished feeding 5,000 people with an empty fridge- only two loves of bread and five little fish.

They were so busy trying to save themselves that they had forgotten about Jesus.  Don’t we do the same thing?  We are so focused on our circumstances that we forget to cry out to God.  God should be our first response; not our last resort!

 

Watch How Jesus Fixes the Impossible!

When Jesus shows up, walking on the water, the disciples don’t express relief that Jesus is with them.  They don’t express faith or even remorse that they forgot about Him.  No, they express fear!  They’re surprised that Jesus is there.  They weren’t expecting Jesus to show up.

And they sure weren’t expecting Jesus to say what He said when he approached them:  “Be of Good Cheer!”

Then He adds,”… I AM!”  He is announcing Himself as God (“I Am that I Am”).  God is here!  Don’t be afraid.

 

Peter Gives it a Try…

Peter speaks before he things.  “O Lord if it is you, let me come out and walk on the water.”  Jesus says, “Fine- come on out!”  He gets out and starts to do what is humanely impossible.  He steps out, and he walks on the water.  Peter is doing the impossible because he focused on Jesus.

But the voices start to say “Yo!  YOU can’t do that!”  Peter started looking at the wind and waves instead of looking at Jesus, and then he began to sink.  To Peter, the waves got bigger and Jesus got smaller.  Until Peter cried out, “Lord, save me!” Then Jesus lifted him up.

 Oh you of little faith, Why did you doubt?   This isn’t an insult to Peter.  In fact, Jesus is complementing Peter because he had enough faith to step out on to the water in the first place.  What about the disciples who stayed in the boat?

God is pleased with you AT THIS MOMENT.  That little faith is what God used later on to build His faith. 

Peter’s “Little Faith” got him to cry out to Jesus, and Jesus immediately saved him.

 

When Will You Give it a Try?

That same Jesus who was out on the water with Peter, who invited Peter to “take a walk”… is the same Jesus who is calling you today.  He’s that same Jesus who wants to walk with you.  He wants you to reach out your hand to Him so He can walk with you every day.

You don’t have to wait.  He’s calling out to you today!  Show Him that little faith that you have, and Jesus will show you the great things in His world.  Jesus is calling all of us to take a risk, to step out of our comfort zones.  Do WE have the little faith to grow?  Are WE willing to get out of the boat and jump in with Him?

 

Everything is Possible with God!

If someone asked you to step out of a boat and walk on to the water, you’d say he’s nuts!  You wouldn’t do something that somebody was telling you to do… unless he was already doing it himself. 

God is the One who made the world.  If it’s been done, He’s been there.  “Been there, done that.”  He’s the One who calls you, and He promises to be with you every step of the way.  Nothing is impossible for God…

Luke 18:23-27

23 But when the man heard this he became sad, for he was very rich.  When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!  In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”  Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?”

27 He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” 

Genesis 18:13-14

13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’

14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” 

Job 42:1-2

1. Then Job replied to the Lord:

2 “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. 

Jeremiah 32:17

“O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! 

Zechariah 8:6

“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: All this may seem impossible to you now, a small remnant of God’s people. But is it impossible for me? says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 

Romans 4:20-21

20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.

21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 

 

 

The Only Constant:  God Always Shows Up!

Paul tells us over and over again that God is with us wherever we go.  In Romans 8:35 he declares that NOTHING can ever seperate us from the love of God.  Here’s how Eugene Peterson puts it in his paraphrase of the Bible, The Message:

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us?  There is no way!  Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing…”

Life gets weird, it can get confusing.  The only thing that’s constant, that you can count on, is that God is always there.  Nothing can separate us from God.  Nothing can stop Jesus’ love for you.

Yes, the audio ends kind of abruptly… but nothing can stop Christ’s love.  Nothing can prevent Him from being in your midst when you face a challenge.

It’s time to step out into the water!

 

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