Panic! Now What? (7/26/15)

Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 in Sermons | 0 comments

On July 26, Pastor Jim was taking a much deserved vacation, so our sermon was given by Lay Servant Jim Kier. 

Jim Kier with Pastor Jim

Jim Kier with Pastor Jim

What do you do when your whole world is about to crash around you?  What do you do when that moment hits you and you feel that you’re in serious danger?

Jim’s scripture was John 6:1-21.  Click the below “Play” button to start the recording of the message, then scroll down to read the scripture and to follow along with the sermon…



John 6:1-21

1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias),

2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick.

3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples.

4 The Jewish Passover Feast was near.

5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”

6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

7 Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up,

9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them.

11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”

13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14 After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake,

17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 

Fishermen on the Sea of Galilee

Fishermen on the Sea of Galilee


18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.

19 When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified.

20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”

21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.


We are bombarded by situations over which we have no control- just look at some recent news stories; a surfer is attacked by a shark, a family trying to outrun a forest fire, shooters in churches and theaters.  You see the videos, you hear the voices- they are full of panic!   Fear and despair take over our thinking and abilities, and we find it hard to conjure up a rational plan of dealing with the situation.


In the early 70’s my wife and I were Senior High Counselors. One of the activities we did was to take the youth group to work with the Appalachian Service Project (check out Redbird Mission). We went to help the people have a little better way of life. We would repair roofs, put up siding, paint, replace porches, build rooms, and repair steps.

One trip we were sent deeper into the mountains to help. The kids worked very hard and we decided we would take a half a day and have a picnic, because there were no other activities close by. We went to a local National Park, and the two counselors and I got the bright idea to take a hike on one of the trails.

We had about an hour before the sun would set, so we selected what was supposed to be the shortest and easiest trail.  We saw beautiful sights, animals and vegetation. We kept walking expecting the trail to turn back, it didn’t. As time passed we reached a point where we could not return the way we had come. It would be dark and we didn’t have flashlights. When the sun sets in the mountains it is very dark. I looked right and there was a river, we couldn’t go that way, the left side was so steep we could not climb the hill, our only option was to continue. We walked a little further, came to a small stream with a log to cross. We made it across and continued, then the trail narrowed to just a little used path.  What now?  More later…


Panic:  “You Feed Them!!!”

Imagine being in Citizens Bank Park watching a Phillies game (back when big crowds actually attended the games…).  It’s getting late in the day, the game’s dragging on in the 5th inning, and everyone is tired and hungry.  Then out of the blue, Jesus appears and gives you the task of feeding the crowd!  They’re out of hot dogs.  No more Schmitters at Harry the K’s.  No more cheese steaks at Tony Lukes! Thousands of hungry people, and YOU’RE supposed to get a meal together for them?  And it’s the Son of God Himself asking you to do this- you don’t want to dare to let Him down!


That’s exactly where the disciples were on that day beside the Sea of Galilee.

  • PHILLIP  Jesus first turned to Phillip with a simple (?) question: “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?
    Phillip’s reaction was Panic… “Are you kidding?  Eight month’s wages wouldn’t be enough.
  • ANDREW  Then Andrew stepped in.
    Andrew’s reaction was faith.  He didn’t have the answer but he thought that he might have a part of the solution; five small barley loaves and two small fish.

Jesus first knew that Phillip couldn’t do what he was asking, I imagine that Jesus might have had a small smile on his face, and he was playing with Phillip.   Jesus already knew how He was going to feed them. Jesus was teaching Phillip to trust.

There is a distinct difference between Phillip and Andrew. Philip was the man who said: ‘The situation is hopeless; nothing can be done.’ Andrew was the man who said: ‘I’ll see what I can do; and I’ll trust Jesus to do the rest.



Panic:  We’re Going to Drown!

Imagine being one of the violinists in the band who was on the Titanic.  The ship is taking on water, all of the life boats are gone, and you know you have no hope.  Instead, you do what you’ve been trained to do; play music.  As the icy water pulls you to your death, you leave the world with thoughts of “nearer my God to Thee.”

But couldn’t we also imagine being on a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee,  miles from the shore, when a violent storm suddenly arises?  The wind is dumping water into your small boat and you’re sure there’s no hope.  There’s nothing you can do.  And if that’s not bad enough, all of a sudden as you gaze across the churning water, you see a ghost!  Something that looks like Jesus but…  this can’t be!  You have no control over the situation and you panic.

And yet- it IS Jesus!!!  The outcome on the Titanic was death, the outcome  on the fishing boat was life, but in both situations Jesus was there to offer His Peace.

Jesus was up in the hills praying, but He saw the disciples rowing, He saw the storm, He saw their anguish. He put his own needs aside and came to the disciples. He took care of their needs, he gave them strength and assurance. He didn’t leave them to fail.

This account shows us that Jesus watches us, even though we may not be aware of it. Jesus knows our needs, before we even know we need them and he gives us what we need, at just the right time.


The Rest of the Story…

Back to the hiking story…

The night before at dinner one of the kids asked me if I had been in a panic situation and how did I handle it.  I thought for a while, and answered I had never been in a situation where I felt panic.

Back to the woods, we just crossed a small stream and the path became narrow and didn’t appear to be well used. We had to do something!

The first thing I did was pray, next I took the lead.

I felt the need to move faster before the sunlight started to die, at that moment we came upon a macadam road. I said I would go on they should wait. Which way, to the right the road sloped down, it looked like the easiest way, but I was nudged, actually I felt I had to go to the left uphill, and that is what I did.

I started to run, I was never a track star, I was slow. I ran and was getting tired, wondering if I had made the right decision. I was tired and having trouble breathing, but as I came around a bend a refreshing breeze hit me and gave me new energy.  A little further, and I came to the entrance of the park and found the rest of our group.

After driving the short distance to pick up the other hikers, I noticed that they were just a little under a mile away.  In the service it took me about 6 ½ minutes to run a mile.  Years later, in this panic situation, it took me just a little more than 5 minutes to run that mile.

God provided and strengthened me in this situation…


From Panic to Peace…

fear-441402__180So how do you deal with those panic situations?  Is there some way to prepare for them so that you can survive when seemingly hopeless circumstances suddenly thrust their way into your life?

Four  things.  They sound so “churchy” and obvious, but in my situation they proved to be so true.  Click the drop down links to unwrap these Four powerful roads to God’s peace…

1:  Pray


First, pray!  Be sure that Jesus is part of what is happening or more importantly- that YOU’RE a part of what Jesus is doing)…

Ephesians 6:18

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

2: Listen


Don’t just shoot up a prayer and give up.  Prayer is a conversation, and we need to listen in order to recognize God’s answer.

John 10:3-4

The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them…

3: Trust


Trust God. God is the only one in our lives that we can trust without reservation.

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

John 14:1

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

4: Obey


Prayers, and even understanding of God’s will don’t do any good unless we follow Him.  We must have the faith to trust Him and then the will to obey Him, however “senseless” His direction might sound to us.

James 1:22

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

John 15:10

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.


God knows us, God loves, God cares for us. He will never leave us alone and He will always provide just what we need. We must obey as he leads.

You and I must be prepared, there will be troubles in our life. I would love to believe that they won’t enter our lives, but that would be a lie. We don’t know what the future holds, but God does.

If we live a life that constantly nurtures our desire and ability to Pray, Listen, Trust, and Obey, we will be able to turn our panic into peace when difficult situations arise.  That’s God’s promise.  Take Him up on it!!!



 Quiz Time!

As you reflect on what you’ve just heard/read, give this quiz a try.  If you don’t understand an answer (or if you disagree with the “correct” answer, post a comment)…


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