Saturday, February 15, 2014

Growing Big Faith - Personal Ministry - Part 2

Personal ministry requires us to trust Jesus and get out of the boat.

Matthew 14:28-33 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.

In the previous post Jesus and the disciples had taken a boat across the lake to get away from the crowds that were out of control. It looks like Jesus was trying to get away from the crowds but it could be that he was setting up a teachable moment for his disciples.

An important lesson on faith was the result of this boat ride across the lake. They had gone to a remote area and they needed food for the crowd but the only source of food was a small lunch basket. The disciples learned that they need to give Jesus what little they have and allow him to take care of the rest. That was Faith 101, the followup course, Faith 201 is coming right up.

The disciples are taking another boat ride but this time they are without Jesus. They are in the boat doing what they know how to do. They are experienced and have plenty of training at navigating a boat in a lake, they are at ease, they probably think "finally, Jesus asks us to do something that we know how to do."

The problem is that you don't learn very much in that situation and great things don't usually happen so let's throw in a bad storm and get them out of their comfort zone. They have been out there for hours and they were panicked, then it gets worse, Jesus saw their situation and went out across the water to them, they see him and now they are really freaked out.

The disciples are once again in a situation that seems impossible, earlier in the day they witnessed the impossible when Jesus fed the crowds, now they are in a situation that their experience tells them is hopeless. They are probably sure that this boat is going to sink.

Need Help?

Psalms 37:5  Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust Him, and He will help you.
Peter realized that he could do anything that Jesus asked him to do, he learned that when they fed the crowd a few hours ago, he just needed to know that Jesus was asking. Peter told Jesus to ask him to get out of the boat and walk across the water, so Jesus invites him to come.

Maybe the other disciples in the boat were thinking just get out of the boat but Peter wanted to know that Jesus wanted him to do it. The difference between faith and stupidity, you don't want to be out of God's will when you are making such a bold move, Peter asked Jesus to take him out of his comfort zone.

Peter may have thought "I dont know how to walk on water but I know how to get out of a boat and I know how to walk, I am going to trust Jesus with the rest." And so he trusted, until he took his eyes off Jesus and took a look around at his surroundings, he was reminded of what he couldn't do. He started thinking about his ability.

Instead of trusting in the one that can take you beyond what you can do you decide to look at your abilities and play it safe. Just about every minister, just about every ministry started with somebody that was willing to get out of the boat, insecurity is common to all of us.

Is God asking you to feed a crowd with what you have in your hands? Is he asking you to stand up and get out of the boat? When these things happen then God gets the credit but if you don't step out then you will never know what God may have accomplished through you.

Help me to trust you Lord and have big faith, big enough to pray the Peter prayer and ask Jesus to invite me out of your comfort zone.