05.24.2009 Never Waste a Good Crisis - Peter
28th May 2009
Lord, thank You that You are present with us here. You loved us – that is what matters in life – is that You love us. Your love is amazing! You have taken us – sinners – and have forgiven us. You are able to heal us from our sins and wrong ways and are able to bring us back to relationship with You. Each of us has failed – but it is Your cross that brings us back. May our hearts be prepared. Speak through Your word in a way that touches lives and changes us. In Your name we pray.
This is a Chinese symbol – Crisis – it is made up of two Chinese words: danger and opportunity
God has, in a crisis, a new opportunity for a person.
As we go through this series – Never Waste a Good Crisis – how to survive and thrive through a crisis, we need to discover the opportunity that is presented by the circumstance you face today.
God often uses the trial, the trouble, the difficulty, as a teaching moment for us.
When you are with your kids, working – there are perfect teaching moments – “this is why we tell you NOT to do THAT – or it IS important to do THIS.”
God tries to teach us things. Sometimes when something bad happens, we think there is something wrong with us. But sometimes, God is just trying to reveal more of his love for us.
Today we will look at Peter and Jesus walking on the water.
This section begins right after Jesus feeds the five thousand…
Matt 14: 22 And immediately He made the disciples get into the boat, and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And after He had sent the multitudes away, He went up to the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already many stadia away from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary
Jesus sends them on alone – and He is going to spend some time with the father. There are two other sections that talk about this in Mark and John.
This storm comes up. And Jesus sees that they are struggling.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were frightened, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."
It is important to understand – even though these guys were fishermen – they were struggling – I’ve been out on a boat only a couple times – and only a couple of times have I been seasick!
Jesus enters into the crisis. Jesus comes to them in their difficulty. He sees what they are going through and He comes to them. When we are in trouble, Jesus knows. He enters into our difficulty so we don’t go through it alone. When we are going through it, it is hard to believe. The disciples thought He was a ghost – and not Casper the Friendly Ghost – they were afraid of Him. He was there in their difficulty – but they were scared by His presence.
When the difficulty comes in – we tend to only focus on the difficulty.
They were probably focused on the waves coming over the side of the boat – and they missed God coming to them. He calls us in that situation. Jesus tells them – “take courage – do not be afraid.”
Our first reaction is to be afraid – to be discouraged. The reason He can tell them that – because of those three words in the middle – “It is I” – When you face a difficulty – you need to see – it is I – God is in it – He is present in that circumstance and situation.
28 And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."
Peter is scared too – when the disciples thought it was a ghost – Peter thought it was a ghost. “If it is you” – it is a bold move – he turns the crisis into an opportunity – Command me to come to you on the water!
What we want – is to hear from God. We want direction – what am I supposed to do – How do I get through it? If it is You – give me some direction – command me to come out.
It is interesting – Peter, always – you know – bold – and speaks out.
Cindy and I went to see the Star Trek movie – if you are a fan of the TV show – it was phenomenal – Cindy was embarrassed to sit by me. I laughed through the entire movie. This has nothing to do with the message – well actually – that final line – to go where no one has gone before (Cindy tells me that is incorrect grammar…) – That is what Peter did – there is only one instance of this recorded in all of history…
29 And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
He steps out of the boat. We did a John Ortberg study a while ago: “If you want to walk on water – you have to get out of the boat.” It is the dangerous place where you find the reward. Peter stepped into the crisis instead of trying to find a safe place away from it.
I am not talking here about spiritual thrill seeking. We have physical thrill seekers, and I think there are people who want to do crazy things for God. And it is crazy. Peter was moving toward Jesus – he was lining himself up – moving into a proper working relationship with Jesus. That is what God is trying to do in life – get us into a proper relationship with Him. Our fear and lack of courage can keep us from getting out of the boat when God is saying get out – come – get off your safety net and join me in this journey. This is not spiritual thrill seeking – it is joining Jesus in His work. Taking bold steps that do not lead us to God and His work will not be rewarded. God is interested in bold moves that align us with Him.
30 But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and ^said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
Something went wrong. Peter is walking on the water and something goes wrong – his success is temporary – Jesus asks, Why did you doubt – why didn’t this work for you?!
Oftentimes what happens with us is very similar – God wants us to step out – and we muster the faith to do it – and like Peter – we step out of the boat (not literally!) – and we think, God has come through for me. When you make that step – and this is key – do not believe that the crisis is over! We think that when we make that step that the crisis is over – but it is not. What happened with Peter? I think Peter thought – “Everything will become smooth now” – but the waves didn’t stop – they just kept piling on. Peter saw the wind – you know it is windy when you can see it!
Have you seen the show – “The Deadliest Catch” – they go up in the Bering Sea – and catch King Crabs – now I know why it is so expensive. It is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. The waves just come over the side of the boat – and WHOOSH! It can be deadly. That is what is going on with Peter.
Last week I went to my graduation – half of them were like me – old – and half were in their mid-twenties. There was a lot of talk about it being OVER! Yea! It is over - it is over! We are going into ministry now! I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to spoil their day. They think – that was hard! But all they did is go through school.
We think when we take that step of faith, there will be smooth sailing. We think God will work it out according to our plans with as little inconvenience as possible. That is just not a reality. Stepping out into the sea is only the beginning of the test. It is the starting point.
“Lord save me!” – This is one of Peter’s most honest moments. We think this is a failure – Peter sunk. But here he has an honest moment – he realizes he is lost – he can’t do it – it is hopeless. Save me! All the arrogance is gone. Jesus reaches out – and grabs hold of him – and Peter has this connection with Jesus in this trial – immediately they are in the boat.
32 And when they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!"
God’s goal in our life is this – God’s purpose for you – his primary purpose – that you would worship Him. That is what He is using the difficulties in your life to do. He wants you to worship Him. Not just to sing, but to know,love, and serve Him with your life. To life your hands and say – it is Yours – whatever it is I am holding onto – it is Yours. That is true worship. You are God. You are the one who reigns – I am not. All I have belongs to You.
That is the purpose – what God is trying to get us to the point of. Crises get us there. What do we do with all that? There were eleven guys who stayed in the boat. Security and safety can be the enemy of opportunity. God wants us to experience opportunities. Sometimes we shelter ourselves so much that we never experience His blessings.
The question to take home – What boat do you need to get out of? Where is your boat? We all have a safety boat. We try to make sure nothing tips – life is not normal (and as the movie says – anyone who tells you that it is is trying to sell you something!)
This is a journey - a race – nothing should lead you to believe that there is a couch potato safety.
For our church – there are career changes and things that people are facing. But it is so easy to try to be safe – as a church – just to keep things going as they are.
We have chosen predictability over surprise…comfort and convenience over servanthood and sacrifice. We have chosen organization over life. At best it is seen as a healthy organization – but as you read your Bible – that is not God’s goal –
We’ll end with a video