Summary: Let’s live our lives without regret. Let’s take a step of faith and risk seeing the power of God like we’ve never seen before.
Attempting Great Things With Jesus
Do you ever look back and wonder, if only I had taken the chance. Crankshaft is a comic strip about a grumpy old man. He often flashes back to his days as a minor league pitcher. He once struck out slugger Hank Greenburg in his prime. But one night before a game, Crankshaft allowed a minor detail to prevent him from arriving at the ballpark on time. Another fellow got to pitch. Scouts noticed the other guy, brought him up to the big leagues. Crankshaft never made it and every ball season since has suffered through the travails of his beloved Cleveland Indians wondering if he had gotten his chance, how man World Series might the Indians have won.
If only, if only, if only.... Let’s go back to a night long before Crankshaft’s minor league days.
We’re not in a ball park, but rather a boat. At night.
A storm is coming, and our Lord isn’t with us. With the waves rising, a figure is spotted drawing near to the boat! Never has such a sight been seen--a man walking on water! Choppy whitecaps even!
1. Take a chance and get close to Jesus
Peter wants Jesus. To be with Him. A career fisherman should know better than to leave a boat during a storm like this.
But he saw Jesus. It was the safest place. Safer than the boat.
Do you want to witness the miraculous?
Step out at 3 am. Into a storm. No sandbar is going to hold it’s shape in weather like this. There’s nothing down there but water.
But out there in the waves is where Jesus is! Wherever Jesus is, that’s where the action is.
2. Be prepared for the obstacles. Don’t let doubts keep you from reaching your goal.
Peter saw the waves.
You get all excited, ready to get close, but there are waves. You’re very close to what you want--but there’s waves! We’ve stepped out, but the waves kept coming. What’s Jesus doing? Why haven’t they stopped? I’m faithful, I tithe, the bills haven’t gone away. I’m sinking!
3. Experience Jesus’ abilites to keep you above water.
God made us some promises--
ISA 43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
ISA 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
No wonder the minute you try to get close to Jesus when you’re ready to take risks for Him: your marriage gets rough, job is lost, fail a test, etc. What you need to do to really get close is to keep pushing toward Jesus. The promise we read in Isaiah does not contain the preposition, "around"--only "through"! Risking for Jesus has no detours. And when you feel overwhelmed, cry out, "Lord save me!"
When we have doubts, it is sin; but that doesn’t mean Jesus will let us drown because of it! He will still work to show you He is Messiah!
Peter is taken back to boat, and what happens next? v.32, wind ceased. Sometimes we ask, "Jesus, couldn’t you have done that a little sooner?" Wonder if Jesus was smirking at Peter when He calmed the wind. Rest assured--He’ll hold you up THROUGH and when He decides, He’ll calm the storm. After you’ve risked, sunk, and learned.
What do I learn?
1. When I doubt it is because my focus is on the earthly obstacle and not the Lord of Glory.
2. I can’t deny that those waves are real. I can’t expect my attempt to get with Jesus to be a primrose path.
3. To step out and doubt is better than to hang back and fear. We put ourselves into bondage when we try to stay in our little boat of safety.
What can I do?
1. Open yourself up to a relationship with Jesus.
2. Step out in an area--particularly finances. Tithe, faith-promise, Cheerful givers, etc.
3. Pray and seek--Jesus what are you doing right now that I could get involved with? Never forget that Peter never begged Jesus to get in the boat. It was better out where Jesus was.
4. Maybe you feel in over your head--doubts are coming. Waves are big. Doubt comes from fear==fear that following the Lord, doing it His way will cause you to lose something dear to you.
Faith is not just believing the right thing, it is doing the right thing because of what you believe.
Stepping out has happened, but now you have doubts--