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Summary: This message will show you how to "walk on water" in the midst of life’s storms.

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DON’T GO DOWN WITH THE SHIP!

Matthew 14:22-33

July 28, 2002

INTRODUCTION:

Two hunters came across a bear so big that they dropped their rifles and ran for cover. One man climbed a tree while the other hid in a nearby cave. The bear was in no hurry to eat, so he sat down between the tree and the cave to reflect upon his good fortune. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, the hunter in the cave came rushing out, almost ran into the waiting bear, hesitated, and then dashed back in again. The same thing happened a second time. When he emerged for the third time, his companion in the tree frantically called out, “Woody, are you crazy? Stay in the cave till he leaves!” “Can’t,” panted Woody, “there’s another bear in there.”

Do you ever feel like the hunter in the cave? Like every time you turn around there is another problem just waiting for you. Like no matter what you do you just can’t escape from your troubles. Often times in our rushing around trying to deal with our problems we only make them worse.

A photographer for a national magazine was assigned to get photos of a great forest fire. Smoke at the scene hampered him and he asked his home office to hire a plane. Arrangements were made and he was told to go at once to a nearby airport, where the plane would be waiting. When he arrived at the airport, a plane was warming up near the runway. He jumped in with his equipment and yelled, “Let’s go! Let’s go!” The pilot swung the plane into the wind and they soon were in the air. “Fly over the north side of the fire,” yelled the photographer, “and make three or four low level passes.” “Why?” asked the pilot. “Because I’m going to take pictures,” cried the photographer. “I’m a photographer and photographers take pictures!” After a pause the pilot said, “You mean you’re not the instructor?” (Jokesmith)

There is an old seafaring tradition that if the ship sinks the captain should go down with the ship. Now I will be the first to admit that I don’t know much about sailing, but that sounds like the stupidest tradition I have ever heard of. I think jumping into a life boat and living to sail another day would be a much better tradition. Many Christians today are in danger of going down with the ship. Many Christians are in danger of having their spiritual lives sunk by the onslaught of life’s storms. They say things like, “There’s no use because I’m just no good. That’s just the way I am and there is nothing I can do about it.” That is the type of attitude that says, “Since the ship is going down, I might as well go down with it.” The storm’s of discouragement, despair, and disbelief threaten to sink us, but rather than going down with the ship we must find a life boat because there is nothing noble about a senseless spiritual death.

Peter’s example has much to teach us about how to find this life boat. One night Peter and the disciples were sailing across the sea of Galilee while Jesus stayed behind to pray. As they were sailing a fierce storm suddenly arose and threatened to sink their ship, but, as we will see, Peter was unwilling to simply go down with the ship. Please follow along in your Bibles as I read Matthew 14:22-33 . . .


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