Summary: God has a greater power than we do to make the most of our transitions. (A sermon preached to introduce a series on transitions.)
“God’s Powerful…We’re Not!”
Making the Most of Transition
(quotes taken from the NKJV unless noted)
Wakelee Church ~ April 10, 2005
Theme: God has a greater power than we do to make the most of our transitions.
Introduction – Transitions – as a church, as a community, as individuals
Have you noticed? It seems like the whole world is in some stage of transition. Careers are in transition. Families are in transition. Our communities are in transition. On our televisions, we’ve been watching as The Roman Catholic Church as they go through transition. An even here within our church we are in the midst of transition. Transition seems to be everywhere.
I thought it amazing when I typed “transition” into the google Internet search site and received 60.3 million hits. But when I typed it into the yahoo Internet search, just the word “transition” received about 112 million hits.
There is no doubt that transition is a way of life. To say that we all face transitions is not a revolutionary comment. It just is.
Which means that as Christians, we have to learn how to live in transition.
Now, if we are honest with ourselves, transitions often allow us to see our lives as they really are….at times, broken, unmanageable, and powerless as we try to go through it alone.
However, transitions are not always negative. Salvation, which is transition in God’s sight, achieved only by grace, allows us God to work in us even in the midst of our fear and trembling as Paul put it. (Philippians 2:12-13)
What does the Christian strive for in the midst of transition? Very simply…God’s will and God’s power to find God’s will.
The Philippian Church was in the midst of progression when Paul wrote them the letter. Mark wrote down the words given to him, because he wanted the Roman Gentile Christians to hear about Christ in the midst of their development.
And over the next two months, we’re going to look at transition and see how we can the make the most of it. First and foremost…it’s about power.
I – We’re powerless over our transitions….
We see this especially in the gospel lesson this morning. The disciples didn’t know the storm was coming, but they had been through storms before. As fisherman, they’ve seen big waves before and they knew what to do when the weather changed.
But this time was different. In Mark’s gospel, the retelling of this story happens before Jesus’ return to Nazareth to proclaim his rightful identity as the Messiah that Isaiah spoke about. Meaning…they still didn’t know Jesus that well yet. Their relationship with him was still in transition…a little bit fuzzy.
But they knew one thing…they knew what their outcome was going to be without Jesus’ intervention. They knew that they were powerless and that the guy sleeping in the boat was powerful. They didn’t make excuses, but in the midst of their transition, took the first step and called upon Christ.
Paul told the church at Rome (Romans 7:18), “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have a desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out…” (NIV) I fully believe that when we stop with the excuses, we’ve taken the first step. When we admit that we are powerless, our behaviors change.
In short…we have to admit that we are powerless over transitions. They happen whether we want them to or not.
II – Transition without God is unmanageable…
And once we’ve admitted that we’re powerless, then we also need to admit that we can’t go through it alone.
Paul told the Philippian church that even though we work out “our own salvation with fear and trembling” we are to turn to the God in us “who works in His will for His purpose” so that we are to “hold fast to the word of life and rejoice in the day” Christ returns.
Without God, we are left alone. We cannot rely on our will exclusively. We cannot expect that in the midst of transition, we will have all the answers or all be able to hand it on our own. Proverbs 28:26 says, “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.” (NIV) We need God and his power to help us calm the storm…to give us direction in the midst of apparent indirection.
We have to admit that transition without God’s power is unmanageable.
III – God has a greater power than we do to make the most of our transitions…
And once we accept that transitions happen, that our power is insufficient, and that things become unmanageable without God in the midst, we then are able to move forward.