Summary: Sometimes it takes effort to move out of our comfort zone.

Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches

January 26, 2003

Move with God Beyond Your Comfort Zone

How to: Go for the Gulp

Matthew 14:22-33

INTRODUCTION: Picture yourself at 4:00 a.m. out in a rowboat on a choppy lake with the wind blowing like crazy and the waves slapping up around the side of the boat. Imagine that in addition to all this you thought you had just seen a ghost. You were too far from the shore to turn and go back. Would you have stepped out of the boat?

Peter did, but then he was always the impulsive one jumping into one thing or another. Opening his mouth and getting his foot into it, cutting off someone’s ear. That was just the way he was.

How many of YOU would have stepped out of that boat on to the water? How many of you would have sat right there?

I know what I would have done. I would have sat right there in that boat. Most of us are like that. We don’t want to leave our comfort zones--after all, it is an area where we feel safe and secure. Our comfort zone is predictable. We can count on it in times of uncertainty. Most of us don’t want to experience a lot of unknowns and “what ifs” in our life. Our comfort zone, however, is both good and bad for us. Sometimes we become so fearful that we won’t take reasonable risks that would improve our life. We sit right there in our boat and our fears paralyze us from taking any action at all or no action of any value.

STORY: Ralph was head over heels in trouble, but doing little to help himself. A friend advised, "Ralph, you’ve got two hands, why don’t you do something?" "I am," Ralph replied, "I’m wringing both of them." - Unknown

Today I have looked at this scripture in a different way. Move with God Beyond Your Comfort Zone. How to: Go for the Gulp. What in the world does that mean? What can we learn from this scripture that will help us to walk more confidently in our Christian journey?

1. Jesus and Our Comfort Zone: What happens to our comfort zone when Jesus walks into it? This scripture shows that it was disturbing to the disciples who were in the boat. They were already experiencing the turbulence of the wind and the waves. And now they think they are seeing things--a ghost. The presence of the Lord becomes disturbing to us probably to get our attention. Sometimes circumstances in our life are no longer calm like they once were. Sometimes things happen on the job--layoffs, cutbacks, losses of many kinds. Sometimes we face problems that cause our comfort zone to be disturbed in a variety of ways. At times people are confronted to make a decision to follow the Lord and it, too, completely disrupts things.

“...if I go the Lord’s way, what if I lose all my friends?”

“...if I go the Lord’s way, what if he asks me to do something I CAN’T or DON’T WANT TO DO?”

“if I start to pay tithes, what if I can’t pay my bills?”

“if I change jobs, what if I don’t like it and it doesn’t work out?”

When Jesus walks into our life, it may be more disturbing and unsettling than we want it to be.

It was for the disciples in the boat at 4:00 a.m. Scripture says they were not only afraid but they were TERRIFIED. But Jesus IMMEDIATELY said three things to them.

1. Take courage

2. It is I

3. Don’t be afraid.

It is one thing to HEAR these words of encouragement and another thing to BELIEVE them with our whole heart. Moving out of your comfort zone is hard to do because we are not 100% certain that it is the Lord. Peter spoke up and said, “Lord, if it is [really] you, tell me to come to you on the water” (v. 28 ).

Peter had a mixture of faith and doubt here because he said, “IF it is really you...”

Jesus was patient with him--he knew he didn’t have the strongest faith in the world at that point, but he knew he had SOME faith--he had enough to take the first step. Jesus simply said, “Come ahead.”

Peter had the green light. He was “good to go.” He knew that it was OK to step out of that boat and walk on out toward the Lord. This was, for once, not a thoughtless, impulsive move on Peter’s part. He had the invitation--”Come on,” Jesus said. It’s OK.

Sometimes we know exactly what the Lord wants us to do and we won’t move. Our comfort zone gets in our way. “Yes, I know He said to “Come Ahead,” but “what if” something happens. What if I fail? What if it doesn’t work out? What if I didn’t understand correctly? What if I sink?

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