Summary: Message based on the story of Jesus’ walking on the water

“Truly You are the Son of God.”

Matthew 14:22-36

November 5, 2006

NOTE: this sermon format is different from my normal style. I’m experimenting with some things, and this format is according to that suggested in "Communicating for a Change," by Andy Stanly. I can tell you that the book was great, and that people seemed to actually "get it" when I preached this message and my wife felt that I was "in my element," feeling comfortable preaching again.

I can’t suggest highly enough that all pastors read this book! Brian

In the summer of 1982, I was living by myself in a trailer house after graduating from high school, biding my time until leaving for college.

One day after getting home from work, I decided to take a quick nap before catching that day’s "Lone Ranger" episode. During that nap I was awakened by voices outside my trailer, and got up to see a couple guys sipping beers and pointing to the sky. I had earlier noticed that the sky to the west was looking like it would rain or storm, but it now looked like something serious was heading our way.

So I went to the TV to watch for weather bulletins during my show as I sat in my overstuffed chair. The bulletins went from "tornado watch" to "tornado warning" in a short period of time.

Did I mention I was in a trailer house?

Soon the winds picked up and the rain came pouring down, and the trailer began to shake. I literally though, "I’m going to die. This trailer is going to go flying and I’ll end up in Kansas or something (I lived in south central South Dakota)."

During the height of the storm, I thought I heard a faint honking. I looked out my door, and there was my dad in his government-issued SUV. He was less than 10 feet from my door, but could barely hear the horn due to the noise of the storm. He knew that I would be a bit scared (okay, REALLY scared) and came to bring me from what I thought to be certain death. My first thought was, "I’m saved!!" And bounded out to his vehicle.

As certain as I was that I was going to die, I was now just as certain that I was safe. Until I figured out what Dad was really doing.

You see, he’s a trained tornado spotter. He had no intention of going home and hunkering down in the basement like a sensible person would do. Uh-uh. He was going to FIND THE TORNADO.

I tried to tell him that gowing TOWARD a tornado wasn’t the smartest move, but it fell on deaf ears.

Folks, I was scared spitless.

And don’t even get me started about spiders…

I think a couple of things that scared me the most about storms, and even today to some degree are that (1) You can’t control them, and (2), you can’t always accurately predict their direction.

Anyone else noticed that? And so we’re alternately doing what those guys outside my trailer were doing and going inside to hear the latest bulletin on the radio ot TV.

The bottom line is that all we can do is look at the sky and hope that it doesn’t destroy us, because we’re helpless to do anything to stop it. And if we see it coming directly at us, it can bring a fear that is overwhelming.

There are other things in life that can create fear or create the same feeling of helplessness that can come when looking at a tornado heading your way:

> A health crisis that threatens to take your life or the life of someone you love. Or maybe you’re entering a new phase of development like puberty, menopause, or the simply the realization that you’re not as young as you used to be!

> A financial crisis that threatens to wipe you out.

> A relationship crisis that threatens to tear you apart – maybe a divorce or a shattered relationship between a parent and a child.

> A parenting crisis where you see one of your children transition from one phase of life to another, bringing less dependence on you. You were comfortable with their need for you, and now it’s obvious that need isn’t so big anymore.

> A sin crisis where you find yourself threatened with the consequences of something you’ve done that you knew was sin and now it’s bearing the ugly fruit it always does.

> Even a spiritual crisis that threatens to take the legs out from everything you’ve ever believed before.

These are tense things, and everyone is susceptible to them. Maybe you’re sitting in here today and you’re facing these one or more of these things right now and you’re scared to death.

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