In our last couple sermons we have been looking at our faith and trying to wake it up from the slumber that has come upon so many of us. It is something that can happen to any of us and most donft even realize that they drifted off. But even if we are able to wake up how are we to stay awake in order to get the job done. We need something powerful enough to prevent us from becoming drowsy again. We need something to keep our hope high, we need something to keep us focused. Nothing keeps us up better at night then an obsession. Something that we canft get off our mind. Now I em not telling you that you need to get less physical sleep but it is the spiritual sleep that is undermining your faith. Even though we close our eyes it does not mean that our spirit also shuts down. Samuel is a great example of this as he hears God calling him as he slept. But I do not want to get of track.
Spiritual is a good obsession it means that God and godliness is always on our mind but even more so we remain focused on our goal to be with our Father and to spend eternity with Him in heaven. We may remain focused on Loving Him with all our heart mind and body. Listen to that again gLove God with all your Heart, mind and bodyh does that not sound like an obsession to you. But it does not end there the scripture then reminds us to love of neighbours. Love God and love your neighbour. Love Him though faith knowing how He has brought you out of slavery to yourself and to sin and forgave you of your past and know that through Him you may enter eternity and never die but have everlasting life.@We have a compelling motivation for something we do not yet have.
We do this because God was first obsessed with us. Just as we love Him because as the hymns says he loved us first. We also should obsess for Him because He obsessed for us first.
Well that takes us to the end of the last sermon. Today I hope to add to this idea and give you some further insights that came crashing in on me. After writing the sermon two weeks ago I was hit with some news that really shook me. Some of you heard it when I gave testimony in the morning service that Sunday. I will tell you the story again but also some other things that were revealed to me about this tragedy and the conversations about it I have had with family since.
Two weeks ago I received and e-mail from my mother
David's eyes kept filling with tears as he was telling his story and he said he hasn't slept for 3 nights. This will likely be a nightmare that will haunt him for the rest of his life."
The story hit me hard straight in the
heart. All I could focus on was that me brother had just about lost his
was stunned for a few moments the entire scene coming to life in my
imagination. I could see the waves crashing over them both of them
air. I could see the fear in their eyes. I could see me brother
for his friend I could se the look on his face. I could see the
could see the love. But suddenly I saw the Sistine chapel in
24 Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.
25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"
26 He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27 The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"
Matthew 14: 24
the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is
28 "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
29 "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
In both these passages even the disciples fear and their disbelief over comes their faith or rather panic overcomes their faith
So what are we to do to keep our faith stronger to be secure no matter how high the waves are, no matter how many storms roll in.
Keep our focus on him. Just keep your eyes upon Jesus.
But what of those that do not have faith or whose faith is easily overcome. What do we do when the storm comes upon those weaker swimmers? Of course the first thing we must do is reach out.
But my life guarding training has taught me that it is not so easy. The greatest fear is that the panicking individual grabs hold of you. The will then begin climbing you like a ladder and before you know it you are also panicking. Both of you trying to climb the other. So, you must never just rush in there you approach prepared. Now the best way to rescue someone is to actually swim below them stay underwater, grab them by the waist and place them on your hip lifting them up out of the water. As soon as you lift them up the panic recedes. Is this not what the Bible has always taught us. That to lift someone we must be willing to go below them, to serve them.
As I said I have pull many out of the water but I rarely remember exactly what I did I I remember is seeing the victim and pulling the out the middle is always a blank. You see the training just took over. I had trained myself over and over in almost every situation and when that skill was needed it just came out,. It took control.
And I think this is the lesson for us today. We are extension of Christfs love. We are His arms that reach out from the cross. We reach out in the same desperate love. We love our neighbour because He loves our neighbour. And when those storms come suddenly whatever the storm may be. Failure, depression, a rocky marriage, a broken heart, hopelessness and the list goes on. Are we ready to help our neighbour? Do we have the skills and techniques necessary to raise them up out of the waves. Do we have the endurance , have we practiced enough. Have we read scripture enough. Will it take control of us so that we let the lord speak through us. That we let the holy spirit, the comforter speak through us
It is time for us to built up our faith so we remain calm and focused though the waves crash around us
But more so it is time for us to start building our rescue skill so that we may be there for other and that we may reach out and grab hold, lifting them out of their sea of troubles. You can not do this unprepared.
We see an example of this unprepared rescuer in the book of Job as Jobs three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar come to try to sympathize with Job. At the lowest point in his life, Job had to suffer the advice of three armchair theologians.They'd been watching his plight from a distance and were certain they had his problems figured out. They weighed his situation, put their heads together, and approached Job with their solution to his quandary but instead of sympathizing the criticize. Instead of lifting up, they push down. It's not as if they didn't mean well. Their concern was genuine. But somehow their advice missed the mark. And God wasn't too impressed with what they had to say, even though most of their advice was true\at least technically
They werenft prepared. They didnft reach out in love.
Do you feel his desperate love? Are you willing to be his Hand?