For 6 weeks we have been covering our All-In initiative, inviting the church to participate in a two-year commitment of our time, talents, and treasure into the mission of the Rock. Today is our celebration Sunday to mark our first All-In offering. We celebrate the new commitments that have been made:
- 743 households committed to give for the first time
- 374 new small groups met for the first time (totaling 820)
- 3,400 households were represented
- Our goal was $75 million in pledges. In the Pervasive Hope campaign, people gave $55,000 – this new pledge so far totals $75,390,091
Often times, people feel uncomfortable when we talk about money, but God is way more interested in the condition of our hearts than the actual giving. Giving is about showing generosity out of appreciation for what He has done. Watch what God does when you let go and expect to draw closer to Him.
Sometimes we must go beyond what we know by our senses simply because we trust God.
Pastor Miles shared the story of his skydiving adventure and said he could have never have had such an amazing experience unless he had let go of the plane and jumped. When Scripture tells us that the just shall walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), it means we are called to let go of the earthly things that give us a sense of security. Sometimes we must go beyond what we know by our senses simply because we trust God.
In today’s passage from Matthew 14, Jesus has just performed an incredible miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. Immediately after which He sends His disciples out onto the sea while He goes to the hills to pray. A storm begins tossing the boat causing the disciples to fear for their lives and Jesus comes to them walking on the water. As you read this passage, here are three things to consider:
1. Describe the water you need to walk on.
What is the impossible situation you need to step into by faith?
Starting or leaving a job? Starting or leaving a relationship? Making an investment? Financial giving? Serving in ministry?
2. Identify the boat you are trusting in.
What are the things in your life you cling to make you feel safe?
Your bank account? A boyfriend/girlfriend being in your life? Your job? Your title?
God wants to be the only thing you place your trust in. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a savings account or a good job or healthy relationships – it means these things should not what you rely on. If your trust is in these things, then when God asks you to walk away from them or put them in jeopardy, you will not be willing to let them go.
Are you willing to let them go?
3. Define and confront the storm that is challenging you.
The enemy does not want you to trust God. He wants you to stay within the confines of your safety bubble and never reach out to grasp what God is offering you. Whenever you walk with God or try to have faith in Him, stormy things will come your way. Sometimes, storms can appear as negative thoughts in your mind – you’re not good enough, you’re not educated enough, God won't make good on His promises – or in the voices of other people around you.
Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Matthew 14:22-24
Notice that the wind was against the disciples. Life has plenty of resistance when you walk with God because the devil resists you! If you have no conflict in the spiritual realm, maybe you are non-threatening and doing exactly what the devil wants you to do.
Now in the fourth watch of the
night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him
walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:25-27
“Don’t be afraid,” is all that Jesus says because it's all that needs to be said! Imagine what you would do if you had no fear. Many times we don’t obey God simply because we are afraid.
And Peter answered Him and said,
“Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” Matthew 14:28-30
Peter is enjoying a moment of pure faith, but when he starts looking around at everything that is against him instead of what Jesus has said, what Jesus is doing, and what Jesus has promised (John 14:12), he begins to sink. We all have “buts” that impede our faith and our obedience: “I would follow God, but…” “I forgive her, but…” “I would tithe, but…” God wants us to simply hear His voice and obey Him.
And immediately Jesus stretched
out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did
you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:31-33
If Peter had little faith, how much faith did the disciples have who remained in the boat? Some come to church each week out of habit or out of fear of God without being challenged or expecting any life change or perspective change. But God wants us to come by faith in anticipation of having an experience with Him, that He will speak to us and challenge us. He wants us to appreciate and acknowledge who He is.
For some, this means finally giving your life to the Lord and receiving salvation. For others, it’s a challenge to let go of your routines and your safety net, being willing to be there for the Lord whenever and wherever you are, fully committed to Him by faith.
Are you willing to step out of the boat today?