Jul 28, 2010

In Case You Missed It...

This past Sunday was a fun message to preach.  I felt the need to divert for a week from our study of James called "According to Jim".  I don't usually like to make such a change.  However, I felt the need to bring a message of encouragement and specific challenge that the people of Sixth Street need to begin to dream bigger and risk more.  I was also my one-year anniversary here as pastor.  I wanted to remind us of where we came from and paint a picture of what was ahead.  I was led to the familiar story of Peter walking on the water and prepared a message called "Step Out or Stay Seated."  The following is an outline of my notes.

Five Truths About Stepping Out
1.  Stepping Out is Never Convenient.
  •  Jesus sent the disciples ahead of him.  On the way they encountered a difficult storm with high waves and strong winds.  In addition, it was the fourth hour of the night which was between 3 and 6 am.
  • In the midst of the storm and the fear of thinking they saw a ghost, Peter realized it was better to be in the water with Jesus than in the boat with everyone else.
  • If you wait for a good time to risk for Jesus, you will never will.
2.  Stepping Out Necessitates Recognizing God's Presence.
  • When Peter heard Jesus speak, his first response is "Lord".  This is Peter's acknowledgement of Jesus divinity and lordship.  He has seen him feed the multitudes and now defy gravity and nature by walking on the water.
  • We have to remember that it takes eyes of faith to find Jesus in the midst of the storm.
  • Many times we miss the adventure of following Jesus simply because we are not looking for him.  We are more concerned with our circumstances than his presence.
3.  Stepping Out Requires Balancing Our Fear with Faith.
  • The fear will never go away.  The fear is all around.  There is fear inside the boat and greater fear and uncertainty outside the boat.
  • John Ortberg says that "there is something inside us that tells us there is more to life than sitting in the boat...there is something inside you that wants to walk on the water - to leave the comfort of routine existence and abandon yourself to the adventure of following God."
  • The choice to follow Jesus is a daily choice to renounce fear and comfort.
4.  Stepping Out Requires Intense Focus On Jesus
  • Peter had the audacity to not only believe that he could walk on water, but the obedience to sling his foot over the side of the boat.  As long as his focus was on Jesus, Peter was doing something way beyond himself.
  • Our greatest problem is not the reality of the wind and waves that oppose us, but allowing those things to take our eyes of Jesus who calls us.
  • When Peter took his eyes off his circumstances to see Jesus, he did the impossible.  When he took his eyes off Jesus to look at his circumstance, he sank.
5.  Stepping Out Means Learning to Overcome Failures.
  • We have a twisted understanding of failure in our society.  Failure is not a person or an event, it is rather our perception of an event.
  • Thomas Edison tried unsuccessfully to find a working filament for a light bulb over 10,000 times.  However, he said he never failed once but found 10,000 ways that didn't work.
  • While Peter did sink, his was not the only failure.  There were 11 others that failed quietly, keeping the status-quo.  Their failures are not so obvious because they are the type of failure that we exhibit most often.
What's It Going to Take at Sixth Street to Step Out?
  1. A Great Commitment to Love the Gospel
  2. A Great Commitment to Love this Church
  3. A Great Commitment to Love this Community
  4. A Great Commitment to Love the Lost