SURGE of Courageous Faith, Crazy Love
Pastor Dave Chiolero
Intro: I want to share with you a video of me bungee jumping when I was about 20 years old.
In this video, you can tell I’m scared. I got real quiet as the basket was going up. I wasn’t listening to the instructions the worker was giving me about the countdown. It seems like your mind begins to race but your body starts to freeze when your about to do something crazy. And you can think about it all you want, but it’s not really faith until you jump.
Today I want to talk about taking leaps of faith in our relationship with Jesus and I’ll do it through a well known passage where Jesus walks on water.
Allow me to paint the picture before I read the passage. The disciples are traveling in a boat across the Sea of Galilee and a big storm hit them. It was dangerous and the disciples were scared. A few days before, these same men had been preaching from town to town and performing many miracles by healing sick people. Because of their ministry, they were tired. So Jesus took His team away to retreat and get some rest. There were a bunch of people who didn’t want to see them leave, so they followed them. Jesus had compassion on them just like He always did and spent the day preaching to them and healing their sicknesses. In the evening, the disciples were ready to send the crowd away but Jesus decides to perform another amazing miracle and feed over 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. After everyone is fed, Jesus decides it’s time for them to retreat again so He sends them across the lake on a boat.
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn 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. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 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.”
A couple of observations:
- These were not faithless men. Just a couple days before they were traveling from village to village preaching the Gospel and healing many people.
- They were in the center of Gods will. Jesus had instructed them to set sail for the other side of the lake.
I want to make these observations because this is not a story about a lack of faith. This is a story about incredible crazy faith. Jesus did say to Peter, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”, but it might be better translated as, “oh Peter, you almost had it buddy”.
Nobody asked Peter to get out of the boat. It’s like that wasn’t even part of the story. This was a story of Jesus’ friends being in trouble – tossed around by a storm – and He was coming to rescue them. Jesus was on His way to comfort His team.
Then, out of the blue, Peter want’s to do something crazy
So here’s my main ideas:
- Peter invites himself into something brand new and crazy.
This was something far beyond his normal level of faith. He’s already seen many miracles, and healed many people himself. But this was something brand new for him. He didn’t wait for Jesus to speak to him first – that would simply be obedience. He was pro-active – inviting himself into a greater level of faith.
I’m sharing this message with you today because I’ve been asking the Lord to help me walk in the supernatural more. To me, supernatural simply means living beyond what I consider natural to me. There’s a lot of things I can do for God that are more easy, or comfortable for me. And they’re good things, don’t get me wrong. God has given us each spiritual gifting that makes us uniquely qualified to do certain tasks in the body of Christ. And when we see other people operate in their gifts, it gives us a sense of awe because their so good at what they do and I’m not very good at that. But what I’m talking about here is stepping out of your natural area of comfort into something brand new, super crazy and very exciting. I want God to take me beyond my natural into an area where it has to be Him, a place where I’m way beyond myself. Because that’s the place where my trust grows deep and my love for Him gets sweeter.
I’ll share a couple stories about myself that I thought of. One old and one new.
A few years back, I remember telling the Lord I wanted my faith to be stretched in the area of giving. I decided that the next unexpected money I received from someone, I would give it away. That same week I received an unexpected check in the mail (I think it was a reimbursement from some warranty). It was for like $150 bucks, not too much. And I gave it away right away.
A couple weeks ago, when I was thinking a lot about this message, the Lord gave me a word of encouragement to share with the church on Sunday morning. As soon as I sensed that I should share, a battle began in my mind. I sensed the Lord inviting me into this opportunity to move into the scary uncomfortable place and grow in love and dependence.
When was the last time you initiated a conversation with the Lord and asked to go to the next level?
For me, I’ve been thinking about it in terms of allowing God to better use me in service to Him, but there are many ways to apply this idea.
This could be mending a relationship that feels impossible.
- Taking a leap of faith to initiate a conversation with your spouse that you’ve been afraid to talk about.
- Picking up the phone and initiating a call to that family member that you haven’t talked to in such a long time.
This could be in the area of your finances.
- Taking the step to start tithing for the first time.
- Giving to a missions project in a way that challenged your normal budget.
This could be starting a new ministry
- You may sense Gods invitation to lead a ministry that you’ve never done before
- The point is, wherever you are in your relationship with Jesus, there is much more for you to have.
- Jesus wants us to know that there’s no limitation to what he wants to do.
- Don’t be satisfied with your current intimacy with the Lord, let Him take you beyond your comfortable boundries.
- Whenever we step out in faith, there will be distractions.
New steps of faith require a lot of courage and will always be scary. For Peter, the crashing waves were all around and deep waters below – plenty of opportunity for fear.If you have ever stepped out in faith, you know that there will be distractions to overcome, and the biggest distraction is
- The voice in your own head.
When God gave me extra money a couple years ago, I had thoughts of other things I could spend it on. I also had lots of excuses in my mind about why I shouldn’t give that word of encouragement a couple weeks back. The battleground starts in our own minds.
- The well intended concerns of the people around you.
Faith is stepping out into the unknown right? It’s trusting the Lord to take care of all the question marks. The people who are close to us, who have lots of concerns because they love us, want to have answers for all the question marks. And we don’t have them.
- The natural world realities like not enough time or not enough money.
We always want to be responsible with time management and money, but we have to be careful they don’t become excuses for not stepping out.
3. Courageous leadership blazes trails that others can follow.
When one person blazes the trail in courageous faith, it paves the way for others to follow.
It builds courage in other people.
It makes room for others to minister with their gifts
- How many people have benefited from Celebrate Recovery? How many CR leaders are there here? It’s because Jim Eckstrom blazed a trail that allowed others to follow and use their gifts.
- Its like a military advance on the enemy. The courageous soldiers advance on a city and take the land, then all the reinforcements can follow – establishing infrastructure, stability and government to the area.
- Relationships: it's the person that initiates relational healing that builds the bridge for the other party to cross over.
- Organizations: new innovation paves the path for companies to profit the most.
- Parenting: this is what our kids are looking for in us.
- Peter: I wonder if the other disciples wanted to try walking on water after seeing Peter do it.
Quote: The best way to keep the ground you’ve taken is to keep taking ground
Question: What have you risked for Jesus lately? What scary step of faith have you taken recently?
Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
We can’t just have the desire to do something great for God.
We need the will ourselves to act.
We need to shut up and jump
And God works in us to fulfill His good purpose.