Sunday Sermon: Faith Over Fear

Sunday Sermon: Faith Over Fear

This story is like the second half of an unbelievable tale. Almost like the next episode on your favorite television program after the previous show ends with a cliffhanger and you’re waiting to find out what comes next.

When we last met with Jesus and the disciples, we were with them along the shores the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had just fed the 5,000, which, if you remember from last week, was probably more like 10-20,000 when you include women and children. Before that, he had met their needs and cared for the large crowd that gathered around him.

The scene came in the context of Jesus needing to get away for some prayer and reflection. This after he had received news that John the Baptist, his cousin, was beheaded. So, we left the story in the midst of wonder, awe, and celebration.

We pick it up, however, with Jesus ready to send everyone out. That need for rest had not gone away for Jesus. There is no time to stay along the shores. He is desiring that long-yearned-for rest that has, so far, evaded him. The crowds are wanting to stay. The disciples are wanting to stay. Jesus, on the other hand, wants everyone to leave, so he can go to the hilltops around the Sea of Galilee to pray, contemplate upon the mission, and rest.

Jesus doesn’t let everyone stay, even though they wanted to remain with him. He sends them away. The crowds he sends out to return to their communities and homes. The disciples, on the other hand, were sent out to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Most likely, they were sent to go to another port stop upon the western shoreline of that massive lake. Regardless, Jesus sends them out into the sea and into the storm that was brewing. Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: Faith Over Fear”

Faith in the Storms

Back in 2006, I began to really experience God’s call to ministry. At the time, I was living in North Carolina and was starting to make a name for myself as a public policy writer. It also came during a time when I was coming out of a difficult season of life, where I had dealt with the failure of my first marriage and the harsh realities of some bad financial decisions.

As soon as I began to sense this call to preach, teach, and lead, I tried to find all the reasons I could to suggest I wasn’t actually hearing God. I went to a public university and didn’t go to a Christian school. I had never led a large group of people. I had never read a book of theology. I am not the best singer in the world. I kept going on and on with these reasonings to the point where my initial reaction to my calling was that there was no way that I could do it. It would be too difficult and too challenging.

Sound familiar? I think all of us, from time to time, have found ourselves thinking that there was no way we could do certain things in our lives, whether it involves our faith in God, our personal lives, or even something involving our careers. We are most likely to find ourselves believing our given task or challenge is too difficult. When that is the case, we start to think about what is being asked of us and wonder if there is any way we can actually do this.  In doing this, we might even believe that we cannot do it, so we will say things like, “I can’t,” or “We can’t.” Continue reading “Faith in the Storms”