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Jan11SunJanuary 11, 2015Shout OUT! What do we fear?· death, death of a loved one, loss of health, loss of job,· the unknown, what others think of us, loss of security, relationship, not being enoughFear can be a primary driver in our lives, distort our vision, drown our dreams!The most common thing God tells His people is Don’t BE AFRAID.Matthew 14:22-33 describes an incredible story of Peter stepping out in faith to walk on the water with Jesus in the midst of the storm. I remember being in Israel in 2009 and being on the sea of Galilee and just imagining the scene. I tried to walk, but ended up going for a good swim!SETTING of this scene:The disciples had just spent a day feeding 5,000 + women and children, they then had to clean up the leftovers…no small task. Then Jesus tells them to get out of there and get on a boat to the other side.It is 3am. The Greek says that Jesus strongly urged them to get into the boat and go to the other side. And the next thing you know, along comes a storm!Do you feel like you’ve been in the same boat as the disciples? Do you feel like you’ve been tossed about by the storms of life? Has your life been drenched in darkness? Have you seen a ghost and cried out in fear?Have the waves of life ever battered, tortured, and harassed you? Does it sometimes seem like you are rowing against the wind and making no headway? Have you ever found yourself alone, far from home?Any time that we get into a position like this, we want to be rescued. We want out, we want to escape the storm, avoid the ghost in the middle of the night. Pick me up and get me out of here!However; Jesus didn’t do that for the disciples and He doesn’t do that for us. He doesn’t make us safe, calm and comfortable. He reveals Himself and comes RIGHT INTO our storm, our mess and speaks to us there.“Jesus does not come to us from outside our storms and fears like some divine search and rescue mission.”Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water, through the wind, and in the darkness. Jesus’ peace, words of comfort and presence are not outside the storm but in the eye of the storm.Here is the first important takeaway for spiritual BREAKTHROUGH - WE have to take courage that1. Jesus is our Emmanuel - God WITH us. He is in the place of our fearLet’s not miss a very significant part of the miracle here…I wonder if we sometimes miss what’s really happening in today’s gospel. If all we see is a gravity defying water walking Jesus then we have missed the miracle. The wind and the waves are about more than the weather conditions. They are more descriptive of what is happening within the disciples than what is happening around them.The real miracle in this story is that Jesus walks on the storms that brew and rage within us. That means His divine power and presence have and always will trample on, overcome, and conquer human fear. It means that Jesus is Emmanuel. He is with us in all of our circumstances.His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3“Our storms and fears are the place in which we abandon ourselves to God. Most of us, however, don’t do that until we first feel abandoned by God. Surely that’s how the disciples must have felt. Jesus made them, compelled them, to get the in the boat and cross the sea seemingly alone. They had been abandoned to the open sea, the darkness, the waves, the wind, the futility of their own efforts, fantasies, and illusions. They were abandoned to their own self-sufficiency which always so that they might abandon themselves to God.”“The very elements that threatened to destroy the disciples became the environment in which they recognized Jesus as the Son of God. What they first perceived as certain death they now recognize as new life, hope, and salvation.”2. We MUST STEP out In FAITHFaith is all about recognizing where you need to put your trust and the only way that we can do that is by getting out of the boat!“Put yourself in the story. Picture in your mind how violent the storm must have been. It was strong enough to keep seasoned professionals struggling just to avoid being capsized. Imagine the size of the waves, the strength of the wind, the darkness of this night and no acupressure wrist bands or sea-legs tablets. These were the conditions under which Peter was going to get out of the boat. It would be tough enough to try to walk on water when the water is calm, the sun is bright, and the air is still. Imagine trying to do it when the waves are crashing, the wind is at gale force, and it is 3am in the morning and you are terrified!”What is your step of faith?What is the security blanket that you need to throw away to fully trust God to meet your needs?Take a moment and ask Holy Spirit what that is for you? He reveals Himself to us by His still small voice.3. We must not be afraid of failing!Some questions for us to ponderDid Peter fail?Yes and No. He actually walked on water and he was able to do what no one else did. He experienced the power of the living Christ and walked it out in faith.Yes, he failed when he took his eyes off Jesus. We have to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:1-3 The moment we doubt His goodness or we doubt the Father’s love, we start to sink in our own efforts.The verse for 2015 Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”Who were the real failures in this story?Where do you need to trust God more?If we want to experience breakthrough, we will face storms, but we need to recognize God’s presence right in the midst of our storm!