Sinking in the Process

I want to look at Matthew 14:22-29

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, 24and 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. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27But 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. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31Immediately 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.”

I love Peter had so much faith that he  stepped out of the boat and began to walk on water. I wish that only for a moment i could have that much faith. I also see how when things got a little harder and winds came that peter didn’t expect to come he immediately became afraid and lost the faith in Christ that kept him from sinking. That happens to me so much in my life. I’m filled with the spirit I am ready to go but when something comes my way that I didn’t expect. When things become harder than I expected I lose faith in him I turn my eyes off him and I begin to sink. I’ve heard this message taught a million different ways. so most of you have heard this a time or two in your lives. But I see something here I have’nt noticed before.  lets look back at verse 28 and 29.

28“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29“Come,” he said.

Notice Peter already had to be aware that he needed faith to come in the water. But when he told Jesus if it is you tell me to come in the water Jesus said come. He didn’t say okay hold your leg this way and put your hands that way make sure to balance more on your left than on your right. No he said none of that. There was no system, there was no process. Jesus simply said Come. That was it. Peter desired to come out on the water with Christ. He knew if it was truly him he could walk on the water too.

I think that too many times in our life we get caught up in processes and how too’s and forget the fact that Christ just said come. Is it really that simple. We have these desires of our heart to serve the lord. We jump out of the boat and go towards him. We want to fulfill his will. However when a storm comes in the middle of it all we try to do things another way. We lose faith in the fact that all we have to do is keep our eyes on him. Peter looked away from Christ. Then he began to sink. i bet he started thinking of another way to stay above water so to speak.

I am not saying that processes are all bad. I have gone through a lot of processes to get rid of the junk in my heart and mind so that I can be closer to Christ. I’m just saying we as christians tend to make things harder than they have to be. We stay stuck in these processes and forget that Jesus just said Come. And don’t forget that when peter lost faith and began to sink. ?He cryed out to Jesus save me lord. Imediately Jesus did. We will lose faith. We will take our eyes off Christ. But we can immediately cry out for him to save us and he will. Just as soon as we stop haveing more faith in him than the Process.

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Put down that rock !!!!

I am amazed by how I see us as christians set standards for others that we don’t amount up to ourselves. And some of us never even plan to try. I know of an old saying a man used to say to someone close to me. I quote: “Its a lot easier to tell someone what to do than to do it yourself.”

Trust me when I tell you that I understand this concept. While I cant take credit for the saying. I can tell you that I lived in that mind frame for most of my life. And unfortunately sometimes I still do.

I see the way we sometimes treat other sin a way that Christ would not. We teach grace, mercy and forgiveness. We share the love of Christ. We share the truth and people change they get better. They find purpose. They transform into the person that God created them to be. There is hope there is life there is purpose. there’s this fulfilment that we can’t explain. And then………..

They are attacked as we told them they would be because Gods word says they will be. They make a mistake or two or three. Then our worldly ways begin to take action. We start looking at them as the world does. We begin to treat them like the world does. This doesn’t always happen. I am not saying that. I am a part of a body of Christ that is the most loving excepting compassionate people ive ever met. But we are still of the flesh and this still happens. But it never should. Our worldly thinking begins to categorize their sin. And our grace, mercy and forgiveness starts to depend on the person and their sin. Thank God Jesus never took this approach he treated everyone the same and made it clear that sin is sin. The same things that we begin to judge others for we have done or are doing in some form or fashion. We have no right to treat others this way.

Do you remember when you where a kid and your Mom or Dad would tell you, “don’t throw that rock you will break something”

Consider John 8:1-11

1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

   2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

   But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

   9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

   11 “No one, sir,” she said.

   “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

My Point is don’t Throw those rocks because you might break someone. And that some one is a child of God who is not condemned by him so we can’t condemn them either. So put down your rocks and open your arms. Thats what Christ did And what he wants us to do also.

My Plans vs. Gods Plans

If  I’ve learned anything in this life it is that my plans are NOT Gods plans for me!! Looking back now I realize that I was insane to think I had any kind of control over were I was headed. heres a list of my life plans.

  • Go to college and get a degree in engineering and musical arts
  • build an engineering company
  • use my profits from the company to start my own record label
  • release my first album by 2003
  • Just as soon as i get out of my mom and dads house im done with this Christian stuff 
  • I will never get married (don’t need the frustration)
  • I will never have kids
  • I will spend the rest of my life wining and dining myself.(its gonna be all about me)

Ha!!!

yea right, but this was it this was my plans and I believed in it too. But let me list the random events that’s taken place thus far

  • God called me to preach at the age of 17
  • I ran from that I said no!!
  • I did move out of my parents house
  • I Quit that Christian stuff 
  • I did start my own record label ( i skipped college) who needs that mess?
  • I became a drug addict
  • I became a Criminal
  • Lost my recording career
  • Tried to commit suicide 
  • I lived on the streets for a while
  • I went to jail ( but hey I got my GED)
  • Got a job with the power company
  • Got out of jail became an alcoholic and a drug addict
  • I got married
  • had two Kids
  • Went back to jail
  • got out went back to being a drug addict
  • Surrendered!! Okay God what ever you want to do it I cant take it anymore
  •  Lost my house, wife, kids, job 
  • Went to  a Christ centered recovery program CelebrateRecovery@eastridgecommunitychurch
  • quit doing drugs
  • Got my wife and kids back
  • found real people (real christians) who knew?
  • found freedom
  • found grace
  • found acceptance 
  • started doing this the christian stuff again (truly following Christ)
  • Got a job at Eastridge Community  Church  
  • Started building a ministry from the ground up
  • Started training leaders at CelebrateRecovery@eastridgecommunitychurch
  • Surrendered to preach again
  • Started Teaching at CelebrateRecovery@eastridgecommunitychurch

I could go on but I’ll get to my point. I don’t ever think that it was in Gods plans for me to be a drug addict, go to jail or some of the other things on that list. but i do know that through all of that he was there. I do know that he took those mistakes I made and uses them through me for his plans and his purpose. I do know that I’m happier than I have ever been doing his will and not mine. Is everything always grand of course not. But I don’t have to do this stuff alone anymore. I find so much freedom in the fact that it’s not about me. I don’t have to make plans.  just have to let him guide me in his.

My point is this. If you have some kind of list of plans that you are desperately working on? THROW IT AWAY. Pray for God to lead you. You may be able to lead yourself to water but when you get there you will drown yourself!! If I would have listened when I was 17 to God and Follwed him, then I could have saved myself a lot of grief. And who knows where I might be today? If you want to accomplish great and immpossible things. Then throw away that list, Stop trying to make things happen Ask Christ for guidence and enjoy the ride. I promise you wont regret it.

Luke 1:37 “For with God nothing is impossible”

Stereotype

a stereotype is a simplified mental picture of an individual or group of people who share a certain characteristic (or stereotypical) qualities. The term is often used in a negative sense, and stereotypes are seen by many as undesirable beliefs which can be altered through education and/or familiarisation. Stereotypes are common in the world of drama, where they are often used as a form of dramatic shorthand.

This is something I have certainly had to deal  with in my life. I wish I could say I have never been guilty of  it myself  but unfortunately I cant.  I have definitely had thoughts about people or seen someone and thought they were something. Yet after getting to know them  I came to find out they certainly were not.

I remember once about 9 years ago.  I had an old 69  f100, that was held together with duct tape and tie wire. It wasn’t much of a vehicle because I spent more time walking than I did driving. And everywhere I went you could follow me by the piles of rust I left behind. One morning I was on my way to work and it broke down on me. It was about 10 degrees outside and pouring down rain. The closest intersection was at least 5 miles away. I started walking down the highway, hoping that someone would stop and pick me up. Some people slowed down to stop, but after taking one look at me they quickly changed their mind and sped away. I don’t blame them of course just to give you a mental image of me which is not much different now…….. I am a 290 pound 6ft 3 man. I was  dressed in a pair of worn out jeans, work boots, a cut off shirt, covered in tattoos and earrings. I honestly wouldn’t have picked me up either. But after walking about 2 miles an elderly woman pulled over to give me a ride. She took me to the next inter-section and let me use her phone to call someone to come get me. The point is after being passed by about 50 cars the most unlikely of candidates picked me up to give me a ride. I assumed i would only be picked up  by someone who might have looked like me, so while everyone slowing down was  stereotyping me I was stereotyping them.

InRomans 10:12 it says;

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.

In Romans 2:11 it says;

For God shows no partiality.

This lady  lived by these scriptures along with many more in the bible.

I had a long phone conversation with a  friend of mine yesterday. we were discussing whether it was okay for us as Christian men  to wear earrings or not. I am not aware of anything that is wrong with it. I don’t believe God wants us to waste precious time worried about things that don’t matter. Biblically I don’t see it as any different than a woman wearing jeans.  If a women wore jeans to portray herself as a man or a man wore earrings to portray his self as  a women, then their could be an issue. But that’s a whole nother story that I wont get in today. After hanging up with my friend, my 9 year old  son turns and looks at me and says, “ya know it deos not matter what you look like on the outside what matters is what you look like on the inside. That is what matters to God. People shouldn’t judge us by the way we look its what we do that matters to God”

That whole conversation with my friend scenario after scenario and my 9 year old son sums it up with one statement. maybe next time I will let him take a the call.

Jesus calls us as disciples to create disciples  who follow Jesus Christ.

It takes each and every follower to reach the ones Christ puts in our path. Each and every unique person and  personality. It is not our job to choose who does Gods work lets leave that to him. Standing in the way of a man following God because he has earrings in his ears well I can’t really see the sense in that. We are all unique in some special way. God made us that way. He uses a lot of things in this world to reach people even earrings and tattoos.

Lets not let legalism and stereotypical thinking get in the way of Gods plans for his Kingdom.

Lets be real

I spoke with a member of another church the other day. As we got into deep conversation about life, people and our obligation to Christ as Christians. I shared with him a little bit about myself, my past and my ongoing struggles as a christian in leadership at Celebrate Recovery (a Christ centered recovery program). The more our conversation went on the quieter I became. I thought I was going to have to bite my tongue off to keep from saying the wrong thing. He informed me that there church had no place for people with issues and struggles like I was talking about. They were just to small and lacked the knowledge and capability to handle hurting people. At the moment I was at a loss for words. I couldn’t even begin to understand where this guy was coming from. I must admit I began to stray from the conversation and try to end it as soon as possible to keep from getting frustrated. I honestly feel like it would have been inappropriate to tell him exactly how i felt at the time. I did make it aware to him that I totally disagree. But, I would love to share with you how I really feel about this. Whether I’m wrong or right this is how I feel.

First of all I  dont believe a church should ever begin to be territorial. The doors should always be open to any and everyone seeking Christ. There should never be any walls, gates,doors,or fences keeping the lost from seeing the light and finding the freedom christ has for every person in this world. In Matthew 9:12 and 13 Jesus says “it is not the healthy who need a doctor,but sick. but go and learn what this means:’ I desire mercy,not sacrifice for i have come not to call the righteous, but sinners.” I believe Jesus saw that Matthew was cheating the people and said this to correct his way of thinking. To show him  his purpose here was to save everyone not just chosen people. Also I believe anyone who thinks he is righteous needs to take a closer look at their selves and their salvation. Not to be judgemental but, I know that the first step to following Christ is admitting we are powerless on our own. That we need him and we dont know the answers, the answers lie in him. Also in perhaps one of the most known bible verses to the world John 3:16 it says “for god so loved the world that he gave his only so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have ever lasting life. It doesnt say he died to save only a select few. It says whoever, and were I come from whoever means anybody and everybody. And in Matthew 5:46 Jesus says, if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? are not even the tax collectors doing that? If I stood at my church and told people they were not welcome. I would be performing probably the most unloving act man could ever do. I tell you what, and I know I’m not alone in this. If I had to I would set up chairs in the parking lot. Fill up  every room in the church with the lost. I would pull speaker wire down the highways in our community and hook up speakers all over the county if thats what it took for me to reach the lost with that one message prepared to reach the hurting people.

You see if we continue to sit up on the hill and wait for the lost to come to us. We are not doing what God has called each and every one of us to do. I assure you if you reach out to the lost, there will be no fear of not having the knowledge and capability we need to reach the lost. God will provide that for us. If we didnt need to reach out for them and find them,If they knew were to go and what it was there hearts and souls were longing for. Then they wouldnt be called lost. Lets begin to share the freedom God has given us. Lets step out of our comfort zone and be the disiples God called us to be.

Opening our eyes

Sometimes i feel like my life has just begun only a short time ago. I feel like my eyes have just been opened for the first time in my life- is what I am trying to say. Not long ago I was covered in worldly sin. Surrounded by many demons. my life had become what we like to call unmanageable. I was an addict and convinced that by consuming all the world had to offer would bring me happiness. The funny thing is that even though there were moments I thought I was happy, deep down i was dying inside. I knew everything i was doing was wrong -but i did not have the power to stop. I came accustom to living this way.  I even convinced myself that the reason i was living the way i lived was at someone else s exspence. That there decisions determined who i was , not my own. WE ALL HAVE A CHOICE. I can assure you that other people do not  determine who and what you are. God gave us free will to decide that for ourselves.

I grew up in church all my life. And was called by God at an early age to expand his kingdom and be a servant for him. But satan put fear in front of me and i chose that path. It hurts me to think if only i had surrendered back then how much God could have used me in my life before now. But i have to be honest there are a lot of regrets in my life but i wouldn’t change anything. God allowed me to endure my own chosen misery for a reason. He has taken my faults and short comings and turned them into strengths.

All of us have failed ourselves or others at some point in this life. We have all done things we wish we could take back. And we all search for true forgiveness for our faults. the point is that we are already forgiven. We are just to comfortable in our own skin to except it. It is here i know because i found it. You may be waiting for someone you know to forgive you.This may never happen. And if it does i assure you it wont be enough. The only true forgiveness comes through Jesus Christ. They might forgive you but can you forgive yourself ? Can you go back to sleeping at night can you stop worrying if someone else is going to find out your secrets. you can not do this on your own. You do not have the power but Christ does. The sooner you surrender and realize you are not in control. The sooner you can find peace, happiness and freedom in this world.

I have heard people say all my life things like-that church thing isnt for me or i beileive theres a God but but i dont know who he is. This realy hurts my heart. Mainly because i know that that Christ died for everybody. And its my job to show them who he is and what he is. I know its hard for people to put faith in something they cant understand or see. Thats why Christ takes screwed up people like me and transforms us into diciples. You can begin to understand his purpose for people and see the miraculas changes in a persons life. If he can change me and my heart he can change anybody. If you knew me then and knew me now you would see what i mean.