“Divine Connections”Text Matt 14:22-36
22 And straightway he constrained the disciples to enter into the boat, and to go before him unto the other side, till he should send the multitudes away. 23 And after he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into the mountain apart to pray: and when even was come, he was there alone. 24 But the boat was now in the midst of the sea, distressed by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came unto them, walking upon the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, it is a ghost; and they cried out for fear. 27 But straightway Jesus spoke unto them, saying Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto the upon the waters.29 And he said, Come. And Peter went down from the boat, and walked upon the waters to come to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and took hold of him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?32 And when they were gone up into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And they that were in the boat worshipped him, saying, of a truth thou art the Son of God. 34 And when they had crossed over, they came to the land, unto Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place knew him, they sent into all that region round about, and brought unto him all that were sick, 36 and they sought him that they might only touch the border of his garment: and as many as touched were made whole. KJV
We find ourselves in the midst of multiple trials and tribulations in life. For some of us when it rains it pours. We don’t have just one trial or one event but we are caught many times in the crossfire of life. One event after another, it may even seem as though our trials and tribulations overcome us and defeat us. We seemed swarmed under, as if the writings of the Luke come true, Luke 21:25-26. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. KJV.
We live in the days in which the gospel and the words of that gospel writing (Luke 21:25,26) have come to pass. Global warming, Tsunami’s, wars raging, out of control meteors, people out of control, losing sight of their own reality, represented by the rage of the sea and most of all, by people’s hearts failing because of fear. Many people have Heart failure due to the stress and strain that comes from being overwhelmed. Fear is the expectation of catastrophes or the worse case scenario, yet nothing has happened you. You think about what could be-s’ and they disturb you. An event that usually you have no control over that may not even come to pass, yet in your mind it is about to happen even now. Folk who suffer from mental anguish compounded by their own fears is common.
The suffering that is striking many right now reverberates and is felt in the heavens. The very throne room of God hears about the trials and tribulations you go through. Your prayers are being heard and translated “you are in trouble” and God will hear you. In the text the disciples had concerns. They knew there were too many people, too many sick folk, too many tired folk, not enough food, not enough money, they were tired at this point and the persecution of John and there movement away from the problem instead of toward, must have been tiring. The pressure was there and the challenge was where would the disciples connect with the divine.
When you take your heart minds and souls off of the goals of life you are separated from your faith. One of the most disturbing things that happen is when the Lord saves you, you lose sight of God’s work. You slowly begin to sink into the abyss of life. That is the challenge now, that no matter how bad it gets when we lose sight we must quickly recover and get back into the boat making the divine connection.
The boat represents the safe place in God, the place where challenges are brought into perspective, where we are able to rest. Good and faithful ministry characteristics must be developed by implementing the goals and strategies established by the community in which we work and serve, and in which our church exists. It is important that the relationship between pastor, members, local church, and community be mutually edifying for all concerned. According to Dr. Kirk Byron Jones: “Being saved from deeply entrenched, unrealistic expectations involving radical reformations of our understandings and behaviors on the part of members and pastors.”
The connection to God and the characteristics of a good life must include cooperative development of community, and mission/vision statements for your life. Sometimes its even good to look at the development of realistic goals and strategies, clear direction, encouragement, celebration, education, love, nurturing, correction, utilization, respite, retreat, reward, support, balance, rhythms and other qualities of well–lived life. Rhythms of a well-lived Christian life must include times of physical and mental renewal and respite. The rhythms must evoke a de-emphasis from the relentless demands of life to a loving and nurturing environment that includes and maximizes the use of the gifts of others.
A well-balanced ministry individual parishioners and congregations will have in place people who can lift the burden of total community’s wellbeing from the shoulders of pastors to others who have an interest in the success of the local ministry. Among the major challenges facing ministry is the constant demands of day-to-day activities and commitments that ministry requires. These constant demands provide a unique challenge for those who desire to institute more and do more for ministry, but feel overwhelmed by the present lack of commitment needed on their part. Remember Peter in the boat.
You must at various times be diplomat, building contractor, budget administrator, human resource specialist, manager, lawyer, counselor, teacher, motivator, confidant, politician, community activist, team builder, disciplinarian, meeting planner, writer, editor, preacher, prophet, priest and member of a family.
In addition, all of these roles they must be interpreted and carried out from the posture and worldview of a servant. These humanly impossible expectations are compounded in settings where institutional culture is resistant to the notion of capable persons working in ministry and not feel the pressures that come along with it.
You recover from trials of life and grow when you keep your sights on Jesus. Christ’s work. That is the problem here in the text is that the disciples who are overwhelmed, because number on they have the pressure of the beheading of John and the press of the people, the disciples who want to get away from the throng of people to a quieter place. They (the disciples) don’t seem to have the patience nor the food for the masses. As they got away they found themselves out on the see alone, and Jesus appears. That is the question today that if we hold fast and let him come to our rescue we will find we have enough energy to complete the task that lies ahead.
God the creator holds us fast. The first thing was that as Peter began to lose sight of Jesus, Jesus stretched forth his hand and took Peter’s hand. That is key that we first not lose touch with the hand of God. We are in the hands of the creator, whether we know it or not is another story. Peter was in trouble and had every reason to panic and lose sight of the mission that they were taking care of. Peter is the bold one, and speaks that if Jesus is the one, bid him to come. The coming is not the problem, it’s when he came and the sea took on a different form. It’s like when we come, step out of the boat and the storms of life begin to rage.
Where do we stand in this boat experience? We must find out not the what, but who. Jesus is the, who, the one who resided with Peter resides with us to perform the exorcism of the wind and waves. He speaks to the elements and they behave, We have to sometimes be rescued from the abyss of life. We have so much to lose in this race called life and the way to assuredly losing is to take ones eyes off the prize. Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, who was there with him.
The first key is that Jesus was there. Many times we need to understand that this is not the old ship of Zion for nothing and that when we are in a predicament called life Jesus is there with us. We must not lose sight that He will never leave us nor forsake us. We can go through the storms and waves if He is with us. Storms don’t cease because you saved, sanctified and Holy Ghost filled, they keep coming, but who stands in the storm with you, Jesus, Who goes into the court room with you, Jesus who stands in the bread line with you? Jesus who’s there in the operating room? Jesus who’s there at Chemo? Jesus who’s there when they take the pins out of your spine and they say it should help the pain? Jesus…Jesus in the morning, as the song writer would say, Jesus at noon, Jesus when the sun goes down…Peter is caught in a storm and Jesus is there with him, not only there but sticks out his hand. Sure he could have stopped the storm and Peter could have climbed back into the boat, but Jesus allowed Peter to step out, begin to sink and allowed Peter to say Lord save me.
He was with him. Understand that winds cease. But there in the storm he takes Peter’s hand. While he is still in the angry waves. It was not until Peter was back in the boat when the waves ceased. You must go through the storm, you must go through the beheadings, you must go through the jailing, the beatings, the persecutions, sickness, dire straits, addictions, sin, fornications, adulteries, you must be broke, poor, busted and disgusted. You have got to go through, no doubt about it, Jesus is with you and sometimes you wonder, why he won’t come to your rescue. Because you must understand sometimes, just sometimes, you have to go through the storm.
This was no accident; this was by design, that sometimes when you are in the storm you will find ways to connect with God. Some are about to go into the storm, as you go in connect, some are in the storm right now, connect with God. And some like Peter have come out, fresh out, yesterday the storm ceased, the billows stopped rolling, sin breakers stopped dashing trying to conquer your soul. You heard the voice of Jesus say fight on; because you knew he never left you alone. No, never alone, no never alone, he promised never to leave you never to leave you alone.
That’s the next point, that once back in the boat, you can think, you can clear your head, you are no longer in the angry waves, but now you can think, how am I going to find some rest in these storms of life. Of course I have it, in Jesus. Admit it where do the weary find rest: rhetorical, Of course in Jehovah Shalom. Rest is designed for the weary and the weary only find it in God. Jesus is the shepherd and the shepherd leads to still water and green meadow. Sheep don’t find rest in the river but in the field designed for the weary. That is why death has no sting and grave has no victory, cause we rest when we live, we rest when we die. We must find rest in the good times and in the bad times.
The faith of others as they watch you will be increased. Everywhere Jesus goes there are crowds. There are people everywhere because they hear about the Johns. They hear about the Peters, they hear about the healings, they hear about the testimonies, they hear that somebody got some help, so they gravitate to the arena of the divine. The place where not only there in rest, but to where there is healing. They heard about the folk that were delivered and set free, that is why there were so many, because some were hungry but some wanted to be healed of their infirmities. Jesus did not have a big church, a mega church, the temple was mega, but Jesus did the work that helped the people.
The problems were mega, but Jesus healed them. The hungry crowd was five thousand, not including the women and children, and the feeding was mega, but God took the little and delivered big. The most fascinating portion is that when they heard and seen what was going on they sent for the sick from everywhere and they knew that if they got close they would be healed. That is the final connection, that if you desire deliverance, like John; salvation like Peter; feeding like the hungry; Healing like the sick? It’s yours. Connect with God.