Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Some more thoughts on Growing Up

We're two weeks into what I believe to be the most important sermon series we've ever gone through as a church. Not due to the content but due to the timing. It's time for us to become more intentional than we've ever been in living out The 5. As I shared in this message on Sunday, if we're going to walk with Christ on the water, we've gotta get out of the boat.

There are fears holding us back from growing closer to Christ and leading others closer to Christ. But when Jesus asks you as he did Peter (and he will ask you) to leave your fear behind and join him in the unknown, will you obediently respond with a "yes"?

In preparation for last Sunday's message, I read John Ortberg's book "If you want to walk on water, you've got to get out of the boat." All those great things I said didn't all originate in my own head. It was a pleasure to read that book, it challenged me in a lot of different ways. Maybe I'll get the chance to write on those challenges later, but we've made a significant lifestyle change in response to that book. Which means, I'd strongly encourage you to check out the book. I'll lend it to whomever wants to read it. Or you can buy it for $5 here.

I do want to share some more thoughts from that book that I wasn't able to get to on Sunday. This is from the book's introduction:
"Let Peter's walk stand as an invitation to everyone who, like him, wants to step out in faith , who wants to experience something more of the power and presence of God. Let water-walking be a picture of doing with God's help what I could never do on my own. How does such a thing come about? There is a consistent pattern in Scripture of what happens in a life that God wants to use and improve:
1) There is always a call. God asks an ordinary person to engage in an act of extraordinary trust, that of getting out of the boat.
2) There is always fear. God has in inextinguishable habit of asking people to do things that are scary to them. It may be fear of inadequacy ("I am slow of speech and slow of tongue," Moses said). It may be a fear of failure ("The land we explored devours those who live in it," cried the spies sent out to the Promised Land). It may even be a fear of God ("For I knew you were a hard man, seeking to reap where you did not sow," claimed the servant in Jesus' parable). But one way or another, there will be fear.
3) There is always reassurance. God promises his presence ("The Lord is with you, Mighty Warrior!" an angel assures Gideon who had certainly never been addressed by that title before). God also promises to give whatever gifts are needed to fulfill his assignment ("I will help you to speak, and teach you what to say" he tells a stuttering Moses).
4) There is always a decision. Sometimes, as with Moses and Gideon, people say yes to God's call. Sometimes, as with the ten frightened spies or the rich young ruler who spoke with Jesus, they say no. But always people must decide.
5) There is always a changed life. Those who say yes to God's call don't' walk the walk perfectly - not by a long shot. But because they say yes to God, they learn and grow even from their failures. And they become part of his actions to redeem the world.

Those who say no are changed, too. They become a little harder, a little more resistant to his calling, a little more likely to say no the next time. Whatever the decision, it always changes a life - and it changes the world that little life touches. "

So how do you respond? I encourage you to be at TFC on Sunday to hear about our church's future.

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