Disciples Who Can Stay Afloat

22 “Immediately Jesus told his followers to get into the boat and go ahead of him across the lake. He stayed there to send the people home.23 After he had sent them away, he went by himself up into the hills to pray. It was late, and Jesus was there alone.24 By this time, the boat was already far away from land. It was being hit by waves, because the wind was blowing against it. 25 Between three and six o’clock in the morning, Jesus came to them, walking on the water.26 When his followers saw him walking on the water, they were afraid. They said, “It’s a ghost!” and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus quickly spoke to them, “Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.”28 Peter said, “Lord, if it is really you, then command me to come to you on the water.” 29 Jesus said, “Come.” And Peter left the boat and walked on the water to Jesus. 30 But when Peter saw the wind and the waves, he became afraid and began to sink. He shouted, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught Peter. Jesus said, “Your faith is small. Why did you doubt?” 32 After they got into the boat, the wind became calm.33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, “Truly you are the Son of God!”

Matthew 14:22-33, New Century Version

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When I am in the storm, when the waves are breaking into my boat, my faith is shaky, and I feel abandoned, I turn to Matthew 14.

Jesus sees his disciples in mortal danger.  The overloaded boat has been caught in a ferocious storm.  It is 3 a.m., and the darkness just makes their situation that more desperate. The idea of imminent drowning has passed through their thoughts. They are terribly afraid.

Suddenly Jesus comes near, he is walking on the water!  Their fear turns to stark terror, they want to bolt but there is no place to go.  They are thinking that Jesus is a ghost, and that he is coming to escort them to the grave.  So Jesus calls out through the raging storm, “It is just me.  Do not fear!  Have courage.”

Brash Peter (bless him, Lord) yells to Jesus, “If it is you, really you, let me come to you, on the water!”  The word ‘if’ is very telling, and it explains much. Peter is soon on the edge of frantic hysteria when he begins to sink while walking to Jesus.

If it was me, I would have let Peter drown.  (What an object lesson to teach the 11 sitting in the boat.  “See what happens when you have weak faith, you drown!”)

But Jesus is not teaching here, He is loving.  He grabs Peter and pulls him out.  I find it interesting that the rock on whom Jesus is to build his Church upon sinks like a stone. Peter shows his faith for a brief shining moment, and when he falters and sinks, Jesus catches him.

aabryscript

A Full Quiver, to Press the Enemy

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In an old book of prayers, I discovered this list. As I read it, and pondered them, I felt like I had been given a giant pile of treasure. And I want to share the wealth with my friends.

The idea of “arrow prayers” maybe novel to you. I, myself, am a pure novice on these things. I often see the tremendous value, without the real commitment to live it out. I often aspire, but do not attain. (Lord, have mercy on me.)

Arrow praying is identified by a short, piercing exclamation. It has little flourish, and zero frills. Religious people will often not see their value. I’m convinced that believers with a broken life will understand. Broken people will often pray things that the Father hears. We do pray, but short and to the point. That is good.

“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:38

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14

“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:” Luke 2:29

“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Mark 9:24

““Save me, Lord!” he shouted.”  Matthew 14:30

‘ ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’” Luke 18;13

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”  Luke 23:42

“Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.” Luke 24:29

““Give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” John 4:15

“Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” John 6:34

“Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.” John 6:68

“Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” John 11:3

“Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” John 14:8

“Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”  John 21:16

“My Lord and my God!”  John 20:28

“Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20

These are all prayers, hidden in something direct and cool. These words which are sudden and aware, and press us into a special sensitivity of godliness. Our own cries, will ride need to ride piggyback on these certain cries, and right into the heart of God.

Let us turn, as much as we are able, to the One who heals the flawed, and all those who are crooked. He loves us constantly, even when we are confused by our twistedness. I tell you, He keeps reaching out for the ungodly, for His glory and by His grace.

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kyrie elesion, Bryan

(Lord, have Mercy on us, the sinners.)

 

A Pastor’s Transformation

Pastor-homeless-peoplePastor Jeremiah Steepek (pictured left) transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service, only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food – NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit n the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.

As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation. “We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek.” The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation.

The homeless man sitting in the back stood up and started walking down the aisle. The clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him. He walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment then he recited– Matthew 25:31-46.

 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning. Many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame. He then said, “Today I see a gathering of people, not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples. When will YOU decide to become disciples?”

He then dismissed service until next week.

Being a Christian is more than something you claim. It’s something you live by and share with others.

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Bryan’s Note: Some have made this account to be nothing more than a “urban myth,” kind of a good piece of  Christian “schlock” that never happened. I personally can’t say for sure. I simply can’t vouch for its veracity. But all I really know is that it speaks to me in many ways about following Jesus. For that alone, I am thankful.

More of Jesus, less of Bryan.

ybic, Bryan

kyrie elesion.