Bella Vista Community Church\

      

Risking with God in 2017
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Have you made any New Year’s resolutions this year? For many Americans, the New Year brings a sense of freshness and a new start. Calendars are filled with plans for the year. Some will decide to climb mountains; others will plan on losing weight, paying off debt, developing a prayer life, and traveling. But like so many, these dreams find a way to the bottom shelf by mid-February. So how will this year be any different? I would like to challenge you this year to look beyond you and ask yourself,How can I take risks with God in 2017?”  This year I would like you to think about the possibility that God himself wants to partner with you to take risks in 2017. In the book of Mark chapter 6, there is a story of how Jesus partnered with one man to take a risk that was never before seen in all of human history. We pick up the story quickly after Jesus and the disciples had just fed 5,000 men.

 

This year I would like you to think about the possibility that God himself wants to partner with you to take risks in 2017. In the book of Mark chapter 6, there is a story of how Jesus partnered with one man to take a risk that was never before seen in all of human history. We pick up the story quickly after Jesus and the disciples had just fed 5,000 men.

 

Mark explains:

 

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 

28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 

 

The story of Peter walking on water has always been so fascinating yet very challenging to me. Here you have a group of hungry and tired disciples, who have just come from watching Jesus feed 5,000 men, not including women and children, and as the account of Mark declares, “Making headway painfully, for the wind was against them.” (Mark 6:48b).

 

Then all of sudden, Jesus appears before them, and Peter asks, “Jesus, if it really is you let me come to you.” Jesus told him to come. But the waves got the best of Peter, and he began to sink. This is typically where we shake our heads at Peter and say, “See, Peter didn’t have enough faith.” Yes, Peter may have started to doubt, but I think what is more important for us to recognize about Peter was his desire to take a risk with God. Think about it – for Peter to want to walk on water was risky. I don’t know about you, but every time I have tried to walk on water I have sunk. So, for Peter to take the risk I believe was just as important as Peter learning the lesson of not taking his eyes off of Jesus.

 

Have you ever thought that maybe Peter was in the safest place to be out of all the disciples? I believe Peter was. Being out on the sea was safer than being in the boat. Why? Because Jesus is safer than any other place that we might think is safe. Think about it; the other disciples who were in the boat at any point in time might have started taking on water, which could have resulted in the boat sinking. Resulting in the disciples having to abandon ship. Being with Jesus is the safest place you can be in the universe. But the question is: do you really believe that? Many of us give lip service to this idea, but the truth is our hearts are far from believing this. If we were to be real with ourselves as believers we like it safe. Safety means security. It means everything is okay. I can float along in the world but never really grow as a believer. See, I believe the reason why the church has been in decline in the United States is because we started to be content with just staying in the boat, and we stopped taking risks with God.

 

How about in 2017 we partner with God to take risks? For some of you, this may look like reaching out to your neighbor, reading your Bibles, mentoring kids at school, talking to people at local restaurants, getting involved in the local community, asking to pray for people, asking to mentor someone for a year, or getting involved in a local community group.  All these are ways you could take risks in 2017.

 

I believe to see the Church grow in 2017 we are going to need to take some risks. So, what in your life seems risky?  Would you join me this year as we partner with God to take risks in 2017?

 

 


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