A couple months ago, I (Randy) did a 3-week sermon series called, Who’s in Charge?
Sermon 1.0 made the point, We grow when we face our storms with faith in God! The reality is, we all face things that cause us fear. When we face them head on, in spite of our deepest fears, it leads to our growth.
Some things that tend to keep us from growing include lack of faith and/or lack of an awareness that God is with us. But we can learn from the experiences of those who’ve gone before us, people like Jesus’ disciples, who encountered many things that scared them. One incident is their experience on their boat that caught in the middle of a fierce storm. You can read it in Mark 4.35-41.
You’ve gotta face your storms with faith! In the middle of the storms I face, I (try to) pray, “God, I know you are in charge. Grow my faith through this storm!”
With God in charge, we can face our storms with faith, stay alert for opportunities, and have a persistent faith! In sermon 2.0, I talked about seizing opportunities. When we miss opportunities, it often leads to regret, sometimes characterized by the sad phrase, If only! To protect us from this kind of regret, I challenged listeners, To seize opportunities, stay alert!
One thing that causes us to miss opportunities is simply not paying attention, not being alert. Sometimes we just fear taking a risk. But it seems that everywhere Jesus went, he was faced with opportunities. One lesson is found in Mark 5.1-20 where Jesus climbs out of the boat, only to quickly meet a man possessed by an evil spirit. This was an opportunity!
What do you do when faced with an opportunity? Seize it! Turn your if onlys into next times. Stay alert. Keep your eyes open. To seize opportunities, stay alert!
In the final message (3.0), I talked about the dangers of the crowd, those people (or things) that get in our way. If we’re not careful, the crowd can keep us from experiencing God’s fulness; however, persistent faith that pushes through the crowds experiences God’s restoration!
Scripture includes some great examples of persistent faith. Read Mark 5.21-43. As Jesus was going about his business, a woman in the crowd who had suffered for many years with constant bleeding, demonstrated persistent faith to get in touch with Jesus.
Basically, we all have a choice to make regarding the things we deal with, to surrender or persist. Yes, there are things we need to surrender to (I think of Paul surrendering to God on the issue of the “thorn in the flesh”). But in other areas, we simply need to persist. Persistent faith that pushes through crowds experiences God’s restoration!
How awesome would it be if all Christ-followers face their storms with faith, stay alert to seize opportunities, and have a persistent faith!