22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
August 13, 2023 – The Congregational Church of Easton
Most of us have heard jokes about walking on water. Here’s one you may not have heard: There are three people in a boat. One says he forgot his lunch, and another offers to go back to the shore to get it. As she gets out of the rowboat, she steps onto the water and walks across the lake toward the car. The third one says to the other, “Look at that! She can’t even swim!”
Peter undoubtedly knew how to swim. And, he was able to walk on water until he started to become afraid. Jesus had encouraging him to step out of the boat in faith and to cross rough waters, trusting that God in Jesus was there to grab hold of him if needed.
Can you think of a time when you were challenged to step out in faith and cross rough waters, trusting that God will be there to support you? Years ago, I was terminated from my position in the training and development department of a corporation. I decided I was simply no good at corporate politics and resolved to follow in the footsteps of my first boss and start my own leadership training and consulting practice. It was scary. In those years I had no faith that God was there to support me. I doubted God’s ability and power to do what my life needed.
How about you? Has God ever called you to step out in faith? Has he called you into unchartered territory when you felt unsure about your capabilities?
In what area of your life have you or are you doubting God’s ability and power to do whatever is needed to be done in your life?
I’m aware of one person in this congregation who is navigating rough waters this week and is being challenged to step out in faith.
Stepping out in faith means fully trusting God with whatever comes next. It means not knowing what the next steps will be but knowing that God will guide and equip you to accomplish His will and purpose for your life. There are times when God calls us out of our comfort zones and challenges us to step out in faith.
You as a congregation were certainly out of your comfort zones during your meeting after church last Sunday to consider how to proceed with the Liv It Up Foundation proposal. I found that meeting SO painful. As the conversation went round in circles, I felt powerless to say anything that might help.
If I heard it correctly, at least one of you didn’t trust the Foundation’s motives and worried that they would try to control you in some way. Your benefactor’s offer to provide $100,000 to fund your operating expenses during 2024 muddied the waters. Some of you wanted to ask the foundation to hold off deciding until the congregation could explore other options. Others disagreed and worried Live It Up would find another location if we delayed.
One person believes there are several individuals or organizations in the Easton area who would be interested in buying the Staples building. The conversation went round and round as people repeated what they had already said. I felt powerless to help. I wonder if any of you felt as powerless and frustrated as I did.
This morning I want to encourage you to step out in faith. All along, I’ve believed that Live It Up was brought to you by the Holy Spirit. Yes, it’s not clear what the next steps will be. And, I hope you can trust that God will guide and equip you to accomplish His will and purpose for this congregation.
Jesus reached out his hand and caught Peter. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Next year, when an agreement with Live It Up has been reached and implemented, may people say, “You of great faith!”
Let us pray:
Holy one: these are uncertain times for the Congregational Church of Easton. The waters seem rough. May this congregation step out in faith and trust that God will guide and equip them to accomplish His will and purpose for their church.