I was struck by a convicting thought during our congregational text study this morning. The Gospel text for Sunday is Matthew 14:22-33; Jesus walking on the water. As we were discussing this I began to think about facing fears. Peter was afraid in that boat as the wind and waves were causing havoc out there on that sea. To top things off, a “ghost” was heading straight towards them. Upon seeing it was Jesus, Peter asks to be near Jesus and thus it happened. Instead of facing his fears, Peter was facing Jesus and eventually, face to face with him out there on that stormy sea. It wasn’t until Peter looked at the wind; his fear, that he began to sink.
As we continued to discuss this text the issue of North Korea came up. All the talk about them attacking Guam and potentially the main land of the United States. It’s kind of scary when you dwell on that but why am I dwelling on it. I began to reflect on the fact that I normally close my day by watching the news and then going to bed. On many nights, the final images and words in my brain are the crap going on in the world. How dumb is that. It seems like a no-brainer. Face my fears or face Jesus. The answer is pretty simple.
Off went the T.V.
Now if you will excuse me, I’m climbing out of the boat…
Staring at this cross on my office wall, this poem/confession started to flow. As I think about what it means to be a church, I can’t help but think that if a church doesn’t have a right understanding of God through Jesus Christ; if they don’t truly know him, then their mission will always be askew.
This coming Sunday we have Psalm 23 and John 10:1-10 (“I am the door of the sheep“). Along with those texts we are singing, Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us (among other hymns). The following is the Prayer of the Day that I wrote for worship. Use as you feel so inclined. Praise be to God.
Holy God, through Jesus Christ you lead us as our shepherd, much we need your tender care. Through your blessed Son, Jesus Christ, you have bought us and thus we are Yours as You guide us, feed us and anoint us. Oh God, through your grace we will dwell in your holy courts forever and thus we give You our worship. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
you have not called me to walk with you
to walk as you would walk,
to live as you would live,
to love as you would love,
to forgive as you would forgive.
You have called me
to shine a light in this world,
to speak THE truth into darkness,
to live with abandon,
to trust with my whole life.
you have given me an example,
you have shown me the Way,
you have promised me the Helper,
you have prepared a place for me.
after all you have done,
after all you have said,
how is it that I could possibly be afraid?
How is it that I could possibly hold back?
How is it that I could possibly let a opportunity drift by?
increase my faith.
Draw me closer.
Show me more of you.
Make me more holy.
you have called me.
May I walk by faith.
May I walk with boldness.
Father God, Calm my spirit that I may worship You. Calm my thoughts that I may fully think on You. Calm my fears that I my proclaim Your goodness with my whole life. Calm my pride that I may glorify You. Calm my heart that I may see Your faithfulness. For when fear and anxiety run my life, I turn from You. May that never happen. Give me calm, that through Jesus Christ, I may enjoy You forever. Amen.
Holy and awesome God, In love You created the world and all that exists. In sadness You watched this world plunge into darkness through sin. In compassion You sent the prophets to warn Your people. In patience You waited. In grace you sent Your one and only son to this world. In mercy Jesus suffered and died for me. In power Jesus rose from the grave for me. In love You give me salvation through faith in Jesus.
Holy and awesome God, I am humbled and blown away when I reflect on this story. I am grateful and thankful when I reflect on what You did for me.
Oh God, You are indeed holy and awesome. May You receive all worship, honor, glory, and praise; for in love You have given me hope; in love You have given me peace. Oh God, I am so in love with You. Amen.
The following are the closing two paragraphs from this Sunday’s sermon (March 26). For more, please keep an eye on the church’s website at: http://www.livingwordlutheranchurch.com for the complete audio version of this message. May God be praised.
If your eyes are wide open; seeing Jesus, and acknowledging him as Lord, then these two verses are incredibly awesome to your hearing: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff comfort me.” And then, You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. The darkest valley is not dark to Jesus and living among those who would want to destroy us is of no concern for Jesus, for he has our lives in his mighty hands.
And therefore, when your eyes are open; seeing the light of salvation that is in Jesus, you can confidently say, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Ponder that verse; for how can one not turn over everything they are to this Good Shepherd. Open your eyes and keep them open that you may full describe and proclaim the glory of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. The world NEEDS your wide-open eyes. Amen.