We are a couple of weeks into a series entitled Rooted and throughout this series we’re going to be asking the question . . . What would it be like if you had an amazing, out of the box, kind of faith?
The kind of faith that no matter what happened you trusted God. What would that even look like?
Well, when you read the narrative of scripture, what you see is this amazing story of God trying to build into people an extraordinary, out of the box, are you kidding me confidence in him.
The pattern is this . . . relationship built on trust followed by rules/guidelines/covenant.
In other words, “Now that you trust me and we’ve established a relationship with one another, here’s how we will live in that relationship.”
And these rules are designed to create deep roots so that when things in life get a little difficult . . . and they will . . . you will be grounded in trust that I am your God and you are my people.
So, over the next few weeks, we are going to be looking at some of the things that will help us get rooted in our relationship with God. Today we’ll be talking about the root of personal ministry.
If you’ve been a Christian for very long and you were to tell me your faith story . . . you would probably tell me about a time in your life when somebody presented an opportunity; a church ministry, a global or local mission opportunity, just something that would benefit others . . . and after that conversation, you just couldn’t get it off your mind and you felt this internal nudge to get involved.
At the same time, there was something else inside of you saying, “I don’t feel equipped to do that. I’m not prepared right now. I just don’t have enough time. I’m more than willing to pray that God will send somebody who is equipped and has time but I’m not that person.”
But something deep inside keeps nudging, as if God is saying to you, “I want you to do it” but then you’re like, “nope, I’m just a prayer warrior.” And there’s just this internal struggle that happens.
And although you were scared or felt unprepared . . . you followed that internal nudging . . . thinking to yourself, “This is going to be a disaster. I hope I don’t embarrass myself.”
And then as you got involved, you began to see God do amazing things.
Today, I want to talk about that dynamic, that tension, because all of us who are Christ followers have had or will have a tug of war with God over something just like that.
And what I want you to walk away with is that God uses those things outside your comfort zone, your skill set, or your experience to grow deeper roots of trust in him . . . because the deeper the roots of trust . . . the deeper your relationship and intimacy with God will become.
Let’s listen to our text: READ Matthew 14:13-21
As we enter this story, Jesus has just learned that his cousin John had been put to death so he slipped away from the crowds, jumped into a boat, to go find an out-of-the-way place to mourn but it didn’t work out very well because . . .
You know, the people have needs so they just walk around the edge of the lake to find Jesus.
Well, this is a big lake. It probably took a half day to get to the other side so by the time they arrive, they’re tired and hungry.
And when the disciples see them, they go to Jesus and tell him, “Look, these people need to eat. You’ve got us out here in the middle of nowhere and there’s no McDonalds or Chick-fil-a for them to grab a quick bite to eat so you need to send them away before they get “hangry”.
This is where the story gets really-rich as it relates to your experience and mine.
Jesus says, “I recognize they’re hungry, I’m hungry too, and I know there’s no food nearby but they don’t need to go anywhere. You feed them.”
And immediately the disciples do exactly what you and I do when there’s a nudging; they make excuses.
“You know Jesus we would but we only have five loaves of bread and two fish and there’s like 5,000 men plus their wives and their kids . . . so I’m pretty sure we can’t do what you’ve asked of us.”
In other words, “We’re not prepared. We’re not equipped. You definitely got the wrong guys.”
So, Jesus says, and this is so big . . . “Just bring me what you have.”
- God, I don’t have much time . . . just bring me how much time you have.
- God, I hardly know the bible . . . just bring me what you know.
- God, what if they ask me tough questions . . . just bring me the answers you have.
- God, I don’t have enough experience . . . just bring whatever experience you have.
- God, I’m scared . . . just bring your fear to me.
- Just bring what you have
So, they bring what they have to Jesus and he takes it, lifts it towards heaven, and blesses it, and then hands it back out to these 12 guys who were probably thinking, “What exactly are we supposed to do with this?”
But they did what they knew how to do, because that’s all they could do . . . they didn’t know how to feed 5,000 people with that little bit of food but they knew how to serve the food that they had.
They did what they knew how to do, trusting that Jesus was going to do the rest.
You see, when you feel that internal nudging, your responsibility is actually, really simple . . . do what you know how to do and then trust that God will do what only he can do.
Because that tension you feel . . . is your faith being stretched. God is doing something inside of you, establishing deep roots of trust so that your relationship with Him will grow stronger.
After they finished serving . . . doing all they knew how to do . . . the crowd was filled and there were 12 baskets full of left overs. More than enough for those guys to be nourished as well.
You see, Jesus wasn’t just doing a really cool miracle . . . he had a very specific agenda. He knew that he was handing this whole thing off to this group of guys.
And he knew that if their faith wasn’t strong, it may not work.
He was developing deep roots so when it was their time to start the church, they would trust that their job was simply to do what they knew how to do and trust that God would do what only he can do.
Immediately after this . . . this is important because these two stories are connected . . . Jesus tells the disciples to get in the boat and row back to the other side as he dismissed the crowd.
Affter everyone left, Jesus spent some time in prayer . . . a lesson in and of itself.
So, the disciples are in the boat rowing across the lake . . . something they do all the time. They get about half way out, it’s pitched black and they’re rowing against the wind and they realize . . . we’re not going anywhere.
This is something they are good at. This is something they are trained for. But it’s not working.
This story continues . . .
As they are out in the middle of the lake, not getting anywhere, they see a figure walking across the lake and they started freaking out because they thought it was a ghost.
But Jesus immediately says, “Chill out, it’s just me. Don’t be afraid.”
And in that moment, Peter has an insight . . . “Jesus has been teaching us a lesson and I think I understand it. We can do anything Jesus asks us to do if we’ll do what we know how to do and trust him.”
So, he decides to test his theory and he says, “Jesus, invite me to walk on the water with you.”
I don’t know how to walk on water, but I know how to get out of the boat, and I know how to walk and if you invite me to come out there with you . . . this is all going to work out . . . and all my buddies back in the boat will be really impressed with me as you and I hang out on top of the water.
You probably know the rest of the story . . . “When he saw the wind (when he was reminded of what he couldn’t do), he was afraid and he began to sink and he cried out ‘save me’ and immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him and said, “you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
You began looking at your ability . . . you began thinking about what you can’t do . . . and you forgot to trust me.
I don’t think Jesus was chastising Peter . . . I think he grabs Peters hand and is saying, “Oh, you almost had it. You were so close. Why at the very end did you doubt me, Peter?”
But I love how it ends . . . “When they climbed into the boat, the wind died down and they all began to worship him saying, ‘truly you are the Son of God’. We kind of suspected it with the whole bread and fish thing but now we get it.”
You see, Jesus was trying to build into them an extraordinary, out of the box, are you kidding me confidence in him. And when those roots were growing deeper through this experience, their relationship with God grew stronger and they couldn’t help but fall down on their knees and worship.
That’s what he wants to do in you!
Here’s where I want to wrap up . . . did you know that if you’re a part of this church, you are benefitting from the fact that 10 years ago, a group of people sat around a room one night and said, “There’s a need in our community for a new church that has passion to share the gospel to people who aren’t real thrilled about going to church. And although we’ve never started a church before we’re just going to do what we can do and trust that God will do what only he can do . . . “we’re going to get out of the boat.”
We’ve seen this kind of faith over and over and over here at Logos Dei Church.
One of my favorite stories . . . Matt Moore story.
So, here’s the question I’m going to leave you with tonight . . . whether you’re here in the room or listening to this online . . . where is God nudging you?
God wants to do something in you that will grow deep roots of faith so that your relationship with him will grow stronger.
- You’ve got to feed people with what’s in your hands, even though you know it’s not enough.
- You’ve got to throw your legs over the side of the boat and take a step, even though you don’t know the first thing about walking on water.
And when you do, you’re going to experience God in a brand-new way. And it will grow your faith like crazy and you’ll come out on the other end saying, “Wow, there is a God and he knows my name. And he invited me out and I’m so glad I accepted the invitation because I would have missed out . . . not simply seeing what happens in the lives of other people, I would have missed out on that thing he’s doing to grow the roots of my faith deeper.”