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The Call Of The Wild

Matthew 8:18-27

by Stuart Mains

September 18, 2022

Thank you for checking out this sermon. If you are moved by what you hear and are in the Boston area, consider visiting in person!

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Word of prayer as we get started here. Dear God, thank you for this time to be together. God, we're grateful for the fellowship and the connection. God, we're grateful for the church community that You've given us. God, we pray that you would be with us now as we look at Your Word. God as we connect with your scriptures. God, we know that you are all powerful. God, we know that you have just worked for us to be here in this room. God is not by chance that we're here. It's not just by happenstance that today we're here in the room. God, I pray that you allow us to be attuned to what you want us to hear this morning. God soften our hearts. Got to allow our hearts to be receptive to Your message. We love you. In Jesus name, amen. Amen.

Well, I haven't had a chance to welcome you. To all the friends out today, I want to say a big welcome. My name is Stuart and this is my wife Ashley. We help lead the congregation here in downtown and we are so grateful that you are here with us. I don't know if your friend told you, but today was Bring Your Neighbor to Church Day.

And so if you are here with your friend for the first time, or maybe they invited you out a couple of times, I just want you to know they like you. They think you're awesome. Can you turn to your neighbor if they're visiting with us or not? And they say, I like you. Turn to your other neighbor and say, I like you. There's a reason why you are here. You did not just happen to stumble in here. You didn't just happen to come to church this morning. God has a purpose for you being in the room. God has a purpose for you. Hearing the Communion that we just heard from Michael Adolphus, God has a purpose for you being here on this Sunday versus other Sundays. And we want you to walk away understanding that God is directing your steps so that you can have a greater connection with Him than you ever have before. We have started this series called Into the Wild. And what it's all about is that Christianity, sometimes it can look a little bit boring. It can feel a little bit like you just go to church once a week. You show up, you do the church thing, and then you go about your life and actually go have fun somewhere else. But the church and Christianity, that can't be fun. And in the reality, as you look at Scripture, the most fulfilling, purpose filled life you can live is Christianity. Maybe not the way American Christianity has taught us to do it, but the way the Scriptures teach us to do it. It is something that is invigorating and exciting. It gets a little bit wild sometimes. And last week we talked about this idea of Jesus. He was healing and teaching, and then he was driving out demons. I don't know what you did last night, but Jesus, that night was driving out demons throughout the night. It was a wild night, but that was what Jesus life was all about, was an adventure. We all want our lives to be adventurous. We all want there to be a purpose for our lives. We all want it to make sense. We want there to be meaning for what we're doing. There's a call for us to live in the wild. There's a call for us to live on the edge.

Now, maybe you say, no, I'm a glamper like we talked about, I don't live in the wild, and I'm not talking about physically living in the wild. Amen. For all of us that don't like camping, but the idea of being able to live on the edge with God, live in a place that's wild, that is untamed in the way that we interact with the world, Jesus, when he came into the world, interacted with the world different than all the other religious people. He was willing to get into the nasty, gritty, sinful areas of the world and say, I want to rescue you. I want to be with you. As you come in, again, we come from many different backgrounds. Some of you have become from a very religious background. And as I'm talking about some of the things, you can relate more to the religious hearts. Others of us are going, not me. This is like the first time ever or this is the first time in forever that I've ever been in a church. And I don't know what people think of me. I don't know if I even should stay. And Jesus came. We want you to know Jesus came for you as well. In fact, he talked about, I came to help the sick, not the healthy, right? Those who are spiritually healthy. That's not exactly why I came. I came here to help and seek and save those that were lost, those that needed healing. There is a calling in our hearts that we're going to talk about today that is to get out of just the mundane and get into the adventure of a relationship with God. I sometimes get stuck in the abyss of YouTube. And there was a couple of years ago, I was clicking around, I was supposed to be writing a sermon, but I got stuck in the abyss of YouTube and I landed and there was this family that sold everything they had and they went and bought a catamaran, and it's this big boat and just said, we're going to live on the ocean. And I remember watching this video and just being like, that is the dream, just to get away from it all and just live on a catamaran. And we can do this in our lives. For you, an adventure can mean different things.

It could be to just get out and live in the wild, actually physically on the ocean. But more than that, it can be just to have a different experience than anything else that you've going through in your life at that moment. I went on a trip with Jesse, and Jesse actually shared this Jesse Gomen shared about us going on a man trip to Vermont. This is about a year and a half ago. Both of us were going through different spiritual things and wrestling through things, and we went to Vermont to try and get away and get into the wild a little bit. We rented an airbnb, you with me? But it was a cabin, and it had an out house, and it was not fully heated. Right. It had a space heater. We felt wild as we were doing it. But we get there, and the pictures were totally different than the reality. We get there and we walk in and the pictures I don't know if you've ever had this happen airbnb, but as you swipe, you can think there's multiple rooms in an airbnb. Well, this was just one room. So here Jesse and I are looking for where's our bedrooms there's only one bed and there's one room, and it's negative seven degrees that night in Vermont.

And so we're like, what did we just sign up for? This was supposed to be this time of in the wild of connection with God, and here we are in this single room just shivering or tukuses off, right? But it never lives up to the hype. The idea of fulfilling our lives and going into the wild or having this adventurous life always falls short. It's kind of that instagram versus reality type thing, right? That what you think it's going to be like versus the reality of what it is, is totally different. But a life with Jesus is so much more than even you expect. In John Ten verse ten, it says, I have come this is Jesus speaking that they may have life and have it to the full. Jesus's calling to us is, come and follow me so that you will have the greatest life that you could have ever asked for or imagined. God wants us to have that adventurous spirit. He wants us to go after the wild around us. He wants us to feel a sense of our calling into the wild is something that he's put into us, but it's not going to be satisfied by these different things that we can chase after.

I love Netflix and watching some Netflix shows. There's all of these adventurous documentaries. There. I don't know if you've seen 14 peaks, but it's about a man that said, in seven months, I'm going to hike the 14 highest peaks of the world. The previous record was seven years, and I'm going to do it in seven months. And he goes, and I'm not going to ruin the documentary for you. But he goes and he goes through it, and it's an awesome show. What it does in my heart is it goes, I want to do that. I want to have the adventure. Now, I'm not much of a camper, so I'm definitely not doing this, and I'm not very adventurous when it comes to the outdoorsy stuff. But nonetheless, there is something in us that's driven for that, right? You ever seen Free Solo? You ever heard of free Solo? This is a man that climbed El Capitan completely without rope. Completely without rope. There's a couple of pictures there that you can see. Some of the crazy places he was the last picture is to give you a little bit perspective on how high he was going up.

God has placed in us placed in us this desire for adventure. And some of you go, that's not really me. That's not really the world I live in. And I would maybe to say that you are just stifled in your desire for adventure. You actually do have this desire placed in you by God, and yet we can get it stifled and we forget and we lose that we have it, but it is in every single one of us. The life as a disciple, I just want to tell you, if you have never even heard of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, it is the most impactful life you can ever live. Being able to see hundreds upon thousands of people influenced by you, helping and changing one person's life and through the interactions that they're having with their family and their coworkers. If you've been a disciple for any length of time and watch people become disciples, there is something that stirs in your soul as you watch them have impact and realizing that I am that person, that we call them kind of a spiritual grandpa, if you will. If I helped you find faith and then you helped them find faith, right?

There's nothing more impactful than being able to do these works that God has placed before us. God has caused us to be in a challenging season here as a church. As we just got the news yesterday about Ray. For me, I think this is what it's all about, is to be able to have a son of God die and go to heaven. But as you're sitting there in the room and as you're experiencing the different things that go into having him pass away, it doesn't always feel like this big adventure, it can feel more challenging than that. And so the adventure has storms, the adventure has triumphs, but nonetheless, God is calling you into a life of adventure. As you think about how you have thought about Christianity in the past, do you think about it as adventurous? Do you think about it as something that draws your heart in? Maybe for you, it was at one time and you've lost it. Maybe it never has. But today we're going to talk about the call of the wild, the call of Christianity, the call that Jesus places before each and every one of us. If you open your Bibles to Matthew eight, we're in a passage here where Jesus has just been healing a bunch of people.

He, like I shared the night before, had exorcised some demons. He's in the middle of the wild, if you will, of the spiritual world and dealing with a lot of different things. And we come into the passage here where Jesus is being approached by people that want to follow Him and that he has kind of an entourage as he's doing these different miracles that are actively following Him. And as he's going through, people are calling from the crowd, hey, I want to follow you, Jesus. And he addresses three different barriers that we're going to talk about today that get in the way of us being able to get out into the wild, to have a relationship with God, to follow Jesus in the ways that he's calling us to. In Matthew eight, verse 18, verse 20, it reads, when Jesus saw the crowd around Him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to Him and said, teacher, I will follow you wherever you go. Jesus replied, Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of man has no place to lay his head.

Jesus is going and doing all these miracles, but as a teacher of law calls to Him, he says, I'll follow you. And Jesus'immediate response, what would your response be? Amen. Yes. That's a great heart. Instead, Jesus says, Foxes have dens, birds have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head. What is he saying? He's saying, okay, get ready to be homeless with me. That's his response. His response is, you have to be homeless if you're going to follow me, because that was the nature of what he was doing at the time. Jesus is drawing a connection between, if you follow me, you will be uncomfortable. And the first thing we're talking about is Jesus is calling us out of comfortability, of being comfortable. As you look at a lot of different areas in our lives, we recognize that anything good requires uncomfortability at first. In order for us to raise good children, we've got to be uncomfortable. You stay up late, you wake up in the middle of the night, you're disciplining these children. You're engaged with these children. They steal all your money, right? There's all kinds of stuff.

To raise children, takes a lot of work. But when you talk to parents, what they feel is, I love this kid. The uncomfortability was there. But that's not what people remember totally about it. What they say about it is how incredible it is. We have a brother in the church that has young children, and he walks up to every young parent and says, I want you to know I'm going to be the voice of telling you that parenting is uncomfortable sometimes. Because everybody tells you how good it is and I just want to tell you the truth. That's not totally the spirit, but amen. That's true, though, that there is uncomfortable. But the reality is we know that if we fight through the uncomfortability, we'll have some amazing kids that we're able to connect with in adulthood. Right? That the idea of building wealth. Nobody says it's shocking that it takes a lot of hard work to build wealth. We know this. If they were to say, you've got to grind and work hard to make a lot of money, you would go, yeah, I'll work harder. I'll do more. That is what's being promoted in the world.

And nobody bats an eye at saying we must be uncomfortable to build wealth. In order for you to be healthy, we know we've got to be uncomfortable. I preached three weeks ago about not eating sugar anymore, how much I love my Twizzlers. I stopped eating sugar. It's uncomfortable. You don't need to clap for that. Lost, like, no pounds, but nonetheless, right, I stopped eating sugar. Losing weight as you get older is a little bit more difficult. But the idea of I've got to stop these habits that are making me feel comfortable in order to be healthy, or there's all this research that's being done of these kind of micro stresses that you can do throughout the day that brings greater health. You know what that cold showers has a massive effect on your health. Cold showers. Sounds awful, right? That's the last thing that I want to do. But it's supposed to have great effects. It's supposed to change your mood. Exercise the oldest thing in the book. We all know that exercise helps to but it's uncomfortable. Especially if you're out of shape, it's uncomfortable. We recognize that in every one of these areas and many more, we must be uncomfortable if we are going to have any kind of change or if we're going to have any later comfortability.

But when it comes to Christianity, oftentimes we go, this is the one area where I must be comfortable all the time, where nobody can say anything that makes me feel uncomfortable. There's nobody that can challenge me on the way that I'm living my life. Not here, not now. This is not the area to do it. What I should feel when I go to church is inspiration, inspiration, inspiration all the time. And that's the only thing I should ever feel. And the idea that you would ever have the audacity to challenge me or maybe feel uncomfortable in my religion, I can't stand for that. That is the way the world feels about Christianity. And so we have a lot of Ted Talks on Sunday mornings across America of good feeling good sounding. Good kind of stroking your ego of how we feel about Christianity and how you should maybe marginally change your life a little bit. Maybe not that much. Sort of kind of think different. Well, not totally think different. And we're also afraid to say much of anything that many churches across the world don't say much of anything. We as a country, our Christianity has been watered down so far in so many areas because we don't want to be uncomfortable.

We don't want to feel shame. We don't want to feel pain. And yet God talks throughout his word about that's the beginning. It can't be the only thing you feel about religion is shame and pain, but it is a starting point in order to help you grow. We live in a very comfortable society. There was a woman that came out from a sister church when we were in Los Angeles. This church is partnered with Europe. That church was partnered with the Middle East, and she lived in Beirut, Lebanon. And they came out, her and her husband, to speak to us, and she was meeting in our staff meeting, and we said, what's one thing that you from your observations of our staff and our church, what do you want us to feel or hear or any challenge that you have for us? We said it to both of them. And her response, I don't know. I didn't have a recorder right at the moment. But she said something to the effect of, I just want you to hear that as I look at you, I have pity on you, and I have empathy on you.

And I'm so sorry that you live in such a world of comfort because your comfortability and your manicured lawns and everything being so clean and beautiful and bombs not going off and you not feeling unstable in your life, all of that lulls you to sleep spiritually. And so my spirituality is much easier. You are more of the frontline of spirituality than I feel like even I am, because I walk outside and I realize I could die at any moment. You walk outside, and you feel zero fear of something happening to you. And so, like a thief in the night, at some point in your life, you'll die, and you're just so comfortable you won't even know what happened, what hit you. We have it easier than you. I want you to understand. I understand how much this is difficult for you. I love you. That was what she said to us. That was her response. We're all just like, I got to go pray and think about my life. What do you do after that? Okay, I'm going to go to Costco and buy really oversized groceries and, I mean, just have an incredibly comfortable life. I mean, you're just like, oh, my goodness.

But she's right. She's saying that this is a difficult, challenging mission field to actually feel a sense of desperation for God because everything is built around you not feeling desperate, everything is built around you not feeling desperation. And yet God is saying in his word, if you want to follow me, you have to be uncomfortable. It's going to be funky, it's going to be hard, it's going to be difficult. You must be willing to do things that are not easy. And yet he wants to help you have a life that is absolutely different from the world and the challenges of the world, the things that we face as disciples because we don't face divorce, we don't face the challenges of the way the world processes marriage and parenting and those kind of things. And so our life is easier in the end, but it's harder seeming in the beginning. And so we wrestle through this comfortability. And I want my life to be comfortable. It will not be a comfortable life if you follow Jesus. It will be adventurous, it will be fulfilling, it will be extremely exciting.

But comfortable is not where you're going to live. You are going to be in a place of living on the edge with God. And there's constantly a battle with Christianity and the idea of being a disciple of Jesus and this comfortability, they are at odds with one another. If you are feeling comfortable, then you must not be pleasing Jesus. If you feel comfortable, then you must be feeling something that God's going, no, there's something not right in your heart. You need to be pushed, you need to go beyond. You need to have a different disposition about you. Because Christians feel a sense of I'm sacrificing, but I'm on the edge with God. I love that I'm living out my purpose.

We must recognize this truth that it's at odds, that Christianity is at odds with comfort. Anything worth doing needs to take a struggle and challenge because we know that if we wrestle through these things, an answer for the longing of our soul is on the other side of that discomfort. If we wrestle through these things, we recognize that we will have the answers we've been looking for. The longing that you have for adventure is found in nothing else but Jesus Christ.

The second thing that Jesus calls out and calls us out of is tradition. Tradition. The first was that he was comfortable. The next verse, right after that, in verse 21, another disciples said to him, lord, first let me go and bury my father. But Jesus told him, follow me and let the dead bury their own dead. Now, if you read this passage that face value with our cultural biases, you don't totally understand what's going on. Jesus is not saying that we don't need to grieve the death of family members. Jesus is also not being heartless to this man. What he's saying is that there was a tradition that was going on in that culture. What they would do is they would have a funeral right after the person died, and then they would wait an entire year later, and then they would bury the bones again. And so this was a whole tradition that was manmade that was not placed there by God. And Jesus is saying, no, if you're going to follow me, I'm not going to wait for a year. I want you to follow me right now. Let's do this. You've grieved with your family.

You've connected with your family. You've helped your family through this time. But that tradition that you're holding onto, that the firstborn son must be there a year later. Do this. No, come with me. Follow me. We're going to have an adventure together. I don't want you to stay here. No, you can't catch up with me in a year. Do this now. That's what Jesus is talking about. There are windows of opportunity in each and every one of our lives. There are windows of opportunity that God enters the scene, that God comes into our life and says, I want to provide an opportunity for you to be connected to me. And the truth of the matter is that he is always nearby, right? He's always nearby, and he always wants to give us the opportunity. But it's not God that's the problem. It's our own hearts and our reception of his invitation to us. But throughout our lives, we have these windows of opportunity where God then says, you know what? I have always been here, but yes, I want to have a relationship with you. And because of the softness of your heart or because of grief that you're facing or going through or because of challenges or a break up, you finally go, okay, I'm ready to turn my life in to you, God.

There's a window of opportunity that each and every one of us are facing right now. There's windows of opportunity that you're facing right now in your life that you can choose to say, I'm going to engage in this adventure, or I'm going to just go back to my old life. This man had an opportunity. He saw Jesus. He watched the miracles. He saw the healings. He knew what Jesus was capable of. But there were traditions that were ingrained in him that caused him to feel a sense of, I don't know if I can do this right now. I don't know if I can leave right now. I don't know what I'll be thought of by my family if I do this right now. I don't know what I'll be thought of by society if I do this right now. I recognize this is not in the scriptures this way. I don't have to do this. But this is a tradition that you are challenging my thought on this God. There's traditions that we have in our society of when you are supposed to have a relationship with God. Many people, when I was in campus ministry I'd share with them. They'd say I want a relationship with God after I'm older and I'm married and I have kids. And what I want to do right now in college is I want to live it up. I want a party. I want sex, drugs and rock and roll. That's what I want to do with my life during college. And later on, I'm going to have a relationship with God. The crazy thing about it is there's always an excuse at every stage of your life as to why you should not follow God. And so when you get kids, all the parents could say with a big amen, it's hard to be a disciple with little ones running around. And so you go, you know what? When the kids are older and when they can buckle themselves in and when they're not sick, every 5 seconds, then I will have the right timing to connect with God. That's when it's going to be, oh, I'm going to do it. And then it gets pushed off to another phase of your life. Or maybe the traditional way of thinking is that business and money supersedes a relationship with God. That if I am going to be successful in the world, that I have got to hold on to the tradition of being able to work really hard, make a lot of money, grind, grind, grind. And then when I'm at a place of stability, then I'll go and find God. And yet we know the pit. The Bible says that wealth is deceiving. It's a trap. The idea is not the issue with the money, but the idea and desire for wealth is so deceiving and it causes us never to feel like we have enough.

And so you never get to that place of stability, to where you say, okay, God, I'm ready, if that's what you're believing in and trusting in. We all have these traditions, these things that we've held in our families, in our lives, what we've been taught throughout the years. This is when I'll follow God, this is when I'll be ready. And yet Jesus is offering you a window of opportunity to follow Him right now. If you are not a disciple of Jesus Christ, what does that look like? What does it look like to walk through that window of opportunity, to come into the door? When we talk about going into that window of opportunity, we talk about studying God's word together. We're talking about getting into Bible studies and studying out the scriptures and looking and seeing like Michael was talking about in the communion, just the idea of Am I following the truth?

Many Christians say that we are Christians and yet never actually look at Scriptures to see if what they're saying is true. And so we want to call you to study the Bible with us. We'll have a time at the end of the service to be able to respond on a response card. Of being involved in Bible studies. And we want to encourage each and every person here, if you are not a disciple of Jesus Christ, to make a decision to say, I will study the Bible, I will wrestle through the Scriptures to see if how I'm living is going to get me to heaven. This is a window of opportunity for your relationship with God. Hebrews three, verse 15 says, today, if you hear his voice, if you hear God's voice, do not harden your hearts. Seize the opportunity. Seize the opportunity to have a life worth living. I'm going to bring up Ashley to be able to share here for a few minutes.

You know, I love Stewart bringing up this idea of these windows of opportunity and I don't know that I always slow down long enough to even realize the opportunity before me. Life is stressful, and like you said, we have kids, we have full time jobs, and it's easy just to kind of keep going in your normal life, the life you've committed to. But stress keeps us in a state of responding to the urgent, the deadlines, the things that will alter our life if we don't do it right now. But it also holds us back from really living within our values. Back in when the pandemic started in March 2020, we were kind of at this rat race pace of our lives and we had just started leading a church out in California a year prior. And we got on that treadmill and we just started sprinting. We had never done it before. We had gone through some serious things prior to that, but work was kind of what we were used to and so we just started working and we started going really fast. And I know for most of us, when that pandemic hit, it was like, what is life?

How do I do this? How do I work? How do I still stay connected to people? But in April, I think it was April or May, we took a long road trip and it was like 15 hours. And it was kind of this moment to just pause and contemplate, what is God trying to show us? What is he trying to teach us in our life right now? And it really brought us to tears to recognize we are not living within our values. Like our kids do not get the best side of us, all that we want to pass on, all that we want, for our marriage to feel fulfilled, to feel joy. We are not living those things, we are not experiencing those things with God. And it took a pretty life altering thing for us. It was obvious that the current position we were in was not one we should stay in. We didn't have the emotional and spiritual support that we needed to be in that position at the time. And so we kind of put all our cards on the table and ended up moving across the entire country, away from family, away from our comfort.

But it was this moment, it was this window of opportunity to see, like, God is putting this before us. Do we have the faith to walk through that window? And we ended up doing that. So it's obviously for the big things in our life to contemplate those changes, but it's also for just the little moments in life. At the beginning of the year, I always buy a new planner, and I love my new calendar and planning, but I got one that was called it's kind of the theme of it. It says, Cultivate what matters. And every month it has this time of reflection to look at how did I spend my time this last month and what are the most important things that I want to give my energy and my time to and my heart to this upcoming month? And it's really helped me to kind of have these habitual moments of pause, to just decide, who do I want to be as a person? Am I living within my values? Am I spending the time of the time with my kids that I want to, and am I living within these times? And I know we've been talking about Ray and just how much the Matthews meant to us, but in one of those times, we had known them but hadn't gotten time with them.

For a few months of us living here, we hadn't made that connection. And one of the month, it was kind of a pressing thing on my heart, like, we need to get time with them, and we need to spend time with them. And we ended up having, like, a three hour just bonding, getting to know each other's lives, time in our living room. And then we also, like, the next month, we were like, we really want to go to North End. We want to go on a date. And so we made it happen. It was kind of one of those things that mattered. And then when something like this happens, you just feel grateful for that moment that you pause and you considered, how am I spending my time? Am I giving it to the right things? Relationships with people is one of those things. And so I hope we're all taking those moments to pause.

I've had the privilege this week of being able to study the Bible with a couple of men that have been seizing this opportunity. I got the phone call from David Martin, from the Pros Ministry, and he had been reaching out to one of his friends and co workers, and he does everything virtual, so the guy lives kind of far away. And so they were starting to talk on Zoom about God and this man named Calvin, who's actually here today. Where is he standing? Okay, Calvin. There he is right there. I'd like to know more about this. I haven't really ever studied the Bible before. And so David and him have been studying the Bible for the last two months. Last Thursday, I was able to hop into a Bible study with them just to be able to connect a little bit and talk about discipleship and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. And you saw just the light bulbs in his own head going off. And as he was talking about this was a couple of months ago. This was not what I was doing. I was not actively praying, I was not reading.

But I see it. I see what's happening in my life. I see what's going on in my heart. And so for those that need to study the Bible, I want you to hear that people in this room are doing it and having great success at being able to find this. But for others of us that are members of the church or have been around for a long time, this Christian thing, I want you to hear that once you get involved it inspires you in a tremendous way as well. It has a total chain effect of being able to unlock in your own mind this idea of, no, this is what it's all about. This week we study the Bible with Chike Asude. And Chike, I know I've shared a little bit about him. Him and I have been getting very close and building a deep friendship through the Bible studies. But it's become clear in the last couple of weeks and days just some deeper into the wild type things in his own heart that he's wrestling through. And you could tell there's a wrestling match in his own soul of I know I want to do this, I want to get baptized, I want to make Jesus Lord.

But I've got some things in my own heart and mind that get in the way here. Let's wrestle together. And we're wrestling and we're praying and we're talking and we're wrestling, but we're overcoming. He's seizing the opportunity that's placed before him. This window of opportunity that we are being given right now. We must seize the opportunity. As we close out here, Jesus calls us out of the storms. Jesus immediately gets into a boat after the situation and we come into the verse if you turn there to verse 23, he's sitting on a boat. In fact, he falls asleep on a boat. It says, Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake so that the wave swept over the boat, but Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, Lord save us, we're going to drown. He replied, you of little faith, why are you so afraid? Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, what kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him.

Jesus is having all of these different interactions and he gets on a boat and he's exhausted. And so he says it's time to fall asleep. But the lake that they were in, where they were, even historically, you can look back, it is known for having storms and squalls come up very quickly. And even some of the men on the boat, some of the disciples, were fishermen before. So they knew this kind of storm, right? They knew that this was inevitable. And yet, as they have this squall, apparently it must have been a very bad storm that came upon them because they were losing their mind and freaked out. And what's Jesus doing? He's asleep. He's sleeping in the middle of this storm. And so they get mad at him and angry with them and go, Are you kidding me? Like, don't you even love us, Jesus? And he goes, what's your problem? Yeah, I love you, you of little faith. Let me just command this storm. And he commands the storm to stop, and it stops. It's interesting. We have control of the comforts that we indulge in. We have control of the traditions that we believe.

We do not have control of the storms that come our way. We don't have control of what grief you're going to face, what challenges you're going to have come across your desk. You don't have control over the storms that you will face in your Christian life, but you know that they will come. It's a guarantee of everyone's life. Whether you're a disciple of Jesus or not, you will face storms in your life. And Jesus is calling us out of the storms of our life to recognize and gain perspective that your whole life is not a storm, that your whole life is not just the squall that you're facing right now. And even though the waves are coming over and there's challenges all around, Jesus wants to give perspective. In fact, he gives such perspective to the apostles that he's asleep in the middle of this storm going and it's no big deal. I have complete control over the situation. Even unconscious, I have complete control of the situation. And so he was at peace because he had perspective that the storm that they were facing was just a blip on the screen. How do you view the storms that you're going through in your life?

How do you view the things that you're facing in your life? Do you view them as just a small thing in comparison to the perspective of all that God is doing in your life? Just a blip in the screen right there versus all that he's doing in the movie of your life? Or does it become your entire life? Does it become everything that you talk about? The storms that we face, the storms that Jesus faced, were brought about to test the disciples. They were brought about to show and prove what was inside them. And as they faced these different things, Jesus kept calling them back to faith to say, you don't have the right perspective. One of the greatest barriers to following Jesus is your perspective on what it means for your life. One of the biggest barriers is for you to recognize the perspective that the challenges, the discomfort, the getting out of your traditions of way of thinking, the storms of life. This isn't your whole life. That the adventure that God has set before you is worth so much more. We're not going to look at his passes now, but you can jot it down in Matthew 13, verse 44 46, Jesus is saying, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure. It's stored up there in the field, hidden in the field, and when someone comes upon it, they sell everything they have to buy the field, and when they buy the field, they get back this huge treasure. Jesus is saying the Christian life is a treasure in comparison to what you're giving up, to what you're going through. Jesus is not minimizing the death of the Father. In the earlier verse, Jesus is not saying, the storm is not scary, but Jesus is saying, I am with you through every step of the way. I'm with you through every challenge that you're facing. Let me bring up Ashley this year one more time.

You know, Stewart specifically has had to kind of be my eyes of faith throughout different seasons of life and whether it is grief. But specifically, we have four children and there's nothing like having your first child. Because it's easy when you have a child to get so overwhelmed by all of what just got put on you. Of just the responsibility. Taking care of this little human. Keeping them alive. Sleeping. All the different things that it's easy to feel like, oh my gosh. This is my new normal and I cannot handle this. That's kind of the mentality I had every single child, we have four kids and every child, at about six months, he would say, Ashley, this is just a season of life. This is not our new life. This is just a season of life. And I look at these disciples because I do think that when the storm came, it was as if Jesus was not in the boat with them. And I think sometimes these storms can hit us and we forget that we have Jesus in the middle of our life. Some of us may be going through storms and we don't have Jesus to rely on.

And so it is more than we can bear. It is so overwhelming. Grief, stress, the pressure of your job, lack of relationships, there are so many things that bring stress to us. But if we have Jesus to rely on and to fixate on, it will help us. Two Corinthians one, verse nine says, these men are feeling so hard pressed, they said, we felt almost the sentence of death. But it says that this happens, that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead, that he will put you in this storm in hopes that you can rely on God and not on yourself, that you can put your faith in something bigger than yourself. He can calm the storm and we can get through it together with him.

Any good action movie, any good adventure movie has a struggle. It has a storm. How boring would the Marvel movies be with no struggle? I mean, you got the Hulk and he has no one to fight. He's just really big for no reason. Iron man, all the cool gadgets shooting it at no one. Deep down, we understand in an adventure, there's going to be struggle, there's going to be storms. We cannot be surprised at the storms of life that come our way. As we close out in Isaiah 43, verse two. God says to his people, when you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. The flames will not set you ablaze. God is with us when we're going through those storms. And as Ashley shared, there are these storms that come up. And for some of you, you are walking around the world without any backup. You have no support going through the challenges of life and the storms that we've faced in our family and health challenges or death.

I could not imagine going through these things without God. And so many of you are going through struggles and you're wrestling and you are in the storm of your life and you have no backup. And God is saying, I'm here. I'm ready. I want to support you. I want to help you. I'm ready to connect with you. You must respond. You must be willing to respond to what God is asking and putting before you. Jesus is calling us to a life of incredible adventure. He's calling us into the wild outside of our comfort zone in order to deal with things and be what we need to be for Him, but that we naturally want to be ourselves. But we've got to get out of our comfort zone. We've got to get rid of our traditions, and we must get through and be called out of the storms. Amen.

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