Welcome to Church on the Hill, Glenavon, Sask, Canada

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Learning What Not To Do

The Rawling Brothers from Alberta led worship at church on Sunday morning, bringing out some favorite hymns as well as songs from their CD’s. Songs included His Sheep Am I, Consecrated, I Saw the Light, You’re Beautiful Jesus, I’ll Fly Away, Peace Like an Ocean and A Closer Walk with Thee.

Darryl Hawbolt gave the message. He started by thanking Church on the Hill (COTH) for welcoming him and his family when they moved to the area last summer and letting them become a part of COTH.

Scriptures used: Matt 14: 22-33, 1 Chron 16:11

Darryl said he remembers before Tyler was born when he’d look at other families walking around with their kids and he’d pick out qualities of parenting he wanted to use in his family – or not if the kids didn’t seem to be disciplined. He said when he was young he wasn’t bad… just busy. He remembers going to K-mart and his mom would be crying because of him. Once, she told him to stay in a rack of clothes while she looked around and when she looked back a second later, he was already gone. She was frantically searching for him when one of those round racks on wheels started going down the aisle. Through the clothes, she could hear him giggling as he propelled the rack away from her. He said he heard the word ‘no’ a lot as he was growing up. Usually when a parent says no it means they have wisdom and are using guidance to teach their child. They’ve been down that road and have learned what to do and want to pass on their knowledge.

Darryl used the example of cliff jumping as a teen with the youth group. The cliff was 35‘ high and he was told to jump off with his arms spread out on either side of him and not to bring his arms down until he entered the water – not before. But as soon as his feet hit the water, he dropped his arms and they slapped the water, hard. It was his last jump of the day due to his bruised arms.

Learning isn’t just about learning what to do, but also what not to do.

Darryl read Matt14:22-33 which is the where Peter walks on the water. He said the Sea of Galilee is normally tranquil but it’s ringed by two mountain ranges on the north side and when the wind whips between them, it has a tunneling effect creating havoc on the water. On this night, a major storm abruptly started with high waves coming over the bow of the boat. As fishermen, the disciples were professional sailors but even they were scared at the storm’s ferocity. Then they saw someone walking on the water toward them and were even more frightened. V27-29 says, ‘But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," He said.

If we want to accomplish tasks for God there are things we should avoid.

1. We should not live for Jesus on our own strength.
Peter walked on the water because of his faith in God’s power. Walking on the water is a supernatural act we can’t do on our own. It’s humanly impossible. Have you ever wondered if you could be like Peter and tried to walk on water, say at the beach?

Darryl spoke about the missionary Hudson Taylor who said, “All God’s giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His being with them.”

Darryl then said Pastor David said, “When you see a turtle on a fence post, you wonder how it got there.” In the same way, we can’t do anything of our own because we need God’s strength to accomplish it. The key to living a productive Christian life is to rely on the strength of God. 1 Chronicles 16:11 says, ‘Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.’ When people look at us and see the things we do, and they see something supernatural happening or a smile on our face when we’re going through a crisis, they wonder why. It’s like the turtle on that fencepost they wonder how it got there.

2. We should not allow ourselves to become distracted.
When Peter had his eyes fixed on Jesus, he was walking on the water. He was doing the impossible. But as soon as he allowed himself to be distracted, he started to sink. With the wind blowing, and the rain falling, the last thing you want to do is get out of the boat but Peter did. He put his trust in Jesus and stepped out. How often do we find ourselves starting to do something for God and in His strength, we begin to do something beyond our capabilities and then we look around and our faith waivers. The storm overtakes us and we begin to sink. We take our eyes off Jesus when we’re distracted by something else.

3. We should not stay in the boat.
Imagine being in that boat with the waves crashing against and over the boat, the sails snapping, the wood creaking and groaning, and the wind whipping across your face. Peter was wet, cold, exhausted and terrified. It would have been easy to stay in the safety of the boat. But if Peter never got out of the boat, he would never have walked on the water. To walk on water requires you to climb out of the boat and step out in faith. That’s what Peter did. So did Peter fail then when he started to sink?

Darryl mentioned Jonas Salk who made 200 unsuccessful vaccines for polio before he found one that worked. When someone asked him how it felt to fail 200 times, this was his response, “I never failed 200 times at anything in my live. My family taught me never to use that word. I simply discovered 200 ways how NOT to make a vaccine for polio.”

So in a sense Peter did fail because he began to sink when he became distracted and took his eyes off Jesus. But there were 11 bigger failures who sat in the safely, quietly in the boat. Their failure was unnoticed and uncriticized. Only Peter experienced the shame of public failure. And only Peter knew the glory of walking on the water.

What do we need to know if we decide to get out of the boat?

1. At times you will fail and begin to sink just like Peter. But Peter experienced something no one else did. He actually walked on the water! There is no record of anyone else doing it.

2. Jesus will be there to grab your hand.
Only Peter knew the glory of walking on the water. And the moment he started to sink, Jesus grabbed his hand and pulled him up. Only Peter knew, in a way the others in the boat never would, that when he sank, Jesus would be there to save him. Peter shared that moment with Jesus and we know he went on to do great things after that. It was a connection the others missed. And they missed it because they chose the safety and comfort of the boat instead of stepping out onto uncharted waters.

Darryl said to turn it around and apply it to ourselves – especially to those of us who learn by being told what they should do… you won’t always stay on top of the water, but at the time you start to sink, Jesus will be there to grab your hand.

If you want to walk on water, you need to:
1. Rely on Jesus for your strength.
2. Keep your eyes fixed on Him.
3. Get out of the boat.

We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. He’s the one to keep us going. When you’re in a difficult time, ridiculed by people around you who are questioning you – maybe even Satan is whispering words of doubt in your ear. So you doubt your faith and your trust in God. You think maybe someone else should do it. And you find yourself wanting to get back in the boat. But you’ll never experience walking on the water if you don’t get out of the boat. If you want an experience similar to Peter, and you want to step out and do incredible things for God, especially in your community where there are many people who don’t know that power of having their sins forgiven, or people in our midst who have sickness and need healing – you want to be that person who steps out in faith and believes things will happen.

And if we, as a church believe we can do these things, then people all over the place will come see why there’s a turtle sitting on the fence post. We will see God moving in our midst and we’ll see a revival happening because we‘re stepping out of the boat and keeping our eyes on Jesus. And these things will happen if we believe.

The Rawling Brothers followed Darryl’s message with the songs, Hosanna and I Lift My Eyes Up.

Pastor Lorne said we’ve had good music and a good message of encouragement to give us something to take us through the week . He thanked The Rawling Brothers for their concert last night and for blessing us this morning. The congregation then gave The Rawling Brothers a standing ovation so they went back up for another song.

Doug asked if anyone is familiar with the book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. He said it’s about a slave who had everything taken away – but not quite everything because he said his body was just his cabin and he was leaving it behind when he went.

Final song: Golden Slippers

If you would like to know more about having Christ as your personal Saviour, please contact us.

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