A story is told of a great tight rope walker, who had mastered the art of walking on a high tight rope to the amazement of the crowd. They had seen him do it so many times and praised him for his skill. On one occasion He took a wheel barrow and asked ‘who believes I can walk with this wheel barrow to the other side? They all cheered in affirmation as they watched him walk with the wheel barrow back and forth? Then he turned and asked ‘Now, who thinks I can cross over with the wheel barrow with someone on it, again they cheered in affirmation, and then he asked “Now any volunteers”…
It is that time of the year, to believe God for great things. Tonight many declarations, resolutions and promises will be made? There will be prayers of growth, expansion, next level, hope and great excitement and anticipation for the next year?
However the Big question is not ‘Can God do greater things for us this year’ Is the eternal God who lives beyond our time also turning His calendar? Are there greater prayers we can make for God to do even greater things this new year?
God is great and He has always had a great plan for us, every new season is how we discover and Respond to that Great Plan. The bigger question is not whether God can do greater things, but whether we trust him to do those Great things with us?
The Story of Peter in Mathew 14:22-33,
Jesus had just performed the miracle of feeding the 5000 in the full view of the disciples. They had witnessed a great miracle and their stomachs were full. Just like it feels coming from the Holidays.
But later that evening, Jesus withdraws to himself to pray up into the hills and the disciples proceed ahead without him to cross the lake to the other side. At around 3 am/midnight a strong wind caught up with them and they struggled to sail the boat at night. From a distance they see someone walking on water towards them, and they of course are gripped with fear thinking it’s a ghost or they had seen the month of January coming? When Jesus says to them, It is I, do not be afraid.
Lord, If that’s you, let me come to you- Peter shouts. And Jesus responds Come. He gets of the boat and with His eyes fixed on Jesus, He begins to walk on water, He walks the tight rope, His faith is stronger.
The question is not whether God can do great things, we have seen him do it. He has done great things in 2017, He has fed 5000 before our eyes, He has preserved us this far, he has healed us. We know him to be a healer, we know He can walk on water?
I want to suggest to you that He is calling out to our faith in Him, to trust him to do those great things through us and with us, the question is will you get off the comfort of your boat and join him to walk on the water? Well Peter was the only one who dared Get Off the boat?
But this doesn’t last, he takes his eyes off Jesus and looks at the winds blowing and begins to sink in fear. Jesus grabs his hand and lifts him into the boat and asked…You have so little faith, Why did you doubt me? …. Could these be the words Jesus is saying to you, you had so little faith last year, why did you doubt me?
This is characteristic of many believers walk and start of the year- January our faith is an all -time high, we are charged with these resolutions, we take bold steps, we start well, we have subscribed for Gym membership, opened savings accounts and so forth….then February comes, and then March those who are still walking on water begin to chest thump and think it’s about them, others are scared by the consequences of these bold starts and begin to drift back into fear and old habits, We begin to wobble…Like Peter our eyes move from Jesus to ourselves or the wind and we begin to sink, in fear, in mediocre, in lack of zeal, sink in depression and even discouragement and complaints.
Our theme for 2018, Is Going Exponential- Growing Deeper, Moving Forward and Reaching Wider? This is what we sense God is calling us to as Lifespring Chapel Syokimau.
Exponential is a radical way of doing church where every believer is energized to multiply themselves through the power of God’s LIFE working in them. This is how we want to grow in our vision and influence this year. This is what we sense God calling us to walk on water with him? It’s time we got off the comforts of our small boats?
This will be walking on water for us. It will take us Growing Deeper- Getting Deeper in our walk with God- This will be the focus of our teaching series in the first term, January – April. Exponential will call us to move forward, for some God will be calling you to break camp, and stop rotating around the same place and make bold steps into His will- This will be the focus of our teaching series for the 2nd Term May- August and Lastly Exponential- means reaching wider, Taking hold by faith the Kingdom Portion God has given us in this community and beyond. It’s time to get off the boat and fix our eyes on Jesus to do great things with us and through us.
So How do we Pray?
First- The anchoring prayer: Lord in your great plan for my life, for this year, for this church, for my life….What would you have me be? How are you discerning God’s will/God’s plan for your life this year? What is that thing you are saying to God- Let your will be done? There is no Greater prayer before God than that which seeks to ask for His will to be done.
Secondly- Is a prayer of obedience and commitment, What will I do more, do less, do without? to get off the boat and walk on water. What action steps are you trusting God to help you make- It is worth asking these questions as a family as individuals as you set you commit your annual goals to God.
Allow me to propose the following 4 prayer points as answers to these important questions.
A. In the area of your walk with God- what we call Faith or convictions- Lord, What would you have me be?
I want you to Grow Deeper with me, To know me and experience my power in your life, I want to give you my LIFE in exchange of yours. The question is what will you do more, do less, do without to Grow Deeper this year?
What does that look like for you- For us we are trusting God for more devotional time as a family, we have signed up for Bible study Fellowship, We have committed to the Thursday prayers at Church.
B. In the area of Relationships- What we call LIFE Relationships here- Lord, what would you have me be? What God wants us to –BE THERE? Heb 10:24- Let us not give up meeting together, Let us continue to spur one another….
Are your relationships pleasing and worthy of the Lord? As one of our staff members Justus lightly prays “Lord lead me to those who lead me to you and remove me from those that remove me from you” We need to repent of sinful relationships and also repent of relationships that are wasteful, do not spur us on towards love and good deeds as puts it.
Repent of sinful relationships. – delete certain numbers, do without that night meeting…Do without that mpango… Yes there are good times and soccer buddies..but are they relationships that make you live a life worthy and pleasing to the Lord
Instead be there for relationships that
Helping you to bear fruit in every good work- Relationships that build you, that spur you towards good deeds. A better relationship with your boss, your teacher, your mentor, your elders may be better than many hours with soccer buddies, party friends or salon friends. Be there for the right relationships.
Helping you to grow in the Knowledge of God- Be there for Relationship in Church, Be there for church mate, be there for your life group leader, bible study partner, prayer partner, be there for your pastor.
Be there for relationships that Grow your character. Be there for your family, Be there for your wife, your husband, your children, your brother and sister. Be there the mourning, the sick, the grieving among us. Be there for the ones going through tough times.
Be there for lives that lead you to a life of gratitude and not complaints, You can choose to be there for workers strikes and demonstrations, political rallies and debates or choose to be with those who are grateful to have a little like the Janitor who is just grateful to have a job.
What will you do more, do less, do without to be there.
C. In the area of Talent, Time and Resources- God what would you have me be- Be Faithful? Be faithful with what I have given you. Be faithful with the opportunities I have given you, be faithful with the resources, be grateful for what you have and serve me with what you have? Be faithful in your service, work and occupation, Keep your promises, Keep your vows, Keep your word Be faithful with your tithe, with your time, with your talent. What will you do more, do less, do without to be faithful
C. In the area of Reaching out to others- Lord, What would you have me be- Be available. Be available to Go when I want you to go, where I want you to go and how I want you to go. Be available for the Gospel? Be available to show God’s LOVE to others. Be available to show God’s compassion to this dying world, through missions, through your support, through your participation. What will you do more do less do without to be available?
I invite you to make these exponential prayers, and take some bold steps outside the boat and begin to walk on water. And even when we lose sight and February, adversity and temptations come- we have one who is able to reach out to us and re-establish us in his plans. You ask Peter?
Every good thing we see today, at some point, someone got off the boat and overcame their fears and walked on water? Those words ‘DO not be afraid’ are written about 365 times in scripture not just for Moses, Joshua, and Peter but for you. Do not be afraid?