It is a very exciting time for us at Christ Church as we make decisions relating to the redevelopment of our church. God has blessed us with growth and we want to respond to this. Our plan is to improve the resources available to serve our community and create a space for worship fit for future generations. We have been so richly blessed throughout this process so far. We are so thankful for all of the prayers, generosity and creative fund-raising ventures. This is a big journey and we need Faith in God to embark upon all that is to come!
In Matthew 14: 23-33 there is a message about Faith.
After Jesus had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14: 23-33, English Standard Version)
The story of Jesus walking on the water in the Sea of Galilee, is quite familiar to us all I am sure. It is an amazing reminder of the power of Christ. It is also a very convicting story especially when you think about Peter’s response. It is impressive and challenging.
This is a sea that is greatly susceptible to sudden and extremely violent storms. When the disciples were in this boat, it was dark and a strong wind was blowing. The waters grew very rough. When they had rowed some distance, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on water. They were terrified.
Like the other eleven apostles, Peter could have chosen to remain in the boat. Even though the wind and the waves were against the boat, the boat was still the safest place to be. And yet, Jesus stood outside the boat, on the waves. Peter’s heart yearned to be near to the Lord as he asked Jesus, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” After receiving Christ’s invitation, Peter stepped out and became the only other man recorded in Scripture to walk on water.
At this significant time at Christ Church there are going to be times when we feel that things are going against us. We may feel frustrated and feel that there are lots of challenges in front us. In those times, it is an encouragement to remember Peter….. he was willing to step out alone in faith to be closer to Jesus. He was willing to leave the limited protection of the boat to step out further into the storm. That place was where the Lord was standing. Also, quite significantly, he stepped out alone, leaving the rest of the apostles in the boat.
This story reminds us of the importance of focusing on God and always seeking God in prayer. Just as Peter asked Jesus to call him before he stepped out, so we are reminded that we need to continually ask for God’s guidance before we step out. Walking by Faith is not walking aimlessly, hoping God will catch up, but rather waiting for His voice and following His lead. Through this we will receive God’s abundant, rich Blessings.
“Father, please remind us to call to you when the storms of an enormous project rage around us. Remind us that we can step out in faith to where You lead us. Give us, as a church congregation, a heart that longs to be close to you, seeking your guidance at every step. Prompt us to be brave and have courage. Send us out with Faith in you. Help us to remember to keep our eyes on You rather than the storm around us. Grant us wisdom and help us to hear you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”