Thursday 16 July
Greg Venables continues his series on moving into maturity. Here VOX editor Ruth Garvey-Williams bring you a summary of Thursday morning's message.
Reading from Mark 4:35-42. We know the story so we need to read it very carefully. Jesus said, "Let us go over to the other side." Keep that in your mind. Our general theme is how do we grow into maturity. Jesus wants us to stay childlike but not childish. He wants us to grow up. This often means a change in our thinking. How you think changes how you are.
Growing up doesn’t mean moving on from the foundation. When you stand on the rock, you might tremble but the rock will never tremble under your feet. The rock on which you stand is always secure! It is eternal and safe. Becoming mature doesn’t mean becoming more self-assured, self-confident or self-dependent. It means getting to the end of yourself and becoming more dependent on Him and more open to Him.
This morning we are looking at the issues of suffering, pain and sorrow. Christ went down to death itself and came out in glory. 2 Corinthians 4: We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. What is it like to serve God 100%? We are afflicted in every way but not crushed, perplexed but not despairing, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but no destroyed… We who live are always being given over to death for Jesus sake so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested at our mortal flesh. If you are feeling afflicted, perplexed, persecuted and struck down, then you are in good company. This is the Christian life. So often in recent years, this gospel has been misrepresented and there is a lot of confusion.
1) Very often the storm lies in the path of obedience.
Jesus said, “Let us go over to the other side.” Then the storm came. That is not OUR theology, that is God’s theology. We want to believe that if Jesus is in the boat, there is no storm. God’s way of obedience often means travelling through the storm. If the wind is blowing around you, it doesn’t mean necessarily that you are out of God’s will.
Judges 6:11: The people of Israelites were going through a rough time. Every time they harvested the crops the Midianites came down and stole the crops. Gideon was so afraid that he was beating out the wheat in the wine press. When we are afraid, we do silly things. Then the angel appeared and said, "The Lord is with you, mighty man of valour." Gideon replied, "If the Lord is with us, why has this happened?" So often that is what we think when things go wrong.
God says, “Is this about what you are doing or about what I’m doing?” God is always working and He is always doing everything perfectly. I know God’s in control. If the prosperity Gospel were true, Jesus would never have gone to the cross. God chose to do it another way through suffering and pain and death.
2) The storm can make you think that Jesus doesn’t care.
Jesus was asleep because He knew His Father was in control. If the storm makes you seek out Jesus, then it is a blessing because it takes you to the very place you need to get to. It takes you to the safest place in the world. We always begin with our selves. The lesson of maturity is: begin with him. Because we begin with ourselves, God has to bring us to the end of ourselves so that we look at Him! What is the problem with us? The answer is pride!
Why are we not hungry? Because we are full of the things of this world! We are so full of internet, TV, travel and more.
3) You only learn to trust God by trusting God.
It is one thing to swim on two chairs in your bedroom. It is quite another thing to get into the sea and swim! And sometimes you only learn to trust God when you have no other option. What happens when you have nothing else? The storm may be the blessing that leads you to that place.
4) The storm reveals the real enemy
Our lack of trust in God! God wants you to know your heart. You’ve got to know who you are and you only really know that when there is nothing else.
5) The storm teaches us something new about God
Your God is too small. Most of us have a tiny concept of God and we have got to learn how great God is. The disciples thought they understood Jesus but they realised how great Jesus is! He is God and He could calm the storm with a word!
6) No storm can destroy God’s purpose for your life.
It is far more likely to prosper it! When the army pursued them out of Egypt, the people of Israel asked, “Have you brought us here to die?” God told Moses, “Just go forward.” Moses obeyed God at the Red Sea because he had no other option. If Pharaoh’s army had not been following them, the Israelites would probably not have passed over the Red Sea.
7) It is much better to be in Jesus in a sinking boat than apparently safe on the shore.
Facing the fiery furnace, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego said, “Our God is able to save us but even if He doesn’t we are not going to worship the idol.”
2 Corinthians 1:8-11: Sometimes following Jesus gets you to a place where you might despair of life. But that was to make us rely, not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. On Him we have set our hope, that He will deliver us again!