of The Message
Today I am going
to talk about faith and the rewards that we receive from
faith. One of the greatest illustrations I have seen of
faith is the story of Jesus walking on the water. I don't
know how many of you realize this but our ministry has been
built on faith, we started with faith 50 years ago when
my father came to California with $500, and began the ministry
we have here today.
Today it is truly
an international ministry with offices around the world.
One of the places we have an office is in New Zealand, and
New Zealand is probably one of the most beautiful countries
in the world. The nickname for New Zealand is the land of
the long white cloud. Interesting nickname for a country
isn't it? That name came from the Polynesians who settled
that island. The Polynesians were simply observers of nature.
They understood if a cloud would hang in a certain area
over the ocean, it would indicate there was land under that
clouded area. So, the Polynesians decided they would climb
into their boats and sail a thousand miles into the Pacific
Ocean. Without any navigational tools, and any understanding
beyond what they could read from the stars and the sky they
continued to sail until they found this body of land, that
was under the long white cloud. I don’t know what
the risks were but I am sure they were enormous. I don't
know what the rewards were, but proof is that New Zealand
became the land of the long white cloud.
What faith did
it take for the Polynesians to get in that boat and to set
sail not knowing where they were going and whether there
would actually be any land underneath that long white cloud?
When I look at the faith that was required of Peter in the
Gospel of Matthew, the faith of those Polynesians wasn’t
that much. When I think of the most impossible thoughts
that enter my mind and compare it with the quest of Peter,
given to him by Jesus, it pales in comparison.
The account is found in Matthew 14. Jesus is going to go
to the mountains and pray. He sends the apostles in a boat
across the lake to the other side. So the apostles leave
and by three o'clock in the morning the wind is howling
and they are having difficulties getting to the other side
of the lake, because the storm is so severe. They are frightened
and terrified. Suddenly they see what appears to be a ghost.
The figure is walking on the water, and suddenly Peter is
the first one to realize that it is not a ghost, that it
might be Jesus. Peter says "Jesus is that You, and
if it is You tell me to come." Jesus says "Come"
and Peter gets out of the boat and walks on the water to
Jesus. Why did Peter do that? He did it because Jesus said,
When Peter stepped out of the boat the storm did not subside.
The waves were crashing about and the rain was hitting him
in the face and the wind was blowing. Suddenly, Peter realizes
what he has done. He notices the waves of the storm which
takes his focus off of Jesus, and he starts to sink, and
then he says a prayer. A prayer we’ve all prayed which
is a three word prayer. It is a prayer that I don’t
even have to teach you because you automatically recite
it every time something goes wrong. It goes like this, "Lord,
save me." It is that simple and that is what Peter
said. I think it is the shortest prayer Peter ever prayed.
"Lord save me," and of course, Jesus stretched
out His hand and saved him. After they climbed back into
the boat, the winds ceased.
There are three
things I want you to take home with you from this incredible
event that took place in the life of Jesus.
First, when God
calls you to do something, even if it seems impossible,
step out in faith.
The second thing I want you to remember is to focus on the
goal and not the storm.
The third thing I want you to take with you is to remember
the prayer of Peter. When you get into trouble pray the
prayer of Peter, "Lord save me".
mother was planning to go to Germany with my father, and
I heard that she was planning on doing this and I became
very concerned. The last time she traveled overseas, she
broke her back. She didn’t fall, she didn’t
get hit, she wasn’t in an accident or anything, it
was simply a stress fracture. That means that it wasn’t
one specific event that broke her back. She has osteoporosis
and with the long plane ride over there, and the packing,
unpacking, in and out of taxis, sleeping in a bed that was
not as comfortable as she was accustomed to, the stress
became too much for her back, and so she experienced a stress
fracture. I was concerned when I heard she was considering
going overseas again. I phoned her and said, "Mom,
this is your son talking to you. Do you remember what happened
to you last time you went overseas? Here is what I want
you to do. Before you make a commitment to go to Germany
with Dad, I would like you to think about this.First measure
the risks against the rewards; remember what happened the
last time you went overseas and realize there is a risk
factor. You have to measure that against the rewards, and
determine whether or not risk management tells you to go.
the other side of the equation, are you doing this because
you believe God wants you to do it, or are you doing it
because Arvella Schuller wants to do it? If you are going
to go because God wants you to, then you have to go, and
I believe that no matter what takes place God will put His
protective shield around you, and you will come back in
good shape. Only you can answer this question, measure risk
and reward and ask the question, ‘Is this a God thing
or is this an Arvella Schuller thing.’ Make your decision
This is good
advice for all of us. Before you step out of the boat in
faith, make sure it is in faith and not in self that you
are stepping out of the boat. We have to step out in faith
knowing that this is what God wants me to do, this is my
purpose for living, this is why God created me, I have been
created for a purpose and for a reason and I know I must
do this thing. It may not make any sense, it may be impossible,
but if God is in it, I cannot fail. If you can say that,
then you can walk on water.
Step out in faith.
When God calls say "Yes Lord, I'm coming." Once
you get out of the boat keep your focus on the goal, because
you have to realize the storms are not going to go away.
When you step out of the boat it is scary. There are big
waves, and there is rain, wind, and there might be thunder
and lightning. God only knows what can happen once you get
out of the safety zone, out of the comfort that you are
in as you start to move toward the goals you have set, with
Gods help, to succeed. It is imperative that you focus on
the goals because when you take your focus off the goal
you will see all the turbulence and storms that surround
you. You will easily become imprisoned with negativity.
years ago Michelangelo completed the statue of David. It
is probably one of the most magnificent pieces of sculpturing
in the history of mankind. It is absolutely spectacular.
I have seen it and if you ever have an opportunity to see
this incredible work of art don't miss it. In the hallway
leading up to "David" are the "Unfinished
Slaves." These figures look like they are locked in
a block of marble, and some art critics think he did it
on purpose. Michelangelo was one of the original modern
artists, and it looks like these figures are trying to crawl
out of this rock of marble, it looks as though they are
frozen in the marble and cannot move.
Maybe you feel
like that today. Maybe you feel as though you are in a storm,
you have already jumped overboard and you are facing the
challenges of health, and finances, and struggling with
relationship problems with a spouse, or a child or a parent.
Maybe you are struggling with addictions, and alcohol or
drugs. The list goes on and on of the way the storm is capable
of manipulating the circumstances and the events to confuse
and alter our attention and take our focus off of the goal
which Christ has given to us.
Today I want
to encourage you to follow the call of God, and to step
out in faith. When you step out in faith, keep your eyes
focused on Jesus and believe with God all things are possible.
There will come times when you realize you need help, and
it is time to pray - remember that prayer? "Lord, save
me." That's what Peter did. If Peter could pray it,
you can pray it. Jesus saved him, and of course Jesus will
save you. That is what He is here for, that is what He does,
that is why He is God.
God gives us
what we need. He knows what our hearts really desire. We
have the opportunity to seek God’s will for our lives,
and to move from victory to victory. I want to encourage
you to step out in faith, focus on your goals and pray the
prayer, "Lord save me."
Pray with me,
"we thank You Lord for Your saving power, and Your
grace, Your love, Your transcending, unbelievable love for
us. And so touch us Lord; heal us, redeem us, save us we