Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

March 15, 2015 Sermon

“Calming the Storm”
Mark 4:35 – 41

Ted Jansen  March 15, 2015  Waynedale UMC

 

1.)        Jesus spent a lot of time near the water when He was here on earth.  The Sea of Galilee is about 7 miles wide and 14 miles long.  Here is a picture of the Sea of Galilee.  This body of water had several names in its history.   

            There is something calming about a lake, a river, the ocean, a stream.  When you are near water you relax, you feel peace.  

            Dr. Robert Schuler once said that “man is made for the garden.”   That means that we humans are more at home with God and ourselves when we are outdoors.  Genesis and the Creation story affirm this truth and our need to be outdoors.  So Jesus was near the water on this lake often.  Don’t you feel better when you are outside, especially after winter?  I enjoy being out and walking and breathing in some fresh air.           

 

2.)        I brought my kayak this morning to let you know that I really enjoy being on the water in it.  Being inside this is relaxing.   When you sit in it you can touch the water, because only this little bit of plastic separates you from the water.     

            I enjoy being on the water at Lake of the Woods at sunset and other times and enjoy moments that are calm and beautiful.  

            I had an experience two years ago when I was out on the lake and I decided to explore a small pond connected to the lake.  It was grown over with trees and a fun place to be.  While in that pond I did not see a storm coming until I felt a few rain drops.  I thought I had better leave.

When I left that pond I was caught in a thunderstorm getting soaked.  I was scared because there is not a lot in a kayak to protect you in a storm.  You get moved all around.     

            Have you ever been out in a boat on a peaceful day?  Have you ever been caught in a storm?  

 

3.)        Let us imagine Jesus and the disciples in a boat traveling to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.   Jesus had been teaching the people in parables and was tired.  So, Jesus and his disciples head out in their boat when a furious squall came up.  The wind and the waves came upon the boat and began to fill it with water.  It was all happening so fast.    

            An interesting aspect of the Sea of Galilee is that this lake is the lowest freshwater lake that is below sea level in the world.   With the low level lake and the mountains that are near this lake it creates a type of wind tunnel that can sweep down on the lake quickly.  The idea of a storm brewing up quickly was something that happened from time to time, and was not unusual.  Here is a picture of a boat that Rembrandt has depicted about the storm.      

           

4.)        The storm is causing the boat to be tossed about by the mercy of the wind and waves and water is coming in the boat.  The disciples are scared and perhaps try to bail water out of the boat.

At some point they notice that Jesus is asleep and decide to wake him up.   (When I read that Jesus is sleeping I wonder how severe the storm really was.)  

            The disciples wake up Jesus in a panic and desire Him to do something.  I wonder what they really thought would happen?  Jesus woke up, stands up and rebukes the wind and waves.  He tells them to “Be Still. To Be Quiet, to Be at peace.” 

            Then the lake is calm and the wind is quiet and all you hear is the sound of some water dripping off the edges of the boat into the lake.   (Here is a picture of Galilee at sunset.)  Can you picture this in your mind, from a furious storm to a serene moment?          

5.)        Jesus speaks to the disciples in this moment of calm wanting to know why they were afraid, why they did not have faith. 

The disciples ask, “Who is this?”     

            That question is one I invite you to ask; “Who is this?”  As we walk in the footsteps of Jesus I invite you to consider four other questions.   Is Jesus in your boat?  What storms are you in?  Are you ready to wake up Jesus?  Have you heard Jesus’ words?    

            I want you to pick one of the questions that is most relevant to your life today.       

 

6.)        Is Jesus in your boat?  The boat is a symbol of life.  Jesus went into a boat with disciples and they did not fully know who He was.  That was ok.  They learned and they grew but they had Jesus in their boat.       

            Jesus Christ loves you and came to this earth to walk on the planet that He created.  He wants you to know that you are created in the image of God.  You are beautiful and you matter to Him.  He wants you to know that even though you mess things up Jesus Christ died on a cross for you.  Jesus’ death on the cross provided the way for you to have your sins forgiven.  When you ask Jesus to forgive you and come into your life, it is like you asking Him to come into your boat.   

            You don’t have to know much about Jesus to invite Him into your heart.   A simple way is the ABC prayer.   Acknowledge that Jesus loves you and you are a sinner, Believe that Jesus died for your sins and is alive again, Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord when you ask Jesus to come into your life.  

            This question will lead you to a beginning point of faith.  

 

7.)        What storms are you in?  The storms are the life circumstances that are around you that create fear, vulnerability and uncertainty in you.  Storms are those things that are crashing against your life, causing stress.  Pressure and tension that comes against you in life are just like the wind and waves that crashed against the boat.     

            The storms might have names like; finances, health, job, family, change, death, relationships, fear, future.  These are the storms that pound against you.    

            We know that storms are not fair and cannot be controlled.  We are caught by them when a loved one dies, we get cancer, fires burn a home, people make bad choices, nations fight against each other, innocent people get hurt because of evil acts.  

            What is the name of your storm?   Have you been able to identify your storm?  It is important to be able to name your storm and even express your emotions and feelings about the storm.  As you acknowledge your storm you realize your own limits in facing it.    

            When the disciples realized, and named, the storm they realized that they were helpless.   This is a tough place to be but it clarifies what you can do next.    

 

8.)        Are you ready to wake up Jesus?  The scripture doesn’t tell us when the disciples woke up Jesus.   It might have been as a last resort, or it might have been as a first step.  I think it wasn’t the first thing they did, that they tried to manage the boat in the storm by themselves.  Some of them were used to boats; they were fisherman and had “handled” their boat in storms before.       

            In life we tend to try to handle “things” by ourselves.   I try to do that in my life, I don’t always wake up Jesus.    

            When we wake up Jesus we admit that we have a need and we can’t handle “things.”  We have come to the end of our abilities and resources.  That is a place of vulnerability and desperation and exactly where God wants our hearts to be.  We learn trust and faith in these moments.        

9.)        There is a song called, “Cry out to Jesus,” by Third Day that speaks of those who lost a loved one to death, it speaks of people with burdens and pains, it speaks of those in marriage stress, it speaks of those who struggle with addictions, it speaks of those who are lonely, for children who don’t have home.  It lets us know that when we cry out to Jesus He will offer us His love, mercy, rest, grace, forgiveness and hope.  Read the words to the song and may you sense in your spirit the urgency of your cry for help, like the disciples cried out.  As you read these words think about your life, or the life of others.   Let it remind you of the importance of waking up Jesus.  

 

10.)      Have you heard Jesus words?  In the storm Jesus spoke.  “Quiet.  Peace.  Be Still.”  These words were commanded to the winds and the waves.  I believe that when Jesus was speaking the disciples heard those words and applied them to their own hearts.  “Quiet.  Peace.  Be Still.”  His words communicated the power, the love, and the authority of Jesus for their own lives.  Jesus was speaking into their lives.       

            We all need to hear those words in the middle of storms.  Have you heard Jesus’ words?  Have words of peace been spoken to you so that you can recognize God is with you. 

            One of the first words that Jesus spoke after He had risen from the dead as written in John 20:19, 21 was, “Peace be with you!   Peace be with you!” 

            Psalm 46:10 reminds us to; “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 

            When we hear the words of Jesus who offers us peace that is beyond our understanding we are made whole.  Peace, Jesus’s peace, His words of peace, give us a sense of wholeness, a sense of healing, a sense of calm amidst our storms.   

           

11.)      The song “It is Well with my Soul” describes peace and wellness.  The song begins with the words, “When peace like a river, attendeth my way.”  This describes a peace that can come to us.  Yet, the second phrase of that first verse says, “when sorrows like sea billows roll.”             Peace and sorrow are together in the song, “It Is Well With My Soul.” 

            The story of this song from the author Horatio Spafford is an amazing one.  He had several experiences of suffering in his life, having lost sizable real estate in the Chicago fire of 1871.  They also lost a young son to death. 

The most tragic was when his wife and four daughters went ahead of him on a ship to Europe.  There was a storm and a collision with another ship and over 200 people were killed.  Horatio’s four daughters were killed but his wife survived.   

            When Horatio went to meet his wife in England he asked the captain to tell him when he was near the place where his daughters died.  It was at the sea near the place where they died that he wrote the words to “It is Well with my soul.”  Somehow he had peace amidst his storm.      

            I can’t imagine being able to write a song, amidst the pain in your heart.   Yet, God’s peace was with him on the water.         

 

12.)      When we hear God speaking peace into our lives it can be a process where we find healing and wholeness and faith.     

            I want to have a moment of praying, in the name of Christ, for peace in your life.  I want you to hear and to know peace.  I would like you to stand if you desire prayer so that you can hear the words of peace in your life.