Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sea of Galilee

The absolute coolest place that I have ever preached at was on the Sea of Galilee during my recent pilgrimage to Israel with Pastor James E. Jordan Jr. and 39 other Believers in Jesus Christ.  On a beautiful but chili sunny day with still waters and clear skies, we set sail for what turned out to be an exceptional time of fellowship. 

In Isaiah 9:1, the prophecy is made that Jesus would come to the Sea of Galilee. And some 700 years later, Jesus earthly ministry was centered around this (13 miles long, 7 miles wide, 150 feet deep) lake that is also referred to as the Lake of Gennessaret (Luke 5:1) and the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1).  So while important events occurred in Jerusalem, the Lord spent most of the three years of his ministry along the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  In fact, Jesus gave more than half of his parables and performed most of his miracles along the sea shore and at times on the Sea of Galilee.  Hence, the short message that I preached was based on four events that happened on and around this body of water as listed below in the following summary.

1.  Remain Calm in the midst of your storm (Mark 4:35-41)  In this passage, Jesus tells his disciples, let us go over to the other side and while on the boat, a great storm arose yet Jesus was sleep at the bottom of the boat.  The disciples woke up Jesus and said “Master, Carest not that we perish.”  Jesus wakes up and kindly rebukes the storm and says peace be still.  So we need to know that even as Born Again believers with Jesus on board our ship, we too will face storms.  But God is in control.  And he will rebuke the storms in our lives.

2.  Get out the Boat of Do Nothing and Trust God for your miracle (Matthew 14:22-33) When Jesus came to his disciples walking on water, they were afraid and assumed he was a ghost.  But Peter was the only disciple that had the audacity to get out the boat and walk on water to Jesus and experience a supernatural miracle.  The other disciples who stayed in the boat remained bound by their own insecurities and limitations.  So get out of the boat of underachievement and playing it safe, and trust God for your miracle.

3.  God Will Provide (Matthew 17:27) Jesus needed to pay his taxes so he sends Peter on an important task to go fishing for a four-drachma coin.  It matters not what the need is- God will provide.  You may not know how, where, when, or through whom he would use- But God will provide.  The first fish that Peter caught had enough money to pay the Temple tax for two people.  God can use any means to meet your need.  God will provide.

4.  Stay Focused on What God has assigned you to do  (John 21:4-22)  After the resurrection, Jesus once again appeared to his disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and he asked Peter three times, "Do you love me? Feed my sheep."  Peter answered, you know I love you.  Yet after the 3rd time, Peter responded to Jesus and said "What about him?" (pointing to John).  So we must remain focused on what God has assigned and called us to do without worrying about the role of others.  God has a destiny and a purpose for your life, and in order to reach your destiny, we must stay focused on our assignment without worrying about anybody else.

While on the boat, we prayed, worshiped, sang hymns, praised God, danced in the spirit, snapped photographs, and fellowshiped with one another.   And just like the four Bible stories that I shared, it all happened on the Sea of Galilee.

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