Get out of the boat. (Wyldlife talk)

Preface: The main concept of this I got from Brian Brown. Want him to get proper credit even if he got it from somewhere else. The idea of it was just so appropriate for where our Middle School kids were at. So I took it and went with it. I’ll apologize later haha 🙂

Hey guys! We are so incredibly excited for you to be here tonight. If this is your first time at club welcome!

This year we have been talking about Jesus and the stories of his life. How God, the creator of everything, came down from Heaven and he lived with us. We’ve talked about the miracles that Jesus performed, how he healed the sick, and helped blind people see again, how he hung out with people that no one would hang out with, and how we are guilty of sin and separated from God, and how Jesus came and he died so that we could be with God again one day. How he paid the price for our mistakes, for our bad choices, so that we could be reunited with God. And How Jesus asks us to allow him to be a part of our lives.

Well tonight we are going to talk about this guy Peter. Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends. Peter was one of the disciples who had been walking around with Jesus seeing him perform all these miracles seeing people walk away with their lives completely changed. He would see people walk away celebrating because of what Jesus had done for them. In Matthew 14 after Jesus feeds the 5,000 with just a few loaves of bread we find Jesus seeking out some “alone time” and he decides he will go up on a mountain to pray while the disciples went on ahead of Jesus in a boat to the other side of a lake. In Matthew 14:22 it says

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” And in a way of sort of testing Jesus Peter says

28 “Lord, if it’s you, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

Have you ever found yourself in this situation. Asking God, are you really there? Is that really you?

Well Jesus looks at Peter and he says

29 “Come,”

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Peter by following Christ, walked on Water. Now remember that Peter wasn’t the only one on the boat. There were other disciples with him as well that didn’t get out of the boat, that didn’t get to walk on water. There was something that was holding them back from stepping out and walking towards Christ.

What is keeping you in the boat? What questions are holding you back? What doubts do you have that are keeping you from walking with Christ?

Maybe it’s the question “Is that really you God?” Or maybe it’s just uncertainty whether God is real, or maybe you do believe that God came down and he died for us but you just aren’t ready to follow Him.

Peter in an act of faith stepped out of his boat. He went past his questions and doubts and he took that leap of faith and he came face first into the power of God. He walked on water. He had his eyes on Christ and he took those steps out to him.

Maybe some of you are here. You’ve accepted Christ in your life and you have taken those steps out to him. You’ve seen his love for you and you wanted more. And you got out of the boat and are walking towards him.

When we make that decision it’s not always easy. When we make the choice to follow Christ we find that it’s not easy to do sometimes. Whether it be the pressure of our friends or parents, or we are being tempted to do things we know we shouldn’t or we run into questions that cause us to doubt again. We find that it can be hard.

Peter had his eyes on Christ. And then what happened? The wind picked up. And Peter got distracted. And he began to sink. The second he took his eyes of Christ and looked somewhere else. Peter began to sink.

I have known about Jesus for my entire life. I have heard the stories, I had gone to Sunday School, I had gone to church with my family. I prayed. I did all of these things. But for the majority of my life. I didn’t really understand it.  My faith was really only about what my parents wanted or what people expected of me. It was never my own thing. Nobody ever told me that Jesus wanted a relationship with me. That he truly cared about ME. That more than anyone in the world he Loved me. I had just been hearing the stories and not taking much note of them. Not seeing why they mattered to my life. My freshman year of High School was the time in my life where I was doubting the most. I was born and raised in Tallahassee and my parents had just informed me that I was moving to south Florida. Away from all the friends I’ve had for years. I was upset. I was angry. And I blamed it on God. If God really cares about me he would let me stay. If God really LOVED me I wouldn’t have to leave my friends. I was in my boat.

My freshman year of High School was the first year that Young Life was in Tallahassee. Young Life is the High School version of Wyldlife.  Well that year this guy started showing up on Campus trying to get me to come to club. And I never went. But towards the end of the year he started telling me about this thing that some of you might of heard about called CAMP. All my good friends were going so I decided to beg my parents to let me go.

Camp. Changed my life. It was the best week of my life. To this day no week of my life has had more effect on who I am today than this. Before going into camp I was really struggling with my faith, I had these questions, and these doubts, Does God actually love me? Is he even real?

At Camp I came face first with God’s love. The second I got off the bus everyone was your friend. Strangers were your friends, Counselors were your friends. Everyone loved everyone. It was the time of my life. The food was great, the music was great, the messages were great. I felt loved. I saw how awesome a life with Jesus could and should be. I saw a perfect glimpse of what life could be like. And I wanted it not just on Sundays but every single day of my life. I was changed. I realized that a life with Jesus was AWESOME and I was ready to make it a daily part of my life when I got home.

When getting home I quickly realized how difficult that was. I had changed. But everything else hadn’t. Home hadn’t changed. My parents were still arguing. People were still mean to each other. Everyone wasn’t loving everyone. It wasn’t fun all the time. My eyes were on Jesus, and then they began to notice the storms. I began to  take my eyes off of Jesus and I began to sink. Because life can be a hard thing to deal with sometimes.

You know Middle School is hard. I know that first hand. I know what you guys are going through. For me they were some of the hardest years of my life. To say it plainly I was made fun of… alot! I know what kids are like. I know about the problems you guys are facing. I’ve been through them. Life can be hard to deal with.

But there was something that helped me through it all. Something that kept me from sinking. My Young Life leader didn’t let me walk alone. He walked with me.  He helped me stay afloat. Because one of the biggest misconception about being a Christian is that it is strictly personal. That it’s a solo thing. Guys, you don’t have to do this alone. Life is hard. But if you keep your eyes on Christ you won’t sink. We are here to help you with that. Each and every leader here is here to help you on that walk. If you have questions we wanna help you find the answers. We don’t have all the answers in the world but we want to help you find them. If you have doubts, we wanna be there with you. When you struggle, we want to help you through that. You don’t have to do this alone.  Another thing. Questions are good. I still have a lot of questions. Doubts are okay. There are still times when I doubt. They don’t have to keep you in your boat. You can take those steps without all the answers.

When Peter was sinking he cried out to God, “Lord save me.”

Immediately. Jesus reached down and saved him. There’s a great quote that says “When you feel like you are drowning in life, don’t worry. Your Lifeguard walks on water.” Life with Jesus is the life worth living.  God has great plans for each and every single one of us. Keep your eyes on him and amazing things can and they will happen. We are here to help you take those steps.

Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

Let’s all be a part of that together.

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