Discipleship by the Sea: Trust
Mark 6: 30-52
July 21, 2013
Spirit of God,
Come as the earth and move us.
Come as the wind and stir us
Come as fire and transform us.
Come as water and renew us.
Convince, convict and convert us, oh Lord
Until we are all yours.
The Scriptures we heard this morning are familiar stories. Jesus feeding the 5,000 is actually in all four Gospels, with the Gospel of Matthew adding the little boy who shares his lunch of bread and fish.
The Disciples wanted to have Jesus to themselves; they had just come together from being out in pairs preaching with joyful urgency that life can be radically different and bringing wellness to the sick. They wanted to report and talk about all that they had done and taught, to have some time together just them and Jesus. The people had other ideas; they recognized Jesus, followed and crowded around him because they were so in need of what he had to teach. Jesus saw the needs of the people, he has compassion for them, changes his plans and teaches the people how to be in a right relationship with God. After this has been going on for a while the disciples want to have their time with Jesus and want to let the people go so they can find something to eat, for the disciples know that there is not enough food for all these people, who have been listening to Jesus. When Jesus tells them to feed all the people they are shocked and don’t really take him seriously, but as we all know Jesus is serious and after they trust and follow Jesus’ instructions all are fed and there are even leftovers.
Our second Scripture is right after that event. The disciples are afraid; they are in a boat in a stormy sea without Jesus. It is dark and Jesus sees them struggling, he walks out on the water and is planning to walk passed them, but they believe that he is a ghost and are scared of their wits and start screaming. Jesus then comforts them and tells them to not be afraid and gets in the boat. As soon as he gets in the boat the winds clam down. The Disciples do not know what to make of all these events, while they are going on, they do not understand all that has been happening, it is still too much for their hearts to handle.
Isn’t that just like us when our lives are not going as we planned or are too much too handle. It can be difficult to trust God while we are in the midst of a storm in our life and it can be tough to trust our hearts and lives to God.
Last Sunday we were graced with Judy Bolesem’s message both in word and song on her belief in God, and how that belief has given her strength and hope throughout her life. To me trust and belief go hand in hand, because if you don’t believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, you Savior and always present with you, how can you trust in Him.
Now, I know that I don’t always understand all that is going on in my life and it is often too much for my own heart to handle. That is where trust, faith, belief or whatever else you would like to call it comes into play. And trusting isn’t always easy.
When I came here to CUMC 10 years ago (yes it has been 10 years, which is amazing to me) I trusted that this was where God wanted me to be and when I look back at how I came to be here I can see all the pieces falling into place, however that was not the case at the time when life was happening.
I always thought that I would be a stay at home mom, who volunteered at school and church. That was my plan, and we all know how much God enjoys hearing and laughing at our plans, and can give us so much more than we ever expected in ways that we never expected, as long as we listen, work hard and trust in Him.
Seventeen years ago, my husband, Jeff was a laid-off engineer, who was trying to figure out where God was calling him, a vocational mid-life crises so to speak.
My home church was in need of a part time person to run the Sunday School program. A great fit I thought, since I was already teaching Sunday School and chairing the Education Committee. I could stay behind the scenes, organize and help the teachers prepare their lessons, or so I thought and that is what I did for seven year. Jeff’s continue searching for his calling pushed me to find mine. Our family’s need of having me work full time, instead of multiple part time jobs, pushed me to start to think where God was calling me. I thought something in the church like Christian education was where I was called, but wasn’t sure. My husband had decided to go into teaching high school chemistry and needed to get his teaching credential. I need full-time work and I wasn’t very happy about it at the time. This wasn’t how my life was supposed to go.
I had lunch with a friend who is a deacon in the United Methodist Church and asked her for advice and if there were any full time Christian Education jobs that she knew of that were open or going to be open soon, I wasn’t very connected to other churches. She said no and that those jobs were very hard to find. I went away thinking that maybe Christian Education and a fulltime church position wasn’t where God was calling me.
The following week our conference newsletter came out, I normally didn’t read it but for some reason I opened it up was reading through it. I noticed an ad from Community United Methodist Church for a full-time Christian Education/Family ministries position. I called and talked to Anneke Dodge to inquire what they were looking for. She explained what they were looking for and told me that they were looking for a good fit rather than the right “credentials”, so I applied, thinking that it would be a good learning experience. I hadn’t done a real resume and job interview in a while. I told my Pastor at the time and he told me that I would get the job. I of coarse thought he was crazy. I only told him and my husband about it and sent in my resume and the rest they say is history. When I got the position, I was thrilled, ticked and scared all at the same time. I was mad that I was in the position that I really needed to work full time, that I had to leave my home church, the only church I knew and where my family would continue to attend. (My mother and mother in law would kill me if my sons went to another church.)
Many nights were spent crying over this transition, I wasn’t so sure about my abilities with teaching adults. Kids yes, adults? However, I knew that God was behind these events so I trusted in him and came on over.
Mesa Verde, my home church didn’t know that I was going to be leaving there and coming here in a few months. My family was involved in a capital fund campaign and Pastor George didn’t want it out that I was leaving just yet. So I worked part time here and there for three months. While it was very difficult, it was also a gift, because I wasn’t sure how I was going to leave Mesa Verde and by the time those 3 months were over I was thrilled to be coming here full-time. I just couldn’t do 2 part time positions that weren’t really part time positions any more. So there were no sad tears shed that day, just happy ones that I would be only here.
You all welcomed me and let me grow into the position. You trusted that God and the search committee had done their job and gave me a chance to make the position mine. You might not think that that is a big thing but it is, you need to remember that Jackie, my predecessor had been here for 25 years. You also trusted my further calling to move into caring ministries and outreach and let me make that transition away from children & family ministries. Not all churches are as accepting, trust me on that one.
We have that opportunity to be trusting of God and our search committee again with Kevin, who starts this upcoming week. Kevin will be with us in worship starting next Sunday and I know that we will give him the same opportunity to grow in his position here as we have done with all who have come and gone from ministry in this wonderful church family. We just need to trust and give Kevin time, just like you did for me, just like we did for Pastor Jan and just like you did for Greg.
Trusting in God allows us to believe that even when we face difficult times we know that God is with us and will help us get through those difficult times. Trusting allows us to know that somehow some way God will have something good come out of a hard situation. I am not saying that God causes bad things to happen so good can come from it, to me a loving God wouldn’t do that and I don’t have that theology. What I am saying is that trusting in God can help us get through a situation, trusting and believing in a loving God gives us a sense that the sun will come up tomorrow even though our heart is breaking and we feel like our world is going to end. Trusting that God is there during the stormy seas of our life and saying I am here and it will be alright.
Laura Story is a worship leader, song writer and singer from Atlanta Georgia, she has an amazing gift. I had the opportunity to see her perform last month and before she sang my favorite song of hers “Blessings” which you will see in a minute she shared the story behind this song, which I thought was amazing. She shared that shortly after she found out she was pregnant with their first child; they also found out that her husband had brain cancer. She said that while it has been devastating and difficult, they have also seen the blessings that have come from his battle. The blessing of not taking each other for granted, for being grateful for each and every day. For the outpouring of love and support from they’re family, church friends and total strangers. She is not saying that God caused her husband to have cancer, but that her love, belief and trust in God have graced her with seeing the blessings that have come through this experience. She wrote the song “Blessings” to share her trust in God and I invite you to sit back and let yourself be blessed by this video.
When I first heard that song on the radio I almost had to pull over into a parking lot I was so touched.
It can be hard to trust that God is with us during our storms of life, it is sometimes easier to see that fact once we are through the storm, but during it sometimes our hearts don’t understand.
I have been blessed to be able to spend time with Phyll while she had been in the emergency room, hospital and skilled nursing this past week and half. She shared with me that has been able to recite scriptures in her head and heart and that it has helped her remain calm during the tests and endless waiting that she has been going through. She knows and trusts that God is with her and knows the He will be with her while she is getting stronger in skilled nursing and in her move to assisted living in Maryland, where her son and his family live. She knows and trusts in her heart that God is in this process.
At our best, we all have that trust that God is with us in the process, of living in our lives; it is my hope and prayer for all of us that we remember to trust that He is also present during the storms of life even when we don’t recognize Him.