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Steps of Possibility

Matthew 14:28-31 / Acts 2;42-43

The activity and intervention of God fuels our faith. We believe all things are possible through God because we have observed God performing impossible things. Acts 2:42 lends credence to our position and belief as Christians where it states that “… the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.” Acts 2:43

We serve the God of possibility! For this reason, we can boldly ask for anything and everything, regardless of how bleak the situation appears. The Apostle Peter learned that nothing is out of the question. Nothing is off the table. You can see how radical, how seemly ridiculous, and how obviously outlandish his request was…

And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, Come. And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. NKJV

“Can’t!” It’s a word that we frequently use. We are presented with a possibility/opportunity/dream, and we want to get excited about it, we want to buy in, but then our mind is incarcerated by the one-word dream killer … “Can’t!”

Your mind starts a dialog with your heart in a flash, and the conversation is self-deflating. “Listen, heart, don’t get too excited. You and I both know why we can’t do that. You can’t do that. It can’t be done.” The voice of possibility shouts for our attention, yet, in most cases, we only hear the voice of reason.

We have it within us to change the dialog! We can reject the voice of defeatism and give our attention to the prompting of the Holy Spirit! As Mickey Goldmill from the Rocky would say, “there ain’t no can’t”

If you want to cultivate ‘possibility’ faith, start with the notion and belief that, with God, there ain’t no cant’s. God is a can-do God! There is nothing that He can’t do. And the Scripture says, “All things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23 And Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

All things! Not some things, not most things, but “all things!” Now Paul wasn’t saying, “believe really hard and you can jump a hundred feet in the air.” His clear message is that you can do all things through Christ.

You know Peter (the disciple turned Apostle version); he was a possibility guy. He is the poster boy for “imperfect does not equal ineffectual.” He is the only fully human man in the OT / NT that has “Yea, I walked on water” documented on his resume’.

Simon Peter tuned out the noisy negatives and took a chance on Jesus! It worked!

In doing so he left us a working template for the miraculous. In two short verses, we are afforded four steps toward possibility. But first, a recommendation! To better prepare yourself for the journey, I suggest a fast from wrong thinking. As I deliver this message, reject the temptation to pick up the “reasons why I can’t” banner.

In Matthew 11 Jesus said, Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matthew 11:15 NIV) The CEV says, If you have ears, pay attention!” And the MSG asks, “Are you listening to me? Really listening?

Fair warning … this is my new “go-to” verse while preaching! Are you listening to me? Really listening?

I am asking you to fast (give up, reject, refuse) wrong thinking for the remainder of this message. Noisy negatives will cripple possibility living! It would serve you well to fast wrong thinking for the remainder of the day as well. And if you could discipline yourself to forgo “can’t mentality” for the remainder of the month … That’d be life altering and spiritually empowering! And it’s possible!

Using the Apostle Peter as an example, today we’ll talk about four steps that will get you moving in the direction of possibility.

STEP 1: It was a PRAYERFUL Step

“Lord, if it’s you…tell me to come to you on the water.” Matthew 14:28

Prayer is the genesis of possibility living. It’s the platform upon which man and God meet together. This was a quick prayer that was offered in a turbulent moment. Only 13 words are voiced before there is a response. How encouraging! It doesn’t take long to grab the attention of God! Especially when He sees the ‘faith’ attachment.

If you look closely, you can see that the mind and heart are collaborating. They are having a power meeting! The mind is ready to take things up spiritually, and the heart confirms said desire! In modern vernacular, the mind is racing, and the heart is pumping! As emotions rise, Simon Peter belts out a passionate prayer…

“Lord Jesus, I want to take my faith next level, so I’m going to kick my trust in gear and motor my way past middle school and go straight to IMPOSSIBLE! I want to walk to where you are and join you on the water!”

Let me remind you that this disciple is in a boat that’s being tossed around like a cork in the midst of a raging storm. He is saying, “Jesus, I am willing to step out into a dangerous situation to transition from where I am to where you are!”

Peter’s first thing was to decide and express to Christ his willingness to step out on faith. The other disciples were silent, but Peter prayed. He talked to the Lord before he took the first step.  “Lord, I’m ready to take a big step of faith,” Jesus said; Come on!

STEP 2: It was a PROACTIVE Step

“Then Peter got out of the boat…” Matthew 14:29

This is important. After the Lord cleared him for action, Peter acted! Meaning, When you get the go ahead, GO AHEAD. Be proactive! Peter got out of the boat and into the water. It was Intentional. Deliberate. Decisive. It’s a BOLD step!

Recently I was praying, and I heard the Lord say, “Shake it off and put it on!” Can I tell you there are some things that we need to ‘shake off?!’ You know, things like anger, unforgiveness, bad attitude. Take inventory and make a list. You might need an extra piece of paper! And there are some things we need to ‘put on.’ Things like kindness, generosity, a smile! Again … take inventory. Make a list!

I see the application in this story. Peter had to shake off fear, and he had to put on faith. How do you know that? It’s in the previous verses. He and the other disciples thought they saw a ghost and, the Bible says, they “cried out in fear.”

Think about that scene for a moment. We have a boat full of grown men who are wailing because they saw something in the water! That’s YouTube fodder. Peter’s response to fear was instructive: “Lord, I’m ready to step out in faith. I’m ready to do the impossible. I’m ready for a miracle!”

Fear has an amazing capacity to get our attention. And fear is far-reaching. It could be the fear of your marriage dissolving, your children slipping away, or the fear of financial collapse. If you have recently been attacked by fear, attack it back! Settle the matter in your mind and heart, pray, and then you get out of the boat!

STEP 3: It was a PRODUCTIVE Step

“…walked on the water…” Matthew 14:29

How awesome is that? His simple prayer teamed up with a proactive step, and now he is living in and experiencing a miracle moment. A split second ago, he was clinging to the safety of the boat, but now he is defying natural order. The impossible is happening. It’s possible, after all!

Here’s what strikes me: This very risky move was Peter’s idea! Peter wanted to take the risk. He wanted to walk on the water – it was his idea. (Matt. 14:28)

We do not need to be called to something specific to be productive in the Kingdom! Peter was called to be a disciple, but he was not commissioned to be a water-walker. His eagerness to get to Jesus and his willingness to take a faith-filled risk produced a miracle. He stepped toward the possible and boom, the improbable ensued.

On the flip side, the remaining disciples stuck with the boat. Safe but unproductive. It was routine and predictable. Which pretty well sums up my walk. I want to be a  water walker, but I fear I might be a boat dweller. It doesn’t need to remain this way. Let’s resolve to be bold and productive. It’s time to abandon the boat!

STEP 4: It was a POSITIVE Step

“…and came toward Jesus.” Matthew 14:29

Anytime you take a step that moves you in the direction of Jesus, it is a positive step! We are all moving toward something. There are two paths. One leads to destruction, and the other leads to life. It has been my experience that I am the happiest and most fulfilled when I move toward Him!

In which direction are you moving today? Towards Jesus or away from Him? To walk away from Him is to put your hope and trust in the system of the world. Scary! To walk in His direction is to put your hope and trust in the heavenly kingdom. I’ve experienced both. I choose the kingdom!

Peter understood that his only chance of possibility living was to walk in the direction of Jesus. When you’re stepping out in faith, you know that if Jesus doesn’t hold you up, nothing else will. Peter is not risking it all flippantly; he is stepping toward Jesus! He is stepping toward the one who authored possible.

His attempt to walk on water was not to prove something to his boat buddies but to prove what he believed about Jesus. That He was the Messiah, the Son of the living God! It was a positive step.

If you want to experience supernatural power, it starts with a step that takes you in the direction of Jesus. Deliverance, emotional healing, salvation, and restoration; It is all accomplished at the feet of the Messiah.

CLOSING

It could be that you’re in the boat today, surrounded by the wind and the waves, overcome with fear. You can begin to experience God’s power in your life; you can begin to walk in His direction to live your life at such a level that the only way you can succeed is to be sustained by his power.

It starts with prayer. That’s step number one. I invite you to take that step today!

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ASK

There is but one requirement … ASK! Simple? Yes, yet effective. Extraordinarily effective! ASK is the solution to problematic and perplexing circumstances. And according to the Word of God, it is an acceptable form of prayer. Jesus invited us to ASK.

Mathew records it in his Gospel, “Ask and it will be given to you; Seek and you will find; Knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

There is a mystery behind the words Ask! Seek! Knock! These three verbs evoke Reengagement. ASK is the first letter in each word. We will experience revival when we go to the Lord and ASK.

When will we experience a life-transforming move of God? When will we experience a resurgence of divine power in our churches and communities? When we go to the Lord and ASK. This is how God wants it. He has ordained this method of approaching Him in faith and asking.

In Matthew 7:7, the second half reiterates and reinforces the first half. A person who asks receives, a person who seeks finds, and a person who knocks will be given an answer. This results in three benefits. You will receive, find, and turn the knob to find an open door. It’s impressive, but what’s even more impressive is that it’s for everyone.

It’s possible that you are reading this and thinking, “No way … this is not relevant to me. There must be an error here. A misprint. God doesn’t allow people like me to ask for what they need. Yet here they are in black and white for all to see, embrace, receive, and act upon. EVERYONE WHO ASKS gets an answer to their prayer.

SO WHY NOT ASK?

It cannot be denied that prayer and fasting together are powerful. It will revitalize your soul and be lethal to your enemy. The impact is profound. In the natural realm, you begin to experience breakthroughs as things begin to shift in the spiritual realm.

Matthew 7:7 can be applied as follows:

1. ASK ENTHUSIASTICALLY 

         “Ask and it will be given to you…”

A person’s enthusiasm refers to intensity, zeal, and fervor. According to James 5:16, “tremendous power is released through passionate, heartfelt prayer by Godly believers!” If your prayer life is lacking-luster, tepid, lukewarm, or perhaps even dull, you can change it. The pursuit of God can make you passionate, and you can pray recklessly.

When you connect with our Heavenly Father, you open the door to divine revelation. Satan does not want you to discover this. He does NOT want you to be enthusiastic about prayer. When you gain spiritual understanding (revelation), you start asking the right questions.

Did you know, for instance, that you can ask the Lord to return the items that were stolen from you? It’s a prayer of recovery. Once you discover the potential and power of fervent prayer and you act upon it, you open the door to divine intervention. The devil does not want YOU, child of God, to discover the potential of fervent prayer because…

  • You might ASK for deliverance from oppression, disease, and fear.
  • You might ASK the Lord to put a hedge around your family.
  • You might ASK God Almighty to anoint your children for the work of ministry.
  • You might ASK for spiritual boldness! Supernatural giftings! Divine appointments
  • You might ASK God to replenish your Joy! Peace! Sanity!
  • You might ASK for personal revival. Maybe for the salvation of our community!
  • You might get super bold and ASK God for the ability to forgive and love your friend, neighbor, or family member!

The devil does not want you to discover the potential of fervent prayer, but God does! He wants to meet with you. He wants to restore what has been stolen.

The day I dream of is the day when we as a church become enthusiastic about prayer! The day we drop our weapons, our grudges, and our frustrations, and we call a truce! We make a treaty to honor one another. To respect one another. We lock arms with each other. The day we step into the Most Holy Place as ONE BODY without anger, resentment, hostility, or hatred toward another human being!

2. SEEK PERSISTENTLY

“…he who Seeks, finds…”

Your faith may grow during times when it seems as if God does not hear what you pray for. You may feel as if he turns a deaf ear when you pray for something. Keep asking. As Jesus says, “If you want something, look for it. And keep looking until you find it!”

  • Do you want your marriage to work?
  • Do you want your business to thrive?
  • Do you want to experience an overwhelming sense of God’s presence?

If the answer is yes, keep seeking! Be persistent! Don’t give up!

3. KNOCK COURAGEOUSLY 

“…Knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Everyone who is timid about praying should read Hebrews 4:16. The writer reminds us that we can “Come boldly to the throne of grace…” and that we will “… find help in time of need.” Our God offers a personal invitation to come to Him devoid of fear or apprehension. Knock boldly!

As I pray, I do so with the knowledge that God has the power and the ability to fulfill my requests, regardless of the level of impossibility. When I knock courageously on God’s door, I acknowledge the awesome power of an all-powerful God!

Ezra declared a fast in preparation for leading an exiled group of Israelites back to their homeland. Prayer gets God’s attention, but fasting shows him your seriousness about spiritual advancement. Ezra was unwilling to progress until every box was checked despite the people’s eagerness to leave Babylon; Ezra wasn’t willing to progress until every box was checked.

Listen closely to his words. “Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.” Ezra 8:21

Jesus asserted in Matthew 17:21 that some victories could only be attained through prayer and fasting.

  • You continue to be harassed by certain devils because they have not been driven away by prayer and fasting.
  • A few things remain because we have failed to pray and fast
  • There are attitudes, strongholds, and anger issues that persist. You desire to get rid of them but fail. Some spirits will depart after prayer and fasting!
  • You may be shackled by an unforgiving spirit, a depressed spirit, or something else. They will depart when we pray and fast!

Matthew 17:21 is your recipe for victory. The chains will drop. The enemy will flee. The battle will finally be won. This is your season. Take advantage of the next seven days. Pray, fast, and believe for your breakthrough!

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When You’ve Lost ALL Control

It is described in Acts chapter 27 that the Apostle Paul is on a con-ship. He is in prison, and he is transported to Rome along with his fellow prisoners. Despite the fact that it was smooth sailing when they left Lycia, a storm struck. But this was no ordinary gale; this one was a beast. The events are illustrated in verses 14 & 15.

“But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon (your-rock-lee-don)-Think Typhoon- So when the ship was caught and could not head into the wind, we let her drive.” Vs. 14-15 NKJV

“They lost all control of the ship. It was a cork in the storm.” Vs. 15 MSG

LOST. ALL. CONTROL. Is this something you have experienced? Have you ever felt this way before? Is that something you are experiencing right now? Life can be brutal! When we are being tossed around like a cork in a storm, we struggle to find equilibrium. We fight the waves and manage to get our heads above water, only to have the vicious undercurrent pull us back down. In the wake of the storm, you feel hopeless. The storm has taken over, and you have lost all control.

A torrential downpour like Euroclydon can wash away years of investment. It is a wave after wave that crashes against you time and again until it crushes you.

A lot of you have experienced Euroclydon personally. Things are getting increasingly unhinged, uncommon, and uncomfortable. Even when you’re on the plank to stay afloat, you realize there’s more at stake than just your own survival. Other shipmates are also trying to weather this storm. 

It doesn’t matter how together you are personally because the mayhem AROUND YOU still affects you when it comes to storms. It’s stuff you didn’t create, but you’re forced to deal with it. Euroclydon is something you can’t control; you just have to try to survive it. You can’t control the weather.

The storm has yet to be stopped, but man has learned to prepare for it. When a storm comes and man is ill-prepared or his preparations are inadequate against the storm’s force, he has learned to rebuild once it passes. Many are in that situation today. Your storm has paralyzed you spiritually, but you’ll be able to walk again! You’ll rebuild. And you’ll do it better this time.

When faced with mayhem, Acts 27 teaches us how to stand firm. It is also a stark reminder that mayhem will NEVER FIX BY ITSELF. Left to itself, things will only get worse. Your personal Euroclydon will require immediate attention in the form of strength, spiritual direction, and renewed hope. Today is the day to be confident, strong, and Spirit directed. It will make all the difference in the world. In the eye of your storm, say what Romans 8:31 says … “If God is for me, who (what) can be against me?”

As a prisoner-turned-preacher, Paul says, “Whether things look grim now or not, God is in control!” Paul heard God speak to him at his lowest moments, and he passed that message on.

“So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.” Vs. 25

A few verses later, Luke tells us…

“After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all.”  Vs. 35

Out-of-control situations find equilibrium in the hands of a still-in-control God! It’s why we can “cast all our cares on Him” (1 Peter 5:7). It’s why momentary panic can give way to the “peace that passes ALL understanding” (Philippians 4:6).

Paul should be freaking out with the rest of the freakers! Instead, he is composed, confident, and calculated. In verse 25, he is strong in faith. In verse 35, he is bold in praise. You need to find your storm song! And sing it!

In spite of the crashing waves and panicked shipmates, Paul kept his faith and maintained inner peace. You can do the same. Don’t lose hope today! You’ve taken a beating! I understand you might be overwhelmed, tired, and frustrated. But rather than give up … STEP up! Taking on your challenge with renewed passion requires faith.

Paul is the only one who did not give up hope (vs27). He stepped up in a spirit of encouragement. We must be dealers of hope. We must speak to the fears of others and find a way to calm their spirits.

One last thought is that Euroclydon was a savage enemy, but he did serve a purpose. Due to his violent nature, the ship’s 276 crew members and prisoners were now on equal ground. They would have to work together to reach shore safely. One thing united them: SURVIVAL.

There are people just like you when it comes to Euroclydon. We all face storms. Your storm seems a bit more tolerable in God’s economy when you help someone else get through theirs! Keep hope alive. Never give up. You will be able to see the sun again once the rain stops and the clouds roll away.

Smile … you’ve got this! 

Ron Schubert

Lead Pastor, LifePointe Church