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Fantastic! - Walking on Water

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Today Pastor Ed continued his sermon series titled "Fantastic: Incredible Stories from Jesus' Life and their Significance for Us" looking at Matthew 14:22-36, where Jesus walks on water.

There's nothing unusual about taking a walk - unless you're doing it on water.

If it's not true, where would this story have come from?  It was awfully early for this kind of mythology to have developed, and the authors were clearly intending to write history.

If it is real, Jesus is uniquely and incredibly Fantastic -- He's Holy -- set apart, unique, in a completely different category from anything else in existence.

The disciples' response is, "What kind of man is this?"

When Jesus gets in the boat, they do what you do to God -- they worship him.

Observations:

1.  There's always hope when we put our trust in God.

No matter what the obstacle.  God's rule extends over even the laws of nature themselves.

Faith is understanding that God can do anything, believing that God can do anything, and putting our hope in him.

2.  The power that was available to and through Jesus is now available to and through us.

An astonishing part of this passage is that Peter walked on water.  Peter was an ordinary guy, just like us.

What does that mean for us?

In John 14:12, Jesus says, "Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing."

We are called to be fantastic in the same provocative way.

Predictable and normal = safe

Jesus' kind of fantastic is disruptive and shocking to the world around us.

Application:

1.  Be amazed at Jesus!

Rediscover the wonder of Jesus.

2.  Open our hearts to Believe:  If Jesus is involved, anything is possible.

3.  We need to go ALL IN with that belief.

Let's be caught finding out what that means.

***

Gateway, what do you think?  I find myself tremendously challenged by this message - but wondering what it looks like, what it means.  If you have some thoughts about it, please add them in the comments!

Cultural Awareness Sunday

On Sunday, guest speaker Anthony Hendricks spoke for Cultural Awareness Sunday at Gateway.

First, he and Pastor Ed discussed the survey results and pointed out some things.

Anthony Hendricks' opinion is that if you're not engaged, you don't necessarily see the poor race relations in this country.

The majority culture doesn't have to be a minority and enter another culture to succeed.

We live in a "racialized society" -- race matters profoundly.

To understand another culture, sit with them at the dinner table, and ask the hard questions.

In Jesus' high priestly prayer in John 17, he prayed for us today.  And he prayed that we would be one.  Then the world will know that Christ loves them.

The culture is setting the tone, rather than the church.  We've been trying to legislate an issue that's a heart issue.

Why is worshiping Jesus still segregated?

The enemy has done a tremendous job of dividing us.  The church should act as a thermostat in the culture, not as a thermometer.

From there, he looked at Acts 10, and Peter's major cross-cultural "Ah-ha!" moment.  He listed six "Be" vitamins that we need to take to make Christ's body look good.

1)  First, we must Be Prayerful.

Peter and Cornelius were both praying.  If we're going to bring the body of Christ together, it must begin with prayer.

He dared us:  Pray and ask God to open your heart in this area.

And remember:  Prayer also involves intently listening.

2)  We must Be Open.

Be open to God doing something different in you.

Peter prayed an oxymoron:  "No, Lord."

Most people are open to every other issue in their lives but this one.  Where else should we talk about race than in church?

Be open to new relationships and to getting uncomfortable.

3)  We must Be Humble.

We should be ready to learn.  Other cultures can teach us a lot.  But we need to exhibit some humility.

4)  We must Be Aware.

In Acts 10, Peter finally gets it that God accepts all men everywhere.

Be aware:  Race matters in this country.

So what do I do as a believer in Christ?

Be aware:  Racial inequality is a reality in minority cultures.

Believers should have compassion.

We fear what we don't know.  White privilege is about not having to wonder if it's about race.

Experience life with them.

In Acts 10, Peter is now aware of his own race issues.

5)  Be Blessed!

When you start really getting into multiethnic ministries, the Holy Spirit will start blessing your socks off!

Jesus is the only one who can change hearts.

The culture is waiting on us.  We have been given the ministry of reconciliation!

How are you doing in your ministry of reconciliation?

We need to be intentional about this.

We might as well practice for heaven!  We need many styles of worship and music.

6)  We've got to Be Ready.

In Acts 11, Peter gets criticized immediately.

Not all believers are ready for this.

Be ready for the religious folk.

Be ready to not be understood.

Be ready to be offended.

Be ready to continue this amazing work in the minority.

***

Gateway, I've been thinking a lot about this message, and I'd like to talk about it!  I'm going to put some of my own thoughts in the comments. 

What do you think?

How can Gateway incorporate these principles as we build our facility?

Do you have ideas for how Gateway, as a body, can be more culturally aware and have the spirit of love and unity that Jesus called us to?

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