About Me

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I LOVE God, I have been married for 5 years to a wonderful woman, I am a recent college graduate of Lakeland college with a degree in Religious Studies,I have currently foregone going to Seminary, but feel called to work with teens and young adults and do so at my local church, Vineyard CC, in Grafton, WI.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

SwEet JeSus WalKing on the WateR

I thought I would post my sermon for the jail house service this sunday. I am very excited to do this. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as i will enjoy presenting it.

My name is Steven Carter and I am a recent graduate of Lakeland College with a degree in religious studies. This has been no small feat for me; after all I have only had to go to 4 colleges and three different degrees before finally getting a diploma. I have never really been a bad student, but there are things that I never thought I was ever going to be good at, like reading at a normal speed or writing grammatically correct, so with these assumptions I did not pursue possible careers that depended on me mastering those skills. As a result I went to two different schools pursuing a degree in meteorology and when I failed to succeed, where all evidence said I should have, I decided to give up pursuit and attended a third school to try a more relaxed field of study, wanting to attain a certificate in massage therapy.

Massage therapy was not a horrible fit for me. I enjoyed the human interaction and getting to help people, make a difference in their lives. That being said fate had a different plan and I became injured, causing me to be unable to finish my last two classes and letting another degree slip through my fingers.

At this point I had no idea what to do with my life, I lacked direction and focus. I had to make money to survive, but nothing was overly satisfying and I did not know where to turn for help. I had faith in God, but only recently started going back to church and was not planted anywhere that I trusted to help me answer these life questions. All I knew was that I wanted to help people, but that was too general, I needed something to focus on, so I turned outward to God asking the great creator what they wanted from me. Not expecting an audible answer, hearing become a minister shocked me and caused me to question my sanity. However, I will never forget that word: “minister”

With my life being a mess there was no way that God actually wanted me to become a minister, so I fought against the call. I was stubborn; God couldn’t be calling me to that, but God had to have some plan for me otherwise how was life going to get any better, so I continued to ask, with the same response coming every time. Finally, I couldn’t ignore it anymore, the more I thought about the call that God was giving to me the more it felt right. I started to look at all the other people God had called and saw that they were not unlike me and a pattern began to form, a pattern that tracks all the way into the new testament and through to some of the most famous saints. We all have a problem believing that God has enough faith in us to call us into ministry, but God calls everyone into God’s service because God has faith in all of us. Let us take a look at probably one of the more well know bible passages in the new testament and see what it has to tell us about God’s faith in us.

Insert Mathew 14:22-33

So, who did Peter lose faith in?

I recently had the opportunity to read Velvet Elvis, by Rob Bell. In this very engaging book Rob asks the same question. To answer the question he puts it into the context of the time that the event takes place.

See in the Jewish community of that time life revolves around the Torah. The Torah is the first 5 books of the Old testament and learning it and understanding were pivotal, so most children would start school around the age of 6 and spend the next four years, learning the Torah. The best students would continue on to the second level of school, those who lacked an aptitude left school and learned the family trade

                Those that continued on went on to memorizing the remainder of the old testament and by 13 they would have all 39 books memorized. They would not only memorize but they would also study the art of questioning and the oral traditions surrounding the texts. They wanted to see if the student knew it, understood it, and wrestled with it. They were not interested in regurgitation, but progression of the thought, taking it one step further then the Rabbi had before them.

                By the end of the second school around the age of 14 or 15 only the best of the best were still studying with the Rabbi. The rest of the students had reverted to learning the family trade and starting families of their own.

                At this time the student would petition the Rabbi for continued education. The Rabbi wanted to know if this kid could do what he did, so he would grill the student to make sure. The rabbi wanted to know if they were able to enter thunder-dome and come out the other end, looking a lot like the Rabbi. If the rabbi thought they had what it took they would say:

                COME FOLLOW ME

So, if we rewind from our previous story to when the disciples are actually called to become disciples we see that Jesus is calling students who were already rejected by other Rabbis. They were not deemed worthy to learn to be like the rabbis in their towns. Then along comes Jesus, God incarnate, calling the rejects to become like Him. God is calling them to do what he did. He had faith in these rejects, he saw what they could become.

So, what did Peter lose faith in? Peter lost faith in God’s faith in him. He suddenly began to doubt his ability to be like Jesus, there by doubting  God’s faith in him.

You see God loves all of us and all we have to do is answer the call and believe that we are not insane, but that God is REALLY calling us to follow him, we have only to believe that God believes in us.

Do you believe that God believes in you?

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