Water Walking

In the last two months, I have read two books about water walking.  One was non-fiction and the other was Christian fiction.  They were both very good  The non-fiction book is called:  “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat” by John Ortberg.

In this book, he talks about our fears and courage.  How so often we stay in the boat because we feel safe and we never to water walking.  Sometimes this can really put a damper on our discipleship for Jesus.  We allow our fears to take over.  We want to stay comfortable in the boat.  So John Ortberg encourages us to have faith, trust in God and step out of the boat.

Let me give you an example of walking on water.  Let’s say we are used to going to church and living in a middle class to upper class neighborhood and that’s where we stay.  That is where we are comfortable.  So we don’t go into the projects to help in drug abuse rehabilitation, feed the poor, tutor children who are struggling, or even help young teenagers in gangs to get off the street.  We know that God wants us to do these things.

We can do these things by loving these people and caring for them.  We can do this by trusting in God to guide us in our ministry and discipleship.  But then we start thinking about the gang violence, drugs, murders, robberies, and so on and we start to freak out.  We start sweating, having stomach aches and our hearts are beating a mile a minute.  Then we say “You know what?  I think I’ll just donate some money, kick back, put my feet up and watch TV.”  But that is not what God wants us to do.  He wants us to serve the poor, the drug dealers, the prostitutes and the gang bangers.  He is telling us to “Come on, get out of the boat, walk on water, trust me. I am God.  I’ve got this.”  With God, we can have the courage to step out of the boat and walk on water.

The second book I just read was called “Water Walker” by Ted Dekker.  This book also talks about water walking.  It talks about a girl who is abducted by her biological mother, but her mother is being brainwashed by a cult leader to raise her a certain way, just so they can receive 1.5 million dollars from a trust fund that her father left.  It eventually gets so bad that the cult leader starts physically abusing the teenager and breaking her leg.  The teenager has a series of dreams where she is encouraged by God’s disciple to get out and walk on water.

She eventually finds the courage to give everything to God and walk on water.  She realizes that her body is just a costume.  No one can steal her joy.  Eventually she will have a spiritual body with God.  So her broken leg doesn’t matter.  She gains the courage to forgive her mother and help her to see the truth of the cult leader’s deceitful was.  She steps out of the boat and puts her full faith in God.  She walks on water and helps others see the truth.

So how are you going to walk on water?  Think about ways you can overcome your fears, put danger aside, and have the courage to be an extreme disciple of Christ.  Start off small.  Take a step at a time.  Be a water walker!

The Violent Stuff

Ever since I began to read the Bible, I always had a problem with the violence in the Bible.  Whole nations were destroyed, even the babies and the kids and the writers in the bible would say “God told them to do it.”  I always had a problem with this, because I don’t believe God would tell someone to destroy a whole nation.  It goes against what God stands for. .. unconditional love.  God doesn’t like violence.  I am reading a book right now that pointed this issue out.  The author mentioned that the Israelites were destroyed, whole nations were destroyed, then they would recover and 80 years later, the cycle would start over.

The writers of the Bible had a purpose in telling these stories and pointing out all the violence that went on. First, let’s look at what they meant by God telling them to do it.  Back in that time, in that culture, it was so common for the people to give credit to their gods for their victories or their great harvests or blame their gods for poor harvests and famine and the list goes on.  They actually believed that their god helped them in their victory.  However, the point the writers of the Bible were trying to make with these stories of violence were this.  In the words of Rob Bell, “Those stories containing senseless violence point out how senseless violence is.”  The writers were writing those stories because they wanted violence to end.  To let us know that violence doesn’t solve anything.

So I thought about this and applied it to my current situation.  Some might say I am in the heart of gangland in North Carolina.  Which, in a way, is true.  Over the last couple of weeks, there have been some violence within the “affiliate groups.”  All over nothing.  It might be because this guy in this group beat up another guy in this group.  So the other group has to come and stab that guy and cause a war.  It is senseless violence.  There is always going to be disagreement.  There are always going to be people that make mistakes.  There is always going to be anger.  Violence is not going to make it disappear.  However, if we love, nurture, care of people, help people to grow, talk things out and use various nonviolent methods, we might have a chance to be a more stable and productie society.  Lives wouldn’t have to be lost and we could find more ways to live in harmony with people.

This is the message the writers of the Bible are trying to get across by sharing the brutal, barbaric, primitive violent scenes that they chose to share.  Not that it is okay to destroy whole nations because we believe Gold told us to.  That is not the message.  The message is the opposite and God doesn’t want us to act out in violence.  Senseless violence is senseless. Period.