Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Preaching at Wheaton (19)

Each week I provide a number of questions in the church bulletin to trigger continuing response to God's word beyond the Sunday morning sermon!

This short story (Mark 4: 35-41) raises so many important questions for reflection:
1. What would you say to people who claim that God should look after believers and protect them from bad things happening?

2. What are the implications when Jesus stills the storm for us facing fears today?

3. In what ways can we “under believe” when faced by fears?

4. This story reminds us that Jesus provokes awe. How can we ensure there is awe in our worship?

5. It is part of being human that we have fears. Do you have a story about experiencing real fear recently? In what ways did the presence of Jesus make a difference?

Question 5 is particularly the one to which I hope friends will respond. Do any of you out there have a story about experiencing real fear when the presence of Jesus made a difference? Real stories make for powerful preaching - any help? If it's confidential then please use:


Anonymous said...

When faced with frightening situations in our lives, that impact the long term health and welfare of ourselves, our spouse, our children, friends, our nation, it can be overwhelming.

Recently, when faced with a terrible phone call from my daughter revealing a major problem in her life that had long term implications for her and our family, I ran to my "prayer closet" out of an immediate need to cry out to God for his help and for his much desired mercy, but I still was overcome with anxiety in spite of believing God's word. As I continue to face into this issue and come before God, dwelling on his word and seeking out his promises that apply to our situation, I do find peace but I must come daily and sometimes hourly or moment by moment to God. I know that he wants me to be dependent on him and trust him as he moves forward in the lives of my children.

It is hard when we would like to control situations in our childrens lives to make things easier for them, or to make their decisions for them so that they will be benefited by wise decisions, but we can't. Our job frequently is to pray fervently. As Col. 4:2 says "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving".

I have found these scriptures have been a comfort to me as I have run to the Lord, who is a strong tower.
Jeremiah 33:6b I will heal them; I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth [security].
Psalm 107:20 He sent forth His Word and healed them, he rescued them from the grave [their destructions].
Isaiah 43:10-11 "You are my witnesses," declares the LORD,and my servant whom I have chosen,so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.
2Kings20:5b "I have heard your prayers, I have seen your tears, behold I will heal you."
Mark 11:22-25
There are many, but scripture and knowing the God I believe is what sustains me. He is the one that is always faithful and true, knows best and is wise, is loving and merciful while being righteous and holy, therefore it is to him that I run for "apart from [him] there is no savior."

Liz H. said...

fear is a funny thing. I don't remember accepting Jesus into my heart; I was quite young. but I do remember the first time it meant more than something in church. I had a great fear of bridges: there were quite a few bridges in the area of N.J. I grew up in. there was one we had to cross to get to the grocery store that flooded in spring rains and the water would swirl over the bridge and tug at the car. another rickety wooden bridge crossed the bay-you could see between the boards to the waternot very far below. And bodies were frequently found under bridges wearing cement shoes. I had nightmares about bridges.

One fall, 4th grade I think, we had a school field trip to the location of Washington crossing the Delaware. We had to walk across a high bridge (i am also afraid of heights!)above sharp rocks laid bare by drought. I was frozen with fear. the class gaily went forward leaving me behind. I remembered a verse "there is no fear in love," thought Jesus loves me so He'll keep me safe and I don't need to be afraid. It wasn't a formal prayer but I was able to walk forward. I felt giddy with the release from fear. And quite excited that Jesus was true and real.