Pastor Tim Schultz is a graduate of Eastern Mennonite University and Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. He is also a Royalton-Hartland graduate.
For many years he worked in inner-city ministry, then was pastor of congregations in New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania, before returning to his home area of western New York in late-spring 2015.
Feel free to contact Tim. He likes people.
Put a Question to Your Fear (sermon notes)
My mom used to tell us scary stories, adventures of her and her brother, Billy. As a family we watched the Twilight Zone program, which scared me as a little kid.
As we get older our fears become more sophisticated: Fear of illness and death, fear of failure.
~Do you remember a fearful time in your life? • Maybe you lost a job or company downsizing • A new pain in your body made you fear • Afraid of the past or afraid of the future Most fears are irrational. Locking door each time I come back in
Text: Mark 4.35-41 Explain setting. Sea of Galilee (also called by other names like Tiberias). Being on the water can be scary! Galilee about 15.5 miles long and 7 miles wide at farthest points. Mostly surrounded by steep cliffs and mountains. Cool winds rush down and stir up storms. Disciples upset because Jesus was sleeping. In a much later Gospel story the disciples would be sleeping at a time when Jesus needed them!
What can we learn about dealing with our fears from this gospel story?
(1) In times of fear, hold on to the word of the Lord V. 35 Jesus had said something, hadn’t he? He told them they would go to the other side. In the storm it sure didn't seem like they were going to make it, though! When Jesus says, “We will go to the other side”, you can count on it. Not like us: “I’ll meet you at 3:00.” (means 3:23). “I’ll take care of that” (doesn’t get done) “I’ll be praying” means “I’ll be forgetting.” There are different kinds of hearing. There is hearing with the ear and hearing with understanding.
Different kinds of hearing are illustrated in the Parable of the Sower: V. 20 in this chapter.
Notice, “and understands it.” The disciples heard what Jesus said but they didn’t grasp it. It was only words. In times of fear we need a clear word that we understand. Importance still of bible memorization! --When we fear that God is no longer with us or cares about us: “I will never leave you or forsake you.” -When not sure God has a plan for our lives: “For I know the plans I have for you…to prosper you and give you a future.”
Many people hear these things but then one day….Boom! A big storm comes along, and they begin to really hear the word that God has spoken. But we shouldn’t wait for disaster to strike—it is good for us now to hide the words of the Lord in our hearts ahead of time. • Like getting the house ready for a tornado or hurricane. Much care is given. So, we prepare ahead of time so we will be ready. Related to the first point…
(2) In times of fear we must remind ourselves that God goes is with us- see Verse 36 Interesting it says that they took him with him, rather than the other way around. It is so important to remember that the presence of God goes with us, including in fearful times. We sometimes resort to thoughts, “How could God let this happen?” Doesn’t God care? We’re all going to die! Could the disciples have forgotten who it was in the boat with them? Jesus had done a lot of great things.
We’re like that aren’t we? I mean the Lord could raise grandma from the dead one day and the next day we would be wondering if he really could help us pay our electric bill later this month.
Great characters of the Bible knew the importance of knowing that God’s presence was with them.
Moses: Exodus 33.12-16 Unless you go with us….
Paul: speaking of having little to live on, and having plenty, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” In our time of fear, maybe fear we are facing right now: Are we reminding ourselves that God is with us?
David Livingston the great missionary to Africa, was once asked, “How can you walk miles, year after year, all across Africa?” “Because I know I’m not alone” was his reply.
And last, (3) Put a Question to your fear—Verse 40 Why are you afraid?
He had calmed the storm, but they likely were still afraid. I think they were almost as afraid about how Jesus calmed the storm as they were about the storm itself
And notice that he attached their fear to lack of faith. When it gets down to it, we are often afraid because we don’t really believe Jesus is in the storm with us.
God calls us to be almost irrational and courageous in the midst of fear. Maybe 95% of the fears we have here this morning are irrational. What we fear won’t even happen. It's an illusion. It is not even real.
Close: Think about something you have fear about right now. Imagine Jesus coming along in person and asking you/us what he asked the disciples, “Why are you afraid?” Take a moment of silence to answer. Now, let’s give that fear to the Lord.
Still (A contemporary worship song)
Hide me now Under your wings
Within your mighty hand
When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father You are King over the flood
I will be still and know You are God
Find rest my soul In Christ alone
Know His power In quietness and trust (back to “when the oceans”)