BY: JOHN ELLIOTT
It’s kind of funny how so many people want to be so different, but when they have a chance to truly be different they stick with the regular, the common place, the bland, and generic normalcy of life and ministry.
Just a few weeks ago, Harper, my two-year-old daughter, and I were in our youth room on Wednesday night having a great time watching our worship team rehearse. We were singing and dancing as they sang. They were amazing. After the rehearsal, I asked Harper if she wanted to sing on the mic. This was her moment to shine. She flipped out. All of the sudden what she had been pretending to do with me was the scariest thing she could imagine.
Why is it that when we have the chance to step up and be amazing, we choke and settle for the ordinary?
In Matthew 14, we see 3 changes that need to be made in order to step out of the ordinary.
Change in Weather
Living in Oklahoma, people know all about changing weather. But in verses 22-23, we read about a weather change unlike any other. Jesus just fed the 5000 when he says to his disciples to go out and get a head-start on the next town. They took the boat Jesus was supposed to ride in and Jesus stayed late into the night. Then the weather was more rough than the disciples were used to.
Did Jesus know that the storm was coming? Of course he did. I believe that we are placed in storms, in order to get out of the ordinary and understand Jesus, not just as a good teacher, but the Son of God.
We are always asking God to get us out of the storm. Have we ever stopped to consider that God is the one that allowed us to be placed in the middle of it for His purpose? God will use storms in our ministry to teach us and help us grow.
Change in Mind
The next thing the disciples notice is a figure walking out on the water. They discover it’s Jesus.He shows up on the scene in an impossible way, they thought it was for their harm, but they didn’t realize that Jesus wanted them to do the impossible too.
Now Peter, on the other hand, wanted proof.
Peter JUMPED OUT
Peter lost his nerve and asked Jesus to save him. It’s easy to get scared of ministry and the storms that come. The truth is if you don’t have Jesus, then the storms of life and ministry ARE something to be afraid of.
You want proof? Then you have to jump out of the boat and step out of the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Keep your eyes on Jesus and not on the situation.
Change in Heart
It’s one thing to change your mind but totally different to change your heart. As a pastor, I see a lot of people come through my office with really tough problems. One of the issues that I hate to deal with the most is substance abuse. I really feel for people that struggle with this issue.
Teen Challenge leaders will tell you that it’s really simple for a person to get clean. A couple days of detox and your body is over and done with it. The hard part is the mental game. So many times we get stuck as leaders with habits, attitudes, and even ways of life that are toxic. Then we experience something amazing with Christ. We often find ourselves falling into the same pattern, week in and week out. We might have had a moment where our thinking changed. But it’s easy to change your mind.
I wonder how many of us go around with head knowledge of God and a belief in His Word, but when it comes to taking a step out into the extraordinary plan and purpose that He has for you, you sink like a stone. The heart of the problem is a problem of the heart. We must not just believe, but have a total conversion – mind, heart, and body. It is only then that we cannot just live, but have life more abundantly.
With over a decade of student ministry, John Elliott is passionate about connecting this generation with Christ, the Church family, and helping to transition students into church leaders. John is on staff at Christ’s Legacy Church in OKC as the Department and Student Pastor. When John is not developing a new department org chart or dreaming up the perfect illustration, he is reading only the first chapter of self-help books, playing with his two year old daughter, Harper, changing the diaper of his four month old, Johnny, or attempting to remodel something in his house for his wife, Claudya.