Flipped Out and Gasping for Air

Have you flipped a quarter off your thumbnail to see if it lands on heads or tails? Our raft high-centered on a rock in the middle of the most treacherous part of the Arkansas River in Colorado. The roar was almost deafening. The seven of us quickly did as instructed, but the foaming water pinched the end of the raft and flipped it like that quarter.

Suddenly we are gasping for air bobbing in the sloshing current. I grab the back of my daughter’s life preserver and yell to my wife that I have her. The wild ride finally ends in calmer water to be picked-up by one of the other rafts.

We had just finished a four-day mission trip teaching children’s Bible schools. We went from the high of spiritual victory to the defeat of a powerful river.

Jesus fed 5,000 with a boy’s lunch in Matthew 14. He then sends his disciples to cross the sea of Galilee by boat. Jesus goes to pray up on a mountain. Jesus sent them from this mountaintop experience right into a ferocious storm. Terrified, the 12 men lose control of the boat.

About 3 a.m. their terror grows as they see a ghost, they think. But it is Jesus walking on the water. He speaks: “Take heart. It is I. Do not be afraid.” Or … be encouraged, I am here, be fearless!

Peter asks to walk to Jesus if its really Him. Jesus tells Peter to come on. Peter walks on water. But fear of the wind and waves overwhelms Peter’s faith. He sinks. Jesus rescues Peter and exclaims, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” They both get into the boat. The wind ceases. The twelve worship Jesus.

Jesus knows when you are going into a storm. When you get there or maybe you already are there, remember, “be encouraged, Jesus is here, be fearless!” Jesus can enable you to walk above it and can reach down to rescue you from it. Jesus expects you to trust Him and not doubt His power over the greatest of life’s storms. Worship Him. He is greater than the storm.

This is part-three of my sermon series: Amazing Encounters with Jesus. Come Sunday for our Classic service at 9am or the Celebration service at 10:30am. Sermon videos are posted on Facebook and at BalboaBaptist.Church, click “Media”.

My Canoe Trip

The canoe rolled. I got dunked. I went alone on a two-day canoe trip on the Buffalo River. In a rapid that turned sharply left under limbs jutting out over the water, I leaned to miss the limbs shifting my weight just enough to capsize the canoe with all my gear.

I had prepared for this with tie down straps, packing items in heavy duty garbage bags, and making sure my tackle box was locked. A few things floated away, but I caught them. But I did lose a reel and rod into the swift water.

By walking up to the head of the rapids, then getting into the water which pushed me quickly down the river. I felt along the bottom of the river as best as I could searching. Although I repeated this process at least two dozen times, I never found it. The rest of the trip was great! It is a memory I relive repeatedly. But the dunking is burned into my memory.

Our spiritual quest to find peace and assurance of life after death can only be found by trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Jesus commands us to be baptized when this happens. Why? We are obeying Christ’s command and publicly confessing Him. Just as a wedding ceremony marks the public beginning of an inner commitment to your spouse, so too baptism is to be an outward mark of the inner transformation of coming to God through His Son Jesus.

Jesus set the example for us and was baptized Himself. When he came out of the water, Matthew writes that God spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).

Since God is pleased with His Son’s baptism, He will also be pleased with yours. Confess Jesus as your Lord, believe in His resurrection, and be baptized. Going under the water symbolizes being buried with Christ and being raised out of the water symbolizes being resurrected with Christ to a new of life. It is a dunking you will remember forever.

This is part-two of my sermon series: Amazing Encounters with Jesus. Come this Sunday for our Classic service at 9am or the Celebration service at 10:30am for the rest of the story. See you Sunday!

A Missing Child

Pastor Denny 1965 at Glenwood Public School

My child is missing. Too many parents today experience the flood of grief that wrings their hearts out like a wet dish cloth. Sometimes they find the child asleep in the woods the next morning, but others only experience extreme loss.

In one case they looked for the child for three days. After a long trip, tired and weary, the child goes missing. Then the long search compounded the fatigue, questions, and anxiety. Lost, not in the woods with dozens of volunteers combing the area, but in a big city where they knew few people. They searched.

I can only imagine the tidal wave of emotions that hit them as they traveled back to look for their twelve-year-old. Surprised, Mary and Joseph finally found Jesus in the temple area sitting among the most prestigious theologians of the day discussing deep questions about God and faith.

First, all who heard this twelve-year-old expressed amazement. “And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers” (Luke 2:47). Second, Mary and Joseph dropped their jaws in astonishment. “And when his parents saw him, they were astonished” (Luke 2:48) Third, his mother’s distress broke through when she exclaimed, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress” (Luke 2:48b).

If the Bible was a fabrication of someone’s imagination, all of this would have been glossed over. But the raw, precise terms a physician like the writer Luke uses is evidence of the authenticity of the story.

Luke indicates Jesus knew exactly who he was even as a young boy. Jesus not only had an extremely high IQ but claimed even then to be the Son of God. Jesus replied to Mary, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49).

People today still respond to Jesus in amazement, astonishment, and distress. The question you must answer is, “Do you believe Jesus is a liar, lunatic, or Lord?” I confess with my whole heart, Jesus is Lord!

Come this Sunday to hear the rest of the story. I’m beginning a 5-part series: “Amazing Encounters with Jesus,” Young Jesus in the Temple is part 1.

The Classic service is in the Sanctuary at 9:00am. The Celebration service is in the Outreach Center at 10:30am. Visit www.BalboaBaptist.Church.