Jesus in the Storm

Everybody loves the story of Jesus calming the storm. And everyone loves to say to anxious and despairing people, “See, Jesus can calm the raging waters of your soul, too.”

Except that’s not what the story is about.

According to the narrative in Matthew 8, this was not your ordinary storm. It had the force of the devil behind it. It was the equivalent of an earthquake in power and force. No wonder the disciples, experienced fishermen who knew those waters, were terrified. They didn’t know what to do, so they told Jesus.

“Save us, we’re perishing!”   

This woke Jesus up from his nap and he was annoyed with them. He was surprised they weren’t calm.

Instead they were afraid and not trusting God for their safety.

I would have been among them.

With just a word, Jesus rebuked the storm and the disciples marveled at this. They wanted to know who they had in the boat with them.

Didn’t they already know?

Apparently they were suffering from dementia. They had forgotten their Old Testament lessons of God creating the oceans in Genesis, and controlling the seas in Jonah, Job, and the Psalms.

Jesus rebuked the storm like he would a demon and it obeyed immediately.

The seas have one master, the Lord. The sea is his servant. He’s king of the ocean and rules it by his word.

It’s interesting to note that Jesus did not pray or ask his Father to handle the storm. He did it himself.

He is God.

He created the oceans.

He is God with us in the storm.

He will not leave us.

This is a promise.

If he didn’t run away from the cross, he will not leave us in our circumstances.

Are you really believing he is with you today?

Talk to me.




Are You a Practicing Christian?

In his book, God in the Dock, C.S. Lewis is asked the following question:

Will you please say how you would define a practicing Christian? Are there any other varieties?

Lewis’ answer is brilliant. He said,  Lithia

“Certainly there are a great many other varieties. It depends, of course, on what you mean by ‘practicing Christian’. If you mean one who has practiced Christianity in every respect at every moment of his life, then there is only One on record – Christ Himself. In that sense there are no practicing Christians, but only Christians who, in varying degrees, try to practice it and fail in varying degrees and then start again. A perfect practice of Christianity would, of course, consist in a perfect imitation of the life of Christ – I mean, in so far as it was applicable to one’s own particular circumstances.”

We love his answer. That describes us and every Christian we know.

Thank God he has given us his Son’s perfect record at the moment we believed.

If it wasn’t for his immense grace, we, of all people, would be most miserable. But, as Christians, we share in the likeness of our Savior, and his life is now ours by virtue of our union with him for an eternity.

Soak your soul in that!

How To Witness Badly

Today on the subway a young woman gets on juggling two bags and a purse and sits across the aisle from me. She turns and asks, “What church do you go to?”

I tell her.

“How nice to see people reading the bible on the subway. I do that, too.”

“How nice,” I say. I don’t want to talk. She’s interrupting my quiet time. I hate it when other passengers talk, so I want this to end.

“Where are you from?” she asks.

“Argentina,” I say, keeping my answers to one word, hoping she’d get the hint.

Her face goes blank. A few seconds later, she says, “That’s not in this country, is it?”

Holy cow.

“It’s in Latin America,” I say.

“Where do you work?”

“In San Francisco.” Okay, that’s a three-word answer.

“What do you do there?”

Hmm…do I really want to get into this?

I notice others around us have put down their books to listen to the exchange. The woman next to her has overflowed into the young woman’s seat. She’s a regular commuter. Every morning she gets on with a phone stuck to her ear talking at full throttle with her mother about her woes at work. I’ve written her notes reminding her of the no-phone rule. I’ve glared at her. Nothing’s worked. One time I gave her a gospel tract, thinking that would quiet her. She sneered at me, shoved it down into her purse, and kept talking.

“So what do you do in San Francisco?” the young woman asked again.

“I work for an organization,” I tell her. How lame is that.

“What do you do there?”

Now I’m ticked. This woman has no boundaries.

“I work for a missionary agency and we tell people that Jesus is the promised Messiah,” I say loudly.

Her seatmate smiles.

A man behind her sits bolt upright.

“Do you have conventions?”


“How do you find people to talk to?”

“On the streets.”

“Oh,” she says. “How does that work?”

“It’s tough.”

“What makes it so tough?”

“Most people, including Jews, resist the truth that Jesus is the Savior of the world and without him they don’t have a relationship with God.” I say in one breath. “Here’s my card.”

We screech into the station. She slips my card into her purse, grabs her bags, and gets up.

“Okay thanks,” she says and gets off.

The talker and the man behind also get off.

I slump in my seat. Shame on you! You could have engaged her. You could have asked her who she thought Jesus was and have everyone listen in.

Then I smile.

I remember.

When God wants to use you to speak the gospel, He’s gonna get the job done even if it’s done badly.


The Old Testament Is About Jesus

Christ in the Old Testament – Tim Keller

Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us.

Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.

Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void not knowing wither he went to create a new people of God.

Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, “Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me,” now we can look at God taking his son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, “Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from us.”

Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.

Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.

Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.

Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert.

Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.

Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.

Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn’t just risk leaving an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.

Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.

Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. He’s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread.