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Take the Brakes Off God

Happy Monday!

I hope you are off to a great week!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of preaching three services at the First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk. The message was about “Finding God in the Unexpected.” The passage of focus was Mark 6:52.

Jesus had already fed the 5,000 men (not counting women and children) with a two piece fish meal. His disciples thought it was amazing. But, they could not get over the weirdness of it all, largely because they had not fully accepted the divinity of Jesus. Their religious minds suggested there was something deeply divine about Him. But, their frozen mindset was having a hard time accepting.

Now, the disciples were following Jesus’ instructions to go ahead of him to Bethsaida. So, they jumped in their boat to head over the lake to Bethsaida. While going, the storms arose and battled them as they rowed their boat. As they panicked, Jesus walked, as if he were walking pass them, on the water. The disciples saw him and were terrified because they didn’t recognize it to be Jesus. They thought it was a ghost!

Jesus climbed in the boat and calmed the disciples down. Then, Mark 6:51b-52 says:

They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

The Greek word used for “hardened” is “peporomena;” this word only occurs a few times in the NT, and Mark 6:52 is one of those times. “Sklerokardia” is used in Matthew 19 and some other places when speaking of “hardening hearts.”

“Peporomena” is used here to speak of a collective hardening of heart. “Peporomena” comes from “peros,” which means “marble.” Jesus’ disciples were amazed at His miracles but their heart became like a marble and at this point would not allow themselves to fully absorb Jesus’ divinity because they were afraid to do so.

Fear is the culprit! Don’t let your heart become like a marble due to fear.

God wants to show us what He will do in and through us. But, we must take the brakes off God. What I mean is that we put brakes on God’s revelation when we want to hold on to past perceptions of Who God is and how God reveals Himself.

When we “take the brakes off God,” we discover that God is able to walk on the water, break a two piece fish meal with 5,000 people and God is present with a mixed race woman at the well.

These are scripture references.

But, I found have God in places I didn’t expect God to be already, such as, in the prisons, among the homeless, and in the chaos of life.

Are you open to finding God in the camouflage or as couched within the unfamiliar?

Grace & peace,

Dr. Antipas


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Category: Living the Faith, Summer 2017

About the Author: Antipas L. Harris, D.Min. (Boston University), S.T.M. (Yale University Divinity School), M.Div. (Emory University), is the president-dean of Jakes Divinity School and associate pastor at The Potter’s House of Dallas, TX, and the founding dean of the Urban Renewal Center in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the Criminal Justice System Director for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) and president of the Global Institute for Empowerment & Leadership Development, known as GIELD. He has additional experience as an educator, academic lecturer, itinerant preacher, pastor, youth director, motivational speaker, and Christian musician. He is the author of Is Christianity the White Man's Religion?: How the Bible Is Good News for People of Color (IVP, 2020), The Holy Spirit and Social Justice: Scripture and Theology (2019), Holy Spirit, Holy Living: A Practical Theology of Holiness for Twenty-first Century Churches (Wipf & Stock, 2013) and Unstoppable Success: 7 Ways to Flourish in Your Boundless Potential (High Bridge Books, 2014). | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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