Book Review - If You Want to Walk on Water...
Last year, I was invited to preach a Sunday service at Beacon of Light church in Waterbury, Connecticut. BOL is a church plant from my home church of Gospel Light. I was really excited about it, as the Winston's are great encouragers and are doing such good in that city.
Anyway, I had prepared a message based on the life of Peter, and about taking your faith and turning it into action. I used the example of Peter getting out of the boat in Matthew 14. The message went very well, I thought, and after the altar call, the pastor's wife came up to me an told me about a book she had read called something like "You have to get out of the boat." I thought that was a cool coincidence. I had never heard of it, and she promised to get the exact title for it.
A couple of months later, she presented me with a copy of John Ortberg's If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get out of the Boat. Happily, I dove into it. I found it to be a simple yet encouraging text that echoed the point of that sermon (or perhaps I unwittingly echoed Ortberg,) which was to stop sitting around standing on God's promises and get to it! People look at Peter for failing to walk all the way to Jesus, and for taking his eye off Him, but at least Peter got out of the boat! Score one for John Ortberg for agreeing with me.
The book takes the reader through a process of understanding faith in action, discerning a call and stepping out in faith. Later chapters involve dealing with frustration and dissapointment, focusing Jesus, and handling fear. It is simply explained, with many personal examples from the life and ministry of the author.
Ortberg points out a couple of inportant things: that there will be rough seas, no doubt about it. Things will not always go smoothly, and the things God asks us to do will seldom be easy, and might not always make sense. Whenever we try to do new things, there will undoubtably be failure, but the importance is in the trying. When we fail, we do not fail along. Jesus is always there with us to help us press on.
I would suggest this book for anyone who struggles with stepping out, or fear of failure. God has not given us a spirit of fear, the Word says. This book is a good resource to help tap into God's power in you.
If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get out of the Boat is published by Zondervan Publishing House.