03-17-2013 message by Pastor Jeff Gilboy

I need to be honest with you…I have a phobia. And it’s not public speaking. My phobia is trypanophobia or Needle Phobia. I’ve had this irrational fear my whole life and it hasn’t gotten any better. Heidi really knew the depth of my love for her when I was willing to have my blood drawn in order to get a life insurance policy early in our marriage. I think that might be the last time I was poked with a needle.

Even thinking about needles or seeing other people get poked gives me the heebie-jeebies. One of my daughters had to go in for a CT scan a couple of years ago, so I took her up to the hospital. I didn’t know they were going to be injecting an IV contrast dye. Neither did she. So I’m standing next to her, trying to be supportive, while the technician is setting up the torture devices. And I start getting all the symptoms–sweating, nausea, drop in blood pressure, fainting. So I say, “I’m just going to get a quick drink of water, honey,” take off my coat, look away, take some deep breaths, try to stop shaking.

I’m not a total freak: an estimated 10% of Americans have needle phobia. Researcher Dr. James G. Hamilton suggests that needle phobia may be genetic – our genetic ancestors who avoided getting poked with sharp things had a greater chance of surviving and passing on their DNA.

What about you? What’s your phobia? What are some other common phobias people face? public speaking, pain, death, spiders, heights, clowns, the future, being alone, intimacy, rejection, snakes, people, failure, driving, ghosts, enclosed spaces, water, cockroaches

Maybe you don’t have a crazy phobia like I do, but we all face times of fear and anxiety. responses—fight or flight…or freeze  fear = certain or immediate external threat; anxiety = unavoidable, uncontrollable perceived threats

TENSION: What do we do about the fears/anxieties we face? Maybe we can avoid some fears by living in denial or avoiding hospitals/circuses/roof tops. But what about the unavoidable fears: pain, the future, relational intimacy, possible rejection, potential failure in our lives or the lives of our children/grandchildren?

Even the 12 guys who hung out with Jesus every day for three years faced fear & anxiety!

READ Mark 4:35-41

Mark 4 (NLT)35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. 38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” 39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”


Psalm 107:23-32 (NLT)23 Some went off to sea in ships,
plying the trade routes of the world.
24 They, too, observed the Lord’s power in action,
his impressive works on the deepest seas.
25 He spoke, and the winds rose,
stirring up the waves
26 Their ships were tossed to the heavens
and plunged again to the depths;
the sailors cringed in terror.
27 They reeled and staggered like drunkards
and were at their wits’ end.
28 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
29 He calmed the storm to a whisper
and stilled the waves.

30 What a blessing was that stillness
as he brought them safely into harbor!

The CRAZY TALK question: “Why are you afraid?” Well, because we’re about to capsize & drown, Jesus!

Context to this story: earlier in ch. 4 Jesus is teaching a large crowd on the shore from a boat on the West side of the Sea of Galilee (in Jewish territory) & then having some private conversations with his disciples. Then they head across the lake/sea to the East side into non-Jewish territory where you have pig farmers in Mark 5. (Jews don’t eat pork or raise pigs.) And this storm crops up on their way across the lake.

Backstory: God controlling the weather in Psalm 107 (calming the storm, stilling the waves). When the disciples ask, “Who is this man?” the answer is in Ps. 107 – only God can calm storms. Psalm 107 is a poetic celebration of God leading the Jewish people out of captivity in Babylon and the stormy seas in Psalm 107 represent the enemy nations who are stilled as God brings His people out of the storm and into a safe harbor. Mark is setting up Jesus as the true God who leads all of His people out of an exile in sin, sickness, oppression, fear and into the safe harbor of healing, forgiveness, freedom and faith.


End of Mark 4 Beginning of Mark 5
Jesus has authority over the wind/waves4:41 disciples are afraid after wind/waves obey

4:41 disciples wonder who Jesus is: “Who is this? Even the wind and sea obey Him!?”

Jesus has authority over demons5:15 the crowd is afraid after the demons obey

5:7 the demon-possessed guy knows exactly who Jesus is: “Jesus, Son of the Most High God.”

Humorous contrast between 4:40-41. Jesus’ understatement (1st) question: “Why are you all timid/cowardly?” and the exaggerated reality of what the disciples were actually experiencing, literally something like, “And they feared with a great fear,” or as the NLT puts it: “The disciples were absolutely terrified.”

The whole key to this story is in the second question Jesus asks the guys in the boat: “Do you still not have faith?” There’s a truth that Jesus knows that the disciples have still not picked up on…FAITH ERASES FEAR.

ILLUS: Use “FAITH” to erase “FEAR” from white board

In a few minutes, you’re going to leave the relative safety of this harbor and get back out onto the sea of your life.  You might be in the middle of a terrifying storm right now, or you might be enjoying some smooth sailing. But I’m going to encourage you to do three things in the next seven days to help you navigate whatever waters you are facing.

1. Anticipate storms. Some storms are unavoidable. People will let you down. You will fail others. You will go through difficulties. These storms will cause you to experience fear/anxiety. This week, make a list of the storms and potential storms you are facing.

2. Remember: you’re not alone in the boat. You’re not the only one who is feeling fear and anxiety. Look around the room: we’re in the boat with you. Be vulnerable. Ask for help. Encourage and support someone else who is on the same journey. Gal. 6:2 “Share each other’s burdens.” This week, make a list of some key people in the boat with you. Pick one name from your list and reach out to them this week to either offer or request help and encouragement.

3. Cling to faith when you face fear. Not only are you in the boat with each of us, there’s someone else in the boat with you who can actually do something about the storms. FAITH erases FEAR. Your natural fear response may be fight, flight, or freeze. But you can change your instincts and begin a process of conditioning yourself to intuitively cling to faith in Jesus when you are navigating stormy waters. In order to do that, you’ll need to get to know Him better so that you can trust Him more. We’re spending 6 weeks in the book of Mark, looking at some of the crazy things Jesus said. There are 16 chapters in Mark. This week, read through the 16 chapters of Mark. You can do it in one sitting in a little over an hour, or 10-15 minutes each day this week. You’ll discover something new about Him that will help you instinctively cling to faith the next time you experience fear.

Imagine what it would look like if:

  • we all started being more honest about our fears/anxieties with one another
  • we were a harbor from life’s storms where people could come to allow faith In Jesus to erase their fears
  • we spread out through this community, bringing the hope that comes with faith in Jesus to our coworkers, classmates, neighbors, families
“Why are you afraid?”