A couple of times I’ve been asked to bring a specific message to a church, and they flew me all the way there to preach a message they felt like their church needed. This is a message I know I needed. I read it verbatim to my wife in her hospital bed. She said, “Where’d you get that?” I thought about lying and saying, “God gave it to me,” but God gave it to Brother Berto. I said, “Brother Berto.” She said, “That sure is good. That helped me.”
And so this message helped us in the hospital, and I need to hear it again. I just read it, but faith comes by hearing the word of God. And so I kind of put him on the spot. I said, “You mind bringing that exact message tonight?” And it’ll minister to you because it’s God’s Word, filled with Scripture, and it’ll help us tonight.
So, Brother Berto, I appreciate you. Thank you for agreeing to speak. Come speak to us tonight. And thank you so much.
If you have your Bibles, let’s open them up to Mark 4:35.
And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39. And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41. And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? 1. And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3. Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4. Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 6. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, (Mark 4:35–5:6)
Well, let’s pray. Heavenly Father, I just want to thank You, Lord, for Your Word. It truly is life. It’s the bread of life. It’s the water of life. It’s everything we need. And I pray, Lord, that You would feed us with it tonight. Lord, help me not to say anything I shouldn’t, but everything I should. I need You, I love You, and I thank You. And I ask this in Your precious name. Amen.
I want to speak tonight on this subject: The Other Side of the Lake.
It started out as a wonderful day. A great crowd had gathered. Jesus was teaching and preaching, and as the multitudes came, He would take a step back. And there were so many people, and they were pressing upon Him. He would take a step back, and He found himself up against the edge of the sea. Lots of people. It was a great day. They had gathered. People were getting saved. People were being healed. The eyes of the blind were being open. Spiritual eyes were being open. The people were hungry for what He had to say, hungry for his Word.
Mark 4:1 says, “And he began again to teach by the seaside: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.”
It had come to the point where the crowd had pushed Him all the way to the shore, and He got in a boat. He’s pushed off a little from the boat, and He continued to teach. It was a great day, kind of like the great day that we had today. Only better. It was a great day when all this had been going on.
But then He makes a statement. He says, “let us pass over to the other side.” And they no sooner get out into the sea a little way when a great storm begins to rise up. They start meeting resistance. The wind starts to kick up. And the disciples get to the point where they’re fearful, and so they run to Jesus. And Jesus, being Who He is, stands up and calms the storm, and they’re amazed. “Who is this? What manner of man is this, that the wind and the waves obey Him?”
Now the moment that they arrived on the other side of the lake, they’re met by this man who’s completely out of his mind. He’s been cutting himself. He’s been tormented by devils. He’s running like a lunatic. Not clothed. He’s being tormented.
I look at the contrast here. On one side of the lake — man, it’s sunny, it’s pleasant. It’s, “Jesus, we can’t get enough of you. We love you, Jesus.” On the other side of the lake, it’s dark, it’s scary. And they’ve had the fear shaken out of them going across the sea. When they get to the other side, here comes this crazy man running at him. One side is dark and scary; One side was bright and sunny.
One minute… isn’t that how life is? One minute you’re in perfect health, and the next minute you get a call, and you find out you got cancer. What happened? You hit the other side of the lake, the other side of the lake.
One minute you’re happily married, and everything seems to be fine. And then somehow you kind of wake up a little way later and you’re talking to lawyers, and you’re fighting over kids, and there’s restraining orders, and there’s heartbreak and there’s… what happened? Well, you hit the other side of the lake.
One minute you go to a doctor’s appointment for a broken bone or a back that’s out of joint, and six months later, you hit the other side of the lake and you’ve got a pain addiction and you’re throwing your whole life away trying to fulfill it.
One minute you’re cruising in your brand-new car. The next minute, airbags. What happened? You hit the other side of the lake. You hit the other side of the lake.
Nobody wants to visit the other side of the lake. Nobody says, “Oh cool, the other side of the lake!” Nobody does that. But can I tell you something: life is unpredictable. And one thing is for sure is that there will be another side of the lake for every single one of us in here.
Pastor is going through some things right now with his wife in the hospital. But you know what? How many times has he said, “Thank God for the sunny days, but there are some dark and scary ones coming your way too.”
Nobody says they want to go there, but life is unpredictable. It’s unpredictable. People are unpredictable. You don’t know what they’re going to do. You don’t know what’s going to happen.
Sin is unpredictable. It slams into you. Yours may slam into somebody else. You never know who it’s going to slam into next. Circumstances will arise from time to time that will cause us to visit the other side of the lake.
I just want to share a couple of lessons about that other side of the lake.
Number one, the direction is controlled by God. What happened to my sunny days, Hopewell Baptist Church? Thank God and praise God for the big day we had with the bikes today. Amen. That’s good. I love that. I remember the big days that we’ve had, and this is fresh, and it’s a big day, and it’s going to be bigger next year, should the Lord tarry. I love that.
What happened to the sunny days? Well, can I tell you this: God knows where you are. What happened to my sunny days? Everything was okay. Now I’m on the other side of the lake, and it’s dark, and it’s scary, and I’m fearful, and things are happening, and they’re out of my control, and I don’t know what to do. What happened to my sunny days? How do you know God knows where I’m at? God knows where you’re at because He led you there. Nothing catches him off guard. Nothing surprises him.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: And he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: For the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:23–24)
Look, God orders our steps, and if we will delight in Him along the way and with our best heart and intention seek to follow the Lord… We will not follow him perfectly. There’s not a person in the room that does. We will not follow him perfectly. But his promises that if you’ll even try to follow Me, He says — though you may not follow perfectly, you may fall — you will not be utterly cast down, for the Lord will uphold you with His hands.
I was Jesus Who said to get in the boat. It was Jesus Who said, let’s go to the other side. I think He knows what He’s doing. I think He knows where He’s going. And I think I can trust him, even when the wind and the waves start to kick up and scare me.
Psalm 23 says “the Lord is my Shepherd.” We’re supposed to follow the Shepherd. “I shall not want. He maketh me lie down in green pastures.” And praise God we’ve all had bright and sunny days of green pastures. Things are good. “He leadeth me beside the still waters, he restoreth my soul.”
My soul has an order. It is mind, will, and emotions. When I pass over to the other side, my soul gets scrambled, and my emotions want to go down on top of my will and my mind. My Shepherd restores my soul to the proper order. He restoreth my soul.
“He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death [the other side of the lake], I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; Thy rod [the correction that I received from You] and thy staff [The direction that I get from you] they comfort me.” It comforts me.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
What I want to say is this: My direction was set by God. He knows what the direction toward the other side was. The order was given by God.
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Hopewell Baptist Church is an Independent Baptist Church in Napa, California pastored by Mike Ray. It is Bible-based with a warm, friendly atmosphere. Hopewell is dedicated to bringing the water of life to the Napa Valley and beyond.