“I’m Swamped, And He’s Sleeping”

“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” – Mark 4:37-38

Danger often rises suddenly. It would be nice if we could ride out our storms in insulated, watertight boats, but we sail life’s seas in fragile vessels. The storm in this passage is not symbolic, but real – representing all the storms in life.

You see, storms can be furious and come up suddenly when you least expect them. That day, the storm seemed to come out of nowhere, and the disciples were alarmed. The storm was so fierce the waves broke over the ship to the point it was nearly swamped.

“Swamped” is how we feel when storms rise in our lives. The Gospel term here is “nearly swamped.” The adverb, “nearly,” tells the disciples, and us, that no matter the peril, we are never completely swamped. While wind and waves rage around us, it is easy to assume we have been totally overcome. But, the presence of the One with us is our protection in the midst of any storm.

The disciples initially missed the truth. They assumed Christ’s presence on board did not make a difference in their nearly swamped boat. Our feelings often betray us. We forget that we are not alone, and that He has promised, “I will never leave you.” Even when we acknowledge the Savior’s presence, so often it appears He is asleep in our storm.

In the Gospel story, He was asleep on a cushion or pillow. But, the disciples reached a false conclusion. They assumed since Jesus was sleeping He did not care if they drowned. So, they woke Him up. I doubt if they expected a miracle. Perhaps, they wanted one more hand to help them bail water.

Often, we do the same thing. A fierce wind blows into our lives. We feel overwhelmed. Despite our best efforts, things only get worse. Our frail attempts at stability and safety gain us nothing, and we soon discover we are losing the battle.

We go to the Lord in prayer. We find Him “sleeping.” We won’t sense an answer. How can He remain silent when we are in so much trouble? Out first inclination is to jump to the conclusion, “Lord, you don’t care!”

So, we offer our own solutions to Him: “Grab a bucket and help me bail water.” We do not see it at the time, but His inaction in the present moment will provide a superior solution than what we proposed. It may take time to see it.

It is better for us to have the Savior sleeping in our boat than for us to sail along without Him. His presence in the storm will ultimately make all the difference! Realize that He is always there, and He does care. Even when He may be silent, He is never absent. Until then, let us continue…

Changing Lives for Eternity!

With Love,

Pastor Terry & Tina Richardson


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“Life’s Unexpected Twist”

“They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him” Mark 5:1-2

Sometimes you end up at a place you did not plan to go. It was that way with the disciples. On the northwestern corner of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus had said, “Let us go over to the other side” (Mark 4:35). They probably figured they could hug the shoreline, sail a few miles, and then end up on the northeastern edge of the lake where a number of them had their homes, Bethsaida.

But the wind blew them off course, and they hit the shore several miles southeast of Bethsaida, at Gadara.

Have you ever been blown off course with an unexpected twist in life? I will be the first to put up my hand.

I graduated from seminary in Fort Worth with a wife and two small daughters. As Sister Tina and I were seeking God’s direction, I received a phone call from a pastor in Los Angeles asking us to serve as associate pastors at his church. We were not from California, not knowing of anyone there, but God did a suddenly moment in an unexpected twist, and we went. After serving in the Los Angeles church for two years and being very happy there, thinking we would be permanent Californians, God did another unexpected twist in our lives and opened up a door for us to serve at a large church in Houston. We were in Houston eleven years, thinking we would be permeant Houstonians, but God did another surprise twist and brought us back to our home church in San Antonio to serve as pastors.

Sometimes Jesus takes us to places we do not intend to go, for I never intended to go to California. We prefer to go, as did the disciples, to a familiar place where we know our friends and family. But, we find ourselves in places we have never been, working in situations we did not choose, or living in a neighborhood not of our choosing. When I look back on it, if I never went to California, I would have never went to Houston, and more than likely would not have ended up full circle back home.

It must have been a shock when the disciples found themselves in Gerasene land. It’s likewise a shock when we find ourselves where we had no intention of going or wished we didn’t have to remain.

But on the other side of the lake was a person who needed the Lord’s help. From the shoreline, that man watched as the boat drew near. Then he raced to the shore line to welcome Jesus.

The incident became a life lesson for the disciples. Contrary winds would sometimes take them where they had no intention of going, but the Lord knew someone desperately needed their presence, help, and the good news they carried.

As we look ahead, God has some unexpected twists for you and our church. Often, they will come as a surprise and not seem logical. But, as we pursue and seek after God we know that God orders our steps and directs our paths. There are people on the other side of the lake who need our presence, help, and prayers. Let us allow God to shake up our comfort zones and be willing and available for the tremendous things He has ahead.

Until then, let us continue…

Changing Lives for Eternity!

With Love,

Pastors Terry & Tina Richardson 


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“Don’t Back Up!”

“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And, I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots and his horseman.” Exodus 14:14-18

In this passage, God’s people were being pursued by Pharaoh and his Egyptian army. However, only the Lord knew what it would take to deliver his chosen people from slavery. As the Israelites came to the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army behind them and the hills on each side, the only thing they could do was go forward. It was impossible to go back. In actuality, there was nothing to go back to!

In the midst of their dilemma God told them, “Go forward!”. Ultimately, they won the victory over Pharaoh’s great army because God was with them before, during, and after the crossing of the Red Sea.

In spite of the obstacles the enemy has put before you, there is also victory for you if you face every day with the attitude that you are going forward and not back. So, how do you move forward without moving back?

Know that you are heading to something better

Where you are now is only temporary. This is not your final destination. Heaven is our goal and not the things this world has to offer. To move forward you must move out of the place of your comfort. The Israelites became comfortable in Egypt. They were used to settling for leftovers, but, recognize God has better things ahead.

Change your attitude
The Israelites developed a slave mentality. They became content with where they were. People of God sometimes get accustomed to their surrounds or they get used to “hand me downs” even if it’s not the best the Lord has for them.

God has called His people to be the head and not the tail, to be above and not below, to be victorious and not the victim. Your attitude determines your altitude.

Have faith in God and put to use what He has placed in your hand

In this verse, God said to Moses, “Raise your staff and stretch your hand over the sea.” Notice the only thing Moses had was faith in what God had promised and a stick. What has He given you to move yourself and lead others to their destiny? It might be a talent such as singing or playing an instrument, to a trade like carpentry or landscaping. It doesn’t matter what it is, but, use it for the glory of the Lord.

Depend upon God’s favor and not man’s favor

God showed his favor upon Moses and Israel. God desires to show His favor upon you as you walk in obedience to His will.

Depend upon God’s power
As Moses lifted his rod toward the Red Sea, the power of God was demonstrated and the waters parted. Not only does God give you power to overcome the obstacles of life, but He gives you the power to move forward-if you are willing. Be determined to heed the voice of God and not allow anything to stop you from drifting back into the things that once held you down or back.

As we move forward as a church, God has wonderful things ahead for us. With the construction of the West Campus on Potranco Road in progress and God’s dream becoming a reality, we have many things to do. We can’t look back and be distracted, but must move ahead by faith to see in the spiritual what God will do in the natural because the best is yet to come!

With Love,

Pastor Terry & Tina Richardson


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