if you want to walk on water you've got to get out of the boat

If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat BOOK SUMMARY

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If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat

Resonating Quote(s):

All of us experiences failure, and no one likes it. But for some, it becomes a kind of push on to new learning, deeper persistence, more courage. For others, it utters defeat a sense of discouragement loss of hope.

Failure management is learning from failure and is a lot better than waiting for perfection.


Big Idea #1: God asks all of His people to walk on the water and step out in faith to experience something more of His power and presence.

Water walking is discerning God’s call, transcending fear, risking faith, managing failure. It is about extreme discipleship and obedience. Disciples discern between faith and foolishness.

But discernment isn’t enough. It must be accompanied by wisdom and courage.

The Stages of Water-Walking: There is always a call —>we will experience fear —> God will reassure us —> either you answer yes or no, there will be a changed life.

God passes us by and shakes everything up. He sends us a message. He tells us that there is more than life than sitting in a boat and avoiding failure.

Your boat is whatever keeps you in your comfort zone. It represents safety and security to you apart from God. Your fear will tell you your boat. It can be family, relationships, addiction, job, etc.


The cost of getting out of the boat is a potential failure, embarrassment, criticism, perhaps even loss of life but if abandon yourself to the high adventure of following God.

According to Larry Laudan, we live in a society so fear-driven that we suffer from what he calls risk lock. A condition like a gridlock leaves us unable to do anything or go anywhere.

Fear and growth are package deals. The decision to grow always involves a choice between risk and comfort. To be a follower of Jesus, you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life.

Reality sets in when Peter saw the wind. He saw setbacks opposition and unexpected obstacles he didn’t let failure shape him. Peter failed but the worse is the eleven other disciples failed quietly.

Water failures can lead you to master failure management. The way you respond to failure shapes you.

Getting out of the boat is the only way to real growth and true faith.

Big Idea #2: Everybody receives a gift from God.

Anytime a gift is given, the recipient must choose to respond in one of two ways. First, this gift is valuable it can’t be risked. It may get broken. Second, this gift is so valuable it must be risked. It can never be used at all if not brought outside the box.

Our gifts are not to be dormant. We are all expected to contribute with enthusiasm and joy with our talent, mind, abilities, spiritual gifts, body, money, will. The time to respond is at once.

Comparison is not an excuse for the tragedy of an unopened gift.

The Lord of the Gift is wise and he knew exactly what he was doing when he created you. He is well pleased when you exist.

To fail to be good stewards of what God has given us is a form of robbing Him.

The Lord of reward has wonderful things in store for those who steward his treasure wisely.

Big Idea#3: A calling is something we discover by listening, not something we choose.

God is an active worker. He is described in the Bible my many metaphors that involve working: gardener, artist, potter, shepherd, king, home-maker, builder

You are a piece of work by God. You have a calling. You’re on a mission. God has a purpose for you- a design that is central to God’s dream for the human race.

To identify your gifts with clarity, to develop them with skill, and to use them joyfully and humble to serve God and his creation is central to why you’re created.

Take your calling with the right kind of seriousness.

You can’t choose your calling. You must let your life speak.” – Parker Palmer, Quaker

Acknowledging your limits and embraces them can bring you enormous freedom. If you lack courage, you will be imprisoned by them.

Begin to explore effectiveness in the area to which you believe God may be calling you.

Receiving a calling from God is not the same thing as falling into your dream career. It always has a price. Sometimes, in the providence of God, the end of a career is the beginning of a calling.

Big Idea#4: If you want to walk on water, you have to be willing to get your feet wet first.

Most of us love to hear stories and images about the powerful God we serve. but the problem is that information alone is not sufficient enough to create courageous human beings.

Faith is not a sort of thing acquired by trying harder. Never try to have more faith, just get to know God better. The better you know him, the more you’ll trust him.

Expand your spiritual comfort zone by asking God for wisdom and ask God for wisdom about where you need to get your feet wet then take a leap of faith.

Faith believes that with God, we are never helpless victims.

Resilient people remain committed to their values when tempted to compromise.

Storms have a way of teaching what nothing else can. Sooner or later, you have to run to God to face the pain. In your suffering, you will develop compassion.

The most common in the scripture is not ‘to love more’, but ‘Fear not.’‘Fear not’ was mentioned in the Bible 366 times. One for every day of the year including leap year.

Fear disrupts faith and becomes the biggest obstacle to trusting and obeying God.

There is a good fear: a process that helps us react immediately to potential trouble. For instance, roller coaster rides or horror movies

If you live in bad fear, you will never experience the potential that God has placed in you.

Big Idea#5: Our ability to remain focused on Christ during the storm – is largely dependent on what we feed our minds.

Hope is the fuel that the human heart runs on.

When I hope, I believe that God is at work to redeem all things regardless of how things happen to be turning out for me today.

Learned helplessness is the giving-up reaction, the quitting response that follows from the belief that whatever you do doesn’t matter.

Christ’s follower is to be marked by vital hope. Vital hope makes an extraordinary difference.

Our ability to remain focused on Christ during the storm – is largely dependent on what we feed our minds.

Two laws govern our minds. 1) The Law of Cognition (Archibald Hart), ‘you are what you think’ One’s thought life influences every aspect of one’s being. Second, the Law of exposure. Your mind will think most about what it is most exposed to. What repeatedly enters your mind occupies you.

If you want to be focused on Christ, you must begin to think thoughts that will produce those characteristics.

Big Idea#6: Learning to wait is a test of maturity.

Waiting may be the hardest single thing we are called to do but it’s the most important skill. Waiting is a test of maturity.

Delayed gratification is a process it scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with. – Scott Peck.

Waiting is something only the humble can do with grace because it rewires patient trust and inextinguishable hope.

David Hubbard mentioned we should live in these words: Walking, running, and soaring. Sometimes walking is the best we can offer God

Big Idea#7: We need to worship because we can forget that there is a God beside is and live in fear.

We are to worship God not because his ego needs it, but without worship, our experience and enjoyment of God are incomplete.

We need to worship because I can forget his calling and begin to love in a spirit of self-preoccupation.

Jesus intends to pass us by. This passing may show itself through a burning bush, pillar of fire, walk on water. But often it happens in ways that are easily missed: in a still small voice, baby in a manger. God may pass by for you by a friend or in the mundane.

Sometimes in the act of getting out of the boat, we will see a God who is bigger than we had imagined.

Your God will be bigger, your worship will grow deeper, richer, and stronger when you allow yourself to trust Him and seek to discern His calling every time you step out of the boat.

Jesus is not finished yet. He is still looking for people who will dare to trust him and refuse to allow fear to have the final word.


Let go of fear and start claiming His power to walk on the water. When God calls, there’s no plan B. Just obey. Memorize Scriptures and let it occupy your mind.


I like the way the author used psychological frameworks to explain psychological phenomena because I’m a psychology student as well. Plus he is so funny, pure John Ortberg.

I recommend this book to people who feel they are being called by God but sees the wind and are still afraid to jump into the water.

Thanks for reading! Comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat

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