I enjoyed going through The Story together as a church. It was neat to all be studying the same thing and to be reminded of the broad, overarching upper story of God’s work in the world.
After The Story it seems best to explore something that gives us a picture of what life looks like if you truly find your place in The Story.
When someone truly finds their role in God’s Story they live lives like those found in Acts.
Jesus speaks to his disciples and says “you will be my witnesses.” I wonder if they knew what Jesus was talking about. We often hear something and understand something different – this is very common for me. Let me explain this to you. You grew up speaking English and your vocabulary has changed over the years. I grew up speaking Spanish and I have long tried to learn English and it has been very difficult.
When someone tells me something sometimes I understand and sometimes not. Sometimes I think that I understand. Beau always says to me, “Tú comprende?” and my answer is “Noooo.” You can determine by my answer or my behavior whether I really understand.
What is interesting here is that the disciples lived with Jesus for a long time. I wonder what they understood when Jesus said to them, “You will be my witnesses.”
In The Story we read of Paul’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd missionary journeys. Everywhere he went he experienced hardships. He recalls to the Corinthians that he was a servant of Jesus Christ. He reminds them he had been in prison frequently; been flogged most severely; had been exposed to death again and again. Five times he’d received from the Jews, 40 lashes, minus one; three times he’d been beaten with rods; stoned once; three time shipwrecked and spent a night and day in the open sea; has had to be constantly on the move in danger from his own countrymen. He had been in danger from rivers, bandits; danger in the country and at sea and danger from false brethren. He had labored and toiled and gone without sleep, was hungry and thirsty, cold and naked. Besides all these things, he had the worry and concern for all the churches. Even with Satan on his heals with every step he took, he did not feel weak because Christ was with him.
The past couple of weeks have been a storm filled time: the volatility and racial turmoil in Ferguson Missouri, the beheading of the journalist in Iraq, the murder and religious persecution there, the situation in Ukraine. Closer to home, right here in our congregation, there have been storms…storms of many kinds. The most apparent is that people have been dying. And it’s “the good guys,” the people who have been the heart and soul of Singing Oaks. I’m tired of it!
It is an uncanny coincidence that this week I am preaching on Paul’s shipwrecks, storms and trials: uncanny because of the state of the world, uncanny because the storm feels so real right now; uncanny because, if God has a purpose and a plan for you, He is not going to put you in a safe harbor. He will put you in the eye of the storm. I believe that God has a plan for us. I believe He has a purpose. But that purpose will necessarily take us through storms.
The good news is this: our God is the God of the storm!
If you haven’t been on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or most any other social media recently then you may have missed the new trend of video sharing. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry. YouTube alone has more than 1 billion unique users who visit the site each month and over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month. Those users upload 100 hours of video each MINUTE! Vote: Is this a good thing or a bad thing?