Rev. Nancy T. Lee
Community of Hope AME Church
Speaking at Metropolitan AME Church
Women’s Day, 7:45 a.m. Service
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Scripture: Acts 27: 9-26; 43-44 and Psalm 37:25 NIV Bible Translation: “The Storm:”
9 Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Day of Atonement. So Paul warned them, 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” 11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. 12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest. 13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure, 17 so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. 21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” Acts 27: 43-44: 43 But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely. Psalm 37:25 25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
2011 was a challenging year, full of storms. But a storm for YOU is not necessarily a storm for ME. Some of us experienced physical storms, such as a disturbing report from the doctor. But the storm is passing over, thanks be to God. When you are going through a storm, have you noticed that much advice is available, but very little help? 2011 was a stormy year because some saw their homes subjected to foreclosure. Some saw secure jobs lost. Some saw savings that had been accumulated over many years slowly exhausted. Some of us found ourselves robbing Peter to pay Paul.
In verse 10 of the scripture, Paul advised the crew not to leave the harbor; but his warning was ignored and they sailed into the storm. Sometimes our impatience places us in a storm. Sometimes we enter in to a hasty marriage when all the signs were against it. Sometimes we are impatient to move to the other side of town to get away from the high crime rate, and we find ourselves being robbed on the other side of town. Some of us are impatient about staying in a church in which we feel we are not being fed. But you can’t get fed if you don’t come to the altar.
The scripture today gives us three “D’s” to guide us until the storm passes over:
1. DON’T DRIFT. In the scripture, when the storm got increasingly rough, the crew just gave up and started to drift. When we drift, we let go of our goals and we forget where we are headed. We just go with the flow. In the midst of your darkest storm, remember that God is the light, and there is no need to drift.
2. DON’T DISCARD. In the scripture, in the midst of the storm, the crew threw the cargo overboard. Sometimes we drift, then we throw out the very things we need to keep: We give up on our dreams, goals, relationships, and values. V29: “When it looked as if all were lost…” The safest thing to do in the storm is to STAND STILL and watch God’s will unfold.
Sometimes situations seem so overwhelming that we just want to change everything. That’s when we need to anchor in God. We miss what God intends for us because we keep moving out of vision. Have any of you ever experienced “missed blessings?” You look back over your life and you see the blessings that you missed because you were too busy to appreciate them, or you didn’t stay in a relationship long enough to receive them.
3. DON’T DESPAIR. In Verse 20, they gave up all hope of being saved. In order to withstand the storms, you need to be covered, covered by the blood of Jesus. In verse 25, the disciples were covered because of Paul’s faith, not because of their own faith. Some of us have been spared during the storms of life because of the prayers and the faith of others – our mothers, our fathers, our grandmothers our grandfathers.
Sometimes you are so down and in such despair that YOU can’t pray. Make sure you’ve got some people in your life who can get a prayer through.
Finally, Brothers and Sisters, the storm is not meant to DESTROY you; it is meant to bring you closer to God. Think about it – many of you found Jesus during a storm. You were battered and scarred by an angry sea, and Jesus caught you.
So, no matter what it looks like; no matter whether you are in a storm, just got out of a storm, or are going into a storm, know that the storm is passing over.
- Sermon Notes: When God is the Center of Your Life
- Sermon Notes: Hope for Weeping Eyes
- Sermon Notes: Setting Your Sights on Higher Places
- Sermon Notes: When the Winds Blow Your Life Off Course
- Sermon Notes: When You Need to Hear a Good Word
Tags: Women's Day 2012, Women's Season