Episode 3
20 December 2021

God With Us | In the Storm

When the storm is raging and you feel your head slipping under wave after wave of pain and loss, do you doubt God’s presence? Let’s look for the One who brings peace in the middle of our storms.

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christmas is around the corner how many
of you are prepared for christmas
like three hands guys like we knew this
was coming right um so you had these
invitations and and again i'm just going
to encourage you to use these because
here's here's the thing that blows my
mind i read
a statistic years ago and this was years
ago they said the average christian
invites someone to church
once every 35 years
once every 35 years that means i would
have invited one person in my lifetime
by now
like that's that's crazy to me because
we're talking about the most
life-changing transformational thing
that's ever happened in the history of
time and we have the opportunity to
invite people to experience that and
receive that into their lives
it blows my mind
hesitant we are sometimes to invite
people hey and the great thing is you
don't have to have all the answers and
in fact we don't expect you to have all
the answers because i don't have all the
answers either but it's more of a hey
this is what i've experienced with jesus
myself and i would love for you to come
and see
i'd love for you to come and experience
this yourself and here's what i want to
encourage you to do i want you to use
these as a supplement to your invite
invite people family friends co-workers
whoever it is to christmas and what i
want to see on christmas eve here's what
i want to see i want to see a line of
people at the door waiting for the
guests that they invited so you can be
their host so you can walk with them so
you can sit with them and worship with
them and you have them experience 242
and more importantly jesus in a powerful
powerful way we really believe this i'm
excited i think christmas eve for me is
the most exciting
opportunity in the life of the church i
love christmas eve and i would encourage
you to invite people to be a part of
that it's going to be an awesome
experience at all of our campuses so
even if your friends aren't from the
brighton area or wherever you are like
invite them to other campuses to be a
part of this because we really believe
that the good news of jesus will change
their life
i don't know about you if you're a
parent maybe you have a child like mine
that is constantly asking questions like
how many more minutes until christmas
like minutes i have no clue i barely
know how many days are there so there is
a website you can go to just search
christmas countdown clock you can figure
out how many seconds there are
until christmas if that's what you want
to know so if your kids asking the same
question you can look that up but we
have great anticipation about christmas
and as jesus followers our anticipation
about christmas is not just about the
christmas tree and and the presence and
all that it's it's really about this
truth that we see in matthew chapter 1
verse 23
where we see this reality that that mary
will bear a child and give birth to him
and and he will be given the son emanuel
the name emmanuel which means god with
and this is the basis for our entire
series we're looking at this reality
that god is with us in week one we talk
about what does it mean that god is with
in the moments of our valleys
last week we talked about what does it
look like for god to be with us in the
wilderness and and this week we're we're
going to dig into what does it mean for
god to be with us
in the storm
i've heard it said before that that
we're either everyone is either coming
out of a storm
in a storm
or going into a storm
not exactly the pep talk you hope to
this morning but but i think it's it's
true you don't have to live very long to
realize that the storms are a part of
life that they just kind of come up and
some of them
some of them are powerful and they are
dangerous and they're painful
and we can look back at our lives we can
say i remember that storm
i did a little bit of research on on
i wanted to know like why do we name
these storms what we name them and
here's here's what i learned crazy um a
long time ago before 1954
we used to name them by their location
their geography so it'd be like the
hurricane of miami hurricane of new
and then in 1954
some meteorologists who clearly had
boundary issues decided to name their
hurricanes after their wives and their
so i just want you to picture this for a
second like i'm a meteorologist and i
come home and say hey
dear how are you and she was like great
how was your day good there's a huge
storm off the coast of florida it is
disgusting it is huge it is dangerous it
is scary it's terrifying i named it
after you honey like how's that gonna go
over so for years that's what we did
until 1979 we decided there should be
equality and we began to name them male
names as well
and now if a storm is big enough and
destructive enough we actually retire
that name so we don't actually use the
anymore like a ring of honor if you will
of hurricanes
now some of you have experienced storms
in your life
storms in your life that you look back
at and you're like man i just wish this
storm would would end
i i wish this storm of diver of divorce
would just pass
i wish the storm of depression would be
i wish my financial storm would subside
and we look at these storms and we
wonder are we ever
going to get out of this storm
and i think one of the interesting
things that we do as christians as jesus
followers and
i think it's weird is is we begin to
blame god for our storms
or if we don't blame god for our storms
we begin to ask the question where is
god in our storms like if god is with us
where in the world is he when our life
seems to fall apart
where is he when these big storms come
up so today we're going to look through
a story in acts chapter 27 if you have
your bibles i do encourage you to open
those up
we're going to look at this story about
a storm that these guys on a boat
experience and we're going to learn our
big idea for the day now if you're a
note taker we're going to give it to you
right up front so if your notetaker i
want you to write this down
don't let the pr the presence of a storm
distract you and make you doubt the
presence of god
don't allow the presence of a storm make
you doubt the presence of god in your
life and now we're gonna we're gonna
look at this chapter and look at this
story of this storm and begin to see how
that gets lived out and what it means
for us and how can it it can empower you
to live well through a storm would you
would you pray with me as we get started
this morning
this evening father god thank you
we just take a breath
in the midst of a season that always
seems to be busy
in the midst of a season that seems to
pull us in so many different directions
lord we just
we rest with you
and that we we know emmanuel
with us
and lord that means you are with us
right now
but before we ever walked in this door
you were ready to
to work on us to
grow us and to love us and show us grace
and and forgiveness and healing and
lord we just thank you for that
so lord today may we put aside
every concern
and focus holy and completely on you so
we walk out of these doors we're forever
not because some guy talked from stage
or we sing songs or prayed prayers but
because today we encountered the living
god in this place
all right so the 27th chapter of the
book of acts we got this group of guys
on a boat
and they are beginning to freak out
because there's this storm and it's a
big storm and it's a long storm and it's
a terrifying storm you've got the winds
are blowing the rain is falling the
waves are crashing guys are puking over
the edge of the boat is that kind of
storm they're just terrifying they're
actually taking things and throwing them
overboard because they're afraid the
boat's going to sink and i think if we
lighten the load maybe it won't sink
so here are these guys who just assume i
think at this point that they are going
to die in this storm and we pick up in
verse 20.
when neither sun nor stars appeared for
many days
and the storm continued raging we
finally gave up all hope
of being
maybe you've used those words in a storm
the storm just seemed relentless it
seemed like it was never going to let up
it just seemed like you were never going
to get out of it so eventually you throw
your hands up in the air and you say i
give up
i've lost all hope of being saved
clearly i'm just going to die
in this storm
maybe your marriage is struggling
and you doubt it's ever going to be
maybe you wonder if you'll ever get out
of debt or ever graduate or ever get
married or ever have kids or ever
recover from depression and
you're just throwing your hands up and
say i just
i just give up i've
i've lost all hope
because the storm's just raging and
while you seem to have lost it listen to
verse 21
after they had gone a long time without
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 now look look
paul's a spiritual guy
like sometimes you just want to smack
him you you ever experienced people like
this like they're they are fearing for
their life and paul's response is told
you so
should have listened to me you might
have been this problem
it's like whether it's true or not like
it's just paul is just not the time
right now
and no matter how annoying it must have
been for them
there was a part of them they knew it
was true
because they made this decision to sail
into this danger they made this decision
to to get on that boat and go out uh
into the vastness if you will
and encounter the situation and the
reality is
sometimes it's our fault
i think a lot of times we like to say
well the devil made me do it or are the
enemies after me or we blame it on on
something else but the reality is
sometimes hear this with love sometimes
it's your own dumb fault
and i and i know this because many times
when i find myself in a storm it's my
own dumb fault because people tell me
all the time
and you find yourself
like in this storm and in this chaos it
was because you made decisions that were
you did things that you shouldn't have
and you find yourself in the storm
my kids i'd like can we can we just i'm
going to ask ask you a question like if
you have kids at home
is it just my family
that every morning it's like a new
experience to get ready for school
like it's never happened before like we
haven't just done it for an entire
semester every morning it's like i
didn't know i had to put shoes on to go
to school like you have to like this is
a process like one time like we get up
we're getting ready we're like trying to
rush them out the door and they're like
i can't find my coat where where's your
coat i don't know dad where'd you put it
where did i put your coat
i can't find my shoe you ever have that
i can't find my shoe
you've got one of them on where's the
other one i don't know why weren't they
together i don't know
one time we had a uh
for breakfast they had a cup of milk
and it was a busy day nobody like poured
it out and put it away and we went to
bed that night still on the table the
next morning one of them gets up and
tries to drink the milk we're like no no
probably don't want to drink that milk
right now
it's been sitting out all night and the
response was no it wasn't i was like
yeah that was yours from yesterday that
never got dumped out never got taken
care of and the response was well
someone else must have refilled it to
get me in trouble
it is amazing how good we are at not
taking responsibility for ourselves
and the problem is we become adults and
we do the same thing
that we find ourselves in a storm
and we want to blame everything but
and the truth of the matter is sometimes
you're in the middle of a storm because
you spent too much money
sometimes you're in the middle of a
storm because your emotions got the best
of you and you did things and said
things you probably shouldn't have done
and probably shouldn't have said
sometimes you're in a storm because
everybody told you not to date that guy
your mom your dad your pastor your
friends your fortune cookie but you did
it anyway and you still find yourself
in the middle of the storm sometimes
we're just in a storm
because we put ourselves there
and i think sometimes
when we're in that kind of storm that we
cause for ourselves we
we begin to wonder if god would ever
rescue us from that because here's the
thing like if god put me in a storm
god will pull me out
if i put myself in the storm i think in
our minds we begin to say well why would
god ever pour me out if
if i put myself here
so as the storm rages on and rages on we
begin to just lose all hope
now let's be clear there were some
people on the boat that it wasn't their
the captain said sale so they had to
sell they really have a whole
big choice in that and maybe you've been
in that kind of storm before
there was just someone else's fault it
was no fault of your own someone else
made bad decisions or did things and
and you find yourself in a storm don't
point them out right now that's awkward
but you just know that someone else did
something and it put you
in the middle of a storm
maybe someone you work with or someone
you live with or someone you know just
they broke your trust
and because they broke your trust you
find yourself in a storm and it hurts
and it's hard and it was never your
fault or maybe as a kid your parents got
and let me be very clear it was not your
but you found yourself in a storm
you didn't pick the storm you didn't
choose the storm
and this is where we must remember never
never never let the presence of a storm
make you doubt the presence of god
and this is what i think paul's saying
here in verse 22 he says but now i urge
you to keep up your courage
because not one of you will be lost only
the ship
will be destroyed
so here they are in the middle of this
storm and paul says oh take courage
take courage because you are not alone
and he talks about this angel being next
to him and maybe for you there's in the
middle of your storm there's an angel
with you
don't let the presence of a storm make
you doubt the presence of god because
god is with you in so many different
ways he's with you in this community of
faith right now
he's with you in your small groups
he's with your new close friends he's
with you when you read scripture he's
with you when you pray he's with you
when you just sit in silence he's with
you at all times you're never alone that
is with you who wants a couple bonus
it's a exciting day bonus verses second
at my first defense no one came to my
but everyone
deserted me and hear this may it not be
held against them
that crazy
but the lord stood at my side
and gave me strength
so that through me the message might be
fully proclaimed and all the gentiles
might hear it and i was delivered from
the lion's mouth well he was not alone
psalm 16 8
i keep my eyes always on the lord
with him at my right hand i will not be
shaken it doesn't matter the storm that
you're in the presence of god
is with you
do not let the presence of a storm
make you doubt the presence of god now
some of you are going to learn and
realize that the storm that you're going
through right now the lord has not left
it may feel at times like the lord has
left you he has not left you he is with
you and when you realize he's with you
your mood changes
your confidence changes your attitude
changes the things you do change and the
way you walk through the storm changes
because you know that you are not alone
i was in fourth grade my my best friend
his name was chris
i want to share a dysfunctional
friendship with you he was an awesome
dude he was
he was a tough guy and when i was with
chris i never felt
i lacked confidence i never felt at
danger or at risk one time uh one of the
bullies was kind of picking on me and he
he punched them for me
and another time we're staying the line
getting ready to leave and someone
challenged him to put his finger
in the stapler and run a staple through
his finger and he says i will if tony
tells me to and i'm fourth grade of
course i'm like yeah do it
and he did he just ran that staple right
through his finger the the loyalty this
guy had in fourth grade was unbelievable
it was dysfunctional and weird
but i always felt safe with chris
when you know that there is a strength
beyond yourself that is with you
it changes the way you live your life
when you're in the midst of a storm
and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt
that god is with you and strengthening
you you ride out that storm differently
there's another um story in the bible
about guys on a boat getting scared in
the midst of a storm and this was kind
of funny to me because jesus is actually
with them but he's sleeping in the boat
and the storm rises up and it's a really
dangerous storm and they're beginning to
freak out just like the story in acts
and and they go over and wake up jesus
wake up jesus we're all going to die and
jesus sits up and i just imagine jesus
like super calm and cool like he always
is and he sits up and he says
why are you afraid
you have little faith
then he says peace
be still and the wind and the waves stop
now and pause for a second
i don't think he's only talking to the
wind and the waves
i think he's talking the guys in the
i think he's talking to you
then the midst of the storm
just have peace
and be still
because i am with you
and he calmed the storm
i i think for me it's just this amazing
of where we find our peace
that peace
is not found in the absence of a storm
peace is found in the presence of jesus
it's not found in the absence of a storm
it is found in the presence of jesus
like a christian life is not one without
trouble like there's there's no such
thing as a life without trouble that
that's just honestly really bad theology
you will have trouble in this world
in fact jesus talks about in john 16
it says i've told you these things so
that in me you may have peace
in this world you will have trouble but
take heart
i've overcome the world
jesus doesn't say i'm going to get rid
of all your trouble he says you will
have trouble but guess what
you have peace in the fact that i
am with you
and i have overcome the world real peace
is not found in the absence of a storm
real peace is found in the presence of
jesus and he is with you
no matter what kind of storm you face no
matter how bad it seems he is with you
and that friends is where real peace is
let's go back to verse 23.
last night an angel of the god to whom i
belong and whom i serve stood beside me
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
so basically what what god is is telling
paul is
paul you have stuff to do
like this this ship may go down but
you're not going down with it like you
have people to love
you have people to bless
you have people to share me with like
you you're not going down with this ship
i will rescue you
like the storm's still
happening but take courage i'm going to
rescue you
from this
and here's what i love i love the fact
that you know god may not cause the
storm in your life
but he will use the storm in your life
and i think what he's telling paul is
look look this storm i know it's bad i
know it's scary and it's bad but i'm i'm
going to use this for good
and i think that's what he wants to tell
you about yours
i know it's scary i know what's bad i
know it's hard but i'm with you and i
promise you in the end i'm going to use
this for good i'm i'm going to use this
for my glory
because i think one day you will stand
on the shoreline
and you will look back and you will say
i never want to go through that storm
but i wouldn't trade it for anything now
because the intimacy
and the experience
and the knowledge of god
that we get through that
changes your life
and one day someday someone's going to
share a story with you and they're going
to tell you about the storm they're
going through and you're going to be
like you know what
i went through a storm like that once
and your story is going to help them
walk more boldly
through theirs
verse 25
so keep up your courage men
for i have faith in god that it will
happen just as he
men women children keep up your courage
paul says
because i have every confidence that the
lord will make it happen as i said
my faith is in the one who causes the
my faith is in the one who made the
waters my faith is the one who made the
trees that made the ship my faith is in
the almighty god who has power over all
i have faith in my god to see us through
so you can't control the storm
you can't control the winds or the rains
or the thunder or the shaking but
but you can't control who you believe in
you can't control where you put your
so where you put your faith
in the middle of the storm
where do you put your faith
paul says take courage you are not alone
so because of your faith in christ you
can say i will not be afraid why because
god is with me
it's not because the storm's not scary
or hard or difficult or painful it's
because god is with me
that's why i can be without fear
because i'm not alone
peace is not found in the absence of a
storm peace is found in the presence of
jesus in your life and he's with me
and he's with you
no matter what kind of storm you find
yourself in he is with
see oftentimes in the midst of a storm
i think it's hard for us to see how he's
with us because we get blinded by
everything that's going on that we don't
notice that he is
right next to you
that he is right there with you the
entire time because if we open our eyes
if we open our eyes we'll begin to
realize that he's there
you see friends storms are a part of
your life
they will be and if you're not in one
now you're either coming out of one or
maybe you're going into one soon but the
storms are there
but those storms do not have to destroy
your peace
because your peace is not found in the
absence of the storm your peace is found
in the presence of jesus
because this season we celebrate
emmanuel which means god
with us
and i think the important thing is to
remember that god is with us in all
whether it's the valley or the
mountaintops whether it's the wilderness
or the paradise god is with you
because my prayer for you this season is
whatever kind of storms you're
experiencing in your life i don't i
don't know what those are
some of you are experiencing storms that
are just rocking your boat
and you're afraid you're going to go
and you just want the storm to pass and
you know the the peace that you're
looking for
is not found in the absence of the storm
the peace you're looking for is in the
presence of jesus
so my prayer for you this season is that
you don't allow the presence of the
to make you doubt the presence of god in
your life
so i think i think today we just
in the midst of everything going on the
midst of christmas and all the the chaos
and the stuff we just want to
kind of pause and take a breath
in the midst of the storm and the chaos
and the winds
just know
that god is with you
and maybe in the midst of the storm what
you need to hear is that jesus sits up
and says
why are you afraid
i'm right here
let's pray
lord god we um
there are storms
and sometimes they come seemingly out of
god you are with us
i guess lord what i ask today is you
help us to
see that
and to know that
we might be looking for peace in so many
different places we might be looking for
peace in the
absence of the storm but at the end of
the day god peace is found in you and
you alone
so god we thank you for your presence
even when we don't see it
most importantly god in the midst of the
storm and the fierceness of that danger
and that
terrifying time in our lives lord thank
thank you for being emmanuel
god with us

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