Tall ship mania that can be the only way to describe what has hit the streets of our fair city over the past three days. Not that itís bad, stores and hotels have made several gazillion dollars this weekend, our musical artists have been given an incredible boost through the national coverage afforded them through the tall ships publicity and the spin off effects will last throughout the summer. All in all, not a bad deal. A couple of weeks ago as I was planning my preaching schedule for the summer I realized that in order to be relevant and cutting edge that I would need to come to the party, and at least nominally mention the tall ships this week.

Most of you are aware that I come from a long line of sea farers, at least my father and grand father were both shipís captains so maybe itís not that long, and I first went to sea when I was fifteen, and after four years of throwing up decided that might not be the best place for me to spend the rest of my life. Lord Nelson, of Nelsonís Landing Fame had advice for people like me, because he reportedly said that The best cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree. Iíve tried it and it works. But itís hard to get the sea out of your blood and for years I had a plaque on my office wall that contained the words of Psalm 107:23-24 Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters, They see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.

And as I looked ahead at Tall Ships 2004 I wondered what I would preach on, my first thought was to preach on the ships of the Bible, you know worship, fellowship and discipleship. But then I thought, ďno thatís really stretching it a too muchĒ And so I came back to the Psalm 107, which is a poem about those whom God has touched and redeemed. Verse two asks this question Psalm 107:2 Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has saved you from your enemies. And then David, the author of this Psalm goes on to talk about various ways God delivered his people the people He redeemed, and one of those referred to those who went to sea in ships. And I began to think about different instances in the bible where people of God were on ships, or involved with ships.

Probably the first time a boat of any kind is mentioned in Godís word is way back in the book of Genesis, which is the very first book of the Bible. Itís a story that most if not all of you are familiar with and that is the story of Noah and the ark. And the entire story is summed up in one verse in the Book of Hebrews in the New Testament. It is here that we read this account.

Hebrews 11:7 It was by faith that Noah built an ark to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about something that had never happened before. By his faith he condemned the rest of the world and was made right in Godís sight.

So the first ship in the Bible was The Ship of Redemption. The world was going to hell in a basket, so to speak and God spoke