Summary: Many people today are wondering what is going on and why God allows trouble. The answer to our questions is not found in politics or protest, but in preaching the Gospel.
God Speaks From The Storm: Will we forget why we are here? 110908
A man was looking for his wallet in the wrong place. Has the Church looked for the answer in the wrong place?
• The world is in turmoil, or nation is in crisis.
• We are facing a storm: What will our response be?
• Will we run and hide, or will we rise and shine like a city on a hill?
• Will we carry out the mandate to make disciples of all nations?
• Running away or hiding will not fix our problems. But it is in storms that God speaks the clearest.
God speaks from the storm: Job’s greatest questions were answered by a challenge: Job 38:1-7
• Where was God? Isn’t God on our side?
• Be careful when you question God, brace yourself.
• God is speaking to us in the storm.
Acts 1-8: The Church is in a storm:
• Being Pentecostal is not only about the good feelings, it is also about being strong in hard times and being witnesses to the world.
• In great persecution, Philip leaves a successful ministry and witnesses to an Ethiopian in a key position of political power.
Much of the storm of the Church today is internal: its our own fault.
• Today, the Church often gets distracted by internal issues:
• The enemy will try to distract us with strife, petty arguments and differences when we need each other the most.
• Everett Stenhouse: “Bob Pierce said, ‘Let my heart be broken over the things which break the heart of God.’ Buildings and chairs do not break God’s heart. People break God’s heart.”
• When we persecute one another, we persecute Jesus.
Why didn’t the Jews like Christians? Because they were looking for a political savior, not a spiritual savior. Israel asked for a king rather than God and got what they asked for. There is not a political party in the world that will bring salvation. We cannot get distracted by politics. “Let the Church be the Church!”
Storms have a tendency to cause us to withdraw, reduce our efforts. We cannot afford to relax.
In our comfort and then in our struggle, have we forgotten the primary mission of the Church is to bring people to Christ? Nothing will change this nation more than the salvation of souls.
We cannot afford to preoccupied with the things that do not bring people to Christ.
We cannot relax: We have to intensify our efforts.
Start where you are. Start with your church, ministry.
• Don’t go to church less, go more!
• If we want people to come to church, we better say good things about it.
• We all get tired – Vince Lombardi: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
• Increase your efforts. Put more into your ministry.
• When is the last time you attended some training to increase your ministry ability?
Start where they are: Philip started where the Ethiopian was.
• “GO make disciples:” We cannot reach people where we are when they are not here.
• Start with your neighbor, with your coworker, with your friends and family.
• Be sensitive to people – ask questions: How is your life going?
• Pushy statements push people away. The statements against sin in scripture are mostly directed to the Church, not the world.
• Start seeing ministry as a way of life – not just an event on Sunday.
• All of us should be meeting with someone each week outside of church.
Don’t Relax! We cannot fight hiding in a hole, or a church.
M1 Tank: you can close up all the hatches, but the enemy has a weapon that can penetrate. But faith quenches the fiery darts of our enemy.
God’s salvation comes through Storms:
Saul: The great persecutor of the Church becomes the greatest voice the Church because God speaks from a storm.
It may be in this storm that the voice of truth becomes the loudest.
Jesus speaks to the storm: Mark 4:37-40
• We want to jump ship, but He speaks Peace Be Still!
• When the storm rages, take heart, it may be the voice of God.
• Let’s go to the other side with Jesus!
God is in the storm: Isaiah 43:2 When you go through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not go over you: when you go through the fire, you will not be burned; and the flame will have no power over you.
• When they persecute us, they persecute Jesus. He feels our pain.
• We got in the game late: We started 40+ days ago – we got caught off guard playing church.
• But God is both merciful and powerful – He can save to the uttermost – even in Storms!