TEXT: Mark 4:35 - 41; Matthew 8:23ff; Luke 8:22ff
TITLE: How to Calm the Storm
SERIES: God is BIG part 1
TOPIC: God’s power; God’s provision
OCCASION: Burnside Christian Church, October 5, 2008
PROP.: How God brings peace in the midst of the storm! God is big enough to handle it!
INRODUCTION: Everyone will face one eventually. Some will be longer than others. Most are little. But some can be monstrous! What am I talking about? Storms! And when it’s raining out, all you want to do is find shelter! Today, we are going to study about what to do when the storms of life find you! Our text takes us to Mark’s gospel. Mark 4:35-41.
Matthew and Luke also record the event that we are going to be reading about. But we’re focusing on Mark’s record of this story.
HOW BIG IS GOD? This is the question I want to answer this month.
Last week, we got to see a small glimpse of just how BIG God is. We learned that God is bigger than me! We learned that God created the UNIVERSE! In God’s universe what measurement is used? Not the foot. Not the yard. Not even the mile. It’s the LIGHT YEAR! Light travels 186,000 miles per second (a beam of light can go around the earth 7 times a second!)…you take that speed and calculate the distance that light would travel in a year, you get 5.33 TRILLION miles or what we refer to as the LIGHT year.
It takes just 7 minutes for the light to go from the sun to our tiny planet…earth. And so we know the universe is vast! It’s HUGE! And it takes a big God to create a big universe.
This is a picture of our galaxy…you can’t even see the sun! And the sun is many times bigger than our planet!
Today our text is going to reveal how big God is:
Let’s turn to Mark’s gospel. Chapter 4, starting in verse 35.
35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." 36Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?"
39He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
41They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"
Today, I want you to know: GOD IS BIGGER THAN…THE STORM!
T.S.: Three facts about the storm…
I. The storm will come! (but the storm will go!)
It’s been said that there are things you can be certain of…two of them are DEATH AND TAXES. I would suggest another one to add to the list is STORMS! You can be assured that a storm will hit sometime in your life…
And a storm was about to hit for the disciples…
A. The Conditions for a storm were perfect…
1. The Sea of Galilee
--Our story takes place on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus and his students were in Capernaum (which is on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee). Their destination was straight south. Only, they ran into a bit of a problem…
Some information about the Sea of Galilee:
Allow me to give you some information about the sea of Galilee that you may find helpful. The sea of Galilee is also known as: lake Tiberius, Lake Gennersaret, and the Sea of Tiberius. It is famous for the quality and abundance of its fish. The lake at it’s widest point is only 8 miles wide and is about 13 miles long.
--The Sea of Galilee is a small fresh water lake surrounded by hills. It is 680 feet below sea level. Winds blowing across the land intensify close to the sea, often causing violent and unexpected storms.
ILLUSTRATION: --Great lakes. I grew up in Michigan. Michigan is surrounded by 5 large lakes! The one we visited most often was Lake Michigan. I’ve been on a fishing boat on Lake Michigan. Often times they will issue small craft advisories and warnings because the conditions on the lake are dangerous.
And so it is on the Sea of Galilee. Storms can seem to come out of no-where! And still today, fishermen are warned that sudden and violent storms can arise.
B. Conditions for a storm in your life, are perfect!
Your life is the perfect setting for storms to pop out of no where! The conditions are just right! Your schedule is full…you are stressed to the breaking point…you hate your job…your family is in turmoil…money is tight…so Don’t be surprised by the storm!
--If everything is going great right now in your life, I want you to remember these times and have faith in Jesus…because the storm WILL come! It only takes a split second for your world to be rocked.
--Sudden death of a loved one!
--a bad prognosis from a doctor
--a 1.3 trillion dollar loss in the DOW industrial market in a single day!
--your spouse telling you they don’t love you anymore
C. Prepare for the storm!
So if you know storms are going to come into your life…you need to prepare yourself for them!
ILLUSTRATION: Hurricane preparation. On FEMA’s website, they have precautions and preparations they list as part of what to do before a storm hits…
Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
Consider building a safe room.
HOW ABOUT CONSIDER MOVING??? ANY STATE THAT SUGGESTS YOU MIGHT WANT TO BUILD A ‘SAFE ROOM’ IS A STATE I DON’T WANT TO MOVE TO!
So what can you do to prepare for the storm that WILL come into your life?
What were the disciples doing before the storm?
1. They were following Jesus!
Each gospel writer indicates that it was Jesus’ idea to get into the boat and travel. And each gospel writer indicates that his disciples followed him!
2. Follow Jesus in the good times! Don’t just turn to Him in the bad times! Look to follow Him when the sun is shining and everything is how its supposed to be!
Make plans to secure your faith. Decide now that no matter WHAT life throws at you, you will decide to follow God no matter what! (Joshua did that…Choose for yourselves THIS DAY whom you will follow…but as for me and my house…we will serve the Lord!).
It’s true. Storms are going to come upon you in this life. And that doesn’t sound very encouraging…so let me give you the other side of it…STORMS WILL GO! The storm will not be here forever! It will unleash it’s power upon you for a while, but in a little while, the storm will disappear! The sun will shine again!
II. The storm will be BIG! (but Jesus is present through the storm!)
A. the disciples’ storm was BIG!
These disciples were not surprised in the fact that a storm came upon them. They were seasoned fishermen. They were used to storms. But what did surprise them was the size of the storm!
And this was a big storm. Luke describes the storm in Luke 8:23 “…A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger!”
Our text writer, Mark, describes the storm in verse 37: “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped!”
Matthew’s gospel describes the storm in chapter 8 vs. 24 “Without warning, a furious storm came upon the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat!”
--2 Greek words:
To help you understand better just how big this storm was…Matthew uses two Greek word which the NIV translate “furious storm”. If you have a King James version, it reads “great tempest”. Here’s what it says in the Greek. Meg-os Seiz-mos. This is where we get our English words MEGA SIZEMIC! The storm the disciples were facing was a MEGA SIZEMIC STORM! IT WAS HUGE! It had them rattled and scared!
B. the disciples’ boat was small
--EXPLAIN THE SIZE OF THE BOAT THEY WERE IN!
In 1986 an amazing discovery was found on the shores of the sea of Galilee. It was a particularly dry summer and the lake of Galilee had receded to unveil a hidden treasure. A fishing boat from the first century was found. Here are some pictures of that fishing boat. The boat is only 30 feet long; 8 feet wide; and 4 feet tall. 15 different types of wood were used in the creation of this boat. And they found some other artifacts with the boat: fishing hooks, cooking pot, oil lamp and some nails.
Now how many of you would feel comfortable in a boat of this size while a MEGA SIZEMIC STORM WAS GOING ON?
Their boat was tiny compared to the seas stirred up by the storm! And so..
1. their comfort was threatened
--this storm was a real threat. They have seen plenty of storms on the sea of Galilee, but this one was more violent than they had ever seen.
And to top it all off, not only was their physical well being threatened…but
2. their faith was challenged!
--Jesus calls them on it! Oh you who have little faith! Why did you doubt? Did the disciples forget about all the miracles performed? Did the disciples forget Jesus IS God? Wouldn’t that just be great if this story read this way:
“one day, Jesus and a bunch of his followers hopped in a boat to travel to the other side of the lake. Only, a big storm came and sunk the boat and 7 out of the 12 disciples drowned. The end.”
Jesus wasn’t done with the disciples and there was no force on earth (including a mega sizemic storm) that could disrupt God’s plans. And the disciples needed to be reminded of that.
LISTEN LOVED ONES…The storm you are facing is BIG! No denying that. Your safety is threatened and your faith in God and everything else that you were once confident about are now being challenged. The waves of tough circumstances are threatening to swamp you…to bury you where you are at!
Here is the good news. Even though the storm will be BIG…Jesus will be present through the storm! Good news? AMEN IT’S GOOD NEWS!
We are not promised an easy life free from turmoil. If anything, we are warned that life will be hard! “What? You mean I’m going to suffer just like everyone else?? Then why would I want to waste my time being a Christian?” I’ll tell you why. Because the presence of Jesus during the storm makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE!!!!
III. The storm is smaller than God!
In those times where you might forget how BIG God really is, allow your thoughts to remember how big the planets are! Remember how big the universe is! Remember how small this planet is! It takes a BIG, BIG God to create all of that!
So what do you do if you are in the middle of a storm right now????
A. During the storm…
As I look at this story in the Bible, I see 5 principles that we need to follow when we are experiencing the storms of life first hand…
1. Go to God!
Where was God during this storm in Mark? Verse 38 “Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.”
It can be very easy to read this verse and just skip on over it to the rest of the story. So I’ll read it again: “Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.” WHAT AN AMAZING VERSE!!! WHAT A DEFINING VERSE!!!! This verse gives a glimpse of the perfect mix of Christ’s divinity & humanity! This verse reminds me that Jesus was fully human and fully God at the same time!
A. Jesus is human - he was tired! After a long day of ministry, his physical body
was worn out and needed re-energized!
B. Jesus is God - Here a strong storm was raging and yet Jesus wasn’t worried about or stressing about it. He knew the storm was under control. So he was able to sleep.
So the disciples go to God and tell Him their worries!
Where can YOU find God?
-- In church (where two or more are present in MY NAME)
--In His word!
--With YOU! (I will never leave nor forsake you!)
ILLUSTRATION: wrist band that I wear…it glows in the dark and it simply read “I am here!” I wear it as a reminder that God is with me no matter where I go! Great comfort in knowing that!
2. Remember, you’re not alone in the midst of the storm!
--There were other boats present!
The comfort of not being alone…
--God was present!
We sang about it today: “You never let go…you never let go…”
3. Keep bailin’water!
Don’t give up! Hang in there! Keep fighting. You can do it! Just a little while longer. You will get through this! You’ll be all right! You’re doing great!
1st Corinthians 15:57,58
57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
4. Allow God to speak peace into your life!
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you”
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus said, “QUIET! BE STILL!”….and there was peace. There was serenity. There was a stillness and a calmness that seemed to mock the storm’s power.
If you will but allow Jesus to say “QUIET! BE STILL!” I think you’ll experience a peace in your life unlike any other!
5. Put your faith in God!
ILLUSTRATION: I used to be terrified of storms. I would always watch the weather. I would always watch the sky. I would worry if the thunderstorm would turn violent! I’ve met people who are terrified of the storms they will face in this life. They always expect the worst to happen. They worry if they will get cancer. They are anxious about losing someone they love dearly. And these things haven’t even happened yet!
You know what Jesus says about worry? “Don’t worry about ‘tomorrow’…for tomorrow will have enough worries of it’s own!” Focus on the present!
B. After the storm
1. Be thankful the storm has passed!
2. Recognize God for who he is!
The disciples said, “WHO IS THIS? EVEN THE WINDS AND WAVES OBEY HIM?”
It’s a rhetorical question. They knew who this was. This is Jesus! They were amazed at His power because they were realizing again, that God is BIG!
APPLICATION POINTS - I want to leave you with some TAKE HOME POINTS…
1. Storms don’t catch God off guard!
--What was Jesus thinking? Didn’t he check the radar or the weather channel?
Let me ask you something: Do you think that Jesus knew there would be a storm? Jesus knew the storm was coming. And he led the disciples to the middle of the lake anyway! Why? So their faith could grow! Sometimes, we have to realize that God allows us to go through tough times so that he can get us out of tough times and our faith in Him will grow!
2. God will outlast the storm!
--God is eternal. The storm is temporary.
3. God will calm the storm on His time schedule- because he can…because he wants to…and because he is MASTER over everything!
I love the conclusion that the disciples came to at the end of Mark’s account:
Mark writes that after seeing this miracle, “They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
The conclusion they arrived to was - GOD IS BIG ENOUGH TO TELL THE WAVES and WIND WHAT TO DO…AND THEY LISTEN TO HIM…I WILL LISTEN TO HIM! I WILL OBEY HIM!
We come now to our time of decision. Perhaps you’re in the middle of a storm. Maybe today, you are hearing God speak and you realize that God is bigger than the storm…and He deserves my attention and obedience. Won’t you submit now to His authority and His care? If you have a decision to make, please come forward at this time and make this known to us!