Summary: How do we give thanks in the midst of life's storms? Twelve disciples stuck in a leaky fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee may have wondered the same thing. Be thankful for God's Purposes, Presence, and Power.

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Thanksgiving 2013

Scott Bayles, pastor

Blooming Grove Christian Church: 11/24/2013

If you’re like me, you were probably a little distracted last Sunday when the weather alert system kept going off during worship. Thankfully none of the bad weather struck too close to home, but intense thunderstorms and tornadoes swept through Illinois causing damage and destruction in areas all around us. At least six people were killed and neighborhoods were leveled, leaving first-responders sifting through rubble in search of people who may be trapped. The suburban city of Washington, just outside of Peoria, was particularly hard-hit. An EF-4 tornado cut a path from one end of town to the other, knocking down power lines, uprooting trees and rupturing gas lines. Several blocks of houses have been erased from the landscape, leaving hundreds homeless and thousands without power.

With tragedies with this hitting so close to Thanksgiving, most of us are just thankful that we weren’t affected. But what about those who were? What about the people who were in the midst of the storm. What can they be thankful for? And, as if the physical storms weren’t bad enough, what about the figurative storms? You may be weathering one of life’s storms right now. By that I mean, maybe you’re facing some unexpected crisis or tragedy of your own. Storms come in all shapes and sizes. When debt-collectors are calling your house, or the doctor gives you the worst possibly news, or a family member is slowly succumbing to Alzheimer’s, it can feel like you’re being swallowed up by the storm. You might look around and wonder—what is there to be thankful for?

Twelve disciples stuck in a leaky fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee may have wondered the same thing. What we watched on the news cutting a path of destruction through the Midwest, the disciples experienced first-hand on Lake Galilee. The sky rumbled above them, the water churned beneath them. Their fishing boat bounced and spun on the white-tops of angry waves. And in the midst of the storm, one of them shouted over the crashing waves at Jesus, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” (Mark 4:38 NLT).

How many times have we said the same thing? “Don’t you care, Lord, that this is happening to me? Don’t you love me enough to do something about it?”

The experience of these twelve disciples may help answer all these questions. Let me read this story from the Gospel of Mark:

As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.

Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

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