Summary: [Hurricane Katrina--1 year later.] Jesus and His disciples are on a stormy sea, and we can learn much about our voyage thru life by way of this passage. Link included to formatted MS Word text and PowerPoint Presentation.

The Storm Before the Calm

Matthew 8:23-27

1 year ago this week a powerful storm and devastating surge came to the Gulf Coast. Though it’s calm now and the waters receded, left in the wake is devastation still to this day.

Oft in literature life is compared to a voyage at sea. The same is so in music—such as the song “The Lighthouse”…

There’s a Lighthouse on the hillside that over looks life’s sea

When I’m tossed it sends out a light that I might see

And the light that shines in darkness now

will safely lead me o’er

If it wasn’t for The Lighthouse my ship would sail no more

And I thank God for The Lighthouse, I owe my life to Him

For JESUS Is The Lighthouse, and from the rocks of sin

He has shone a light around me, that I might clearly see

If it wasn’t for The Lighthouse, where would this ship be?

Or, “’Til the Storm Passes By”

In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face,

While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place.

’Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry,

Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more,

Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;

Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,

Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

The Apostle Paul also used the metaphor, like in

2 Tim. 4:6

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

The word departure is a nautical term meaning to pull in the anchor and set sail.

Our text today finds Jesus and His disciples on a literal sea, and we can learn much about our voyage thru life by way of this passage.

All of us at times are storm tossed, and some today may feel they are about to go under. Well, there’s peace and stillness on the way for you, if you’ll listen to God’s Word now…

1. The Problem

Actually 2 problems: a Sinking Ship and a Sleeping Savior.

Let’s remember that the disciples were led into this storm by following their Master.

v. 23 They followed Him right into a storm. Some believe that storms come for the Christian only when they rebel or disobey God, but that’s not true. God’s will isn’t always smooth sailing.

This kind of a storm is not out of the ordinary on the Sea of Galilee. Kimberly has been there…it’s really more of a big lake—13 miles long and 8 miles wide. It’s surrounded by mountains and hills. The cool air comes over the mountains and mixes w/ the warm sea air and violent storms can erupt w/out much warning.

And that’s just how the storms of life come, isn’t it?! One minute the sun is shining, and the next the lightning is flashing, thunder booming, and the winds and the waves go wild. The phone rings and in seconds your life is changed, you’re in the midst of a storm. You have a routine Dr. visit that was to be quick and simple, but the look on his face tells the story even before the words are out of his mouth…you’re in a terrible storm!

It can happen as you go thru an intersection in a flash, or when your boss calls you into the office, or when you open that hospital bill. Storms arise suddenly and violently, and without warning.

Storms come due to a variety of causes:

• Sometimes we blow up our own storms. These storms are of our own making, like in Jonah’s case. He decided not to do God’s will. It’s amazing as you read the story how many times it says that Jonah ‘went down.’ After he decided to go his own way it says he went down to Tarshish, down into the heart of the ship, down into the sea, down into the belly of the whale. And once you decide not to follow God’s best there’s only 1 way to go and that’s ‘down!’

This storm was brought on himself by Jonah and his stubborn will, and he holds the distinction of being the first man in history to spend the night on a foam blubber mattress! But in the end you can’t keep a good man down and God used even that storm in the life of His child and though he was spiraling down, down, down, he eventually came up!

• Some storms God creates Himself. Such as in John 6, after He fed the 5,000, the people wanted to make Him a king. Oh how tempted the disciples must’ve been to give in to the pressure of popularity but Jesus said, no, get in the boat and go to Capernaum, and along the way they again ran directly into the middle of another storm. Why? I believe He did it to divert their attention from something that would have created a bigger problem in their lives. Sometimes God sends us a little storm to keep us from heading into a bigger one!

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David Walters

commented on Aug 28, 2006

Many times as Christians we say we are facing storms in our lives, I believe this message will answer the why?

Paul Yang

commented on Nov 26, 2006

Excellent and a truly inspired message from the Holy Spirit. Thank you Pastor Jerry!

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