Summary: This message was for our 25th anniversary as a church, that we celbrated online because of COVID-19 Looks at how to find hope when it's been lost.
Through January and February our sermon series was Worst Case Scenarios. Who would have believed that a month later the world would be living through a worst-case scenario? We could write a new chapter to the book: What to do if you are living in a pandemic. 1. Wash your hands 2. Don’t touch your face 3. Avoid crowds 4. Self-isolate. 5.Wash your hands again
Of course, our theme came from a chance encounter I had with this book. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. It contains helpful hints for what to do if you are attacked by an alligator, bear or shark, how to escape from a sinking car or how to run along the top of a moving train. All things that you might need in your daily life.
This week’s helpful hint is: How to survive adrift at sea. 1. Stay aboard your boat as long as possible before getting into your life raft 2. Get in the life raft and take whatever supplies you can carry. 3. If you are in cold water/weather get warm 4. Find food if you can 5. Try to get to land 6. If you see a plane or boat nearby try to signal it.
And again, there are pictures.
Through the series we’ve looked at various Worst Case Scenarios from the bible, what to do if you are swallowed by a really big fish, what to do if you are thrown into a den of lions, what to do if you have to fight a giant as well as sundry other topics.
This week we are going back to a story we’ve visited before and our topic is: What to do when you’ve lost hope. Euan read a part of the story earlier. But only a part of it because the entire story encompasses the best part of two chapters of the book of Acts.
And really that is so typical. In life we tend to remember the storms with much more clarity that we do the sunny days.
As I mentioned earlier, this Sunday we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of our first service, which was actually held on April 9 1995.
And six years after we launched we experienced a ship wreck, and much like Paul and his companions, we survived. So, this morning I’m going to try to tie those two events together and come up with some life application by the end of my message, and then I’m going to eat my donut and drink my coffee.
So let’s start at the beginning of the journey, which seems like a pretty good place to start.
Acts 27:1 When the time came, we set sail for Italy.
The story began with a plan. If you are familiar with the book of Acts you know that Paul has mentioned several times his desire to go to Rome, which was politically the centre of the known world.
Nobody actually knows who started the Christian work in Rome, although it has been suggested that it was started by folks who had heard the message on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem.
What we do know is that the church had become a major presence in the city within 10 years of Christ’s death and resurrection. And visiting the church in Rome was apparently on Paul’s bucket list.
But it wasn’t as easy as jumping on a plane or boarding a cruise ship. But it’s funny how things have a way of working out.
After Paul had returned to Jerusalem from his third missionary journey he had been arrested and ended up facing charges before the Roman authorities. To make a long story short, Paul invokes his right as a Roman citizen and demanded to be tried in front of Caesar.
The local authorities saw this as a chance to rid themselves of a problem and arranged for Paul to be shipped off to Rome. I’m sure that Paul was thinking: Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?
The plan was for Paul to be put on a ship and sail to Rome. Simple plan.
In the Spring of 1994 we began discussions with the Atlantic District about the possibility of Angela and I and our kids, returning home from Australia to plant a new church on the district. We were offered our choice of a number of locations around the Maritimes and after praying about it we decided that Bedford would be the home of our new church.
And we had great plans. Over the previous nine years Angela and I had pastored two growing churches. We were young and full of dreams. I had been through church planters boot camp, we had a plan.
And you have to have a plan. The old adage is true, fail to plan and you plan to fail.