Summary: A Message of encouragement & charge to a church at the church’s 5-year anniversary

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5 Year Anniversary of River of Life Church

- Read Luke 8:22-25

Jesus and His disciples climbed into a boat. He told the apostles, let’s head to the other side of the lake. After telling His disciples where to take the boat, Jesus laid down and went to sleep. He had been teaching, He had been ministering to crowds of people; crowds so large that His mother and brothers couldn’t even get to Him. Jesus was worn out, so He went to sleep.

Several of the disciples were fishermen. They knew how to handle a boat, so as Jesus slept, they began sailing or paddling the boat to the other side.

Now, the lake they were on was known for fierce storms. With hardly a moment’s notice, the winds could sweep down from the cliffs, blow across the shallow waters of the lake, and whip the waves up into a frenzy. The disciples were accustomed to storms on the lake. They had fished there many times before, but this storm was something special. It was different. It was so bad the disciples got scared.

Oh, I believe this storm was unusually bad, because the Devil knew Jesus had an appointment on the other side of the lake. He knew Jesus was going to mess with the work he was doing on the other side of the lake, so the Devil brewed up an unusually strong storm; a storm so bad that the rain and the waves began filling the boat faster than they could bail it out. A storm so bad it brought fear into the disciples’ hearts.

What did they do with their fears? They brought them to Jesus. Jesus! Jesus! Wake up. Don’t you care that we are about to perish? Don’t you care that we are about to die?

Jesus woke up. He looked around. He examined the situation, and He spoke. He spoke to the winds, and they stopped. He spoke to the waves, and they stopped. Instantly, it became calm.

You see my friend, when Jesus has an appointment, when He has a plan, not all the storms in the world can stand in His way.

5 years ago yesterday, we held the first public worship service for River of Life Church. Back then, Wallace was the head custodian for Enterprise Elementary School. He unlocked the doors for us, showed us around, made sure we had everything we needed; and then, if I remember correctly, he went somewhere else in the school and painted. Back then, I was a bit intimidated by him; with him being as quiet as he is. Now, we all know he’s just a pussy cat.

In the past 5 years, we have seen a lot of things happen. Some who attended at the very beginning, no longer attend. It didn’t turn out to be the kind of church they thought it would be. Some who were with us in the beginning, have moved away. Others, have come, made a contribution, and then gone.

In the past 5 years, there have been times when the church’s finances have been great. At other times, they have been somewhat slimmer. We have tried some outreaches that have gone great, and we have tried other things that have failed. We have thought of building a couple of times in a couple different places. So far, we have constructed no buildings.

There have been times when we have been tempted to be discouraged. Oh, but during those times the Lord has asked us, just as He did His disciples in the boat that day, “Where is your faith?”

You see my friends, more than 2000 years ago Jesus said, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it!” And when God starts something, He finishes it!

Ask Abraham. Ask Moses. Ask the people of Jericho what God is capable of. Ask Noah about God’s faithfulness. Ask Elijah, or David. Ask Daniel about God’s strength. Ask Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego if God is able. They will all tell you the same thing that all the saints who have gone before us will say, “GOD IS FAITHFUL.”

Yesterday, Gladys and I were talking to Drew about today being the church’s birthday. He said, “You mean all of these people wouldn’t have known each other if the church hadn’t been started?” We said, “That’s right.” My friends, look at what God is doing.

Jesus said, “I will build My Church,” and He continues to do so today. But, He is doing so for a reason.

Look there with me please at verse 26.

- Read Luke 8:26-39

In this passage we read why Jesus crossed the lake and why the Devil wanted Him stopped so bad. In the area of the Gadarenes there was a man with a need.

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