Summary: This sermon deals with my personal white water trip, but can easily be converted to any white water trip,and the similarities of our journey in this life.
When Your Raft Turns Upside Down 7/8/03
Zach and I went on a white water trip last Thursday on the New River. We had a very interesting experience that I will be sharing with you today. When I finished the trip, I thought, well at least I got a few good sermon illustrations from it. But when I prayed about what to preach on this week, God told me, I didn’t give you a few illustrations, I gave you a sermon. So here we go.
Upon our arrival, we were handed waiver forms and told to fill them out. We were notified that the trip might have to be canceled. Tropical storm Bob had raised the water level to 12’ and any higher was the cut off for any trips of this sort. We went to get fitted for our PFD (personal floatation device) and get our helmets and paddles.
Loading up on the bus, Zach and I were excited about our first raft trip. We sat on the first seat of the bus, and listened to all the reasons we shouldn’t go due to the dangers for our 20-minute bus trip.
We got paired off and assigned our boats. After a few command strokes and introductions, we were set. But then they called for our boat to come back to shore. Zach and I were pulled out of our boat and assigned a new raft.
On our raft was a father, his 15 year old son, and his 15 year old nephew (all from out of state) A mother and her 15 year old daughter. The mother was actually accused of being my wife. Her and her daughter was pulled from another raft also, so we all entered the raft together. During a conversation on the raft, the guide told us that his brother worked at “Bubba Gumps” in South Carolina. I said that I had eaten at the one in Hawaii and really like the food. The asked the woman if she like it and she said that she didn’t know. They then accused me of not taking her with me, (thinking that she was my wife) and she informed them that she didn’t even know me.
As we went around with our introductions, the dad was a VP of a large corporation and the mom was a business owner’s wife and was scared to death. This was her first time white watering and she had heard the same horror we had heard and wasn’t sure if she should be going. I tried reassuring her with my introduction of my employment. I told the group that I was a sales rep and a pastor and that I hoped that would give her some comfort. Her reply was that didn’t help; it only meant that everyone else would be thrown from the boat.
And that is where the story really begins, but first let me share with you some things that God reviled to me with the beginning of our story.
The first thing is that we all are on a journey. From the time we are born to the time that we die, we are or a journey. Now we have choices to make on our journey but the biggest choice is to accept Christ or not. In the raft trip, I also had a choice. Stay in the raft and live. Get out of the raft and die. When you choice not to accept Christ you die also, never reaching the safety of Heavens shore. You die from eternal separation from God.
Then next thing I thought about is just like there was different people on my raft journey; you too will have different kinds of people on your journey. No one is the same and nobody is perfect.
Then I thought about the fitting for the equipment fitting. Each of us when we receive Christ is equipped for a purpose. God the designer gave each of us the proper equipment to do what he has for us to do. God will never ask you to do anything that He does not provide you the means to do it.
One of the key factors of rafting is the coordination of the rowing. Like my instructor said, it’s called a paddle for a very good reason. It’s is important that we all paddle and according to the commands of the guide. Do know what happens if only the people on one side of the raft paddle? The raft just goes around in circles, never getting anywhere. Do you know what happens when you don’t have the unity in a church? You just go around in circles, not going anywhere. We all need to work together to get though the rapids in this life.
The next thing was a misconception. She felt because I was a pastor that I would be the only one left in the raft. But the truth of the matter is that bad things can happen to good people. Just because you are living the proper life doesn’t mean that you won’t have your raft turn upside down. Because, as we get back to my story, that is the thing about it. No one really did anything wrong. But our raft flipped. So let’s get back to the rest of the story.