Recorded on November 24th, 2019
People who have the wisdom of the world often look good from the outside, but on the inside, it’s a different story. There is some chaos we create when we are not obedient – what will it take to gain the wisdom to clear up the chaos inside and outside us?
Transcript of Sermon:
[Music] tonight if it comes from the book of Acts chapter 27 verse 13 through 26 when a gentle South wind began to blow they saw their opportunity so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete before very long a wind of hurricane force called the nor’easter swept down from the island the ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind said we gave way to it and were driven along as we passed to the Lee of a small island called kata we were hardly able to make the lifeboats secure so the men hoisted it aboard then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together because they were afraid they would run aground on the sandbars of syrtis they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship ship be driven along we took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo cargo overboard on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands when neither Sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging we finally gave up all hope of being saved after they had gone a long time without food Paul stood up before them and said men you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss but now I urge you to keep up your courage because not one of you will be lost only the ship will be destroyed last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said do not be afraid Paul you must stand trial before Caesar and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you so keep up your courage men for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me nevertheless we must run aground on some Island the Word of God for the people of God now I have to admit because I’ve made a promise to you all that I would be as honest and transparent as I could without wanting to go in a closet and hide and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that over the years or year and a half but one of my greatest guilty pleasures in life gosh I don’t really want to say this out loud but I’m gonna say it one of my greatest guilty pleasures in life is the act of telling somebody whether out loud or in my head I told you so I hate to admit it my family already knows this about me so I mean it’s not new to them my children know this about me it’s not new to them my husband definitely knows this about me it’s not new to him but to admit it to you all it’s a little bit harder you like me more than they do you just don’t know me as much as they do but I’m willing to say it because I think a lot of us get a little bit of pleasure from saying I told you so don’t you it feels good to know that you are right it feels good to watch them do exactly what you told them not to do and then suffer because they’re doing exactly what you told them not to do and then the effects of what you knew was gonna happen it starts happening and you’re like I told you I mean I told you I told you not to do that and what I said was gonna happen totally happened Joe and I part of our marriage part of our marriage joy and it’s not a marriage bad it’s actually a marriage joy is that he is the ultimate pessimist like big time everything’s gonna be bad and it’s not gonna be good and I am the ultimate optimist it’s gonna be fine that’s his favorite thing to say to me it’s gonna be fine if we’re gonna take on a project I think it’s gonna cost $5 and take two days and he thinks it’s gonna cost four thousand six hundred twenty-five dollars and take ten years always it’s always that extremely far apart and at the end of the project one of us always gets to say I told you it usually it’s Joe I’m just gonna tell you because I’m my optimism really is a little bit obnoxious I always think something is gonna be way easier than it is I always think something is going to be super I want him to put some lights on a tree outside our house it’s like when I look at it from my front door it lifts this big I mean it’s not that big and how hard can it be to put the lights it’s a perfect Christmas tree shape and he keeps telling me that it’s gonna be like 20 feet tall and there’s no way we can do it I’m like Joe I just saw Einar get up there he said there’s no way it’s gonna happen I’m still thinking I’m gonna get my lights by the way I’m gonna get my right that’s right Uncle Joe yeah he just laughed at me but here’s the thing we like to be right we don’t like to be wrong and in this scripture what we’re seeing which i think is pretty funny is an apostle one of the holiest people that we see in Scripture turn around to a group of people and say told you so literally one of the Apostles looks at a group of people and doesn’t say oh you’re so sweet he doesn’t say bless your heart like you southerners like to do he says told you so and that had to make me stop and think when I was reading this passage because it didn’t seem very holy to me it seemed very much like me and if it was my type of behavior then it wasn’t very holy behavior so I said okay what does that mean what’s happening here what do I need to understand about this scripture and what you don’t see happening right before the part that we read because we have been in acts do you realize that today is our last day in Acts isn’t that sad we have been in acts for quite a few months we have seen how the church began we saw how they were just little nuggets little nuggets of Christian believers coming together as Jesus left and they have grown and they have thrived as these leaders have stepped out in faith as they have been brave and tried to go forward and here we are in the last two chapters of Acts when we left last week we saw Paul as he was leaving the group of Ephesus and he said to them I don’t want to leave you but I have to because God is telling me to and I know when I leave you trouble as ahead of me in fact God has told me that I’m probably going to be imprisoned and that’s exactly what we see happening here what we see happening here is Paul is actually a prisoner he has been taking to Rome as a prisoner so he’s on a ship as a prisoner being taken to Rome to go before the leader of Rome to fight his case to go before Caesar to fight his case to say listen there’s no reason why I should be here this is what we see happening and so he’s actually been transferred from a few ships the process has been very slow and he says to them right before the scripture that we picked up he says to them listen um he goes he says Paul warned men I see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to the ship in cargo and to our own lives but the Centurion which was the guy that was holding him captive as a prisoner instead of listening to what Paul said followed the advice of the pilot in the owner of the ship since the harbor was unsuitable to winter to winter in and the majority decided that we should sail on hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there so they didn’t listen to his advice and did you hear what happened si they were afraid they were afraid of wintering in this area because their knowledge told them that if they wintered there it wasn’t great for their ship they also knew that this trip had been taking them a really long time they weren’t just taking prisoners they had a whole ship full of cargo there were 276 people on this ship with them there was cargo on the ship with them that brought them money there were workers on this ship who required that money for their living it wasn’t just about Paul getting to Rome to go before Caesar it was a much bigger picture than that and so when they’re looking at the situation what they see is not just this stupid guy named Paul who they don’t even really know say the guy who’s not efficient who’s not charge of big ships he’s not a sailor what does he know about the seas what does he know about ships he doesn’t know anything why should we listen to him and so instead they use their knowledge their worldly knowledge to make a decision I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have had somebody try and speak some godly wisdom into my life and I thought well that’s nice and then I thought about it with my experience and I have experience I have experience I’ve lived I know some things and if I look at it through my experience in my life my experience tells me something different and the world in fact when I look at other people’s lives and I see them doing stuff the way they do things it’s working out for them and if I look at their experience in my experience put together it says something completely different than the advice you’re giving me so you know what I’m not gonna listen to you and that crazy thing you’re telling me to do that God’s telling you to tell me every single time I’ve done that every time that friend as glorious as they may be has gotten to look at me and say I told you so because here’s the thing godly wisdom never seems smart it never seems wise when we were getting ready to adopt Meili can I tell you how many people told us it was a terrible idea how many people in Our Lives told us that it didn’t make wise sense have you seen my daughter she’s fabulous she’s amazing and yes it was hard yes it seemed impossible there’s no way that Joe and I thought we could do it in fact we didn’t think we should do it we thought it was and we told God no for a very long time we said no to God for a very long time because we listened to the reason and the wisdom of people that weren’t God and she sat in an orphanage for three years and I wonder what would have happened if we had said yes sooner you see the wisdom of this world it looks good on the outside and the people who live by it look good on the outside but you don’t know what’s happening inside their lives they may have the most beautiful houses and drive the most beautiful cars but you have no idea the stress they’re under you have no idea whether or not they’re full of anxiety and depression you have no idea whether or not they’re actually happy you only see what they present to you on the outside and if you’re following their wisdom or their lifestyle because you think it’s gonna get you something that makes sense to you we’re doing exactly what these sailors did just following what seems normal what seems typical and in the end we’re going to be hurt we’re going to not get the best out of life that God intended for us but that’s not even the part that really gets me in the boast about this scripture not even close because Paul gets to the point so they they get on the ship things start going bad fast the weather gets so bad there the ship is leaning to and fro they start throwing all of the things that they were trying to protect off the ship everything that they were worried about losing when Paul told them that they shouldn’t go anywhere everything they were worried about losing they lose anyway they end up throwing it overboard because they knew that they couldn’t do anything else but try and save the ship and the only way to save the ship was to throw everything overboard so they did it and then they put ties big ropes over the ship under the ship and around the ship to hold the ship together have you ever heard of anything like that before and then just in case it was gonna run ashore I mean that makes no sense to me and then it says they lost all hope and when they lost all hope everybody stopped eating they just gave up and this is when Paul tells them he told them so and the thing that gets me is that Paul just seven chapters before this brought a man back from the dead if a man like Paul can bring somebody back from the dead why in the world didn’t he just stop the storm he is a man that used is used by God to produce miracles in this world and I believe those people exist not every one of us Christians is blessed with that gift but it is is a gift that some of us get and it was one that Paul had so why then instead of saying I told you so when the storms came and things got really bad did Paul not just say to the storm stop why why did he let the storm happen and that is the number one question I get asked as a pastor why did God let that storm happen in my life not only did he let the storm happen but in his promise to them because he doesn’t make a promise to them he says listen my god I told you number one that this was going to happen so you shouldn’t be surprised but then he says to them don’t worry take courage my God will take care of you and we will all make it through this nevertheless nevertheless we must run aground on some Island basically he’s saying don’t worry take courage we’re gonna make it through this but we’re gonna crash first things are gonna get worse before they get better basically he’s saying I told you so it’s gonna be all right but it’s gonna get a whole lot worse and people look at Christians on from the outside and they say if your God loved you why would this happen if your God loved you if your God loved people at all why in the world is all of this horrible stuff happening in your life or in the world and why isn’t it stopping and why is it getting worse and that’s exactly what you see happening here in the scripture and it’s the hardest and easiest question to answer all in one the answer is twofold there are some things in our life some chaos that we create by not being obedient to God in this instance they created this by not being obedient to God and then there’s some things in our life that just happened because we were born into a certain family or we live in a certain area where certain natural forces happen and it just happens the pain is that God didn’t stop it he didn’t do it to you and don’t let somebody tell you that God did this don’t let somebody tell you that God took your child that God took your husband that God took your best friend that God created this mess in your life because that’s a lie I know it’s nuanced but it’s an important one the difference is is that he chose not to stop it and in every situation it’s going to be different but the reality is that God is still there and I can’t answer you why God didn’t choose to stop whatever it happen is in your life God could have chosen for Malee’s parents not to abandon her and I can’t tell you why he didn’t choose to stop that I can’t tell you why in my life God didn’t choose to stop the accident that I was in from happening I can’t tell you why that didn’t happen and I can’t tell you why this storm ran these men aground but I can tell you how God worked in the process of every single one of those instances mainly Jayne Rothschild has changed my family significantly she is a light and a joy and the best thing that has ever happened to us and my accident though the hardest thing I’ve ever been through physically in my life is just now starting to pray fruit in my life and I see God all over it and my kid Keaton has a brain that works so differently than everybody else’s brain on this universe but my brain now works like his so I understand how his brain works in a way that I never could before and on this ship God’s purpose was to get Paul to Rome that was the only purpose God really had here instead what happens is that 276 men had to go through the bowels of the darkest days of their life and understand finally that there was a God in this world not a bale not an Asherah not some foreign something out there that’s unknown and unnameable but an actual God with actual powers who could do actual things and every single one of them even though that ship ran aground and crashed and they had to all abandon ship they had to all get to shore every single one of them lived that would not have happened had God not had the opportunity to work through that chaos I’m not saying it’s a better story than not having the chaos at all I’m saying that God he uses the chaos that is already inherent because of this broken world and he uses it to change people’s lives to bring them joy to bring them hope to bring them freedom the thing that you and I need to learn today is that we have a choice we can say what was me life sucks and I said that in church I’m sorry everything keeps happening to me and I don’t know why and I can do that because I’ve said that before or we can be brave and we can be faithful and we can do what Paul tells us to do here is to have courage and to believe that God is with us even in the darkest hardest parts of our lives and that no matter what the outcome is whether it’s one that we want or one that we never expected and that there’s beauty at the end of this journey because life is going to be chaotic you choose what the end looks like by the way you respond to the chaos in your life let’s pray God we thank you so much for choosing to walk with us in this life for allowing us to be your children god we ask you please to help us take courage to help us have faith to help us see that you aren’t the creator of the chaos in our lives sometimes it’s our disobedience sometimes it’s just the result of this chaotic world but we do have a choice in the process we can choose to believe that you are here that you do love us and that you will create good out of it if we simply choose to walk with you in the process help us to do that God step by step day by day it’s in the name of Jesus we pray, Amen