Michael Todd - Are You Experiencing A Storm? - Part 1
Hi, what's going on everybody? I just want to welcome you to today's program, and I am so pumped that you decided to meet us here. Now, if you've been following, we've been in a series called "Anchored" and we're talking about Christ being our anchor in the middle of every storm, every situation. And the crazy thing is we've decided it's not safer in the shallow, so we're pushing out into the deep. The things that God has for you, the destiny, the purpose, it's in the deep. And we're not gonna play it safe. Now this is the thing, if you're gonna go to the deep, you know you're gonna need your anchor, so today's message is to encourage you and honestly to give you an introduction. All I want to tell you is: welcome to the deep.
Mark 36 part b, it says leaving the crowds behind. See, when you're going to not be impressive, that means you're gonna have to divorce your identity from the crowd. Leaving the crowds behind. I need to give you this point because some of you won't be able to make it past this moment if I don't give it to you. If you're gonna dwell in the deep, your boat is not built for everybody. Leaving the crowds... what did I say? Behind. The Bible says distinctly that other boats followed, but it said that the boat that Jesus had started them out on, everybody was not able to get on that boat. I bet there was a lot of people in the crowd that wanted to get on the boat when Jesus said hey, I got a mission for us, let's go to the other side. And literally they said they moved out leaving the crowd behind.
I keep saying "Leaving the crowd behind" because I believe that God is asking some of you to do that very thing if you're going to dwell in the deep. Leave the crowd behind. Who is on your boat, who's weighing you down? Everybody's not going to the deep with you. And you will delay your destination trying to bring a committee to what God called you to. Do you know where I would be right now if I waited for everybody that I thought was supposed to be with me to come with me on this journey? Do you know how many people would still be wandering and drifting if I needed the co-sign of everybody else when I already had the co-sign of heaven? Your boat is not built for everybody. And the most spiritual thing that you may do this year, because you're going to the deep, is delete them.
I'm not talking about if you see them out, you don't say hello and be cordial, and I'm not talking about cancel culture. I'm talking about concentrated culture. Do you know that if you are distracted, you cannot reach your destiny in adequate time, so what God is telling you right now is I don't want you to be in cancel culture, I need you to be in concentrated culture. Do you know when a horse, a thoroughbred runs not the Indy 500, the Preakness, or the what is it called? The Kentucky Derby! Those horses are worth millions and millions and millions of dollars. They have a $15 dollar piece of equipment that they put on their eyes to allow the peripheral vision to be cut off so that they can be concentrated on their lane and the finish line. And I believe that in this year God is asking us to be concentrated on our lane and the finish line, and that means that everybody can't get on the boat and go to the deep.
"What do I do pastor Mike"? "I thought Bubba and them was gonna come with me". "I thought your man was gonna be able to make this trip". "I already got a ring. I already got a ring. I bought her a ring already, pastor Mike". Are you asking me to get on this boat and go alone? Are you asking me to actually wait on you? Hello!] anybody out there? I will trust you! This sucks! Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a tiger by its toe. Miss Mary mack, mack, mack, all dressed in black, black, black. Purified... I want to become some... "You came from heaven to earth, to show me something", 'cause the deep feels stupid. The deep doesn't have friends. The deep is calling me to be separate, consecrated, refined, sanctified.
See, these are words in the Bible that we skip over. Like these are, we talk about the blessing, all that, but then when he says that he will be the one to take us through every storm of life, can I ask you a question? Have you ever been in a storm before? When you were waiting on God doing the thing he asked you to do and then out of nowhere a storm happens? Can I ask you this question, how many people... Can we be honest? We're H-O-T. At this church, Humble, Open and Transparent. How many people in some area of your life are in a storm right now? Come on, hands lifted all over the world. You're in a storm right now. What happens when Mark 4:37 comes up? That I left the crowd, I decided to go to the deep, and this should be easy now 'cause you are with me, right?
And look, verse 37 is the whole point of this message. But soon a fierce storm came up. No! No, that's, no, no, no. That's not possible. It's not possible that I obeyed God. It's not possible that the season was just calm. That's not possible that I trusted God, I gave him the crazy faith offering, I keep showing up, and then Jesus is the one that told me to go to the other side. He's the one that told me to move to Tulsa. He's the one that told me to go to that school. He's the one that told me! And then under Jesus' instructions, a fierce storm came? Has your life ever looked like a storm? Because right now in many of your lives that's what it feels like and that's what it sounds like. It sounds and feels like how am I out here? And how I'm gonna do what God asked me to do. And what is going on in my life?
And I'm out here and it's dark now! And I'm out here and there's nobody helping me! And I'm out here and I don't hear a word from God! What are you saying to me, pastor Mike? Something you need to know if you're gonna dwell in the deep, it's the anchor does not excuse the storm. This is the lie that so many churches and people have told you for years, and I'm gonna shoot it to you straight. You can have Jesus and have a storm. It's better to see it coming than to allow yourself to be fooled and then walk away. The storm is coming whether you have Jesus or not. Your marriage will be tested whether you play in terms or not. Your children will have to be taught whether you fast or not. I feel God right now. You will have a challenge that you're gonna have to believe God for.
Whether you read the word every day or not. I'm gonna keep the storm going because this is what many of your whole last year looked like. And what we try to do is get down and make a better situation for ourselves. Let me roll my way into another school. Let me roll my way into a better relationship. Let me roll my way, let me roll my way into a new church. You've been to 42 churches, and the storm has not subsided, it might mean because God's trying to teach you something in the storm. I need to be even more transparent with you because I feel like many people have never done this for you so I'm gonna do it for you. Jesus does not excuse the storm. But can I tell you Jesus usually escorts you into the storm.
God, I thought, hold on God, I thought you was doing something. I thought you was, hold on, no, no, no, I'm in the middle! Hold on, no. I'm in the middle! How do I get out of... "I'm your anchor. Trust and know that I am God. Be still and wait on me". God, I can't see daylight. I don't understand why you didn't just tell me to stay on the shore. Because God said the blessing's in the deep. Can I prove it to you? Jesus, after he was baptized in water, what ended up happening is that God came down and said this is my son in whom I am well pleased, and then guess what happened? He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. He was escorted by God. Some of y'all been calling your storm a devastation, and God said that this is just a destination that I have to create in you.
Oh, I feel this thing. The character, the stamina, the wherewithal, the sticktoitiveness that you need to be everything I've called you to. And right now, I've been on day 21, Jesus was like "Yeo, is the storm over yet?" And I bet on day 31 he said, "is the storm over yet?" And some of you have been living in this place in your life, is the storm over yet? Is the storm going to subside? And for some reason, God doesn't take you out of the storm. He sustains you in the middle of it. I'm trying to show you a practical example of what having an anchor does. Can I tell you something, if you're gonna dwell in the deep, listen and write this point down. The deep is not for devastation, it's for preparation. The darkest and deepest places of my life have prepared me for the greatest victories of my life.
I remember when me and Natalie had good credit, and we were in a place to be able to buy our first home, and it was sunny skies everywhere, and we got hooked up with a bad contractor. And what ended up happening is we found ourselves in the smack-dab middle of a storm. And for three years my credit went down, we were drained of tens of thousands of dollars, nobody knew pastor Mike, I didn't have no books, I didn't have no nothing. I felt like every day God was letting the storm continue to pound on my life, and I was like God, why? I'm praying, I'm fasting, I'm giving, I'm serving the youth, I'm serving bishop, and God said this is not a place of devastation. This is a place of preparation. It was in those moments that I learned the tools and the trades that I needed to be able to purchase the spirit bank event center that we sit in right now. He knew if I went through the storm in a season where it was inconsequential that he would sustain me and I would come out better and at the other side it would be the very thing I needed to reach purpose.
Maybe you need to rename your storm. Yeah, it sucks. But this is going to be sanctifying. Yeah, it's hard. But somehow healing is coming out of this. John 16:33 said I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. Can I say it a different way? In this world, you will have a storm, but take heart. I, your anchor, have overcome. Somebody better help me shout in the place today! If you know that our anchor has overcome the world. So dear brothers and sisters, James one verse two and four, when troubles or storms of any kind, oh, that means I have a storm in my marriage? Any kind of a storm. A storm of insecurity? Any kind of a storm. A storm of financial poverty? Any kind of storm. Dear brothers and sisters, when storms or troubles of any kind come your way. Uh-oh, you want to re-frame it? Consider it an opportunity for great joy. Hold on.
Is my storm a joyful situation? According to the Word of God, my storm should bring me joy because if I know when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow, so let me admonish you like James, let it grow. For when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete needing nothing. When he started singing to myself in the midst of the storm because what happened is sometimes you think, like, I got used to the storm, and then the lights go dark, and then the stuff that used to be very, very clear and that you could see, then it gets a lot darker. Yeah, yeah, turn all of this off. Turn this. Yeah, yeah, cause what you think is that now I've learned how to deal in the storm, and now I've learned how to communicate and work in the storm, but then it gets darker, and then come on, keep going. Like then all I see and hear is the voice of the enemy. And I see how they're doing good, and I see their marriage succeeding, and this little light of mine is not shining.
And then Mark 4:37 said highways were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. So the storm got more intense, and the lightning started to go, and the thing started to begin to be more, and I'm about to lose my house, and my family doesn't want to invite me places anymore, and things are starting to rock and starting to reel, and things are not looking brighter but it's looking darker, and I don't know what's happening. Where is Jesus! Have you ever said where is Jesus? Look what verse 38 tells us Jesus was doing. Give me a little light on myself. Jesus was at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. No. Jesus was sleeping? The greatest storm of my life is happening and Jesus had a Flintstone pillow? And took residence.
I need you to see this. I'm in the midst of a shaky situation. Y'all know when the storm is happening, nothing's sure. Where is Jesus? Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Holy, holy, holy. That's gonna be a hit. What happens when Jesus has decided to sleep. What happens when Jesus has decided to sleep in the midst of your storm? Do you still trust him? Will you still wait on him? And people are saying yeah right now, but there's a lot that goes into trusting a God who seems idle when your situation is so dark. The disciples woke him up shouting teacher! Don't you care that we're going to drown! Don't you care that everything around me is shaking! And Jesus wakes up, is this what y'all woke me up for? Who told you to go to the other side? Y'all missed it. Is this what you woke me up for, the storm? That when I told you we were going to the other side, I'm the God of all knowing, so I knew there would be a storm and I decided to sleep in it.