Steven Furtick - Staying Power
Are you ready now? Ask the person next to you, "Are you ready now"?. I remember when my dad told me when I was a little boy… I was probably Abbey's age. I was probably 9. One Friday night, he popped some popcorn and told me, "I think you're ready for Rocky". He had been waiting until my spiritual maturity and infrastructure emotionally could handle Ivan Drago. Oh yeah. When you start your kids on Rocky, you start them on Rocky IV. You don't start them in the Old Testament with Apollo Creed. You start them with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I have a whole theory on this.
He started me with Rocky IV. He walked me back to Rocky. I'm glad I was out of the house before Rocky V came out, because that's like an apocryphal book that didn't really make the canon in my estimation. What I'm trying to say to you is: I think you're ready now for Acts, chapter 27. When all this bull crap started in the world, I wrote down a list of sermons I wanted to preach from, and it was amazing to me how all of the texts I've seen so many times before took on a new relevance. I almost said "revelance". Like a revelation that become relevant.
Sometimes you know something, but until you go through something you don't have to put into practice what you know. So "revelance". Maybe that's a word. It's when something you already knew that had already been revealed becomes relevant to your situation. It's when you get a chance to put into practice what you've been preaching. I just want to encourage you today with a Bible story that may be the best story I could preach from from when Paul went through a storm. Isn't that crazy? It's my favorite Bible story, and it started with a storm.
Do the biggest storms make for the best stories in our lives? I think sometimes they do. When we were on vacation, we took a hundred bike rides, but the only one y'all remember is when we were riding in the rain. That's the only one y'all talk аbout: the one where it rained. We rode to the store. We rode to the bowling. We rode up and down the streets of Bluffton. Remember the bowling alley over at the other place? We went there. Graham, you don't remember the little bowling alley I took you to? They don't remember any of that. They don't remember the bowling alley. I paid like $120 for us to bowl. They don't even remember it. But ask them about the rain riders. Ask them about when we were out and we got caught in the rain and the torrential downpour started, just started out of nowhere. They can remember with vivid detail when we got caught in the rain.
The greatest stories usually revolve around the biggest storms. If you are new to Christianity, we like our metaphors. You'll hear us always talking about mountains, but we're not talking about land mass when we say mountains. We're talking about other stuff. When we say, "God is going to move a mountain", it could mean almost anything in church. "God is going to move a mountain in my life". "What do you mean by that"? "He's going to get me a job". It's just a metaphor. Whatever is in your way, God is going to move it. We like these kinds of things. The Bible uses them, and we like them too.
What's another one we like? We're big on metaphors. Chains. Oh, we love chains in church. Almost every Elevation Worship song I've ever been a part of has a chain in it somewhere. We love to break chains and shake chains, and sometimes we get creative (thesaurus theology) and call it a shackle, but the bottom line is we love to sing about this stuff. We love to talk about storms. It's really just a metaphor for whatever we're going through. "I'm going through a storm right now". An old country preacher said, "Here's the thing about storms. You're either in a storm, you're going through a storm, you're about to go through a storm, or you've just been through a storm". I think that's true.
The storm we'll see in Acts, chapter 27, is physical, but it doesn't have to be physical for it to be practical in your life. Do y'all remember when I preached on It Will Happen? Do you remember when I preached It Had to Happen? Remember when I preached I'm Glad It Happened? Now you're ready for Rocky IV. In Acts, chapter 27, verse 20, the Bible says, "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…" After they had gone a long time cooped up in the apartment. After they had gone a long time without going out to a restaurant...
I'm preaching to somebody. After they had gone a long time without putting on pants with a button. I'm just preaching to quarantine situations, modernizing the text. After they had gone a long time without good news. After they had gone a long time without an increase. "…Paul stood up before them and said: 'Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete…'" We're going to come back to that in a minute. We're going to talk about how sometimes you give good advice but you have bad timing.
Holly is teaching a study called Mrs. Betterhalf on Wednesdays about being a wife, and I think she should use that verse in there. "Men, you should have taken my advice". Paul had good advice, but he had bad timing. But watch this in the text. The Scripture says: "…then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss". In other words, it could have been avoided. "But now…" Now, now, now. He said, "Even though this could have been avoided, there is something you can do now, and it does not really revolve around the situation; it revolves around your state of mind". Watch this.
"'…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.' On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea the Mediterranean Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep".
In case you're not following, they're getting closer to crashing. The water is getting more shallow. That means a crash is inevitable. Paul already told them that, but now they are experiencing the thing he said. It's one thing to be told you're going to go through a storm. It's one thing to see it on a weather app; it's another thing to get caught in one. It's one thing to say, "Everything happens for a reason" when someone you don't really care about dies. It's another thing to believe that when you have to live without them. So he said, "We're going to crash", and then they were about to crash.
This is what I wanted to share with you about today. I've never really paid much attention to this part of the text. He said, "Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow". "We're getting out of here. We're not staying around to see what happens. It was 120 feet. It's 90. We're about to crash, and we're out". But watch what Paul said. This is what I want to preach to you about today. "Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, 'Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.' So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away".
The thing I want to preach to you about today is Staying Power.
Spirit of God, we receive your grace for the preaching of your Word to every situation. There is not a single situation I can think of in my mind that you are not greater than. There is not a wave that tosses in the sea that does not know the vibration of your voice. When you speak, waves die down. When you speak, fear bows down. When you speak, waters part. You are God of the elements. You are God of all flesh. You are the God of this moment, and we worship you, and we receive your Word. In Jesus' name, amen.
Staying power. Now, a lot of people have starting power. They did Keto last week, and they'll be on Weight Watchers next week. Paul had starting power; he also had staying power. People used to tell me it must have taken a lot of faith to start this church. I guess so. The truth is I was just stupid. It didn't take a lot of faith. I just had to be really, really ignorant. That's all. Just do it in your 20s. That's all you have to do. Really, starting power is celebrated so much more. Even sometimes people will celebrate leaving. I've seen so many times in this church where someone might leave from a ministry position and we throw a party for them.
I'm thinking like, "Well, that's great. I mean, it's probably polite to throw a party for somebody who leaves, and God calls different people to different things in different seasons, but can we have some staying parties too"? You know, just bring a cake into the office. "You've been here 871 days. Here's a cake. You can start your diet tomorrow". Starting power, leaving power, staying power. Staying gets sexier the longer you live. It gets sexier. "I don't think you have to say it's sexy". You know what the problem is? We have such a hard time celebrating the right things in our culture, I need to say it just like that, because we live in a culture where starting is sexy.
"Oh, I'm going to start a church. Oh, I'm going to start a business. Oh, I'm an entrepreneur. Oh, I'm going to start a Bible reading plan". You started 14 Bible reading plans in 2020 before January was over. Do you know which Bible plan God is going to bless? The one you stay with. Do you know what situation you're going to see God work in? The one you stay with. Somebody said, "Well, I don't know which workout to do". Do you know which one is going to work? The one you stay with.
I thought it was interesting that the apostle Paul, who showed us the power of starting… You have to remember Paul knew how to get something started. He started, by some calculations, 14 churches in a time when the concept of church was foreign. He knew how to start a church in a city that had never even heard the name of Jesus. He would walk into a church and step into a synagogue and start preaching, and before you knew it, there would be such an uproar in the city it would start a riot in the streets. Paul could start a church. Paul could start a riot. Paul could start something in a minute, yet in Acts, chapter 27, he shows us that the greatest power is often not in what you have the faith to start but what you have the faith to stay with.
When we think about storms in the Bible, we think about Peter who stepped out of the boat to walk on water. We never preach about John who stayed in the boat. But I've been wondering, as a 40-year-old man who has seen people come and go and emotions come and go and moods come and go and fads and trends come and go, and the zeitgeist slips all around and you never really know what's going to be popular or in fashion one day to the next, and church members come and go, songs come and go, seasons come and go, trials come and go… As someone who has seen this, I'm wondering: Does it take more faith to step out of a boat Jesus told you to get into or to stay in it believing that if he called you to the other side you can stay through any storm, you can sleep through any storm, you can praise through any storm?
I have staying power. I love Paul because he gave advice to the men in the ship and he wasn't even a nautical expert. It may be some type of commentary on the arrogance of preachers that he's up there telling someone who owns the ship what he ought to do with it. I used to tell them all the time, "I'm not going to preach a parenting sermon until my kids are 50". Until I'm out of the window of where God can boomerang my own teaching back on me, I'm not teaching anything about parenting. I'm not doing it. I'm not writing a parenting book. I'm not preaching a parenting series. You can preach "This Is Us" if you want to. I'm not preaching any of it. I'm not doing it.
I found out that, most of the time, people don't really want you to give them advice when they ask for it; they just want you to affirm what they already decided to do. I'm going to save you a lot of time right now. Are you ready? It's not that they really want advice; they usually want either attention or affirmation. Now, what Paul says is true. He says, "This storm could have been avoided". He told them to stay. He did. They were loaded up for Rome. They went in a small boat, and they stopped at an island where they were transported to a larger boat, because this is a long voyage. We're going all the way to Rome.
Paul always wanted to go to Rome. That's the interesting thing. He wanted to go to Rome, but what God doesn't tell you is that you don't always get to choose your transportation. Do you know how the Scripture says God is taking us from glory to glory? I believe that. We go from glory to glory, strength to strength. I believe that. I believe God is taking you somewhere. I believe God is moving you forward. I believe God has promised us that we will go from glory to glory, but he didn't tell us exactly how we're going to get there.
When we pray for something in our lives, we don't get to choose transportation. This is not UberX, UberBLACK, "Uber Extreme". God does not let you choose the luxury of the transportation. Paul is doing something he always wanted to do: going to Rome to preach the gospel, but he's headed there in a ship as a prisoner in chains. Not how we say "chains" where it can mean just anything, and not how we say "storm" where it could mean I have a headache and I can't find the Advil…"Oh, there it is". He's in physical chains in a literal storm, but he has an appointment to go to Rome.
Now, I want to tell you something nobody has told you in a few weeks. Are you ready? You have an appointment. It has been awhile since you've heard that. Right? I want to tell you something you haven't heard for a while: you have an appointment. I'm preaching to somebody. You have an appointment. What happens in our hearts is that we get disappointed. We get disappointed in the way God does certain things. We get disappointed in the people who don't help us along the way, but just because you're disappointed in people, don't jump off the ship and drown in the sea. Just because people let you down, don't give up on God who never will. Just because you lost a job, don't stop trusting that God is your provider. Jehovah-Jireh is still his name. Jehovah-Ropheka. He's still a healer. I'm still going to get there. I'm still going to Rome. I have an appointment!
Some of the stuff you're going through right now is getting you to the places you asked God to take you, but you just don't like how you're getting there. We could preach a series on this. How many want me to preach a whole series on the appointment in the storm? Did you know that you have an appointment in the storm? Paul knew something in the storm the other people didn't know. What did he know?
How could you stand up and tell people after they've been through 14 days of the tempest and the billows and the lightning and the thunder and the breakers…? How can you tell them when the winds are blowing, knocking you sideways, and Peter's wig comes flying off in the storm…? How are you going to tell me in the storm to stay with the ship when you already told me it was going to break apart? How could God call you to stay with something that is breaking? Yet it is staying with the breaking that produces the blessing. It's breaking. Not my boat; my heart. My heart is breaking.
Did you know the place God promises to dwell, not visit, is the broken and contrite heart? What does that mean? That means that when my heart is breaking it is important that I abide in God's love so I can experience his presence in a greater measure. It may not be your boat that is broken today; it may be your heart. It may be your business. It may be the number in your bank account that is screaming, "You are broke". All right. "I am broke". God is not. This is how I want to preach to get people through a storm.
Isn't that what we've been saying, that we're in the same storm but we're not in the same boat? You will remember that it is not what you go through that determines where you end up. Many people went through betrayal worse than you went through, and they're not bitter, and you are. Many people were disappointed more than you were disappointed, yet they still have strong faith, and you don't. Many people are struggling with their daily needs more than you are, and they're less worried than you are about it. It is not what I go through that determines where I end up. It's not. It's who I listen to.
Paul said, "You should have taken my advice. I told you. I told you to stay in the harbor". They set out to go to Rome. They got caught up in a storm. They lost their course. This is what happens. Right? You get blown off course. "Oh no. This was not on our GPS". Back in the day, we had TripTik from AAA. "They didn't put this on my TripTik. This wasn't on my itinerary". You get blown off course. Then you start freaking out, and now you're like, "Oh my god! I was going to retire in 12 years, but now I see the situation". When you get blown off course, you have to decide at that point, "Who will I listen to, and what will I guide by"?
These are the questions you must answer in this crisis of your life. This is the heart of what God is asking today. Who will you listen to, and what will you guide by? Paul said, "This is not a good time to sail", and they sailed anyway. Paul said, "We ought to stay here in this harbor for a little while". The reason they didn't want to stay in the harbor when Paul told them to stay was because, it says, it was undesirable to winter there. So rather than stay in a place they didn't like, they sailed into something that would destroy them. Rather than stay in a place they didn't like, they sailed into something that would destroy them.
See, it's not the first storm you have to worry about. The first storm is a storm you can't control. It started raining Friday here in Charlotte. It looked like God got sick of everybody. I was like, "Oh, the governor let off the stay-at-home order, and at the same time this storm comes out of nowhere". I'm like, "Lord, are you speaking? I'll stay inside. I'm sorry, Lord! I won't go out anywhere". I didn't know what to do. Out of nowhere. Storms are like that.
One text message can change the next three years of your life in 80 characters… out of nowhere. That's the first storm, the one you can't control. You can't do anything about crossing the current in the stormy conditions. Some storms are just seasonal. Some storms can't be avoided. I mean, I can't control what happens in China. I can't even control what somebody does in Michigan. I can't control certain things, but God said to tell you, "Don't create a second storm by your decisions". See, you can ask God to protect you in the first storm. "God, I don't know what to do. You do. God, I can't do anything about this. You can". But what a lot of us have been doing in this season of uncertainty… We have been creating second storms that are worse than the first.
Let me break this down all the way like I'm cutting up some filet mignon where a 2-year-old can eat it. This is a good word for anybody who… You've been dealing with depression, but you've been drinking to get through it. Now, depression is something that happens to a lot of us. I don't know anybody who hasn't had a season of darkness in their life. But if I try to drive out darkness with darkness and I depend on something in the darkness that is going to make me addicted to something even when the light comes up, the second storm is worse than the first.
I have to be really careful. If my kids do something that makes me mad… I said I wouldn't preach a parenting sermon, but here's a little technique I've learned. Don't let your response be a bad example for the behavior you're trying to correct. "Stop screaming"! I think this is contradictory. I think my kids are confused right now. A lot of us are dealing with loneliness right now in this season. That's a storm you can't always control. But if you run to places in the storm that are more dangerous than the storm itself… How many times have you left a place you didn't like? Some of y'all left a church you didn't like. The problem is you can't change if you never stay.
Staying power. Paul was a church planter. Anything you plant is only as good as the roots. Starting power without staying power. "Oh man. I'm excited about this quarantine. I'm going to have time to spend with the Lord now". You and the Lord got lonely. I don't know who this is for, but I'm going to say it because I feel like it's by the Spirit of God. Don't run to a relationship that is a compromise of your character to solve loneliness. The second storm might be worse than the first. Don't run to something because you're lonely that is ultimately going to put you in a condition where you end up like the sailors in verse 20. "We have no hope".
See, what they were guiding by went away. I don't know if you saw this in verse 20. I think this is where it gets tricky to steer. As long as you have a reference point to know what's normal or what's good or how much time… These things really help in life. In verse 20, I thought it was relevant to our situation. He said, "When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging…" The storm could rage and they could keep believing, but when the stars disappeared they lost hope. When what you were guiding by goes away and every day just looks the same and feels the same… Now I get to feeling like this is endless. Now I get to feeling like maybe these chains are never going to break, this storm is never going to cease. They lost hope.
We know they lost hope because Luke says they lost hope. The only way Luke could know they lost hope is they must have been saying, "There's no hope". I mean, come on. It's not like hope is something you can see on someone's forehead. "How's your hope"? There's no meter for that. It's not a video game. You don't have a little power bar. They must have been saying, "It's hopeless". They must have been saying that. Paul stands up, and he decides that what you go through doesn't determine where you end up. Who you listen to determines where you end up.
I think right now you are walking through a valley between two voices. One is wisdom; one is worry. One is gratitude; one is grumbling. One is blame; one is faith. "Now, wait, Pastor Steve. Wait, Pastor Stephen. Wait a minute. The opposite of faith is doubt". No, no, no. Doubt doesn't keep you from having faith. Doubt gives you something to have faith for, but blame will block faith every time. Blame will always block faith. Watch Paul shift. He's like, "Y'all should have listened to me! But if I blame you, I can't trust God. If I blame you, it is going to block me from receiving what I need from God in this moment. So, you should have listened to me. We could have avoided this".
How many know and will be honest to say, "There are some storms I went through in my life that I could have avoided"? Come on. Point your fingers up to the air like this. "It could have been avoided". I mean, some of the things in my life I blamed on the Devil were really a decision. They both start with the letter D, but some storms can be avoided. Ask Jonah. Ask Jonah if some storms can be avoided. The only reason Jonah went through a storm is he had an appointment. God said, "I'd rather take you through a storm; I'd rather take you through a hard time than have you waste your life in the wrong place. Now we have to get you there. If I have to send a storm to get you there, if I have to shut it down to get you there, if I have to remove people and comfort to get you there, you're going to get there if you listen to the right voice".
Paul stood up and said, "I hear you talking about how there's no hope". I hear you talking about how it's going to get worse, and I hear you talking about how it's just this and it's just that, and I hear Democrats talking, and I hear Republicans talking, and I hear people using this for a political purpose. "I hear all this, but let me tell you, I have an appointment. As a matter of fact, last night I had an appointment. I didn't see it on my calendar. It was off the books". Paul said, "Last night an angel…" I have an appointment with an angel. I've got angels all around me, protecting me and keeping me. I've got angels on my side! I've got glory out ahead! I've got angels! I'm here because my angel said.
You have an appointment with an angel, and you have an angel telling you right now, "You're going to make it. In fact, you're going to be better". It's all right. I've got an angel! Now who are you going to listen to? Your angel or your enemy? My angel said I'm going to make it. My angel said I'm right on time. My angel said it's working for my… I've got staying power! I love what the angel said to Paul. "You can't die in this storm. You have an appointment in Rome. You have to stand trial before Caesar. Can I give you the good news? You're not going to die in this trial. Can I give you the bad news? You've got a bigger one ahead". Greater things. Bigger storms. Better stories. I've got an angel. I've got an appointment. So Paul is like, "Oh, I can't die".
Did you ever watch a TV show and you knew…? I remember when we started watching that zombie show back before that looked just like the news. The Walking Dead. The trailer used to come on. (Don't send me a thing about the Word of God and The Walking Dead. It's in the Bible, the walking dead. Third day, Jesus Christ, Lazarus… it's all in there. Same stuff.) I saw the trailer, and I saw that the same guy who was in the first episode was still in it (because we watched it later) in the current season, so it took some of the suspense out of the first season, the second season, the third season, the fourth season, the fifth season.
Now, when you have a word from God concerning your life… And it could be simple. He said he would never leave me nor forsake me. So if he's going to stay with me, then whatever happens in this storm… I already saw season 6. They can't kill Rick. It doesn't matter how many Walkers. They can't kill him. I saw the season finale! I've got staying power! I've got the Holy Ghost! I wish we could high-five our neighbors, but tell somebody, "I'm in the season finale".
Staying power. That's what we're celebrating today: not that we avoided the storm but that we stayed in the storm. "The crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law". He shared with them a parable. A certain man built a house. Do you all know this story? It's kind of like the big bad wolf, but it's the big bad storm. He said two men built a house. "I'll show you what he's like who comes to me and puts my words into practice. He's like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rains came down, the streams rose, the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall because it had a sound foundation on the rock". You got that?
Rains came down, streams rose, winds blew and beat up the house. That's what happened to the first house. That's the man who had faith. Let's go on to the second man. He was foolish. He didn't do what Jesus had instructed. Instead, he built his house on a sandy foundation, not a strong foundation. He built his house on something that was not stable, and it says the storm came. Rains came down, streams rose, winds blew and beat against the house. That's what happened to the man who did the right thing. Same storm.
What I wanted to preach today was "The Storm Is Over". I thought that would be cool. I thought that would get a lot of views on YouTube. "The Storm Is Over". But the Lord said, "You can't preach that in good conscience, because like these men who were headed to Rome and they didn't know how much longer the storm would rage, you have to teach people how to keep their hope in a storm". The Lord said, "You have to preach on staying power. You have to tell people to stay in faith".
Doesn't it take faith to stay? Come on, be honest. It's just us. There's not even anybody else in the church. It's just you and somebody you live with, and you can't even be honest with me like this? How are you ever going to survive in the real world? Doesn't it take faith to stay? To stay grateful when everything in you wants to complain? That takes faith. "Come on, man. Step out of the boat". I know this message is probably going to be my least viewed sermon of all time, but stay. That's about the only thing I can control right now, and that's what he said would save them. "If you stay, you will be saved".
That's when they taunted Jesus. They said, "Come down off that cross. Do something amazing". He said, "I am". See, he couldn't come down and save you at the same time. God sent me with a word: You can't come down right now. You are like Nehemiah rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. He said, "I can't come down. I hear what Sanballat is saying. I hear what they're saying, but I can't come down right now. I'm doing a great work". The Spirit of God says, "I'm doing a great work in your life. You can't come down now to a lower level. You can't come down now. You can't give up hope now. Not now".
I have to stay in this moment and let patience have its perfect work. The proof of faith is not change; it's patience. Patience is the active ingredient in faith. He decided to stay. He could have called legions of angels, and they would have come at his beck and call, but he stayed. I wonder who will be saved if you stay. You'll save your own life if you stay. If you stay praising… I've decided that is my survival. Do you hear me? This is not some sort of extracurricular activity where… I appreciate the president and the governor saying that we are essential, you know, essential business, but I knew that way before the president said it. I knew that way before the governor said it. I knew we were essential. This is essential for me. I have to praise him. I'm under obligation to praise him. He gave me life itself. If I don't praise him, the rocks will cry out! I have to praise him! I stay praising.
It takes faith to stay… to stay encouraged while the storm is raging; to stay optimistic when the world is pessimistic; to stay expectant when you've been disappointed; to stay sweet when the world is sour. Staying power is what they experienced on the day of Pentecost. Before Jesus left, he said, "I need you to do something that's going to be hard for you to do right now. Stay in Jerusalem". Jeru-salem. Salem, peace. "Stay in the city of peace. Even though there's a riot in the streets, stay in the city of peace".
It takes faith to stay in a state of peace. It takes faith to stay in a boat when a storm is raging. It takes faith to stay in the middle of the sea. It said they weren't saved until they cut the ropes. The Lord told me to tell you, "Cut the ropes". Quit trying to escape the stuff God is using to change you. You can't be changed unless you stay. You can't be saved unless you stay. You have to stay. You can't bear more fruit when he's pruning you unless you abide in the vine. If you cut yourself off… But if you stay, he said, "I'm going to make you more fruitful".
That's what Paul had in mind, because he always wanted to go to Rome. No matter how the storm raged, no matter how the boat rocked, he said, "I'm going to Rome. I have an appointment". The Lord said, "I've appointed you, I've chosen you to bear much fruit, and the proof that I've appointed you to bear more fruit is that I am pruning you". Staying with the ship means cutting the ropes, but if I keep on trying to find a way out of it, how can I be changed through it?
Lord, I thank you for the faith to stay. You gave me this word, and you told me when I studied that someone was hearing two voices right now, and they don't see any stars to guide by. Their calendar has changed. Their rhythm has changed. They can't even go to the stores they used to go to right now. When they go there, it looks like the rapture, the Apocalypse. "Don't know what to do. Do I go in? Do I go out"? I don't have any answers for that, Lord. I'm just a preacher. But you told me to tell them that if they will stay in Jerusalem they will receive power. So, God, give us the faith to stay.
Look at me. You stayed with this whole sermon. Don't click off now. I know; I hear the kids in the background. Tell them to shut up. "Stop screaming"! Stay with me, because the thing I want to show you that's so powerful is that the only way they could receive the power of God was to stay in the place of peace. Keep your peace. Do you hear me? You have 600 employees, and you don't know how to rebuild the organization to accommodate the new situation. God has given you the power not only to survive the storm, but he gave you the power for miracles on the other side.
I have the faith to believe that if we cut the ropes today, whether that's someone who's without a job and just trying to raise their own family or whether you are looking for wisdom as a leader and you don't know how to lead the people because you've lost what you are guiding by, I hear the Spirit of God saying what Paul said: "Stay with the ship". Now, you say, "How can I stay with it when it's breaking"? No, no, no. Paul didn't promise that the ship was going to look the same when they got to the shore. He didn't say it would look the same. He said, "You're going to make it anyway".
The disciples who accompanied Jesus through his ministry did not follow him to the cross except John, but he made it anyway. What he started with he did not finish with on the cross, but he made it anyway. Now we look to Jesus and we hear the echo of Paul preaching to us, saying, "Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve… He will never leave me nor forsake me. There was an angel beside me. That's how I have staying power. That's how I can make it. This boat is not going to ever sail again. It's going to break apart".
Do you know what's crazy? God got them there on the pieces of the boat, even though the storm broke it apart. I promise you I'm about to close this message and you won't have to put up with me again for another week, but I want to show you that the same boat that broke apart… Verse 44: "The rest were to get there on planks or other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely".
The revelation is: it was still the same ship; it just looked different. He is still the same God in this season of your life even if it looks different. He is still the God of all grace; it just looks different. Listen to me, Elevation Church, Blakeney, Riverwalk, Gaston. We're still the church; it just looks different. I do need to tell the Devil, though, we're still here. I might be watching in a bath robe this week, but I'm still blessed. I'm still here. So you can huff and you can puff and you can blow the house down, but I've got the faith to float! I've got the faith to make it! I'm going to make it by faith! I'm going to do it by faith! I'm going to make it!