Rome at Last

Acts 28.1-16

It’s been a long and grueling trip, but Paul has finally made it to Rome. And as he nears the end of his journey, he’s welcomed by the church in Rome.

All along the way, God has guided Paul’s journey. Though many times it seemed his life was in peril…from the Jews more than once, from the sea, from the soldiers, from the serpent…he was never in danger. God still had work for him to do. He had a divine appointment to keep in Rome. God said it, and Paul rightly believed that He would also bring it to pass. God can be trusted. He didn’t save Paul from the storm, but He saved him through the storm.

God was the Author of Paul’s story. He is also the Author of your story. I don’t know what your storm looks like today, but He does. And more than that, He’s right there with you in the hurricane-force winds and the crashing waves. And He wants to accomplish something in and through you in the midst of the storm. Believe it or not, the storm is an important part of the story He’s telling through you. That assumes of course that in the storm you are looking to Him. Running towards Him instead of away. Crying out to Him instead of crying out against Him.

We said it before, the furnace, i.e., the storm, can either destroy you or purify you. It can either turn you to ash, or turn you into something beautiful. What is it doing to you?

The storm is also a platform that God is providing for you to share your story…to share the gospel…to share the hope that you have. A hope that is no more prominently displayed than when you are in the storm. Because it shows a watching world that your faith is real.

We’ve talked a lot about circumstances and furnaces and storms and chains in the last several weeks…take some time right now to pray…to cry out to God…to ask Him to help you in the storm and through the storm and to use you through it to display the gospel in a unique way.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Acts series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @ccclancaster

When the Storms Come

“Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” Acts 27:10

As we read through Chapter 27, I cannot help but think that the Apostle Paul knew something about sailing on the seas and the potential for storms and shipwrecks.

In 2 Corinthians 11:25, Paul writes, “Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.”

Paul had to have been one of the more traveled human beings on the planet by the end of his life.

Despite Paul’s warning, the ship sets sail and then runs dead into a severe storm and all those aboard are indeed shipwrecked.

The interesting thing is how God uses the situation to get Paul to where God wants him to go – to the island of Malta.

Paul wants to go to Rome, yet God still has a plan for Paul along the way.

I am mindful that many times on our journey we can see the big picture and yet miss out on the harbors and rest places that God stages along the way.

Other times, God uses storms to get our attention. Storms are a way of life.

I was reading Courson’s New Testament Commentary and was reminded how God uses storms for correction and direction.

Sometimes we face storms for correction, a great example is the story of Jonah.

After being called by God to minster to the people of Ninevah – Israel’s dreaded enemy, Jonah flees in the opposite direction.

God uses a storm and a whale to deliver a message to Jonah and Jonah half-heartedly complies by going to Ninevah to speak to the people.

Sometimes storms come from nowhere, even after a season of blessing.

After preaching a sermon and adding 5,000 to the kingdom, a storm of persecution begins for the followers of Jesus. Scattered across the countryside, the disciples carry the gospel with them, creating and expanding the church.

These type of storms help prune us – help us to mature and grow spiritually.

Here in our text, God uses a storm for direction.  Storms of direction help us to get to where God wants us to go. Paul is heading to Rome but God wants Paul to minister in Malta along the way.

How many times have we been in a situation we did not understand, a time of uncertainty that God used to get us to a specific place at a specific time?

It is only after looking back on it that we see God’s hand, He was there all along.

We may not always understand what God is doing in the midst of the storm, but when the storms come, we need to hold on to our life raft – our hope in His promises and the knowledge that God is in control.

Until next time… Keep reading!