Follow-up to September 25th teaching

Sunday Follow-up
Acts 27 & 28 – “The stories within your story”

In Acts chapters 27 & 28 we have the story of Paul’s trip to Rome. The trip begins fine, but that changes when the winds kick up. The ship Paul was on has to alter course and it heads to the south side of the Island of Crete. They arrive at the Port of Fair Haven. The time frame of this story is the month of October. Within a matter of weeks, sailing the Mediterranean Sea will become impossible. So the decision is made to put to port for the winter. Paul advises that they stay in Fair Haven, but the ship’s Capitan decides to head a little further west to winter in the Port of Phoenix. So, against Paul’s advice the ship heads out and it becomes obvious that they are not going to make the port. The winds end up taking the ship out into the open seas and now the ship is in danger.

The ship will eventually shipwreck on the Island of Malta. Paul and all those on the ship will winter on the island before continuing their trip to Rome. This stop on the Island of Malta was unplanned and unexpected. It happened because Paul’s counsel went unheeded. Paul eventually gets to Rome where he is placed under house arrest and chained to two Roman soldiers 24 hours a day. It will be two years before his case is heard. During that time Paul wrote the letters we know as the book of Philippians, Colossians, Ephesians, and Philemon. Think of all the people who got to hear the gospel during his time there. How many people was Paul able to lead to Christ through his imprisonment?

Within this story of Paul’s journey to Rome are several smaller stories. I want you to think about your life as a bunch of smaller stories that comprise your life story. At any given moment, your life story can move from one smaller story to another. Sometimes it is the winds of life that cause these movements. The winds of life are anything that comes your way that has the potential to change the direction of your life or does change the direction of your life.
Sometimes God will use these winds to redirect your life to where He wants you to be. But it isn’t always about changing the course of your life. Sometimes it’s to put a choice before you. Will you stay the course even though things are tough? Keep in mind that the winds you face are not always about changing your direction, or seeing if you will stay the course. Sometimes these difficulties come because you are on the right course and Satan wants to get you off course.

Sometimes the movement of one smaller story to another comes as a result of the choices others make. Paul found himself shipwrecked because of the choice someone else made. When this happens, and it is likely it will happen at some point, we will have to make a choice ourselves. The choice is simple. Will we trust God or not? Will we trust that God knew this would happen and He allowed it for reasons we may never understand on this side of eternity? Will we trust that God can work through the circumstances to get us to where He wants us to be? Will we trust that though the circumstances may have been unexpected to us, it wasn’t unexpected to God and that He is in control?

When Paul finally made it to Rome, he did not know how long he would be there nor what the outcome would be. Those things were out of Paul’s control. But what was not out of Paul’s control is what he did with the time he was there. His being under house arrest and being chained between 2 soldiers 24/7 did not stop him from praying, witnessing, or ministering to other believers. When the winds of life come your way and move your current story to another one, don’t focus on what you can’t control, but look to see how God wants to work in you and through you.

As you head into your week, you may find yourself encountering strong winds. If you do, know this, the God you serve is greater than the winds you might face. If the winds move you from one smaller story to another, know that God is in control. You might be in the middle of a storm, but know that it is for a moment and there is something on the Horizon that God has for you.
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