On Sunday we are looking at finances. I know something everyone hates talking about. And with good reason. Too many churches, around money, beg, bribe, or berate people to give to them. Too often giving and finances have been tied to guilt, something Jesus never seems to do.
But even though this topic is one that has been covered so poorly for so often, it’s actually really needed.
Because guess what the number one cause of divorce is? Finances. Guess what most people think would fix their lives? More money. Guess what most people stress over? Finances and debt.
And so for this series we are looking at having a strong start to this year. To having a year that really takes off with hope, and purpose, so this is a topic that we need to address. But my promise to all of us is this: there is no second offering, there will be no guilt, there will be no pressure or anything like that. Instead, I just want to open up this topic with honesty, and clarity and talk about the importance of being generous. Because here is the truth: Jesus says a generous life leads to happiness. What if he is right? That’s what we want to explore on Sunday.
So I know an awkward topic, but it’s a needed one too.
On Sunday we began a brand new series looking at how to have a strong start this year. We looked at a very well known story of Jesus and the disciples crossing the sea, and coming up of a fierce storm. In this story Jesus is sleeping and the disciples wake him, and he calms the storm.
And there is so much packed in this little short narrative. Things like how Jesus sometimes leads us out into the unknown, how storms can come upon us quickly, how we can forget about God in struggles.
But on Sunday I wanted to land on one main point: Always remember who is in your boat.
The truth is that as we look forward into our futures we have no idea what they may hold. There may be already storms on the horizon, or it might look calm and peaceful. But we never know what might come upon us. And this isn’t something to bemoan or pretend isn’t true. We shouldn’t just count on positive thinking to get us through life. We should count on God, and that no matter what happens God was in the boat with the disciples and this makes all the difference.
Imagine if you could be assured God would be with you, no matter what you faced? Wouldn’t that make a difference, wouldn’t that change everything? Wouldn’t that give you hope?
And I think that’s something we need to take from this story, that God is with us through it all. God is able to calm the storms that come upon us, he is able to guide us through them. But we do need to rely on him. The disciples go to Jesus in the story and we need to as well.
So on Sunday we lingered just on that one idea: always remember who is in your boat.
We closed by looking at this wonderful piece of art by John Hendrix, and took home his piece of art as a reminder for us that no matter where life takes us – always remember who is in your boat.
Big Idea: “Always remember who is in your boat”
Crossing the sea is an image of transformation
Denying fear is useless
We shouldn’t have more faith in the storms around us than our saviour
“Always remember who is in your boat”
We are never alone
Adult Discussion Questions:
What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? When you look forward in this year what do you see? Is it dark, hopeful, unsure? What do you hope to get out of this year? How can remembering God is with you help? How can you make sure you remember God is with you?
Discussion Questions / Responses for Young Families
Today it’s simple – share the story with your kids. Show them the artwork and have them create their own.
Challenge for the Week: “Always remember who is in your boat”