Tuesday, December 8, 2015
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Every New York television station you turned to had the same bold graphic, Blizzard of '96. I still remember it. It was barely 1996; we were only six days into the new year when anywhere between 20 – 30 inches of snow unloaded on the Metropolitan New York area. It was like a mega-ton snow bomb hit the area, and it literally drove the Big Apple to its knees.
This is a city that doesn't shut down…except for a monster storm like this. The schools were closed for an almost unprecedented two days. City workers were told not to come in and bridges to the city were closed. Some of the busiest streets in the world were bare except for an occasional snow plow or emergency vehicle that went by. The trains couldn't make it because snow had choked the tracks. Major sporting events? They were impossible. I had never seen New York like that. The city that never stops had been stopped.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Stopped by a Storm."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Acts 9. It's really from the life of a very goal-oriented high-achiever on his way to a major conquest. His name is Saul. This is a man, sort of like New York, who couldn't be stopped. The brightest young religious leader of his time, but deeply angered by the heresy of the new followers of a man named Jesus. Well, Saul's on his way to eliminate the problem. The man who never stopped was stopped by a sudden storm you might say.
Verse 3 begins by saying this, "As Saul neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?' 'Who are you, Lord?' Saul asked. 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting' he replied."
Well suddenly this hard driver could drive no farther. He was knocked from his horse, he's down on the ground, and he was unable to see. Perhaps you're kind of a Saul or a Saulina (whatever the female version is). You've been running full speed. You've gotten a lot done. You're competent, you're gifted, you're doing pretty well, and you're moving too fast to think about getting right with your Creator. Oh, you've got some religious credentials maybe but there's no doubt who's really God in your life. Your god's the one who's running your life? That would be you.
And suddenly there's been this heavy storm. Maybe you've been hit with something medical or financial, or your family is in a crisis or someone you love is gone or you found yourself out of work, out of money, out of hope. Sometimes a struggling son or daughter knocks us off our horse.
Whatever the storm, would you allow me to suggest a reason it might be happening? For the same reason it happened to Saul, so you would finally be able to hear the voice of Jesus; Jesus who created you. Jesus, against whom we've rebelled as we've run our life our way, not His way. Jesus, who is the only one who loved you enough to die for you; to pay the death penalty for sin that you deserved to pay. Jesus, the one who has been knocking gently on the door of your heart for a long time, but you've always been on your way somewhere else until now.
And the storm has stopped you so you could finally meet your Savior. He's calling your name today just like He did Saul's that day. And He says, "I am Jesus." That day Saul surrendered his life to the Son of God. Maybe this day you will. Maybe it's time to say, "Lord, I've run it long enough. I need a Savior from my sin. I'm yours Jesus." This storm that seemed to be blowing you off course is really bringing you home.
So, I want to invite you to go to our website, and I'll walk you through there the way you can be sure you have begun your personal relationship with the One who loves you the most. Just go to ANewStory.com.
If you want to talk with someone about what it means to follow Jesus Christ then text us at 442-244-WORD. Let Jesus step into your storm and say what He did to a storm with His disciples so many years ago, "Peace be still."