By Pastor Bob Rasmussen


This morning I would like to talk about storms. There was recently a hurricane that affected our brothers and sisters in the south, particularly in Florida. Here are some photos of what that storm did. The devastation cannot be denied.

All of this news had me thinking about when people in the bible went through storms

Now, as I begin – not all storms are like Hurricane Ian are they? They may not be 100 mph winds, and rain, or hail

They could be:

It can be any number of things. And sometimes I need to remember someone else’s storm may look like a shower to me, but to them, it is a storm. Sometimes I can be like, “oh, that can’t be too bad” or “I’ve been through that, it was not that bad”.  It is a good reminder for all of us to maintain a sense of empathy.

AMP 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you be like-minded [united in spirit], sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted [courteous and compassionate toward each other as members of one household], and humble in spirit;

Amen, help me Lord. There is some scripture that speaks specifically about a storm and a foundation:

Matthew 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Now you take this to be a good study on how to build a house, that in a storm like Hurricane Ian might have a better chance to survive the fury of the storm. And a community in Florida kind of did that: Babcock Ranch — is an innovative community north of Fort Myers where homes are built to withstand the worst that Mother Nature can throw at them without being flooded out or losing electricity, water or the internet. The community is located 30 miles inland to avoid coastal storm surges. Power lines to homes are all run underground, where they are shielded from high winds. Giant retaining ponds surround the development to protect houses from flooding. As a backup, streets are designed to absorb floodwaters and spare the houses.

But that is not what Jesus was talking about, was it?

He was talking about people, he was talking about you and I.

Was it the storm that caused the house built on sand to fall?

Matthew 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not:

The same storm beat against both houses, both at the same time, but because the life that was built on the word of God, the life that lives on the promises of God, the foundation that is built on the teachings of Jesus, the foundation is that is built on praise and worship, that is who will weather the storm.

And this is a great promise from God – that we may go through some things, we may have our stuff washed away, we may lose possessions, a hurricane may come through, but we will still be standing. After the storm that we are going through passes, what we will have is a testimony. A testimony on the faithfulness of God.

I do not think that anyone who has been up here has said, as long as you serve Jesus with all your heart, it will make life easier. What I have heard is that you are going to experience some storms in this life. Now, I have NEVER said “Lord, why am I going through this – I have been praying, I have been serving, I have been praising, I have been giving, I mean, I have been really good – and now this storm – really?” I don’t deserve this! (OK, maybe I have thought that)

But what I do know is that no matter how “well” I am walking my walk, there will be storms. Some of the greatest storms in the Bible were surrounding men and women of God who were faithful, who were obedient, whom God loved, who still found themselves in a storm. And in the Word, there were testimonies, but they were on the other side of the storm. They came after the storm, not during the storm. And that can give us confidence to continue to push when the winds of life beat against us.

1 John 4:4 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

The enemy will not win, because of what Jesus has done. And if we continue to press on working on that foundation and focusing on what is important, God can use us. We build our lives on what cannot be swept away in a storm or a hurricane.

Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

I have had things stolen from me. And I have lost at least 3 cars, not from a hurricane, but from storms of deer and snow in Wisconsin. And I do not want to minimize anyone’s loss of property or things, it sucks, I get it, but in the end, they are just things and I know that no matter what damage the storm has done, God has got it:

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

I believe that God knows how to take the things that happen and work them into some sort of testimony for good, so that it will somehow advance the work of the Kingdom in our lives. How many of us here in this room today can testify that there have been times in our lives that we were just tired, that we did not see any good outcome for the situation that we were in. That we had been in situations where we had lost things, maybe everything. We may have thought it was the end. But God, here we stand, and God made a way, anybody? (Raise hand)

I know for me, my wife, Diana’s health situation was definitely one of those storms. When she was first diagnosed and could not work anymore, she lost some her identity – she was used to working! She also lost some of the control in her body, she would be in the chair, and her legs would just bounce – it was very scary. She could not control the pain in her back, there were times I would come home and she would be on the floor, needing me to help her get up, and she would scream. And when I thought that was enough, there would be more storms – a heart attack, an infection, multiple stays in the hospital.

And what I did not see when I was in the storm was that there was something powerful happening, something that could impact many people, especially those in our family. It was Diana’s faith in God, in Jesus that He would heal her. It was her not saying, well forget this Jesus thing, He doesn’t care, so I don’t care. Every time she came to church and fought through the tremors and the pain to worship and praise God, it showed our kids how to stand in a storm. It showed them what faith looks like – it was messy at times, but that is what is like sometimes. She could have cursed God, but she knew where the storm was coming from, and stood on that rock like foundation.

That is what we can pass down to our family and friends, even when we may not see it, amen. That the storms are going to come, there will be trouble, but when we trust that He has already overcome the world, it can be powerful

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.]

There are many here in this body that have shown me how to weather a storm, and I thank you for showing me what faith can look like. You do not now how much it has encouraged me. And some of the greatest moves of God have come after some pretty significant storms

Mark 4:35 On that [same] day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side [of the Sea of Galilee].” 36 So leaving the crowd, they took Him with them, just as He was, in the boat. And other boats were with Him. 37 And a [e]fierce windstorm began to blow, and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already being swamped. 38 But Jesus was in the stern, asleep [with His head] on the [sailor’s leather] cushion. And they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are about to die?” 39 And He got up and [sternly] rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still (muzzled)!” And the wind died down [as if it had grown weary] and there was [at once] a great calm [a perfect peacefulness]. 40 Jesus said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith and confidence [in Me]?” 41 They were filled with great fear, and said to each other, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

I have preached on this before, but I saw something a little different – isn’t that a great thing about the bible, you read it and yet it still speaks because it is the Word of life. That line of scripture says: Let us go over to the other side. Jesus, God in the flesh said we are going to the other side. He did not say, we are going to go through a storm, he said we are going to the other side. He did not say we are going to die halfway through, he said we are going to go to the other side, amen?

Why, because God’s purposes will prevail! A storm will not stop what God has declared in our lives. Whatever God’s purpose is for you, what ever His mission is for you – that is what will come to pass.

Isaiah 46:I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’

The storms in our life do not get to dictate our destiny or our purpose, Jesus does. When Jesus says to them Why are you afraid? I think that is a good reminder for me, that Jesus will accomplish whatever He wants, and I need to focus on getting to the other side to do whatever He wants me to do and have a laser like focus on that rather than the storms around me. There was a great purpose to them crossing over to the other side. There was a solution for someone who had a need, and if He did not make it over there, it would never be realized. There would never have been a testimony. And I can be that way that I am focusing on my needs in the storm, rather than what God wants. I’ll admit, there have been plenty of times I wanted to just quit. I’m just being honest.

And maybe you are going through a storm right now, and you just want to quit. Please, keep going. If you quit now, there are people on the other side of the storm that need you. Your kids need you get through the storm. Your grandkids need you get through the storm. Maybe someone that you work with needs to see it through the storm. You are carrying the Kingdom of God inside of you, and they need you to show them the love of God.

Now I think there is a difference between the hurricane we just had and the storm that Jesus went through. I think that the storm that Jesus went through was a spiritual attack of the enemy. And yes, we can be attacked by the same enemy. In the next chapter of the bible, Mark Chapter 5, they had come where Jesus had told them to go, to the country of Gadarenes.

I am not going to read all of this, but if you recall there is a man with an unclean spirit – nothing could bind him, he’s crying, cutting himself with stones, crying incessantly. And it was not just one unclean spirit

Mark 5:9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. 10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

Mission accomplished, right? If they did not come to this country the man would have had no relief, he would still be doing all that crying, cutting, and living in absolute misery. But that was not then end.

Mark 5:18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. 19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

No one could blame the man wanting to stay with Jesus, especially after all he had been through. But Jesus had more for him to do. That is why it is good for me to remember that when I am in the middle of the storm, it is not always about me. The storm may be about stopping the mission that Jesus may have for me. And I can forget who I am sometimes, and whose I am. These storms that come try to distract and make us quit. They try to pull all the energy into a moment, rather than pushing my faith past the moment.

I think I can get into that moment to where I say to myself, well after this storm passes, then I’ll do more for God. Once this storm passes, then I’ll follow my calling. I am speaking to me as much as anyone else here. I’ll carry out the mission when this storm is done. I’ll start praying with people, I’ll start inviting people to church, I’ll start serving once I get over whatever I am trying to get through.

Sometimes that’s all the enemy needs, he’ll be ready with another storm to keep you off the mark, off the trajectory that God has for you. But what if in the middle of the storm, we did what God has called us to do no matter what?

In Acts chapters 27-28, you will have to read those later, but we see that Paul is on a journey to Rome, he is a prisoner. Basically, it is the wintertime and I guess there are more storms during that time. But on one leg of the journey, Paul says if we go, there will be great loss.

Acts 27:10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.

But the centurion in charge of him trusts the captain, and they head out. Well, there is a great storm that they are in and Paul says:

Acts 27:21 But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.

And there is truth there, that sometimes the storms that we go through are caused by others, amen. You train and raise up a child, they ask your advice – – they of course do the opposite – and there are problems. And you’re like I want to say, I told you so! It happens in business, families, churches – we are all subject in some respects to others decisions creating the challenges we face.

If you read the rest of the chapter, they do make it to land, but not where they wanted to go, and there is another thing that I can see. God can take a storm to change our direction, for the Kingdom of God. They are in Malta. And poor Paul, he must be cold and wet and tired, he just wants to start a fire, and as he does a viper comes out of the wood and attaches to his arm.

Acts 28:5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. 6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.

And a little later we see that Paul is advancing the Kingdom. 

Acts 28:7 In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously. 8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. 9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed: 10 Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary. 11 And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.

The storm that Paul experienced actually helped him get to a place where there could be testimony. The storm took him to a place where he met a man he never would have met. The storm took him to a man that could have died, without prayer and the laying of hands, and more importantly, could hear the word of God. It took him to opportunity to share the love of Christ. It does not say how many and there is not much detail, but I do know the character of Paul and Luke, and if they had 3 months with these people, I am sure there was much evangelizing! There is so much encouragement to push through the storms we face in the Word.

Remember the demon possessed man after the storm? Jesus told him to basically evangelize Decapolis – Decapolis was not a single place, it was an area that encompassed 10 cities. People around there were still pretty angry about the pigs he destroyed, but when Jesus comes back in Mark 7 Jesus is received – remember, Jesus told him , Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee

And Jesus has returned to that area. 

Mark 7:31 Soon after this Jesus left the region of Tyre, and passed through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of Decapolis [the ten Hellenistic cities]. 32 They brought to Him a man who was deaf and had difficulty speaking, and they begged Jesus to place His hand on him. 33 Jesus, taking him aside by himself, away from the crowd, put His fingers into the man’s ears, and after spitting, He touched the man’s tongue [with the saliva]; 34 and looking up to heaven, He sighed deeply and said to the man, “Ephphatha,” which [in Aramaic] means, “[i]Be opened and released!” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he began speaking plainly. 36 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it. 37 They were thoroughly astounded and completely overwhelmed, saying, “He has done everything well! He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak!”

He performs miracles including feeding the 4000 and continues building the kingdom. No wonder that the enemy wanted to stop the mission. That is what can happen after we push through the storm, amen?

Listen, I just want to encourage us all that there may be something great after the storm. We may not see it  when the storm clouds are brewing, we may not see it with a the intensity of the storm, but when the storm passes and having stood on that rock foundation, there may be opportunity for testimony. There may be opportunities to reach the lost or the hurting, and that really is the mission – to love God and to love on Love people.

Remember that community in Florida, Babcock Ranch? Because they were so protected by the storm with all their preparations? Because of that they have a storm shelter that is now helping those that have been affected by the storm.

And in the end, with us trying to have that same solid foundation, in the middle or in the end of the storm, we can lift our brothers and sisters up, and help them, amen?


And Diana, she writes about her storms on her blog, Prayers and Promises, she could have given all that up, but as of yesterday she had 933,113 visits and she has 3,228 subscribers – and if her testimony brings only one to Jesus, it is worth it, amen?

Acts 2:38

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