For one week, we’re taking a break from the Nuptially Challenged series to have a Night of Worship we’re calling Recalibrate. Come and join us at 6:00 pm for a time to pause and recalibrate our lives.
08/25/2013: Recalibratego to sermon series
In his book called Your Eternal Reward, Edwin Lutzer tells about a time he was bobbing up and down on a boat on the rough waters of Lake Michigan. When he began getting seasick, his friend told him to choose a building on the shore and keep his eyes fixed on it.
Edwin chose the biggest building possible…he fixed his eyes on the SearsTower. To his surprise, he started to feel better.
His friend explained that the motion of a boat confuses our balance system if we focus on the object that is causing our movement. But we can handle the ups and downs if we fix our eyes on an object that doesn’t move.
There’s no doubt that the waters in our lives are rough. We’re always bobbing up and down. The wind is blowing. The waves are rolling. And sometimes, there just isn’t enough Dramamine in the world to help us. Life just makes us seasick.
But tonight is all about finding that fixed point where we can focus our eyes. Life is still going to be crazy. Tonight isn’t going to fix that. The wind and the waves will still be rolling when you leave this place. Tonight isn’t going to fix that, either.
But what tonight is going to do is to help us refocus. It’s going to help us recalibrate our lives around our fixed focal point.
In James 1, James tells us that “[God] does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:18b, NIV)
And in Hebrews 13, we’re reminded that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV)
Jesus is a fixed point. He is immovable. He is unshakable. When life gets crazy…when the waves and the wind are blowing you all over the place…Jesus never moves.
That’s why the writer of Hebrews says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2a, NIV 1984)
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus. We focus on the One who never changes. We recalibrate our lives so everything centers on the One who never moves. Everything else is unstable. Everything else is unsure. Everything else moves. But Jesus is solid. Jesus is secure.
But one other thing that Jesus is…He is often quiet. The reason so many other things get our attention is because they’re loud. They’re crazy. They’re urgent.
But Jesus is often quiet. Always there. Always solid and secure. But often quiet.
There’s a fantastic story in the Old Testament book of 1 Kings. It’s tells about how the Lord appeared to the prophet, Elijah.
In 1 Kings 19, it says, “And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty.
The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” (1 Kings 19:9b-10, NIV)
In other words, Elijah’s life was crazy. Nothing was working out. Everything was falling apart. He was in pain. He was suffering. He felt abandoned. When he signed on to follow God, his life wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.
And maybe you can relate to that. Life wasn’t supposed to be this crazy. It definitely wasn’t supposed to be this painful. The insanity, the insecurity, the pain and the hurt…it has become the story of your life. It has become the focus of your life.
Listen to what happened next in the story. “The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.” (1 Kings 19:11-13, NIV)
God told Elijah that He was going to pass by. Elijah was hurting. He was discouraged. He was disillusioned. He was frightened. And God was going to reconnect with Him.
God doesn’t ignore our pain. He isn’t oblivious to our suffering. He knows when we are anxious and afraid. He understands that we get tossed around and that life has roughed us up. And He wants to meet us there…but we have to slow down enough to hear Him.
God appeared to Elijah, but it wasn’t in the devastating windstorm that blew the rocks apart. It wasn’t in the massive earthquake that followed. And it wasn’t in the roaring fire that followed that.
God came in the form of a gentle, quiet whisper. Some translations refer to it as a “still small voice.”
When Elijah heard this whisper, he covered his face because he knew it was God.
God wasn’t in the things that would definitely grab your attention. He wasn’t in the windstorm. He wasn’t in the earthquake. He wasn’t in the fire. Earth, Wind, And Fire was a band in the 70s, but it’s not where Elijah experienced God.
God was in the stillness. In the quiet whisper.
And that’s still where we find Him today. Listen to these words from Isaiah 30. “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’” (Isaiah 30:15, NIV)
Man, does that sound like your life? Because it absolutely sounds like mine.
I get caught up in the craziness. I focus on the wind and the earthquakes and the fires. I allow myself to be distracted, anxious, worried, and frightened. I focus on my pain and suffering.
And all the while, I ignore the One who is greater than all those things.
God is greater than the pain you’re experiencing. God is greater than your worries and your fears. God is greater than your disappointment and you discouragement. God is greater than the waves that are tossing you around.
But if we don’t recalibrate our lives…if we don’t change our focus…we’ll never hear Him. We’ll never experience the peace and the rest that He has for us.
As long as the wind of fear and anxiety and doubt is your focus, you’ll miss God.
As long as the earthquake of discouragement and trouble and turmoil is your focus, you’ll miss God.
As long as the burning fire of pain and hurt and suffering is your focus, you’ll miss God.
I’m not trying to minimize any of those things in your life. What I’m saying is that God wants to walk with you through all these things. But you’ve got to be willing to recalibrate and refocus your life so you can hear Him.
And that’s what tonight is all about. We’re simply calling tonight “A Night of Worship” because that’s exactly what it is. It’s a night where we come to worship God, to hear God, to experience God. It’s a night where we can stop…refocus…recalibrate our lives so we don’t miss God.
All the pain and doubt and trials and craziness of your life will still be there when you leave tonight. But if you allow yourself to pause…to listen…to remember that Jesus is the solid, immovable anchor of your life…you will leave to face the struggles of your life with new strength and new perspective.
In Matthew 11, Jesus Himself said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)
Because Jesus died for our sin, and then conquered death in His resurrection, we can have rest. We can have the peace of knowing that our struggles are temporary, and we’re not walking through our struggles alone. Jesus has promised that He would never leave us and He would never forsake us.
And in Him, we find rest for our souls. This life will never give us rest. It’s crazy. It’s hard. It’s uncertain. And it hurts.
But when we recalibrate our lives…when we place our focus back on Jesus…when we focus on His death, when we focus on His resurrection, when we focus on His power and His presence…we are strengthened. We have hope. We have peace.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14, KJV)
This is what the angels said when they announced the birth of Jesus to a bunch of shepherds out in the field. And it’s exactly what Jesus does in our lives.
When we recalibrate our lives…when our focus is on Jesus…when we give God glory in the highest, He gives us a gift in return. Peace.
Your God is greater than your struggles. He is greater than the craziness. He is greater than your uncertainties. He is greater than your worry and anxiety. He is greater than your pain.
And if you don’t know Him yet, we’d love to arrange an introduction tonight. We’d love to talk with you and pray with you. We’d love to introduce you to Jesus if you’re ready to take that step of faith.
If you’re hurting or you’re broken or things just aren’t working, we’d love to pray with you to help things get recalibrated in your life.
We’ll be in the back ready to meet you. Let’s worship our God who is greater than anything we’re facing in our lives. Let’s give Him all the glory. And let’s experience His peace tonight.