Mother’s Day 2018

Trust in God to help you get through your everyday problems.

Diana Mescher
May 13, 2018    32m
This sermon by Diane Mescher looks at a story in Acts about sailors facing a sudden hurricane in their travels. She tells us how Paul remained calm because of his deep trust in God to get him through the struggles. She then applies this to the storms, everyday struggles, we face in life. How putting our trust in God can significantly ease our burdens. Letting Him lead the way as to what should stay and what should go, can make life less chaotic and more peaceful. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Child: 00:00 Dear Mom, I think that you're awesome. No matter how messy it gets, or how crazy I can be, you have always been there for me. I know this whole mom thing can be really tough sometimes, you must really worry about me. Just know that you're really making a difference. I think, you’re out of this world. You always know how to fix any problem, it doesn't matter if it's big or small. You teach me something new every day. Actually, it seems like you know everything, sports, space, art, music, science. You really can do it all. You make the hardest job in the world look easy, and I love you. Happy Mother's Day.

Diana Mescher: 01:04 Happy Mother's Day. Hey Cornerstone. Hey thanks for being with us today. We hope you've laughed a little bit today. We hope you've enjoyed the whimsy of Mother's Day and we want to say hi to San Tan and Scottsdale as well. Thanks for joining us. My name is Diana, and I'm excited today because we are going to jump right in to a story in God's word. And it's a story, that I think if we pay attention to it has the potential to deeply encourage us as moms, as non-moms, as fellas, everybody in the room. There's something in the story, we're going to look at today, that has the opportunity to say, Hey, I think we might be like these people . And it may have the power to unlock something for us that, if we actually put it in practice, can really change how we live the rest of our year. So I hope that you'll dig in.

Diana Mescher: 01:45 Let's jump right into Acts 27. What we're going to do is we're going to pick up a story. Acts is a letter that was written by a guy named Luke who was a doctor, and Luke hung out with this dude named Paul. And Paul, I know it's like a lot of people. But Paul was somebody who loved Jesus eventually in his life, he started off actually hating Christians and eventually met Jesus, and his life was changed. He was headed to Rome because he needed to stand trial, before people, and in the midst of that time how they traveled there was through ships, through cargo ships. So he would get on a boat and travel for a while, they'd dock at port, he'd stay and hang out with his people and then get back on the boat and keep traveling through the Mediterranean. And we're going to pick up when Paul and Luke and some of the crew are at about the halfway point in their journey.

Diana Mescher: 02:34 So hang with me. In acts chapter 27 starting in verse 12 it says this. It says," Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there." Well look at that, proof that we should all be snowbirds, which is really exciting. Just kidding. It's not that Phoenix, it's the Phoenix in the Mediterranean. But I think I will use this to try to convince my mom and dad. How many of you are transplants like recently, or in the last hundred years, you and your family have transplanted. Absolutely, use this verse this week, say, hey, you got to come visit. Anyway, there was a harbor in Crete facing both southwest and northwest. Verse Thirteen, it says, "When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity, so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. Before very long, a wind of hurricane force called the northeaster, swept down from the island. As we passed to the lee of a small island, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure. So in the so the men hoisted the lifeboat aboard. Then they passed the ropes under the ship itself to try to hold it together. Because they were afraid it was going to run a ground on the sandbars and crash. So they lowered the sea anchor even, and tried to let the ship be driven along. We took such a violent beating, battering, from the storm that the next day the sailors, they began to throw cargo overboard, and on the third day they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, the storm continued raging, and we finally gave up all hope of being saved." Happy Mother's Day. Just kidding.

Diana Mescher: 04:35 Here's the deal. There's a story happening where these sailors said, you know what? Let's head on out on this journey and things start out well. Smooth sails, gentle winds, and then suddenly hurricane force winds crash into the story. Later on they said when they hadn't seen the sun or stars for days it was cloudy, it was covering. You know that the force of these 30 mile per hour winds, these 80 mile per hour winds, the strength of these winds whipping this boat back and forth, the crash. Just picture it with me, right? Pretend we're reading a story book for a moment, the crash of waves coming up and the heavy way of them fitting against the boat. Time after time, day after day, these poor sailors find themselves in the middle of the situation they don't want to be in.

Diana Mescher: 05:25 And here's what you and I need to pay attention to, there are three things that these sailors do, that I think you and I do when the storms of life start to crash in. And now it could just be like the chaos of a toddler melting down for an hour, and that's the kind of storm that we're talking about. It could be the storms that come when you get the phone call with a diagnosis that you never expected to happen in your family and you never wished it upon anyone. It could be the storm and the chaos in job transition and in financial struggle. It could just be the storms that rage inside of us, but the fear and the anxiety and the pressure. Because here's what I think is true, is I think many of us are bullied by this idea of perfection, and we often seek to try to find control in our stories.

Diana Mescher: 06:16 So let's see what these sailors did. Let's take a deeper dive, to see if you and I may be like these sailors. And then to pay attention to say, could there possibly be hope in this story? So the first thing that the sailors do in verse 17, we just read it, as that the storm was raging this little tiny dinky boat that was held together, not a modern ship, often held together and manufactured by hands that was held together. Was being battered so hard that they hoisted the lifeboats up on the ship, pulled it aboard, and they took the ropes that the lifeboats were hanging on. They sent it under the ship and they tried to hold the ship together.

Diana Mescher: 06:59 So I wonder if you are kind of like these sailors, or you're kind of like me, where sometimes when chaos starts coming we try to hold everything together. And I wonder what you might be trying to hold together? Are you trying to hold your family together, trying to hold you're appearances together, get back to that like pre-baby bod? You don't need to, you're beautiful as you are. But what does it look like? What are we trying to hold together? And maybe for you, just hang with me, walk down this journey with me. Are you somebody who tries to hold things together by the way that you use your power? Or do you like to overpower people to talk louder, to yell louder, to be louder, in your family or in your work setting. Are you trying to control all the details of life and make sure they're in the proper order of things? What are you hustling for, and working hard, to make sure that it fits this picture of what you think things should be in your mind.

Diana Mescher: 08:01 So my sister is very detail oriented. Any detail oriented people in the house? Yeah, you all usually raise your hand. I love it. I'm more like, woohoo, what are we going to do today? Let's figure it out. Anybody like that? You all are my people. We like you all.

Diana Mescher: 08:17 But my sister...we have a running joke now, so when I come home to visit or she comes here, we've turned her love of
scheduling and detailing into a joke. Where she'll call me and she'll say, "Diana, I've got a color coded detailed schedule of what we're going to do for every literal minute, that your home this weekend, that you're visiting in Iowa."

Diana Mescher: 08:17 Then I say, "Oh, I hate it."

Diana Mescher: 08:35 She goes, "I've given you like three hours of free time so you can decide what you want to do in that three hours of free time."

Diana Mescher: 08:40 There is nothing wrong, God wired her to love to organize and pull things together, and we pick on each other and a kindhearted way. But she would be the first to tell you that sometimes when the floor falls out from underneath her, when transition comes with jobs, when the stress comes with kids, when things are beyond her ability to organize and categorize and control, she tries to hold it all together in the midst of things. We also have a joke in my family, where I don't know why this conversation came up, but one time we're like, mom, who is the most stubborn of all of us? Because we were bickering about this at some point in time, and the whole family was there and mom and dad on cue both said, "Absolutely it's you, Diana, you are the most stubborn of all of our kids."

Diana Mescher: 08:40 To which I promptly responded. 'I'm not stubborn, I'm just right."

Diana Mescher: 09:36 And then the family laughed and says, "I think that proves our point, that you may in fact be the stubborn one."

Diana Mescher: 09:42 And because sometimes I'm the stubborn one. What I've found is sometimes impatience can come up in my life, and I've learned that there's this pesky underbelly to impatience. Where maybe you don't try to control all the details and hold everything together, but maybe you might be the impatient one. Where really impatience is a is a form of control. Where we're saying if that line would just move faster, if you would just figure out your stuff, I already figured out your stuff, so can you just figure it out and deal with it, and move on and I'm just getting impatient that it's taking you so long. When really, I'm so glad you're listening to me this morning, but really it's this moment of control. Where underneath it I may say I don't want to control anything, but my impatience exposes that I do. And here's the deal, some of us, it may not be external stuff. it may not be impatience that we try to control, it might actually be the internal stuff. Where we're just trying to control the fact that we're anxious, and we're afraid, and we're overwhelmed, we may be trying to control the grief and just not feel it. Trying to hold it all in, hold it all together and just figure it out. We feel like we may not be able to tell people all the things and we're like these sailors in a hurricane with little ropes in a wooden boat trying to hold everything from breaking apart. I wonder if you've ever tried to hold everything together in your story before?

Diana Mescher: 11:22 The next thing that these sailors do in verse 18, if we look at it, it says, "We took such a violent beating, battering, from the storm that the next day the sailors began to throw cargo overboard." If you think about it, what was the point of this ship? Hang with me as we unpack this story. The point of the ship was a cargo ship. And its very purpose, the thing that these sailors got paid for, was to deliver goods and people from point A all the way over to point B, right? Pretty simple. You've got to get all this stuff, all the food, all the clothing, all the people, all the animals, whatever, all the way to point B, that was its purpose. But when the storm starts raging, have you ever noticed where we start chucking things overboard? And here these sailors start throwing overboard the very purpose that God had called them to. They start abandoning the very thing that they were intended to carry and to do.

Diana Mescher: 12:22 And there are times in life when there is just so much coming at you, where it makes sense, that you've got to make some decisions where something has to give. I have a young mom who she used to joke, she goes, "Really in my options today with my newborn I have the decision, am I going to shower or am I going to eat? Like I don't know that I can do both. So what's going to happen today?" It's real life.

Diana Mescher: 12:42 Same thing with college students. Sometimes at finals week, many of you just finished that, you're like, "Okay, of all the things, am I going to sleep, am I going to eat, am I going to shower? But I have to study, so how does this all work?"

Diana Mescher: 12:53 In the midst of chaos, in the midst of storms, the small storms that happen for a day, the big storms that happen for a week, and the chaos that swirls, we often start to throw overboard and abandon different things. And I think the question we've got to ask from what these sailors did, is what are you throwing overboard? What are you abandoning? As you tried to survive and endure? Have you thrown over hope, have you thrown away some of those, what we would call in church language, fruit of the spirit, some of the patience to be kind to people. We're all of a sudden you realize, gosh, I am the worst version of myself to the people that I love the most. Because work is crazy right now, and by the time I come home, I've got nothing left in the tank. So what I've thrown over is my patience for them, and my attention to them, and my care for them. What have you thrown over? Have you thrown over your purpose, to know that you've got worth and value. And God puts you on the planet with all your goofy wiring for a reason, to go and build something with him that will make a difference and last? Have you opted out of that? I Don’t know. I Don’t know what you have thrown over. Have you thrown over time with the kid, have you thrown over the fact that no change can ever happen in that relationship, where you married someone, and all of a sudden you're looking at them and you're like, you're not who I married. You're a stranger. I don't want to be stuck in this anymore. I'm out. Have you abandoned hope that change could actually come, and the person that you deeply love but who's struggling.

Diana Mescher: 14:34 I think sometimes some of us to as Christ followers, if we've met Jesus, we start to throw away this truth about who he is and if he's even good. We just kind of roll with it. We just go through the motions. And some of you may be saying, "Di, I don't know that I'm somebody who like actively throws things away, like actively abandons and gets rid of things."

Diana Mescher: 15:00 Okay, in James there's this parable, this idea. It's almost like a parable, it's a story that he tells in James One, and he says this. Maybe this is you, and I was reading this this week, so this is why it's fresh and I just wanted to share this with you, we're in James. He's talking about how these people who have a lot of stuff, he's not saying having a lot of stuff is bad. He's saying, but people who just spend their lives gathering stuff, whether that's like actual stuff, whether that's money stuff, whether that's like I'm gathering all this stuff to make me look perfect, I'm gathering all this stuff to make me feel great, I'm gathering all the accolades in the success at school, at work, at my career, I'm gathering stuff. Then he says this in verse 11, he says, "He goes for the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field, and the flowers fall away. The beauty parishes." And when I read that, I thought oh we get that in Arizona. That's really easy for us to comprehend how the sun becomes so hot and scorching and withers and kills everything in its midst. But this is what this is the powerful part of it. He says this later on in verse 11, he goes, "It is the same way that in the midst, don't miss this. In the midst of a busy life, they will wither away." So I wonder what's withered in your story. Maybe your energy, maybe your faith, maybe your hope, maybe your competence, maybe that relationship with Jesus if you've had one, isn't there, and maybe if you don't know Jesus yet, what's withered is your relationships with other people have started to change. I wonder what's withered?

Diana Mescher: 16:41 So these sailors, what they're trying to do in the midst of the chaos, as they're trying to hold everything together. Imagine the ropes in the boat. The second thing they're trying to do is they start throwing overboard, the very purpose that they were given, and the promises they hold onto. And they start, verse 20 tells us they start, to drift away from the port of where they were trying to get. So what do we do with that? If you and I are like these sailors sometimes, when the storms of chaos come, are we stuck just trying to hold things together and realizing that we can't? Because the irritating thing that we find, is that often perfection isn't really obtainable. And often our control, somehow, just runs out. Somehow it becomes not enough. But all of a sudden, in the midst of this story, there's somebody who steps in and he's about to give some advice. And it's not a sailor's advice, because throwing the cargo overboard in the midst of the storm was actually sailor wisdom, right? It was wisdom to try to lighten the ship so it could endure what's happening, though they may have thrown the wrong things overboard.

Diana Mescher: 17:53 The question is, Paul comes on board, this fellow who loves Jesus, and he says, "Hey I've got three things I want to tell you, and show you here." And it's not sailors wisdom, it's not the wisdom of the world, it's not just the next fashion trend, it's not just the next diet plan, it's not just the next like how to get all the things done in 100 minutes. I don't know. It's not how to be busy and be successful. He's going to say something crazy. So let's look. So what he says is he says in verse 23, he goes, "Last night, in the midst of that chaos, in the midst of when the storm was raising, when you were trying to hold things together and throwing things overboard. Last night, Paul says, an angel of the God to whom I belong and to whom I serve, stood beside me and he said, don't be afraid, Paul. You and the lives of all that you travel with, before you must stand trial, and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you." And so Paul says this, he says, "So keep up your courage for I, Paul says, have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me."

Diana Mescher: 19:21 See, all of a sudden, Paul in the midst of this with this sailor wisdom says, hey guys, there's about 200 of them with him at this point you'll see later in the text, and he stands up and he says, "Hey, the God to whom I belong, not the God that belongs to me, the god to whom I belong, who chooses me, stood right beside me in the midst of this chaos, and I've got faith that this promise, there's this promise that said, you're going to get where you're going, Paul. I got a purpose in that, and he pulls their eyes up to this promise and said, hey, there's somebody bigger in the story, That the very God who made the waves that are crashing against you, is bigger than those waves in is with you in the midst of it." And he says, "Hold onto the hope of this." And here's the bottom line. What he's really trying to say is he saying, you're not alone, you're not abandoned, and you are not stuck in these circumstances forever.

Diana Mescher: 20:21 You see my mom and dad are in town like I told you, and we went to go hike at Saguaro Lake, if you've ever been there it's really beautiful this time of year. There's these cool trees that have these purple and white flowers that are blossoming that I've never seen in Arizona. And as we were walking, we were walking across the path, and there's some narrow parts and some parts where you have to bend down through the trees and all the things. So we're walking along, had a great time, and on our way back all of a sudden we encounter this sweet family. And here's what I saw, when I saw them. They had this precious little toddler, who you know how they get and they have those like red faced moments when they're just adorable. But you can tell they're not really loving life right now. And they're just strapped into this, you know these running strollers, strollers with the three wheels And Grandpa is holding the front of the stroller, and I think dad was holding the back of the stroller. And these men are sweating profusely in the sun by like 10:00. And all the people who are with them, like nobody in this party looks like they're having fun, and they're having to carry for miles this sweet little toddler in this hiking trailer. Because if you know anything about hiking in Arizona, you know that the trails are not like smooth cement. They have jagged rocks sticking up everywhere, that you have to try to navigate, on these narrow paths. And as we pass them with my mom and my dad, I started thinking, gosh, that load is too heavy to carry. Surely there's another way. Surely there's a better way for this family to enjoy this adventure. I wonder if God isn't looking at you and me saying, oh my sweet kids, this load is too heavy, I never intended you to carry all of the stress, I never intended you to carry the pressure of perfection, I never intended you to carry all of this control, to organize and put together all the thing. Man, there is a better way.

Diana Mescher: 22:19 And so when Paul stands up in the middle. Really what he's saying is he saying, "Hey, I want you to grasp hold of this. That I want you to, instead of trying to control and hold things together, I want you to hand over what you're stressed about. I want you to hand over the problems that are bigger than you. I want you to hand over the diagnosis that you just heard. I want you to hand over the fact that you don't already know how to get from here to there. I want you to hand over the bullying, pressures and lies." Here's what's frustrating about handing things over. Please don't be misunderstood. It is not letting go and saying, oh, what will be will be, I don't care. Because the stressful thing about handing things over, is that practical life details still have to happen. But Paul's saying, "Hey, there is somebody beside me. The presence of God was beside me and what if we hand over our stress, what if we hand over our weariness to the one who is able to do it?" Because Paul said, "I have confidence in God to bring about what he promised he'll bring forward." The next thing that Paul does is he says, "Hey, I want you to hand over what you're carrying, and want you to hand over your fear, I want you to hand over the pressure of decisions. And then what he says is, "I really want you to hold on to the promise." So number one is handover. Number two is hold back on to the promise that's true. Don't abandon, like throwing over cargo, the promise that God is kind and faithful and just. He promises, he says, "Hey, I comfort those who mourn."

Diana Mescher: 23:59 So if today's hard for you, God is celebrating with those who are rejoicing and he's able to comfort those who mourn and if you're doing both at one time, he can be in that moment with you. And then he says this. He goes, "Hey, I want you to remember, if we hold onto the promise." That whatever dark valley, sometimes that's a Bible word for struggles, that we walked through. Psalm 23 tells us that the Lord is our shepherd and he'll lead us through dark valleys. It's a psalm you may have heard preached at somebody's funeral. But the truth of the matter is, I've told you some of this before, but if you grab hold of this, it can change your story. That the reason you and I can walk through dark valleys, is the fact that you and I never have to walk through them alone. Because Jesus chose to walk through the darkest of valleys alone on our behalf. Right? And he says, Hey, you're not to discuss it. Because the thing that these sailors are in the midst of this storm, because they made choices that led them here. Go check it out in verse nine. It's because they didn't listen to the wisdom of the day that you should not travel at wintertime, when storms are very common in that area. It's very dangerous time to travel.

Diana Mescher: 25:13 And so maybe you're here and you've gotten yourself into a mess by your own decisions, and the things you've avoided, and in the things that you've chosen, And maybe you're here because not all storms are that way. Some of the storms and the struggles again, the two hour struggle, or the week long struggle, or the year struggle are not things of our making and our choice. But to both people, Christ says, "Hey, I'm choosing to stand beside you. All you have to do is recognize me. Hold onto the truth that I'm already choosing whether you want me here or not. I'm not a bully. I'm just going to gently say man hand it over. Remember that I am able, remember that I have defeated the very thing that is holding you back." So whatever bully thought consumes you, he's stronger. Whatever thing you do to cope, that you know probably isn't best, he's not disgusted by that. He walks in.

Diana Mescher: 26:07 So here's the deal. Really what Paul does, is he goes on and he says in verse 33, "So the storm rages on and the guys are starting to grasp this idea of Paul's saying, Hey, there's somebody else in the story." What does it look like to hand over? What does it look like to hold onto promises? And then like you and me, because they're human, they don't walk this out perfectly. And the jokers are trying hard again to navigate the storm, and it had been 14 days and hear what Paul said. He said in verse 33 says, "Just before dawn, Paul urged them all to eat. He said, for the last 14 days you have been in constant suspense." You ever been there? He says, "You have gone without food and you haven't eaten anything. Now I urge you, Paul says, not urge in the bully sense. Urge in this I want this for you. Oh, this is your best. I urge you, take some food. You need it to survive And not one of you will lose a single hair from your head."

Diana Mescher: 27:22 See, in the midst of the chaos in the storm, and the waves were still raging. Paul says, "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Hey, come. here, sit down, plus breathe for a minute. You have been in constant stress. You have been constantly agonizing. You have been working hard. The burden is heavy. Hey, let's eat, you need some nourishment. You need some fuel to keep going.

Diana Mescher: 27:54 I wonder what would happen if you and I become people who practice the pause. And though the waves are crashing, we watched the peace of Christ roll over the situation and drop in. Because God's peace isn't dependent upon you and me, there's something about it where you and I just need to recognize it.

Diana Mescher: 28:18 You see, when I fly in airplanes and my mom and I talk about this all the time, when I fly into the Midwest as I'm going through the air and about to land. There's almost always constant cloud cover. Where it's blue skies and sunny at the top, and then just as the plane dips down, it dips below the clouds that are dark and gray and we land and it is this dark gray, dreary day in the winter. And when mom sees me, she always says, was the sun shining up there? I said, you bet it was mom, I saw it before the plane landed. Sometimes when we practice this pause in the midst of chaos, it's a way for our heart and our mind to go back to the promise of you know what, God, you are still who you say you are. And if you're not sure of that, you either are who you say you are or you're not. I'm going to choose to believe that you are.

Diana Mescher: 29:09 You see, perfection is not the goal of our life, and control is not the expectation. God does not have either of those desires for us. What he says is rather than being perfect, I'd rather you be dependent upon me. Hey, rather than control on your own because your strength is never enough, I'd rather you learn to depend on me and hand this over to me. Because I'm good, and faithful, and my yoke is easy, and my burden is light, learn from me. And so women, specifically mama's, if you grasp this how radical would your homes be? If you become the woman, who like Paul, learns to say, "Hey, team, we need to practice the pause right now. What do we need to hand over to God? What truth do we need to hold back onto?" And can we just sit in the presence, and just say, "God, you are who you say you are. Would you meet us here? God, would you slay the giant of fear, and of not enough, and of pride, and of indifference, and of whatever it is for you?"
Diana Mescher: 30:12 What would it look like if you became teachers, and leaders, and businessmen, and business women? What would it look like if you become grandparents, and parents, and aunts, and friends who learned to say, "Hey, the chaos is here, but don't you throw that away girl, that's your purpose." Oh, hold tight to who Jesus says you are. What could that look like If we believe that Jesus is who he says he is, and that he's constant in this storm, and we belonged to him, and the ability to belong to him is open to all of us?

Diana Mescher: 30:49 So I pray Mama's, specifically, and all of us are encouraged today by the truth of the best of friend who is always with us through our stories. But would you pray with me? Jesus, thank you that you are mindful of us. Mindful of us when sometimes we don't even know what's going on in our own heart and our own story. Yet, even so you choose to say that you will stand beside us, you choose to say that you care about us. So God I pray for my friends in the room today. I pray that their view of who you are just grows, that you are constant and in their story. And give them the courage to crazily, and even if it's a little bit awkwardly, and timidly God just say, "I don't know about this, but I want to trust you, so would you just hold this because it's too heavy. I don't know what you're going to do with it, but I just offer you the little that I have." And Jesus, I know that your faith rushes in in those moments, and fills the gap with grace. God be with my friends, encourage their hearts, give them the courage to trust you, and lean on you. And give them the courage to pick back up their worth, and their purpose, and the truth that they may have let go. because things have gotten hard. Be with my friends. It's in your name we pray. Amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286