Pastor Steve Kielley's Testimony:
Sail On

Since I was a small boy I have always been intrigued by ocean going vessels.  Living in Milwaukee it was always a treat when we traveled near Jones Island, which is the port of Milwaukee. Here we could see these floating monsters coming into dock.  Their size, their coloring and the flags which proudly flew above each vessel revealed their country of origin and at the same time provided a new insight that drew the curiosity of those drawn to the docks. For a moment I would be carried away in wonder dreaming of countries far away, lands unseen.  In a way they are floating ambassadors bearing cargo from distant worlds I have never seen before.  Their languages to me unknown are spoken with ease and comfort by each member of the crew.

I often wonder what sort of people volunteer for jobs aboard these cargo vessels. They are no doubt gone for months at a time.  Your first thought might be that they are the outcasts of society, lonely souls who find no place of their own in life and who float from shore to shore in search of some place to call their own.  In a way this may be true.

Then I realize that I myself in a type may be just like those who board these floating cities in search of new ports of call.  Something inside of me is drawn on, searching for the last port, a place where I belong, itís my home port. It is where I came from, a place one day I wish to return. A place to rest from the voyages I have shared with mariners like myself, a place where friends and family dwell safely together.  My eyes scan the horizon in search of that old lighthouse welcoming me back.  It seems each day brings with it the salty breezes of my environment, which blow softly upon the curtains which hang on the window my heart.  The same waves which rock me to sleep at night also toss me to and fro, even at times threatening me in an almost malicious way; I love the sea, and the life associated with it, but down inside I remember that as I travel from port of call to port of call, that these stops our only temporary.  They may be enjoyable but they are never permanent.

The flag which I hoist above for all to see, the flag that identifies me as I sail the oceans of life, bears the cross of Christ, and the background is crimson red representing the blood which he shed for my redemption, I make sure it proudly flies above.   The master sailor, the Captain of my ship is Jesus, not only has he sailed each ocean, he by himself brought them all into existence and knows each by name.  There is no other in all creation that I would rather sail with than He.  I trust Him with my life, and I can see Him standing at the wheel even in the worst of storms, calmly guiding me on.  The peace that comes from His eyes, the rugged sailor hands, calloused by the years, our tender when they take my hand and pull me close out of the winds of the storm.

Words cannot describe the precious moments as we stand side by side watching the sun rise, each of us scanning the horizon with anticipation for the day.  His presence is not only calming it is also very strong, representing authority and one who is in control of the environment and nature itself.  I stand proudly next to Him, not only the master of the ship, but a friend who I know will stay closer to me than even a brother. The most dominating thing about His presence is found in His eyes. They seem to look deep within me with knowing and understanding, searching for things of promise, sometimes revealing secret things of embarrassment only known to him and me.  When he calls my name, something in my heart flutters as if a surge of electricity is passing through me. As a light bulb is of no value without the outlet bearing electricity I realize that without Him I would be of no value to those around me.

I have grown accustomed to the blow of the horn as we enter another port, to face a new culture, hopefully friendly, and possibly hostile.  In each case you can see me at the front of the ship as we enter harbor and if you care to look you can see the captain smile as he looks over my shoulder, and sees my child like anticipation. As the captain is loyal to His ship and its crew, I feel a loyalty to Him and will strive to hoist the sail of faith and hold onto the rudder of hope no matter how rough the seas.

You may at this moment find yourself in a similar place as I. So sail on my friend, the horizon beckons, the soft breezes of what lie ahead our calling you on.

When the storms do come I hope you can see the lighthouse ahead, its light piercing the darkness and breaking through the fog of doubt and fear.  You may feel the same strong hand upon your shoulder and hear the voice of the captain above the wind and roaring of the storm calling out your name.  Yes there is a peace in the storm and a light that shines in the darkness, I pray that is shines on you!


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