Riverside Community Church

Finding True North

Our modern world resembles a vast, unchartered stormy ocean. Each of us is sailing our life’s ship through these waves. The ocean is new to us, new waters, unchartered waters, we’ve never been this way before. We are no longer in familiar territory. Huge changes are sweeping across our world and these changes have made our maps and charts obsolete. We have never seen this before. A fundamental fact of life in the third millennium is that nothing is as prominent as change. A major shift has taken place in our culture, radically redefining concepts of truth, morality and spirituality. Public opinion is no longer shaped by Judeo-Christian values. Tolerance reigns supreme and relativism is the only absolute. New life waters we’re sailing, a new life ocean we’re in and certainly new dangers.

Bewildered, frustrated, lost and confused people, Christians, are in the midst of this rapidly changing, unpredictable world, this vast changed new life ocean. It’s happening. It’s happened. It’s here and upon YOU. You are in the new ocean and you need direction. You need a star in the sky to help you navigate your life’s ocean, a star to guide you in life’s stormy sea. And you have one, a star, the North Star shines for you and it’s Jesus Christ.

A true story of finding direction from the stars.

      When Earnest Shackleton and his six companions jumped into a little boat and pushed off from a barren, desolate beach on Elephant Island, deep in the southern ocean, there was virtually no chance that they would ever again see the twenty-one men they were leaving behind. It was amazing they had survived this long. It was Monday April 24 1916. Fifteen months before, as they attempted to become the first expedition to cross the Antarctica, their ship had become icebound.

Under the careful leadership of Shackleton, they had survived through a brutal Antarctic winter and harsh summer. Their ship had been crushed by the shifting ice, they scrambled to an island and salvaged all they could. No one would be coming to rescue, the waters were unchartered and extremely dangerous due to the storms. Not unlike were we find ourselves in this new dangerous changing ocean. To stay there would mean certain death.

      Their only hope was to be found on South Georgia Island some 800 miles away, across some of the stormiest waters on earth.  They would encounter bitter cold, icebergs, 70 foot waves and 80 mph winds at times. With little navigational tools and the stars to guide them they, Shackleton and 5 desperate others, set foot into the life boat and launched. 27 men remained hoping and praying. They had to navigate accurately and precisely land on the Georgia Island or be swept into a vast 3000 mile of empty ocean.

      Frank Worsley, who acted as the navigator later recalled his efforts; Dead reckoning or DR which is the seamen’s calculation of courses and distance had become a merry jest of guesswork. Once, perhaps, twice a week the sun smiled a sudden wintery flicker through the storm-torn clouds. If ready for it, and smart, I caught it.” (he caught the sky, sun, stars.)

      But those brief moments when they could see the heavens proved to be enough. They were able to get their bearings and in one of the greatest feats of seamanship in history, Shackleton and his men reached South Georgia Island and later rescued the 27 men stranded on Elephant Island.

The only hope a sailor has of surviving a storm and navigating a new and unchartered ocean is to have a fixed reference point that enables the sailor to know where he is and where he is heading. They need a star and in the northern hemisphere it is the North Star, Polaris. You need a star in the sky to help you navigate your life’s ocean, a star to guide you in life’s stormy sea. And you have one, a star, the North Star shines for you and it’s Jesus Christ.

 Our North Star is God as revealed in Jesus Christ, It was God the Father choosing to reveal Himself through His only Son, Jesus Christ and thereby giving us a way to guide us in life and a way to navigate us back to Him.

The Word became flesh, God, God the son, Jesus, became flesh

John 1:14 (NIV)

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

We see in His person the incarnate truth about God, Emmanuel, we see how God lived here and what He said. We stand at the cross and wonder at the depth of His love, “How can it be that thou my God should die for me?” We stand before the open tomb and recognize His power, power over death and hence surely power to guide me. We have His Spirit living in us to personalize His presence, His Spirit prompting us, convicting us, convincing us and giving us power in spiritual places enabling us to bring down strongholds. We possess His Word of truth in which we can hear His voice, the Bible, the written Word, we have God’s words to us, they guide our feet, they light our path.

He is the fixed point, Jesus is the fixed point, the North Star

                 Or as He calls Himself

Revelation 22:16 (KJV)

16 I Jesus … am the root and the offspring of David, (I was before and after David) and (I am) the bright and morning star.

Jesus is the indispensable constant to enable us to live life well, to navigate this changing world and to enable us to sail in stormy seas. We are doomed to flounder, to run amok or to run aground without our true north, the North Star of our life, Jesus. Do you need a star in your life, a North Star named Jesus, to help guide you? There are no maps for the ocean you’re in, it’s a changing world, no sure accurate charts to help you avoid the shoals and rocks.

Do you recall the story of Paul in Acts 27? Paul had been arrested and was being shipped to Rome under close guard by a Centurion soldier. They set out from Crete heading to Rome.

Act 27

13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along (no steering possible). 16 As we passed to the lee (sheltered side) of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure (it was being dragged by rope behind), 17 so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 

19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle (Sails and rigs) overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days (no stars or sun for navigation for guidance) and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

Have you given up hope, or is hope diminished, you doubt if you could ever get back on course again. I don’t even know the right course or if I could ever sail the right course. I’m so messed up in some things. I need a power welding Saviour to lead, I need to find my North Star, I need to find and follow Jesus in all of my life.

I would think that are some who are on the rocks and are being slowly broken up by the pounding waves. There are sailors who are just lost at sea, they’ve lost their direction, they have forgotten to look up, gaze high and find Polaris, the North Star, to find Jesus Christ and follow His leading star.

God guides us through His word and His Spirit, through our conscience and through others. Can I give you 1 navigational tool for your life’s journey in your new ocean whether calm or stormy? It’s the North Star, Jesus, and especially His words and His actions when He visited us 2000 years ago.

God Himself in every word spoken by Jesus, was said to us, to you specifically –this is what God thinks/feels about you, your life, your situation, YOU, God Himself showed by His every action what He thought/felt about you and your ocean, we saw and heard His heart when He walked here.

The life actions and words of Jesus guide us in how we should live.


         Some 30 years ago there was a saying, an acronym really, going around that was          WWJD –what would Jesus do?

                Let’s also include two new ones

                 WWJS –what would Jesus say

                 WWJF –what would Jesus feel

And you can discover these by reading/studying what Jesus did and said in the 4 gospels. Do you want to know what to do, some guidance in this new ocean you’re living in? Look to Jesus, read and study and ponder before God all Jesus’s words and actions. à there is where you’ll understand God and find guidance

Did you know that every word and action of Jesus was for you to hear and for you to see. Yes, you personally. Yes, Jesus knew that you would be reading it, in the Bible, and so he spoke, he acted, for you. He set the example as our North guiding star in life and He spoke words of guidance for us and for you.

Examples of Jesus guiding us:

  • About your money, Jesus says to you:

Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV)

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

  • About your priorities in your life, Jesus says to you:

Matthew 6:33 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 22:37 

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 


  • About your worries, Jesus says to you:

Matthew 6:25-34 

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?


  • About how you treat others, Jesus says to you:

Luke 10:27 NIV

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”


  • About your sin, Jesus says to you:

John 3:16-17 (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

To the woman caught in sin

John 8

10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” 


  • About your happiness, Jesus says to you:

Acts 20:35  (NIV)

35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”


  • About your needs, Jesus says to you:

Luke 12:26-28 New International Version (NIV)

26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!


  • About truth, Jesus says to you:

I am the truth

  • About your life, Jesus says to you:

John 10:10 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.


Back in the sixties there was a song called ‘The times they are a changin’.” Sung by Bob Dylan.

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.


‘… admit that the waters around you have grown…’ yes our world has changed and is changing and we need direction in these unchartered waters, we need a life North Star. AND IT’S JESUS. His life, His words, so we need to read them, studying them, follow them.

For the times they are a-changin'.
January 19, 2020