Shake Free

Samuel Rodriguez: How to Deal with the Storms, Shipwrecks and Snakes in Your Life

Shake Free
How to Deal with the Storms, Shipwrecks and Snakes in Your Life
(WaterBrook, 2018)

WHO: Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and senior pastor of New Season Church in Sacramento, California.

HE SAYS: “Once you enter Rome, you can look back and see how far you’ve come. Then you can often understand why God chose the route he used to get you there.”

THE BIG IDEA: By using the example of Paul on his voyage to Rome, Samuel challenges readers to shake off the storms in their lives and believe God is with them always, encouraging them to keep going.

With the theme of changing how we view the inevitable storms of life, this book examines the voyage of Paul on his way to Rome and relates it to modern life.
In each chapter, Samuel takes a part of Paul’s story from Acts, examines the obstacles Paul overcame and relates it to what readers may be going through. Along the way, the author also tells of challenges he faced, making this book warm and accessible.
The message that we can navigate through problems to find wholeness and bigger victories in God is emphasized throughout. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection.

“When your God-given confidence and ability are born out of adversity, grounded in hope, and powered by faith in the living God, you can shake off everything hell may send your way.”

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Many ministry leaders are dealing with burnout. How can they change how they view the unique storms they face?

Ministry leaders go through storms. Storms do not define us but storms do reveal who we really are. The question arises, “How do we respond to life’s storms?”

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We must proceed with the following understanding:

1. The purpose of God in us is always greater than what stands before us.
2. Ministry leaders do not “go” through storms. Ministry leaders must “grow” through storms.
3. Every single storm reveals a clear picture of who God is, who we are and who truly surrounds us.
4. From Joseph in the Old Testament to Paul on his way to Rome, every person with a God-given assignment must go through a storm in order to get to fulfill their assignment.
5. We are guaranteed to survive every storm not because we perfectly hold onto God, but because God perfectly holds on to us.

How come so many people cannot recognize the “warrior spirit” that is within them?

The warrior spirit within is almost impossible to recognize if we allow external forces to define us. Simply stated, we suffer from an identity moratorium. A temporary stop to our ability to see ourselves as God truly sees us. As Christ followers, we must remember we are not defined by what surrounds us. We are defined by God spirit inside of us.

We are not defined by our failures. We are defined by his forgiveness.

We are not defined by what we do for God. We are defined by what Jesus did for us.

We are not defined by the likes of many. We are defined by the love of One.

When the angel of the Lord in Judges 6 confronts Gideon who is hiding in a pit, God calls him a mighty warrior, and to “Go in the strength you have.” Not the strength you might have someday in the distant future, but in the here and now with all your flaws, inexperience, doubts, or opposition. God always begins by telling us who we are in him.

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For pastors who feel they have “arrived in Rome,” what advice would you offer regarding new pressures and new responsibilities?

Rome represents our assignment, destiny and purpose. When we have finally arrived to that place in our journey, we must understand that it is no longer the season to ask for blessings, but rather the season to become a blessing. There is a shift that takes place when we arrive. It is no longer about us; it is about making those that follow us greater than ourselves. It is about the next generation. It is about leaving behind a rich legacy of faith, integrity, humility, service, truth, love and grace.