Sunday, October 23, 2011

modern day jonah

inspiration: Josh Surratt's sermon

i missed the beginning of our new sermon series at Seacoast "Jonah" last week
but if last night's sermon is in any way a reflection of last week's sermon, i'm pretty sure i missed out.

first off, i will confess this: when it comes to the Bible, i enjoy it much more when it comes to real-life application - hence this blog :P i know that the Old Testament is full of history and the plights and reigns and fall of Israel - God's chosen people, but if I'm honest, it was hard for me to focus and pay attention when i read it earlier this year (I've been reading through the One Year Chronological Bible this year :)).

but the book of Jonah is different (at least to me).
perhaps it's because i knew the story of Jonah and the Whale (which, actually is referred to as a "big fish" in the Bible - didn't realize that it wasn't explicitly a whale until a couple years ago - interesting...)
but whatever the reason, sometimes the story hits a little too close to home, if you know what i'm saying...
(can i get an "Amen" ?!")

In his sermon last night, Josh outlined 4 main points about the story of Jonah - all of which hit me like a pile of bricks.

a glimpse of the latter half of my "Jonah" story
  1. God often asks you to do things you don't want to do (Jonah 1:1-2)
  2. You can always find a boat going in the wrong direction (Jonah 1:3)
  3. God may send a storm to grab your attention (Jonah 1:4-16)
  4. God probably has an unexpected way forward for you (Jonah 1:17; Jonah 2:10)
basically, here's the story of Jonah in a "fill in the blank" style:

God called (Jonah) to (preach the Gospel in Ninevah). (Jonah) fled from God and (hopped on a boat going the opposite direction). God sent a storm and when (Jonah) recognized that the storm was caused by his disobedience, (Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by a big fish). He (stayed in the big fish for three days and was then vomited onto dry land). (Jonah) repented and obeyed God and (preached the word of God to the Ninevites and the Ninevites came to God and turned from their evil ways).

Replace Jonah with your name, fill in the blanks with a time where you disobeyed God, fled, came to obedience and repented and you have your own version of Jonah's story (hopefully minus the big fish ;))

See, we all have moments where we think "God is mistaken. I could never (fill in the blank)."
But He always has a plan for us. Perhaps the storms we're in aren't to break us down, but to build us up.
It was in the midst a great physical storm that Jonah came to terms with the fact that he was the cause of storm.
It was inside the fish that Jonah prayed and repented.
What if that storm never happened when Jonah was on that boat?
How would've history played out - I can guarantee it probably wouldn't have ended with the Ninevites repenting.

Many of my "Jonah" moments (my times of disobedience) were caused by pride.
"I totally know what I'm doing, God! I KNOW this is what I want!"
My disobedience seemed "small" and not like a big deal.
But the storms that were caused by that disobedience lasted far longer than I want to admit, again, the whole pride complex - "I don't need help"

But in the midst of those storms and trials, God revealed Himself to me and He had completely unexpected things waiting for me!

See, if I had gotten everything I thought I wanted, there is no way I'd be where I am now.
If I had gotten my way...

I would have never found Grace Community Church.
I would have never gone to Costa Rica.
I would have never gotten involved with Aqua.
I would have never met the Denley's.
I would have never moved to Charleston.
I would have never gotten involved at theWell.
I would have never gone to Washington and met the people in Spokane that I met.

But even deeper than the physical connections and things I would've missed out on.
I would have never repented of pride and judgment.
I would have never experienced grace and mercy.
I would have never understood true unconditional love.
I would have never started this blog.
I would have never experienced life change that comes through being the hands and feet of Christ.

God loves us just the way we are, but He loves us far too much to let us stay this way.
His ways are higher than ours - when we disobey, they cause us to miss out on the things He has planned for us!

What have your "Jonah" moments taught you?

1 comment:

  1. This is great stuff, Nikki...I'm going to have to track along with this podcast. Thanks for sharing!