except this time it’s 48 verses at a time…The Book of Jonah
- The Book of Jonah is the textbook for the apostle, the “Dream Awakener”. Listen to this, “Go and wake Ninevah from its sinful slumber. Speak to them. Paint the picture of what it will look like when they are destroyed because of their sin – OR – what it will look like when they are aligned with the Kingdom of God.” (Romans 15:20)
- Jonah is called to get up and go – the first step of every apostle. Apostolic work is kinetic. It has to be done on foot – to go where God has called you, you must first Arise and Go. What is keeping you down? Who is holding you back? (Psalm 81:6)
- The Church is often called to be planted in hostile territory. Remember that if the Lord has planted you from here to there (Jerusalem to Ninevah), no matter how threatening, the Holy Spirit has prepared the soil beforehand. Your job is to plant and God will take care of the rest! (1 Cor 3:5-7)
Message Titles: “Golden Slumbers” “Power Outage” “A Yankee At A Dodger Game”
- Jonah is the prophet you are, but don’t want to be (Ro 7:15-20). The call to the prophet must be obeyed and it involves two points: STOP what you are doing and START doing what the Lord wants you to do. What, right now, is God asking you to do, but you aren’t? Wait, I’ll tell you. Just kidding.
- John Mayer sings, “Say What You Need To Say.” Do That! Say what the Lord has given you to say – nothing more, nothing less. More, and you are giving ill advice. Less, and the Lord is not satisfied.
- A Prophet like Jonah doesn’t obey because he wants what he wants that much more than he wants what God wants. When your desires are contrary to the Lord’s, think about a few things: a) you are not the only prophet in town, b) what kind of prophet do you want to be? Active or Retired? You may be afraid of how the word will be received. Do not fear. Accept that the prophet job is tough, but our God is tougher.
Message Titles: “Start Me Up” “Say What You Need To Say” “When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get God”
- Jonah is a unique evangelist. His message is “Unless you stop what you are doing, you are going to be destroyed.” Sometimes that is the “In,” the “key” that unlocks a heart: “Here is the reality! Can we talk about another way?”
- What do you do when God calls you to save a person that you want want to get saved? What if God called you to convert an IS soldier? Or a convicted murderer? Or someone who personally, intentionally sinned against you? What if your gift was given to you so that you could be asked to give it to someone that didn’t deserve it? What then? Jonah speaks to the heart of the evangelist on this count. He and Jesus know exactly what it’s like. (Ro 5:10)
- People don’t need a Billy Graham overtime. Sometimes eight words will get it done. Jonah knew the story of God’s destruction power. He also knew the story of God’s salvific power (not actually sure that salvific is a word). He told the truth and let God decide which story would be told.
Message Titles: “Take The Detour” “Pearls To Swine” “Let God Pick The Story”
- The Pastoral lessons are legion: One “With-God” man spends this entire story with pagans: soldiers who are God leaning that want to do what is right, and the Nineties who are going to be gods-abandoning that are really going to need a pastor who can build a bridge between the world that used to be and the one that is coming. The Pastor stands in that liminal space between the two.
- The Pastor is equipped to ask the question, “Is your anger good?” and work with the answer. The pastor wades into the emotional/spiritual terrain of a person’s heart, not to correct the hell out of them, but to lead them to wholeness (*Shalom).
- The Pastor inhabits this between territory, the space where a person feels that God has done a good thing/acted justly (i.e. the Ninevites), or that God has done a bad thing/acted unjustly (Jonah). The Pastor helps the first understand grace and second, love. [agape: the love that benefits another at great cost to yourself] Jonah had difficulty wanting God-grace and God-love to reach the people that God wanted to reach. The Pastor enters into these feelings with empathy and an experience + vision that moves things forward.
Message Titles: “One Foot In The Door…” “I Can Work With That” “Rain”
For more on the position of the Pastor check out “Why Pastors Are The Coolest Of The Gifts”
- the Lord can use the unhealthy, reach the unqualified and change the unwilling
- the parallelism of Hebrew storytelling, specifically in Jonah
- the use of “evil,” “calamity,” and “disaster”
- the role of the word “heart” in the Jonah story
- the template of God’s “provision” in Jonah (v. 1:4, 17; 4:6, 8)
- God’s mercy, compassion and the weight of chesed
- the parallelism of “up” and “down” in the four chapters
- ‘The Sign of Jonah,’ connections between the Jonah story and the life of Jesus
Message Titles: #1 “Golden Apples From A Dying Tree” #5 “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” #6 “Deep Impact”