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Showing posts with the label Nineveh

Jonah: Bravely Ran Away

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Ok, so here's the thing. Psychologists sometimes explain consciousness as the story we tell ourselves. We make meaning out of anything and everything. We have supporting characters and extras, protagonists and antagonists. And wouldn't you know it? We just so happen to always be the hero in our own story. One of the best portrayals of this is in the Will Ferrel movie Stranger Than Fiction.

We are the hero in the story we tell ourselves that makes up our conscious experience of life.

Got it?

Good.

So the thing to remember about Jonah is that he is the hero in his own story. No, he may not be the "hero" in the story recorded in Scripture. But in the moment, to himself, he is definitely the good guy. Jonah is doing what he thinks is right. He/Israel is the good guy. Nineveh/Assyria is the bad guy.

Where does that put God?

There's an interesting scene in the book of Joshua. The Hebrew nation is on the verge of entering the Promised Land after 40 years of nomadic life …

Jonah: Nope

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Have you ever heard God speak directly to you? Odds are that you haven't. I would say that most
people don't.

If you did, how would you respond?

The closest I've come to hearing God speak to me happened when I was just out of my freshman year of high school. I was fifteen years old. We were at church camp that summer. It was one of those super emotional nights where a bunch of campers were thinking seriously about their lives. We ended each night with a time of singing. That night so many youth ministers and counselors were busy talking with teens in need that they turned over the song leading to some of us young guys. I got up in the middle of everyone and led a few songs. In that moment I could see and feel the Spirit of God at work in the lives of my peers. In that moment I felt/heard God tell me that this was what I was meant to do with my life.

From that moment on I began to pursue my calling to youth ministry and worship leading. I've been doing that full time f…

Jonah: World's Worst Prophet

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I may be one of the few people in the world who considers Jonah among my favorite books of the Bible. Don't @ me. The book of Jonah has a lot of things going for it:
Emphasis on God's grace, mercy, love, and forgivenessHigh seas adventureNear death experiencesA man swallowed by a gigantic sea creatureAn entire city on the verge of destructionAngry outbursts and melodrama by the overly emotional main characterA protagonist that you just can't really like, but is also super relatableTwists, reversals, and ironic situationsA cliff hanger ending There has been a lot of debate in scholarship about whether Jonah is based on a true story or if it's merely a fictional parable. I'm not going to get into it much except to say that it has a lot of similarities to the stories of Elijah and Elisha. If it's based on a true story, then it's quite a remarkable tale! But if it's not grounded in fact, it is still an amazing story that illustrates God's love to its ful…

Where God Is

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We've all been there. Standing on the beach, watching the sunset cast its brilliant reds and oranges across the sky. The sea breeze gently kissing our face. Gulls singing in the distance. The pulse of the waves as they roll in and then back out again.

And then we think, This is the closest I've felt to God in a long time.

This is exactly the type of place and time we expect to find God. But what if we were wrong?

In the story of Jonah, the prophet decides to ignore God's command to go to the people of Nineveh. Who could blame him? That was the capital of Assyria, the largest empire ever known at the time. It was also home to the most ruthless armies ever known. Think Mos Eisley Spaceport: "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." But worse. Much worse.

Anger, violence, and death were a way of life for these people. If there were any place on earth where God would not be, it was Nineveh.

Rather than walk into what he considered to be a suici…