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Jonah: Head Above Water

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When we left off, our rebellious prophet was recruiting the pagan Gentile sailors to assist him in committing suicide.
“Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” (Jonah 1:12) But the sailors didn't buy into this crazy scheme and tried for Plan A.2 - row to shore. But they couldn't. God/the storm wouldn't let them. Jonah tried to force God's hand in overthrowing the Assyrians by running from the mission. Now God is forcing the sailors' hands to throw Jonah overboard - Jonah's idea, not God's, just so we're clear. God never asked this of Jonah.
Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm...Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:15, 17)FINALLY! Here's the fish! Now we get to pull out the flannel graph board and sick a kneeling/feta…

3 Life Traps to Avoid

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Idolatry is a trap.

An idol, as we saw last time, is something that makes big promises, takes all it can, and gives nothing in return. This video from I Am Second featuring hit singer Tori Kelly does a fantastic job illustrating this point. Check it out:


Tori Kelly was promised the world. She was promised everything she could want - fame, fortune, success as a singer. But her "idol" deemed her not good/pretty/bubbly enough. So long, see you later. Next!

She had to learn not to tie her identity to anything other than Christ. Kelly had to learn to let go and gain her freedom (remember the Monkey Trap?).

THE THREE TRAPS

If idolatry is a trap, it's helpful to know what kind of traps to specifically be on the lookout for. The Bible identifies three main traps, and life has confirmed this to be true. Here's exactly what we need to watch for:
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For t…

Saints and Sinners

In my teen class last night we were discussing holiness. What is holiness? What things/people are holy? What's the opposite of holy? Questions like that.

And then I asked, "Do you feel holy?"

As I looked around the room at all the shaking heads, it hit me. If we don't buy it for ourselves, how can we possibly convince others of it??

If we don't believe that we are holy and that we share in a holy experience through Jesus, how can we possibly take that message to others?

Peter reassures us that we are "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9)

When Paul addressed his letters, he often addresses them to the "saints" in a certain place (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2). This word "saint" literally means holy one. These letters…

Why did God do that?

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In our Sunday morning youth class we've been walking very slowly through the opening chapters of Genesis. It's been 6 Sundays and we're just now into chapter 3. There's just so much there!

Anyway, it's incredible how we often have those aha! moments in passages that we've read and read and read and have even taught and written about.

I had one of those last week.

I have often heard the question: Why did God put the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" there in the first place?

The assumption is that the tree itself was bad. The first humans were not allowed to eat of it. Ever. Never ever were they supposed to touch or eat of this tree because it was bad. God must have put it there because there could be no free will where there was temptation, i.e. God created temptation...?

But throughout the first chapter of Genesis, EVERYTHING God created was declared "good." In fact, the only thing that was labeled as "not good" was the fact…