Saturday, February 24, 2018

Community News 2/24/18

Day 5 of Wk 3: Excuses


Jonah 3:1-10; Jonah 4:1-11

Let’s take this a step further – not only has God saved you from your imminent drowning, but also, He’s now put your feet on solid ground. What do you think your response would be? Would you maybe be more afraid of the God who can control the seas and the creatures within than the task He’s sent you to do?

As we’ll read today and tomorrow, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Not fear in the traditional sense, but an understanding that, if you’re going to fear anything/anyone, God should be first on that list. He does have an immense love for us, but He is also driven by His justice and righteousness.

Like a prisoner on death row that’s been given a second chance at life, Jonah now walks as a free man.

Have you ever met someone who wants everyone to know when they were right about something? They can’t let it go – they need to make sure you know that they were right, you were wrong, and it ought to be documented somewhere for history to be able to look back upon.
Jonah was that type of person.

As we’ll read in this chapter, he may have done what God asked him to, but certainly not with the attitude God would’ve wanted. In fact, Jonah is more concerned about the fact that these Ninevites were sinners that he forgets that he is as well!

You might think you deserve to be bitter or reserved because someone hurt you or someone wronged you; the truth is none of us has the right to be bitter once we’re found by Christ! We surrender our rights when we decide to follow Jesus.

So yes, you might be right. They may have hurt you. They may ‘deserve’ to be given the cold shoulder or even not invited to church. But in God’s sight, we’re all sinners and don’t deserve the grace we’ve been given. So if you struggle with being bitter and maybe even selfish (and self-righteous), read this chapter about Jonah’s last words recorded in scripture. Is that how you want your life to end in the history books?

                                                                                                                            Adapted From: I Would, But… - You Version

Friday, February 23, 2018

Community News 2/23/18

Day 4 of Wk. 3: Excuses


Colossians 3:23-24; Romans 12:11; Luke 19:37-40; Psalms 104:33-34

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I want to do something significant for God, but I’m just stuck where I am”? Maybe you’re a waiter, or you live in a small town and it feels like the things of God only exist in bigger and better places. Jonah could’ve felt this way too. Certainly he’s thankful and grateful that God saved him, but we wouldn’t fault him for thinking he’s missed his chance to do what God called him to do. After all, he is quite literally ‘stuck’ where he’s at.

Here’s what’s so telling about the heart of God – Jonah admits his mistakes, he owns up to his past, and he recognizes that God is still good. And in that moment, his praise brings about progress! God is moved by humility. There’s something that’s unlocked in that moment of honesty and humility that wasn’t there before. Because as we know, he was in that fish for three days!

Maybe Jonah spent the first two days wallowing in the fact that he’s utterly and completely stuck. His life is not where he wants it to be; it’s not even where it needs to be for him to do what God called him to! And maybe day three rolls around and he realizes – even if he can’t do what God called him to do most recently, he CAN do what God called him to do with his life. The same thing you and I have been called to do in everything we do – bring glory to God. So he begins to cry out and gets real honest with God. And God takes that as a sign of obedience, right where he’s at.

The lesson? Wherever you are, what you do, do it to the glory of God. You might find that God takes that obedience and makes something more of it. Our job is simply to bring the praise!

Adapted From: I Would, But… - You Version

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Community News 2/22/18

Day 3  of Wk. 3: Excuses

Day 3-

Jonah 2:1-10

So last we read, our ‘hero’ was being swallowed up by a fish. Today we’ll learn what waits for Jonah in the belly of this fish. After all, if God can save Jonah from the wind and waves with a giant fish, there must be more to Jonah’s story.

However, before reading this chapter, consider what you would do in his position. If God had saved you from almost guaranteed death & destruction, what would be your response? Would you still grip to your shame or would you be willing to change your perspective?

Here’s the truth: You and I are Jonah. We’ve made mistakes and our sin and shame earned us certain death and destruction in this life and in the next. However, when we commit our lives to Christ and surrender to Him, He promises us that we are saved.

So change that question above to the following: “Since God ALREADY HAS saved me from guaranteed death and destruction, what will my response be?"

Read chapter 2 and think about how Jonah responds to God’s unbelievable grace and patience with him.

Adapted From: I Would, But… - You Version

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Community News 2/20/18

Day 2 of Wk 3: Stop The Drama-Excuses

Romans 8:1-2; Jonah 1:9-16; Philippians 3:12-13
Yesterday we read the first chapter of Jonah and we saw the beginning of the narrative play out. Jonah is called to preach to one of the toughest, most dangerous nations. It’s understandable that Jonah wouldn’t want to go to this city.
And the truth is, God is probably calling you to something that won’t be easy; worthwhile things rarely are. But just because the task is great doesn’t mean our God isn’t greater. Our fear doesn’t give us the right to flee.
So back to Jonah’s story – he’s admittedly ashamed of what he’s done, and the sailors ask what they can do to calm the storm that’s come. Jonah’s response is not to direct him back towards God’s Will; it’s to throw him overboard! His shame actually takes him even further from God’s Will.
Understand this – acting on shame will never right your wrongs. Contrary to your initial feelings, shame will never bring relief. Shame is a tool of the enemy to keep you stuck in the decisions you’ve made in the past. Jonah tries to take the easy way out by indulging in his shame. However, God doesn’t let him off so easily, and gives grace in the shape of a fish.
                                                                                                                                            Adapted From: I Would, But… - You Version

Monday, February 19, 2018

Community News 2/19/18

Day 1 of Wk 3:  Stop The Drama-Excuses

Jonah 1:11-17

How often do we walk away from God’s best for us? Do we even know that we’re doing it? Maybe we’re not willing to admit it, but probably most times we know what He’s asking us to do, and for whatever reason, we just don’t do it. This Bible Plan is going to focus on a man in the Bible named Jonah who was found not only avoiding God’s Will, but actually actively running from it! We’re going to explore why he chose to do this and how we can overcome some of the traps that Jonah falls for.
In our first day, we’re going to look at shame. Probably all of us have dealt with shame at some point in our life. Maybe even some of us encounter those feelings every morning. As we read the first chapter today, take the chance to think about how Jonah’s decision to run from God could have brought him shame. Could Jonah even bare the thought of praying to God again? How could he even communicate at all with him after what Jonah did?

Truth be told, Jonah is so full of shame that he actually just wants his life to end at this point. Maybe you’ve been there before. Don’t lose hope though – God is not done with you yet (and He isn’t done with Jonah either). Read chapter 1 and compare Jonah’s situation with your own.

                                                                                                                                                   Adapted From: I Would, But… - You Version