I ASKED THE LORD THAT I MIGHT GROW

GOD SENT A STORM AND THEN GOD SENT A GREAT FISH WHEN JONAH WAS IN THAT FISH HE CAME TO HIS SENSES REPENTING OF HIS IDOLS ASKING THE LORD THAT HE MIGHT GROW MOST OF US HAVE DONE THE SAME PRAYING, AS WE HAVE BEEN TAUGHT, THAT WE MIGHT GROW OR PRAYING, AS WE KNOW WE SHOULD, THAT OUR CHILDREN MIGHT GROW This is our last week on Jonah before we begin a new series next week. We wrap up with a major point of Jonah. Though God cares about our happiness, He is more interested in our holiness. One day, in eternity, we will understand.The Gospel is what helps us both see our sin and trust Him to repent and turn to Him. It helps us “hold on” in trial, to, as Susan has said and pictured in her […]

read more

TRYING TO COMPREHEND HIS COVERING OF LOVE FOR US

GOMER WAS UNFAITHFUL BUT WHEN SHE WAS NAKED ON THE AUCTION BLOCK HOSEA, OUR CHRIST FIGURE COVERED HER     Part of “getting the gospel” is understanding how deeply we are loved. We doubt His love because we know ourselves, our sin, and can’t imagine how Someone so wonderful could love us so deeply. But that is the gospel — the same God that loved Gomer the prostitute and Jonah the racist loves us. He sees  us as covered in His righteousness. Anne helped us with that last week, talking about the covering, and showing us it visually through Rembrandt’s painting. (Nouwen said to look at the father’s cloak — like wings, that cover us.) I have so enjoyed having Diane, our Canadian, with us on the blog. This is also a chance for you to get to know her […]

read more

IF YOU ARE SURE YOU “GET” THE GOSPEL, YOU PROBABLY DON’T

  THE GOSPEL IS NOT THE ABC’S OF CHRISTIANITY   IT’S THE A TO Z OF CHRISTIANITY   IT’S THE HEART OF CHRISTIANITY   IT’S NOT JUST THE WAY TO GET IN   BUT THE WAY TO DAILY LIVE IN VICTORY   ANGELS PEER INTO IT, LONGING TO UNDERSTAND IT   IF YOU THINK YOU UNDERSTAND IT, YOU PROBABLY DON’T   IF YOU REALIZE IT’S DEEPER THAN YOU IMAGINED   YOU ARE STARTING TO SEE     IT’S A NARROW PATH, JESUS SAID     STAYING ON THE PATH IS LIKE WALKING A FENCE   HOW EASY IT IS TO FALL OFF TO EITHER SIDE   TERTULLION SAID   “THE GOSPEL IS CRUCIFIED BETWEEN TWO THIEVES:   ANTINOMINISM (AGAINST THE LAW) AND LEGALISM”   BOTH OF THESE ERRORS   THESE WAYS TO FALL OFF   ARE SELF-SALVATION STRATEGIES   Last […]

read more

LOVE BENEATH THE WAVES

Jonah knew it was his fault. So he did what was right. “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea and the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” Jonah 1:12   The smartest thing we can do is to surrender to God – even if it means being thrown into the sea for there will be love beneath the waves. Sometimes tempests come that are not our fault. But this week I want to concentrate on the tempests that are our fault. For learning to quickly acknowledge our sin, confess it, and accept the consequences is a huge secret in making progress in the Christian life. When we do this, we will find “love beneath the waves.” Our souls will be enlarged and […]

read more

LORD OF EVERY STORM: TWO WEEK STUDY

WHATEVER THE STORM HE IS LORD OF THE STORM IF HE SENDS IT TO HIS CHILD, HIS PURPOSE IS ALWAYS GRACE IF HE ALLOWS IT FOR HIS MYSTERIOUS PURPOSES, HE HAS AN ULTIMATE PLAN FOR GOOD Over the next two weeks let us consider three kinds of storms: Daily storms we experience when we cling to idols Monster storms we experience when we cling to idols Storms we do not understand   1. DAILY STORMS WHEN WE CLING TO IDOLS Last week “Laura-dancer” honestly answered the question: “When do you flee from God?” with: “Wow — probably daily.” Rebecca vulnerably shared the jealousy she felt when a new young worship leader was so talented — but quickly, she realized her idol temptation, repented, and was able to enter into worship with this leader. As we are seeing more clearly into […]

read more

TWO WAYS TO FLEE THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD

Why would one ever flee from the presence of the Lord? Away from hope and into despair? Away from light and into darkness? Why did Jonah? And why do we? We do it when our deepest desire is for something other than God. What did Jonah want more than God? You don’t really discover the answer until the end of the book, but there was something that was more important to him than serving God, than loving God, than experiencing the presence of God. Did Jonah love God? I can imagine him preparing a defense, saying, “For twenty-five years I’ve gone to Temple…for twenty-five years I’ve kept the rules — for twenty-five years I’ve prophesied your Word…” But did he love Him? C. S. Lewis used to say of his dog — “He doesn’t really obey me, but sometimes he […]

read more

EVANGELISM AND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD (PRELUDE TO JONAH)

It was a Friday night in mid-winter, and Steve was troubled about a patient. “She’s a sweet woman named Mildred and I think she has but a few days before she faces God. I sent her home today for there’s nothing more medicine can do for her. I’ve gone into her room several times in hopes of sharing Christ with her, but her husband is always there and always talking non-stop.” “What are you going to do?” “How would you feel about driving to their farm with me to visit tomorrow?” “What about the talkative husband?” “I’ll ask him to show me his barn, and while we’re out at the barn, you can share the gospel with her.” “Hmmmm,” I said, feeling some Jonah like reluctance. Steve smiled. Slowly, I nodded. He hugged me and prayed God would give us […]

read more