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Bottles from the Springs...

Jonah 1- Go there and Name It! Ryan McBride back from vacation, told us that he is beginning to teach today from the book of Jonah. And to open it up he told us a story about the group SURE that our 12 Springs joined with. SURE went to the City Commission meeting to Name the Problem of Intellectually Impaired people who were also Homeless being arrested and fined (which they could not pay, because they also were unemployed.) This seemed unfair and unjust. So what SURE did was to go there and Name the problem. Was it easy, no! Was it pleasant, not so much! But it was what needed to be done! So Jonah was called to go to a Dark Place and do a Hard Thing-not pleasant, not nice. Prophets have hard lives in the Old Testament. Some were tortured and some died because of the Words they were called to speak. Jonah 1:1-9 1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. 4 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.” 7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” 9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”

So Jonah-the story-is told to us in an allegorical way. That does not mean it is not a true story, it's just how it's told. So some of the things we would expect to be good turn out to be bad and the Bad turns out to be the thing you wind up glad for in the end. The word Great is used a whole lot! Even the name of Jonah means something special-Dove like the bird Noah released into the storm's chaos to see if there was any Peace or Hope! And it came back with an olive branch!... The People in Nineveh (also called Assyrians) were evil people who bragged about how they tortured and killed anyone that they thought stood in their way-the Nazis of their day! They even carved pictures of torturing enemies on stone and set up those stone story books all over their empire! So rather than speak God's message to those people, Jonah found a boat going to the opposite of his world-Nineveh was east of Israel and Jonah went just as far West. He went to Tarshish and the story says the city's name several times for emphasis. It was all the way on the Atlantic coast of Spain! And it was like Paradise there! But was God there? No! God wanted to be with Jonah in Nineveh, where Evil dwelled! And Jonah the Dove, flew in the opposite Direction So God brought up a storm to wake Jonah up out of his depressed Sleep/Funk and get his attention-note it was a Great storm. So great it got the sailors attention. And these rough and ragged sailors who were not usually known for being the Good guys, when they heard Jonah's story, refused to do what Jonah told them to do to save themselves, rather than throw Jonah overboard they threw their stuff overboard and rowed harder, but that did not stop the chaos from getting worse! So they did what Jonah suggested and the storm stopped and then these sailors converted to worship Yahweh, they sacrificed and made vows to worship the God Jonah had told them of. Ryan asked us to ask ourselves if there was someplace dark or nasty that God was wanting us to own up to and go there with God to let the light into that place or person. Is there some place or thing we are running away from that God wants to do something with and calls us to it. Homework-read all 4 chapters of Jonah and/or watch the Jonah video:

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