January 31 2017

Jonah: The Epilogue

Jonah:    The final scene in the movie of this book MIGHT open up showing Jonah lovingly tutoring the people of Nineveh…but no.   It doesn’t show that.    INSTEAD….we see him going out of the city and sitting down to watch from a distance.   He wanted to see what would happen to Nineveh.      

This is kind of  a BIZARRE event…..I mean..we’re all familiar with what happened earlier in the book of Jonah, right?  Before we started on this….we all knew that the story of Jonah was that he was swallowed by a big fish---we’ve heard it in Sunday School and Vacatin Bible School since we were little….That’s no surprise. 

Today…in chapter 4 we see things get a little weird.     

As we jump into the text, I’m reminded of what the theologian, pastor Paul David Tripp says about Jonah:   “Jonah is in the Bible because Jonah is like us”.  

 Jonah is not just a cute story meant to inform us about God…but it should change the way we SEE God and change the way we live our faith.   When we take a good look at Jonah….we should take a look at ourselves as a result.  


January 25 2017

Two Kinds of Repentance

What does “repentance” mean?  We toss that word around....often with no regard to what it actually means.   Sometimes…..people “repent”---they correct their behavior because they’re sorry they got caught.  Or their worried that they will be punished.   They may agree they’ve done wrong, maybe even apologize for their actions, but then go right back to those actions.  

Other times…we see true repentance…where a person not only feels bad, but they genuinely realize their behavior was wrong.   They turn from their behavior, and they turn TO a correct mindset.    Today, we see a type of repentance, and I’m going to compare it to the other.   

As we look at today’s text, try to figure out with me which one is represented by the people in the text.    


January 17 2017

Responding to Divine Discipline

It’s amazing how things look different when we see things from a different perspective, isn’t it?  

I recall an incident once where I was sitting in traffic two cars behind someone turning left across traffic – they had to wait for an opening in oncoming traffic to make the turn.     I happened to glance in my rearview mirror JUST in time to see a car slam into the back of my pickup truck.      It hit me so hard my truck moved forward into the car in front of me, and that car hit the car that was turning.     I recall the person in the car in front of me got out, slammed his door, and gave me a look like he wanted to kill me.   He must have thought I was the worst driver he had ever seen!      

THEN….he saw the car that had rear-ended me.    It was totaled.    Her bumper had slid under the rear bumper of my truck, and had barely damaged my truck, but it destroyed her car.     If my truck had not been sitting there, it’s likely the damage would have been EXTENSIVE to the man’s car.   As I recall, he was driving a Chevette (that should tell you how long ago this was).   As it was, he just had a small dent on the back of his car.   

Once that man saw things differently…his attitude changed.   He went from anger…to concern for the woman who rear-ended me.      Thankfully, everyone was ok.     The only damage was property damage.   But the amazing thing was HOW he changed….once he saw the entire picture.   

Today…we see how Jonah is going to change his tune.   

This tells us a lot about how to RESPONDE TO DIVINE DISCIPLINE

Let’s read Jonah’s story.  


January 11 2017

Running From God

Jonah 1 

How do we read Jonah?    We all know the story…..that he was swallowed by a big fish…we often say it was a whale.     There is a tendency by some to say that it’s an allegory – just a story invented to teach a lesson.     To some, the story of Jonah might as well sit on the shelf next to a copy of Aesop’s fables……as a story we read to kids…but not really something for US to look to for any kind of lesson in life. 

But it’s NOT just a story.  This actually happened.   There really WAS a man named Jonah – and he really WAS swallowed by a large aquatic creature – be it a whale or a fish….he was swallowed.      And there really ARE some good things we can learn from Jonah.   Today…we read some of the BACKGROUND to the story of Jonah, and the things leading up to the events he is famous for.    We also see that we may not be that much different from him in many ways.  

Let’s jump in to chapter 1.   


January 3 2017

Beautiful Feet

Note:    This sermon was in celebration of Village Missions Sunday.  Once a year, we talk about Village Missions, a missionary agency whom placed me in Oak, NE as the pastor.   

The message is on Romans 10:13-15.    After 9 chapters of Paul explaining the Gospel, in chapter 10 he says that one MUST confess Jesus to be saved...but then he has some rhetorical questions to consider -- specifically HOW can one confess Jesus if they don't hear of him, and if there is no one to preach him.