17 February 2008

Start Again.

Sermon notes from University Christian Church, Feb. 17, 2008

Jonah Chapter 3.

Quick recap: Jonah 1 - Jonah gets swallowed by the fish. Jonah 2 - Jonah gets vomited up onto the beach. He is left on shore, messy and stained. Jonah 3 - Now Jonah is n the ground, ready to start again.

I. Jonah had to walk
- Jonah had to walk messy. He probably still stunk (physically, and spiritually because he was still hanging onto the decisions he made that got him in his current condition)
-Our walk begins messy.
-We must walk away from the mess.
-Jonah had a 500-mile walk to Nineveh to think and allow God to change him.
-We must walk with a message

II. Nineveh had to straighten up
- Even the king put on sackcloth, which was goat's fur and was usually what slaves wore to distinguish them from people who weren't slaves. Goat's fur was the uniform of disgrace.
- The king put on sackcloth and sat in the dust. He didn't pick up dust and put it on his throne, he got off the throne and sat in the dust.
- To straighten up, we have to get off the throne.
- They fasted. Fasting was a declaration, "Nothing is more necessary right now than my relationship with God."
- Everything changed. They didn't do anything the same. They didn't wake up the same, they didn't brush their teeth in the same way. It was a radical departure from all they had done.
- The king told everyone to do this even though he wasn't positive God would spare Nineveh. He said "Do this and maybe God won't turn Nineveh upside down."
- Jonah was vomited by a fish. He got up and left his mess behind him. Nineveh was vomited by life. They had to clean up exactly where they were at.

III. Starting Over Is Hard
- If Jonah didn't show up, Nineveh wouldn't have a message and wouldn't have any hope.
- When we start over, we won't be alone. Perhaps our greatest fear is that we will be alone, that we may be mocked, that we may not succeed, or even that we may succeed.
- We are too comfortable with the decisions we have made to get us into the mess. We are okay with the mess we are in.

Maybe your mess isn't dramatic. Maybe it's pride or selfishness. What is your mess? Are you still in it? Is it time to take a few steps and walk away from it, bringing a message?


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