Some people have called the book of Jonah, “One big fish tale,” because some people can’t get past Jonah and the whale. And that is unfortunate. Because it’s not a book about a whale. Jonah is a book about God and His love for everyone. It’s not a book about fish, or a book about Jonah; it’s a book about God’s gracious, lavish invitation for everyone—even people we don’t like—to enter into a relationship with God.
The story of Jonah—found in the book of Jonah in the Bible—is actually prophetic. It explains how God is more concerned about His mission than our comfort. God’s focus is on those far from God, even to the expense of our comfort. That fact doesn’t sit well with Jonah. And it doesn’t sit well with religious insiders, either.
BIG IDEA: God’s mission is about reaching people, not keeping people comfortable.
Everyone has thought about it. “How would I respond if I were attacked by a shark?” But the truth is that all of us have been attacked at some point in our lives. While we may not be assaulted by an actual predator from the ocean, we have faced crisis situations where we needed desperately to escape.
In this message, we look at a story of a biblical attack where Paul found himself in the middle of a full-on feeding frenzy. And as we see how God led Paul’s escape, we discover what it takes to not only survive an attack in our lives, but also what it takes to thrive after one.
BIG IDEA: Suffering is not an obstacle to you being used by God. It’s an opportunity to be used like never before.
Everyone deals with sharks. The question isn’t if, but when. To make it out of the water, we’ve got to know what to look for; we’ve got to identify the dangers before we face the attacks. The people closest to you will hands down be your greatest spiritual assets or your worst spiritual curse. Those you spend the most time with can propel you closer to God, or can corrupt your good intentions and rob you of the blessings God wants to pour out on you.
BIG IDEA: Don’t be a chum bag—hanging out with baitfish attracts sharks.
There is an often-ignored principle that determines the quality and direction of our lives. While we are quick to recognize the importance of this principle in our children’s lives, as adults, we feel like we can disregard it. However, the truth is that we are just as impacted by the power of this principle now, as we were when we were younger. Today, we will discuss how we can become intentional about harnessing this principle for our spiritual development.
BIG IDEA: ALONE you’ll never get where God wants to take you.
Many of us have been labeled by things in the past. Many of us have worn labels that do not reflect what God sees in us or what God calls us to be. We have a choice: allow our labels to control us or allow God’s labels to free us.
BIG IDEA: Our Labels limit us. God’s labels liberate us.