February 2011

Just Like Jonah, 27, February 2011

Big Idea

God told Jonah to be a part of His search and rescue mission. Because he really didn’t care about the people of Nineveh, he took a detour! LORD, break my heart for the things that break Yours.


God lost something…and He wants it back.

God uses people to reach people.

“You are the salt of the earth.” - Jesus

The “found” have to be willing to become “finders.”

Most Christ-followers are not involved in the one thing that is most important to God—the search and rescue mission.

“Normal” Christianity at the outset was contagious Christianity.

Why aren’t we more engaged in outreach?

- Fear
- Inconsistency in our lives
- We really don’t care

Jonah was running away from God’s search and rescue mission.

The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai:

“Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” 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. - Jonah 1:1-3

Jonah was running away from God’s search and rescue mission.

“Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” - Jonah 1:12

But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. - Jonah 1:17

And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. - Jonah 2:10

God cares as much about the messenger as He cares about the mission.

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” - Jonah 3:1-2

The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. - Jonah 3:5

But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. - Jonah 3:8

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened.
God’s great desire is to free people trapped in sin; to forgive them and bring them home.
- Jonah 3:10

There is NO sin that is a match for God’s grace.

Jonah proclaimed a 40-day window of opportunity for Nineveh.

E.A.C.H. is our proclamation of a 40-day grace period for southeastern Michigan.


You can listen to the podcast here.

I'm A Priest! 20 February 2011

Big Idea

God chose the nation of Israel to bless the world. He has also chosen us to join Him in His search and rescue mission. Each of us is a priest, called by God to re-present Him on planet earth.


God lost something, and He wants it back. All through the story, God uses people to help Him in the search and rescue mission.

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” - Genesis 12:1-3

God chose one nation so that He could bless all nations of the Earth.

Abraham - Isaac - Jacob - 12 sons = 12 tribes - Joseph

Joseph was a ‘type’ or ‘foreshadowing’ of Jesus: the rejected brother becomes the savior. Jesus was the ultimate Passover Lamb, giving His blood to rescue us from divine judgment.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. - Romans 8:1-2

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” - Exodus 19:5-6

God chose Israel to be a nation of priests who bring people back to God.

Law: training manual
History: record ups and downs
Prophets: commandment cops

The Old Testament is the story of Israel trying to do E.A.C.H.

Christ-followers are now God’s plan to save the world!

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. - 1 Peter 2:9-10

We are now priests!

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. - 1 Peter 2:11-12

Our obedience to Jesus is intended to make God look good to the world.


You can listen to the podcast here.

In The Beginning, 13 February 2011

Big Idea:

God was the first missionary.  He knew Adam and Eve were lost, hiding. Nevertheless, He came after them.


Then God said, “Let us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” - Genesis 1:26,27

He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” - Genesis 3:1-5

And they (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" - Genesis 3:8-9
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel" - Genesis 3:15

“And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them”
- Genesis 3:21

“Look, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” - John 1:30


God made the world for us. He made us for Himself.

Satan challenged God’s love for Adam and Eve.

Sin is a rupture in the love-relationship between God and us.

The ability to love God well and love others well came undone.

God lost something…and He wants it back!

God was the first to go out searching for lost people.

God made a Good News Promise (the Gospel) that He wants everyone to have a chance to hear.

God made a great sacrifice to win us back to Himself.

“Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” - William Carey

You can listen to the podcast here.

Confess Sins To One Another, 6 February 2011

Big Idea:

We are created to live in community. Confession is good for the soul...and the body.


“…confess your sins to each other…” - James 5:16

…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
- Romans 3:23

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. - Psalm 103:11-12

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. - Isaiah 1:18

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men — the testimony given in its proper time. -1 Timothy 2:5-6

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. - James 5:13-16

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. - 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. - 1 Corinthians 11:28-30

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9


There is something very powerful about hearing the words, “You are forgiven.” I believe that is one component of this passage in James. As we confess one to another, we are reminded of the reality of our forgiveness.

Confession is acknowledgment. Repentance is change.

The first step in repentance is conviction. We feel bad for our actions, either because the Holy Spirit convicts us, a police officer pulls up behind us, or a friend confronts us.

The second step is confession, agreeing that we have sinned. This is where we admit our sins to God and possibly a pastor, friend, spouse, or family member. This must be specific, not just, “Sorry God for sinning today.”

Repentance is then changing, literally doing a 180 turn away from our sin and toward God. It is choosing to pursue God rather than our selfish desires.

Repentance is an ongoing lifestyle that continues until death, not merely a one-time prayer and then do-what-you-want.

Martin Luther, one of the founders of the Protestant movement, said as part of his protest of the Catholic Church, “All of a Christian’s life is one of repentance.”

Confession and repentance can have profound effects in our lives. They can restore relationships with one another. They can reconcile our relationship with God. They can result in physical healing. They can even result in the transformation of societies.

Context matters in any form of communication. We have to embrace all of the Bible, not just the parts that we like. We also need to recognize the different types of literature that are contained in the 66 books. The stories in Genesis are not to be read in the same manner as the poetic Psalms, instructive letters of Paul, or the end-times apocalyptic writings of Revelation.

In studying the Bible we must first discern what it says, then assess what it meant to the original recipients, seek to understand its meaning for us today, and then apply it.

Confession releases the angst of secret sins.

Confession notifies others about how they can pray for you.

Confession destroys barriers of pride and anger that separate people.

If we struggle with a sin, we must confess it to those who can provide support. Loving your neighbor as yourself includes praying for them. It also reminds us that we are all sinners saved by grace. We journey together.

You can listen to the podcast here.