I noticed that there were a verity of books in the pews in-front of me, ( no surprise there) but this was the first time that I saw editions of the "International Children's Bible" in the pew. The pews also had plaques on them. Some were "in memory" other were "donated by" etc. There was a large choir of about 30 people that paraded down the isle past me. What surprised me was that this group was actually of all mixed ages, from the very young to the very old, all singing together. This I find to be uncommon in comparison to other churches.
At the end of their performance The church leader said "The Soms say we can Clap!" So the whole church had a bit of a chuckle, and gave the choir a round of applause. I have noticed that often in church that there's a prayer said for people of "high authority" in our lives. Presidents, Prime Ministers, Military leaders etc. But this was the first time I have even heard someone comment on it outside of prayer. Quote "God is the one has has authority to speak to super powers." In this world with powerful cooperate villains like Monsanto, I can only pray that this is true.
Today's lesson was about Jonah and and the Fish. Now I know a lot of people that dispute the Bible will be the first to pull this story up. Cause in their view no one would live in the belly of a fish ( or whale) for 3 days and 3 nights. Regardless, here it is.
Jonah Flees From the Lord
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.”
10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
12 “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.”
13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.
17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
On my poster behind my computer, the 15th line of text says "Jonah ran from god" . And all I can think of is really??? really???? Bro are you Cray? If there has been any clear interpretation I have understood from reading the old testament so far, is that you would have to be a totally idiot to run from God. It just doesn't work. If you have any doughs, just ask the guy that likely stunk like a fish for days after he got out.
While reflecting on this story the pastor had some interesting comments. He said that "Jonah can't believe". He also said that this story shows "The state of the soul that dose not want to live in god."
This brings me back to my old work place. Better known as FABRICLAND.
Yes I worked at one of these.I am still trying to forget about it.
I had an old co-worker who I miss dearly. She was the direct result of someone who was raised by parents that living in the spirit of 1969. Beatles hippies to the max.
She, like many people in their 20's, was starting to take time to reflect on understanding her spiritual self. We were standing around one day next to the till, and before we knew it, we were having a conversation about believing in god. I remember her commenting something to the effect of , that if god did come out of the sky and speak to everyone, all the atheists still wouldn't believe it. They would probably just assume what they were seeing was not real. And that they then the would all likely hurry their doctor/pharmacy and convince them to prescribe them psychiatric drugs to cure their delusions.
And as for as much of you my agree or disagree with that statement, that is what came to my mind when the pastor said "Jonah can't believe".
For as much as you might think me off my rocker, I don't think I am that far off at all actually. Here's why;
The pastor also makes a point to explain a very interesting word translation. If you look in line 5 you see the word sleep. But in Hebrew they have two different words for sleep. One world refers to
the healthy 8 hours most of us should ideally be getting each night. Then there is the other word.
The word used here, is the other word for sleep. A word that describes a state of drugged, drunken or being concussed and asleep.This is an induced sleep. This is sometimes known as "numbing out". When the ship captain awoke him and asked him to pray to his god to save the ship "not one word of prayer" came from him, as described by the pastor.
"Prayer becomes impossible or meaningless when we are in a love-deficit. "
"When we move away from gods purpose we experience a love deficit."
He also made a remark on the fact that he knows exactly how to numb out but was not willing to share that information.
He comments that "Jonah seems to think that if he dyes that other peoples problems will be solved."Also that "When we speak about assisted suicide we must be slow and careful."
Something I found very interesting was this comment. He said that the world becomes harsh when we are "not fallowing gods love out of ignorance or rebellion." I personally have a verity of thoughts on why the world might be harsh one people, but we will leave that alone. But I would like to take a moment to break down these two ideas. Personally I am not sure which one would be harder to deal with.
First there is rebellion. A rebellious spirit can be good thing, if not a great characteristic. A rebellious person is extremely hard to break even under the worst conditions. I believe this spirit is one of the key attributes of many of the greatest people in the Bible. Where the problem comes in, is when this force of rebellion is moving away from gods love instead of towards it. Changing this is like forcing a fraught train going full speed into a U turn. Not impossible, but extremely difficult.
Something that I feel may be equally as difficult is not fallowing gods love out of ignorance. For some in this world, that might mean not knowing the world of god. But I think it has a lot more to do with not knowing what the heck you are supposed to be doing with your life. Welcome to the life of a person in your 20's. As mediocre as this may sound, it can really get to a person. Especially when you are willing to fallow gods path, if only you knew what that path was. I remember City Center Church where they had a speaker telling the story about how he became so distressed one night that he got drunk, and started yelling and praying in the middle of the the halls of his apartment building. It sucks when you feel like you are going nowhere. Lack of direction can drive a person nuts.
On further notes. There was also talk of porn. Yes I said porn. The pastor expressed his thoughts of the recent statics that he had read on the rate of porn consumption by Christian men. He pointed out that god knows all and that we are being silly for trying to live in denial of it. This kind of lifestyle can create a "split soul" and "the antidote is Gods Love".
Favorite quote of the day;
"What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!? NO! It ends up on my Office!!!!"
But beyond everything that was spoken about today, there was something small that truly caught my attention, or more so, a child. If I had to make a guess I would say she was about 8 years old and moving around in the pew across from me occupying herself with a verity of items. My impression is that this girl seamed to have some kind of development disability. She moved around and played with things, completely in her own world. She seamed unable to stay still for anything more then a few seconds. Then we all went up to kneel around the octagonal fence set up on the main stage at the front of the church to receive communion. And low and behold I found myself right next to her. What took me back what how she stayed perfectly still the entire time while communion items were being distributed. She closed her eyes and folded her hands and took a moment to focus on God. Then the most beautiful smile washed over her face. It was a look that showed that she understood fully, the magnitude of gods love for her. That she was loved just the way she was.
The building definitely has some cool features. Check out that dark section net to the stage on the left side.
But one things that dove me nuts the entire time what how much the Pastor resembled Garth from WAYNE'S WORLD.
And remember, a good friend is always prepared if someone need to spew!
The Lord be with you wherever you go!