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Unexpected

Everything is upside-down in the economy of God. The last shall be first and the first shall be last. The
servant is the greatest of all. When we lose our lives we find them. God seems to thrive on the unexpected.
In the nation of Israel, God sent dozens of prophets to urge them to turn from their wicked ways. Some
of these prophets, like Isaiah, wrote massive quantities of perfectly crafted poetic prophecies, and yet the people
rejected them. In the New Testament, Stephen even asks the Pharisees, “Was there ever a prophet your fathers
did not persecute?” (Ac 7:52).
 

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Commitment is the Key

“Until I am committed, there is a hesitancy, a chance to draw back. But the moment I definitely commit myself, then God begins to move also, and a whole stream of events begins to erupt. All manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings, persons and material assistance that I could never have dreamed would come my way, begin to flow toward me the moment I make a commitment.” –John Maxwell


Mulligan

I recently played volleyball with the Tuesday Night group at the church. I was serving and had a few decent serves (about the only thing I did well that game!). But I misjudged one serve and it shot up into the ceiling and landed on our own side of the net. To my surprise, the group said the first time you hit the ceiling, it doesn’t count, and you can try again. There’s a certain sense of relief in getting a second chance.

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Prayers From the Belly of a Fish

Jonah Chapter 2 says: From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said: In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’

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The Lord Provided

But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. – Jonah 1:17
God’s provision is a major theme in the book of Jonah. Yet the things God provides are not always what one might expect. Jonah is thrown overboard into the raging sea, and God provides for him. God’s provision, however, is not a floatation device or a coast guard boat or even a bit of driftwood for him to hold on to. Instead, a giant sea creature bursts out of the water, opens its gaping maw, swallows up the hapless prophet, and descends into the deep.
 

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Running From God

God calls Jonah to go to Nineveh, the capital of the powerful nation of Assyria. But instead he flees to Tarsish. As you can see, Tarshish is just about as far away as possible from Nineveh. Jonah is running from God. You may have run from God at times in your life as well. Maybe not by getting in a boat and sailing across the known world. Instead, I’ve found that our way of running from God is avoiding people and places that convict us. Our church attendance declines. We stop reading our Bibles. We stop spending time with friends and family who remind us of the God we are avoiding.
 

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Saving the World

“There’s some sort of hard to define spiritual crisis across the land which shows up in rising depression rates, rising mental health problems. A survey that Pew research center released last year captures the mood. Pew asked people to describe the thing that brings meaning to their lives. A shocking number of respondents describe lives of quiet despair. ‘I no long find much of anything meaningful, fulfilling or satisfying. Whatever used to keep me going has gone. I’m currently struggling to find any motivation to keep going.’”
 

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Who Will You Share God’s Word With Today?

Yesterday I had the privilege of teaching the “Pairs and Spares” class during the Sunday School hour. We looked together at the book of Jonah. Jonah was called to the Assyrians (the capital of which is Nineveh). The name Nineveh struck terror into the hearts of all those living in western Asia in this period. This nation was cruel, heartless, and conquered nation after nation. Listen to these words from one of the Assyrian kings (Ashur-nasirpal II) himself.
 

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Post-Christian


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Every Degree is Important

I’ve been watching this new condo being built for the past 6 months. Architecture has always been intriguing to me and it’s fascinating to see the progress as the blue collar, hard-working men labor to produce a new structure. The crane engineer sits up in the cabin 8 hours a day hoisting up building materials as the laborers work efficiently.
The building is approaching 20-25 stories now. But way before this building ever hit 200-250 feet, a crucial element was laid – the foundation. True to all structures, without a proper foundation, the overall stability would be compromised. Without a strong foundation, catastrophe can occur – and the architects fully understand this. The measurements need to be perfect. Not even 1° off.

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