Question From Jonah Sermon

I received this question from Sunday’s teaching

“Where do they think the fish deposited Jonah? Ninevah looks like a landlocked city.”

maybe the best depiction of Jonah being vomited ever

maybe the best depiction of Jonah being vomited ever

It would make sense that since Jonah was sailing on the Mediterranean Sea that he would be deposited on the that coast line.  Nineveh was land locked, so where ever he was deposited he would have most likely have to was to Nineveh.

The Bible doesn’t specify where he was vomited back up so any one who claims to have an answer is speculating.  So allow me to offer a speculation of my own.  When I think about this story I am reminded that God is a God of second chances.  I wonder if the LORD had Jonah vomited up near Joppa, the port from which he sailed in the first place.  God would be presenting Jonah with the exact same choice he had made three days ago, and this time the question is will he truly obey.

Even when repent from our sins we are still tempted and we will face the same options to disobey.  Jonah’s decision to obey is even more powerful when he’s presented with the option to disobey.

Like I said that’s pure speculation on my part, it’s not biblical theology, it’s just how I think about the story.

Thanks for the question.  See you on Sunday.

Whatcha Got?

I read this post by Brody Harper today, talking about the various segments of the music industry.  Turns out that every segment has different budgets, and there’s a kind of latter of cash that everyone compares each other to.

This happens all the time, in every industry, even in the church.  I know what you’re thinking, Pastors don’t think about worldly things like money and budgets, they just trust God right?  I wish true, but churches do have budgets and sometimes things are lean, and sometimes things are going ok.  I’ve never worked in a church that felt like it had all the money that it needed.  And you know what, that’s great . . . if you are trying to do the right thing with that money.

If the pastor is trying to by a helicopter then we might need to be a little concerned.

But if churches are trying to reach more people for the Gospel, then they are going to need to fund their mission some how.  It’s very easy to look at the mega church down the street and say, man if we had half the budget of that church, imagine what we could accomplish.  Can I just tell you, that kind of thinking is a distraction from the enemy.

If you had half the budget of the mega church, then you would probably have half of the problems that that mega church deals with all the time.  Are you ready for that?   Probably not.  When we look to the successes of others and wish we could have that, that’s idolatry and it distracts us from the mission that God has for us right now.

So Whatcha Got?

Don’t say not much. Don’t say not enough. You have all that you need, really.  It’s not about what you don’t have it’s about what you do have.  I believe every church has just what they need for every situation. God has given us a stewardship over these things, and we are accountable to him for how we use them, this is the Parable of the Talents.  Pastor, if you are always comparing your church of 100 to the church of 10,000 you will be paralyzed by indecision and inferiority, you’re going to end up burying your talent.

However if you look at your congregation of 100 people, and see God’s blessing on your life, and look for what he’s up to, and partner with Him in what he’s already doing, you will be successful.  You have what you need.  You probably just need to utilize it better.

Maybe your church is going to reach senior citizens like nobodies business.  Are you ready to capitalize on that instead of on your student ministry?

Maybe you are going to reach artists and teenagers, who are generally not known to be swimming in cash, are you going to be able to reach them even if your budget never grows?  Because those artists and students are going to be the ones who change the world because of their energy and creativity.  Are you ready for that?

What is God calling you to do?  He’s given you enough already. Just get going.  Stop comparing yourself with the Mars Hills and the Willow Creeks, because guess what.  You are not them.  Their mission is not your mission.  Can you learn from them?  Sure, but don’t try to be them.  Don’t envy their budget, or their groups ministry, or their exercise suite for pastors and deacons, or . . . whatever.

Focus on what God has for you and you will be successful.

Whatcha Got?

Know Your Limits

Creekside is launching a Spiritual Growth initiative this fall, E3.  It’s a 3 year journey, and it’s not easy.  Our hope with this Spiritual Growth journey is that it would develop disciples who will discover their personal mission in the Kingdom of God.  There is a weekly group meeting, connecting with a mentor, reading throughout the week, journaling, and a lot of reflecting.  E3 is going to be intense and it will change lives and, I believe, strengthen our church.

Many people were interested in this journey, and want to do this, and I’m hearing over and over again that this is not the time for them to start this journey. Lives are busy and they don’t want to commit to something that they won’t be able to actually commit to.  And I applaud their honesty.

The last thing I want Creekside to do is add one more thing to people’s lives.  It’s easy for me to expect everyone to do everything the church is up to.  And I want a crowd as much as the next guy, but I don’t want a crowd of people who feel like they are obligated to do something.  If you can’t do it, don’t do it.

Due to scheduling stuff at Northwest, I can’t take enough classes to qualify for my financial aid in the fall semester.  I could take a class and try to pay out of pocket, but that would add a lot of stress for me and Kathy.  But with all the stuff that is happening at Creekside this fall Kathy and I just decided that I would take the fall semester off of school.  I could try to force it and take that one class, but I would kill myself in the process.

Part of Spiritual Maturity is knowing your limits.  If you don’t know your limits you will burn out.  If you don’t know your limits, you will say yes to everything, when you should only say yes to the right thing and the best thing.

Beloit Mindset Study

Here it is this years mindset list for incoming highschool freshman:

(The Beloit College Mindset Lists for previous years are available at . The current list and a webcast interview with the authors will be posted there at 12:01 a.m.on August 18.)

Beloit, Wis. — If the entering college class of 2013 had been more alert back in 1991 when most of them were born, they would now be experiencing a severe case of déjà vu. The headlines that year railed about government interventions, bailouts, bad loans, unemployment and greater regulation of the finance industry. The Tonight Show changed hosts for the first time in decades, and the nation asked “was Iraq worth a war?”

Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college. It is the creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Emeritus Public Affairs Director Ron Nief. It is used around the world as the school year begins, as a reminder of the rapidly changing frame of reference for this new generation. It is widely reprinted and the Mindset List website at receives more than 300,000 hits annually.

As millions of students head off to college this fall, most will continue to experience the economic anxiety that marked their first two years of life just as it has marked their last two years of high school. Fears of the middle class–including their parents–about retirement and health care have been a part of their lives. Now however, they can turn to technology and text a friend: “Momdad still worried bout stocks. urs 2? PAW PCM”.

Members of the class of 2013 won’t be surprised when they can charge a latté on their cell phone and curl up in the corner to read a textbook on an electronic screen. The migration of once independent media–radio, TV, videos and CDs–to the computer has never amazed them. They have grown up in a politically correct universe in which multi-culturalism has been a given. It is a world organized around globalization, with McDonald’s everywhere on the planet. Carter and Reagan are as distant to them as Truman and Eisenhower were to their parents. Tattoos, once thought “lower class,” are, to them, quite chic. Everybody knows the news before the evening news comes on.

Thus the class of 2013 heads off to college as tolerant, global, and technologically hip…and with another new host of The Tonight Show.


The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2013

Most students entering college for the first time this fall were born in 1991.

1. For these students, Martha Graham, Pan American Airways, Michael Landon, Dr. Seuss, Miles Davis, The Dallas Times Herald, Gene Roddenberry, and Freddie Mercury have always been dead.

2. Dan Rostenkowski, Jack Kevorkian, and Mike Tyson have always been felons.

3. The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not the big guy picking vegetables.

4. They have never used a card catalog to find a book.

5. Margaret Thatcher has always been a former prime minister.

6. Salsa has always outsold ketchup.

7. Earvin “Magic” Johnson has always been HIV-positive.

8. Tattoos have always been very chic and highly visible.

9. They have been preparing for the arrival of HDTV all their lives.

10. Rap music has always been main stream.

11. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream has always been a flavor choice.

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