RAP SHEET 9/17/23
Sermon: Self-Made Storms
Scripture: Jonah 1:4-17
ICE BREAKER: What is the worst storm (actual weather event) you have ever been in?
This week, we continued our RESCUE series following the story of the prophet Jonah. After heading off to Tarshish, Jonah quickly found himself and the ship he was on being overcome by a massive storm. If something wasn't done, the ship would be torn apart or capsized!
The sailors soon learned that Jonah was the problem. The men were terrified and wondered what exactly Jonah had done to cause such a storm. Jonah let them know that he worked for the God of all creation - a fact that brought even more terror upon the crew!
Jonah knew what must be done - he would have to sacrifice himself in order to save the men aboard the ship. This was his sin, his choice to try and run from a God that cannot be outrun.
The irony is thick if you are looking for it. Jonah is on this ship, sailing to the edge of the world, in order to avoid having to preach to a pagan nation. Jonah is bigoted and doesn't believe those outside of Israel deserve to hear from God. NOW, God is speaking in a BIG way and the prophet who didn't want to preach to the pagans is going to have to sacrifice his life for a ship... FULL OF PAGANS!
As soon as they tossed Jonah overboard, the storm ceased.
In our own lives, we encounter "storms" of various kinds. Suffering, struggle, frustration, relational turmoil, addictions, depression, and the list goes on and on. Some of these storms come from unforeseen causes that we are simply victim to. However, the Jonah narrative gives us a chance to focus on Self-Made Storms!
Jonah brought this storm on himself by specifically disobeying God's command and running away from his calling. Anytime we run from God, we will eventually run into our own self-made storm!
What is a time where you found yourself in a storm caused by your own actions?
As soon as Jonah was willing to change his mind, trust in God, and do the next right thing - God calmed the storm and saved Jonah's life by calling forth a giant fish.
If you are living in a series of self-made storms, that is most certainly God seeking to get your attention. The storm did not come just to punish Jonah - it came primarily to bring Jonah back home!
If we allow Him, God desires to use the natural consequences in our life to do the same thing. So often, when storms come we just double down on our running, we cling even tighter to our sinful patterns, and we go even further against God's will.
For the storms to cease, our faith must increase! When we finally get to the point that we are done living in Chaos and are ready to trust God's plan for our life, He is ready and willing to bring us back home!
What is ONE WAY you are creating a "storm" in your life currently? (This could be in your relationships, career, habits - anywhere you are not in line with God).
What is ONE THING you can do this week to follow Jonah's example by trusting in God and doing the next right thing?
If you are not a believer, God desires to use all the "storms" of life to call you into relationship with himself - what is holding you back from that decision?
Ask God to show you the ways that you are going against his plans. Seek guidance from the Holy Spirit as you look to change your mind, trust in God, and do the next right thing.