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Guest speaker, Elder John Corrente, reminds us that, if these are your "kings", pursuit of knowledge, wealth and influence are temporary life situations.  To illustrate, how many of us can remember who Time's Person of the Year was a couple of years ago - when this person presumably was the most influential at that time.  He explains why Jesus is the only king worthy of sitting on the throne of our lives.  

Knowing Jesus teaches us how to love one another.  God's love sent Jesus to live a life of love and pay the price so that we might be saved.  We can love because He first loved us; we can love the hard to love and we can share God's love with the world. 

Do you know real joy?  There is none greater than knowing and having a personal relationship with Jesus.  From Luke 1:26-45 we can come to understand this and that joy stays as a lasting condition, not a passing emotion such as happiness.  It grows when we are faithfully obedient.    

Today marks the first week of Advent and the beginning of our preparation our hearts for the coming celebration of Christ's birth. Its focus is on hope, the light that takes away darkness.  Because of Christ, our hope takes us beyond our hardships.  It is a gift. 

Ninevah has repented, the city is saved and Jonah is upset.  He is angry about God's grace and His mercy towards Ninevah and proclaims his wish to die rather than live with the continued existence of the great city.  Even after God demonstrates patience and mercy towards Jonah and his sulk by protecting him from the burning sun, Jonah is not contrite.  Our takeaways from Jonah's behaviour:  anger limits our understanding of God' work; it clouds our judgement of God's character; it skews our value of life. On the other hand, we see that God's heart is for the nations and He has mercy and compassion for the broken.  

Jonah has been freed from the belly of the fish and decides to obey the Lord's instruction to go to Ninevah and warn its people of impending catastrophe.  The people, and their King, believed his message that in forty days the city would be overthrown.  Everyone, including the King, covered themselves in sackcloth and ashes.  When God saw that they had repented of their evil ways, He relented and the city was not destroyed. Our learnings from this Chapter?  God's word accompanies His timing and work; He sees and judges heart motives and He gives second chances.  

Jonah has been swallowed by the great fish.  He will spend three days and three nights in this odd situation and will spend this time reflecting and praying. Jonah recognizes that he has sinned against God by running away, and that he was deserving of death.  God heard and spoke to the fish and so Jonah was vomited out onto dry land.  What can we learn from this?   Sin brings us to the bottom; however, God sees and hears us even in these situations and lifts us up.  He also uses those who have been to the bottom. 

 

The second week of our sermon series continues.  A storm is raging, the seamen are afraid.  Jonah confesses his origins and his fear of the Lord.  He persuades the men to throw him overboard in order to save themselves.  Reluctantly, they do this and the sea calms.  They are transformed as a result and Jonah is also saved.  He is swallowed by the great fish.  From the second half of Jonah Chapter 1, we learn how God used a rebellious broken man to reveal His greatness. 

 

Today marks the beginning of a new five-week series based on the Book of Jonah.  From Jonah's story, we are reminded of God's mercy and forgiveness, His heart for all people and that, in spite of our flaws, we cannot run from God's plan for us.  Today, our focus is on the messages to be learned from Chapter 1, verses 1-6, which describes Jonah's rebellion against God's word.  Applying, this situation to ourselves, we are reminded that despite our own rebellion, God is Faithful, that Jesus came for us and that God still uses us.   

 

This sermon series closes today with a reminder that a purpose of the church is to serve together as a body using our individual gifts.  From Romans 12:3-8 we are reminded that we are to think and act with humility, recognize and respect our diversity, and use our gifts to serve.  Serving, on the other hand, requires sacrifice and commitment.  The reward is joy.  

 

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