Thursday, October 15, 2009

Don't Mess With Assyria

Here is a Very Cool 10 minutes archaeological piece by PBS on the Assyrian conquest of Lachish, which, as we know, was the people group who lived in Nineveh. This gives a window into the reliability of the scriptures and also the nature of the Assyrians. What was the most interesting part of this video?

Also, just in case you missed a class, here is the link to the Jonah Series at LifeChurch for your personal viewing enjoyment. It is also good to review them. I usually have the priviledge of watching them 5 or 6 times and I still find myself being reminded of things that I had forgotten.

Who Is Your Nineveh Part II

Here is the interesting part about Nineveh. When Jonah took it upon himself to with hold forgiveness from that city, he stepped into a prison of unforgiveness and bitterness. Here we find an amazing truth about Christianity. If you do not forgive, you cannot be forgiven ... you have just stepped back into the concentration camp and have closed the door. Why, because you have forgotten that BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED. We are not God, and anytime we act as God ie. when we do not offer grace to others when God has offered grace to us, we once again crucify Christ and make His sacrifice of no effect. That is why when Jesus taught us how to pray he said "forgive us our sins AS we have forgiven those who have sinned against us." Meaning if we don't forgive them then we won't be forgiven.

Remember the guy in the previous post. His name was Sgt. Skinny Sisk (Actual Picture) and here is the rest of his story. "My career after the war was trying to drink away the die-hard Nazi that I went up into the Bavarian Alps and killed. Old Moe Alley made a statement that all the killings that I did was going to jump into the bed with me one of these days and they surely did. I had a lot of flashbacks after the war and I started drinking."

"Then my sister's little daughter, four years old, came into my bedroom while I was hungover and she told me that Jesus loved me and if I would repent God would forgive me for all of the men I kept trying to kill all over again. That little girl got to me. I put her out of my room, and then I bowed my head on my Mother's old feather bed and repented and God forgave me for the war. I was ordained in the latter part of 1949 into the ministry. The Lord willing and Jesus tarrys I hope to see you all at the next reunion. If not I'll see you at the last jump. I know you won't freeze in the door."

When he unmercifully killed Germans, especially outside of the normal rules of war, he became a prisoner of anger and unforgiveness. The only thing that freed him was repentance before almighty God, and that grace he received changed his life from that point on. No matter how bad the city becomes let us never forget the unconditional love that God has for us and NEVER refuse to show that love and grace toward Nineveh, lest we willfully reenter the place of unforgiveness and death that we were once rescued from.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Who Is Your Nineveh? Part 1

We studied the brutality with which the Assyrians oppressed and conquered the surrounding people groups during the time of Jonah. They are actually believed to be the first civilization to commit genocide. All of us agree that Jonah's apprehension that God would show mercy on this city carried some merit.

I just finished reading Band of Brothers, which is a book about a paratroop infantry division during WWII. At the end of the book, the troops were celebrating the end of the war, when one of the soldiers heard a tip that an SS officer involved in creating the concentration camps was hiding out in a barn. Without telling a commanding officer who would have probably made him a prisoner of war, the soldier hunted him down and shot him. I felt a sense of satisfaction as I read the story. Justice was served... And then I thought of our friend Jonah, and I thought about the heart of God, and I thought about my heart.

Who is my Nineveh? Who are those people in my life that I think deserve what they are getting? Who are those people that just bother me, and I could care less about what they are going through? Who are those people that I have no compassion for and I am hardened toward? Those people that drive us crazy, irritate, hurt, repulse, bother ... They are in our workplaces, they are in our families, they live on our street, and they sit next to us at church. We wouldn't say it, but we think we are better, we act as their judge. We are Jonah, and they are our Nineveh.

What would our world, church, lives look like if we came before God and prayed for our Nineveh's, and asked our merciful Father if He would do for us, what He did for them. I think He would be pleased. After all, we were His Nineveh.

Friday, October 9, 2009

3 Versions of Jonah

Because I want to make Jonah as relevant as possible to everyone in the room, I have included 3 methods to visually watch the story. .

1. Lego Jonah (warning - graphic content with Lego dismemberment and Play-Doh whale vomit)

2. Jonah - A Veggie Tale Movie (the full length Veggie Tales Classic to enjoy with popcorn)

3. Jonah Flash Version (an interesting 4 minute version for the class academic)

I recommend everyone watch the last one since it has some pertinent historical information.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Come Unto Me

"Come unto Me." When you hear those words you will know that something must happen in you before you can come. The Holy Spirit will show you what you have to do, anything at all that will put the axe at the root of the thing which is preventing you from getting through. You will never get further until you are willing to do that one thing. The Holy Spirit will locate the one impregnable thing in you, but He cannot budge it unless you are willing to let Him. Oswald Chambers

I was pondering where to begin this discussion. It seems like we covered a lot of major issues last night in class. As I read My Utmost for His Highest this afternoon, I could not help but think of our friend Jonah.

Jesus said ..."Come unto Me." Sounds simple doesn't it? I mean who doesn't want to come to Jesus? Why would we want to go anywhere else? Isn't that the place of mercy, healing, blessing, peace, perfection, life, love, wisdom, fulfillment ...?

It was impossible for Jonah to come to Jesus unless he did the one thing he did not want to do. Think about that. Jonah could have offered sacrifices, went to church, prayed, fasted, wept, gave, served, taught classes, led small groups, pastored, but he could never move on with God until his will was bent in obedience to God. So many times we try to "manipulate" God by doing good things rather than the one thing He has asked us to do. God will not allow us to move forward, unless we have done what He has already asked. Lets learn from the story of Jonah and stop running from God and start running to Him. What is standing in the way of you being able to Come unto Him?

Oswald ends his devotion with this, "How often have you come to God with your requests And yet you go away with nothing, whilst all the time God has stood with outstretched hands not only to take you, but for you to take Him. Think of the invincible, unconquerable, unwearying patience of Jesus -
"Come unto Me."

Also, please take this opportunity to write about what you took from the class. Also feel free to pass along any info that you found on Jonah so the rest of the group can benefit from it. I will be posting some online study materials and resources soon.