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Sunday, 31 March 2013


Rev. Brent Russett
By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:   
PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, March 31st, 2013:

Easter Sunday’

            Good morning. And welcome to good news in the morning. Happy Easter – He has risen – He has risen indeed.  My name is Brent Russett. I am the Senior Pastor at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church. It is my pleasure to look at some of life’s challenges, and then bring you some good news in the morning.

            This program is sponsored by Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184 Rideau Ferry, ON K0G1W0. Or you can find us on the web at I would encourage you to check out our website. You will find a number of things there to build into your spiritual life.

            Easter is such a great time to Worship. We are going to start out  with

Music – He is Exalted – By Eden’s Bridge – from their album Celtic Worship – Track 8 --- 3:26)

            I love to read and I dabble in writing. Sometimes I find it easy to write, and other times I find it challenging. But here is what I have come to understand.

            Every day all of us write the story of our lives. Some of us are better writers than others. But the choices we make, the things we do, the people we meet, dictate the story lines. Often there are a number of sub plots going on. What is happening with our extended family, what is happening at our work, what is happening amongst our friends? Then there is our main story line, what is happening in and around us?

            You may not thought about your life like this before, but you are an author, the author of your life. However, unlike an author of fiction, you don’t have complete control over the story. You can influence and direct it by the choices you make. But others are also writing into your story.

            Your boss writes into your story. That person who ran a red light and caused a fender bender, writes into your story. Your mom and dad write into your story, sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse.

            There is another story being written. It is the story of God. History is His Story.  But there is a lot more going on than has been written in the annals of history. He has been writing his story into the fabric of the universe from the beginning of time. His story is a big story …Big enough to encompass everyone.

            He has much more control over his story than we have over ours. But not complete control. He has given you the ability to make choices in your story. Those are real choices. What he really wants to do though is have his story and your story intersect in a meaningful way.

            I don’t know about you, but the story of my life has stuff in it that you wish weren’t elements of the story. There are some choices I made in the past that I would like to have over again. Then there were some things that other people did to me that has skewed the story somewhat.

            As a pastor I spend a lot of time listening to people’s stories. Here is what I have discovered. People’s lives are messy. You live with fear, and hope, with difficulties and with challenges. What do you do with those parts of your story? Do you just go on, ignore them, work with them?

            I have found that it is at those very points in the story that God comes and invites us to write our story into his. They become crucial moments in the story where--- how we respond to the invitation of God, can pivot a whole story.

            Now in many of those places in our lives, how we would like God to intersect with our lives is an answered prayer. God get me out of this place. God fix this problem. We would like him to drop in, do a miracle, so that we could get on with life the way it was.

            And sometimes he does that. But he doesn’t just want our stories to bump into each other, he wants them to intersect, and he wants Our story to be a smaller consistent part of his big story.

            The only place where your story can truly intersect with God’s story is in the story of Easter weekend. To truly be involved in the big God story, our stories have to come through the story of Easter.

            Just a few days back we celebrated Good Friday. You remember what happened on Good Friday. Jesus was crucified, killed that day. He was hung on a cross between two thieves.

            His death shook his disciples up. After all they had followed him for the last three years. When Jesus was being abandoned by the crowds, he asked his disciples if they were going to leave him too. Peter spoke up and answered for all the other disciples. Where else would we go? Only you have the words of eternal life.

            They had not only come to follow him, but they had come to believe in him. All their hopes and dreams were wrapped up in Christ. Those dreams came to a screeching halt with his death. That isn’t the way it was suppose to end. That isn’t the way that it was suppose to happen.

            Now we come to the story of Easter Sunday. I am looking at the story from John, Chapter 20.

            It was Sunday, the first day of the week. Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, and found that it was empty. This was unexpected. When you go to someone’s grave you expect to find the person who was buried still in the grave.

            So Mary come roaring back to the disciples, and Peter and John took off to the tomb. They get there and they find out that what they had been told. I like verse 8.

 John 20:8  Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 

            He believed what. He believed that the body was gone. The next verse basically says that they still didn’t understand that Jesus had to rise from the dead.

            The unexpected is one thing, but now that Peter and John had seen it they were left scratching their head. It has now moved from the unexpected to the unexplained. What do you do with the whole idea that a body was missing.

 John 20:10  Then the disciples went back to their homes,  

            When you hit the unexpected and then it moves into the unexplained, you need to regroup, so they went home.

            Now Mary hung around the grave, and she runs into two angels. But she is crying so hard she doesn’t care that she has seen angels. She has one thing in mind. Where is the body of Jesus. She has come to anoint him with oil, and I’m going to anoint him. I don’t care if you’re an angel or a king. I’m going to anoint Jesus.

            She is peering into the grave, and she hears this voice behind her.

15  "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."
 16  Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).
            Now she just freaks. This is too good to be true. She talks with Jesus and then he sends her off. So after she leaves Jesus she goes back to the disciples

 John 20:18  Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her. 

            Now what was the disciples take on this. Well, Thomas gets labelled as the one with no faith because he doesn’t believe it when the rest of the disciple tell him that they have seen Jesus, but the rest didn’t believe when Mary told them that she had seen Jesus.

            After all dead is dead. They had seen him die. They knew that no one escapes crucifixion. They knew that after he was dead that a spear was driven in his side just to make sure. Dead is dead.

            Now it has gone from unexpected to the unexplainable to unbelievable. It just doesn’t make sense.

19  On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"
 20  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

            He had to show them his hands and sides before they would believe him. But when he showed them undeniable proof that he was risen from the dead, when he showed him his nail pierced hands and spear pierced side, they believed and then they were overjoyed.

            It went from being unbelievable to undeniable. Christ had indeed risen from the dead. These disciples believed it so much that each of them died because of this belief.

 Music – Matt Redman – Album “The Heart of Worship” – I am yours (Track 7 – 4:08)

            As I hear people writing the stories of their lives, often times their story mirrors that of Easter. Elements of all our stories are not what we wish they were.

            But it is often in these troublesome that we feel the story needs to move in a different direction. It might be a sense of meaninglessness and spinning our wheels. It might be a sense of insecurity or fear. It might be a sense that there is something bigger than ourselves. It may be our lives spinning out of control.

            But something happens to bring us to a place where we know the story that we are writing by our lives has to move in a different direction than it is heading right now.

            You know the great thing about God. He is already at work. He isn’t just at work in the lives of super saints. He is not just at work in the lives of Christians. He is at work in people’s lives who don’t even think he exists. He is at work in people who take no thought of him. Some of you know it and some of you don’t but God is actively involved in your life. He has been trying to write in a way to get your story to intersect with His.

            Do you want to see the finger prints of God in your life, start looking for the unexpected.----- Someone who you thought most unlikely starts talking about God. Things start to happen that in and of themselves could be ruled as coincidence but they start to accumulate. You go to a movie, and it is like God is talking to you. The unexpected happens, the equivalent of hearing stories of  the empty tomb happens. God’s trying to get your attention.

            But things start to move from the unexpected to unexplained. These things just don’t seem to have a good explanation to them. After all, if you haven’t given God much thought, and all of a sudden he is trying to get your attention, it is pretty easy to write him off. If you start with the premise that God is either nonexistent or a far off and doesn’t come near, then when he does come near, it just seems unexplainable.

            But even in middle of this mystery comes reports of God’s desire to bring you close and bring you into relationship with himself. Maybe you even start to grasp a hold of the good news that we find in Jesus Christ. He is the bridge between us and God. He made a way that we can know God.

            The problem is, if you really grasp the gospel of Jesus Christ, it’s unbelievable. That the God of the universe, knows me by name, and more than that loves me, and more than that wants a relationship with me, and more than that has cleared out all the obstacles between Him and me by the work of His Son Jesus and all that I have to do is receive the free gift of life that is offered in Christ. That is mind blowing. That is unbelievable.

            Thing have moved from the unexpected, to the unexplained, to the unbelievable.

            Here is where people need to make a decision. Are they going to keep on moving towards God, or are they going to disperse and just leave it there.

            Peter had a family, he could have been with his wife rather than hanging around the disciples. John and Andrew had a fishing business with their father. They could have immersed themselves in there fathers business.

            But they hung out, to see what would happen. There are some of you who have been confronted with the unbelievably, and you are thinking you might just move on.

            After all if you let your story intersect with God’s then you won’t have the same literary freedom. You will be writing your story, but it will need to be consistent with another story.

            But if you think God is a difficult co - author you should try sin. It is brutal to write your story line with it as a co author.

            For a number of you, you are right at that unbelievable stage. The other option is to stay there and actively wait for God to break through. And there will be a time when God breaks through. It may even be after you take that leap of faith. But there will be a time when God walks into the room of your heart and it is undeniable.

            The question is will you put yourself in a place to encounter God. Will you invite him into your life and invite him to write your story with you.

            If you want to do that you have to pray a simple prayer like,
“Lord Jesus, come into my life. Forgive me of my sins. I give my life to you. I want to follow you.”

            There are a number of you who have had your story intersect with God’s through the Easter story. You have understood that you were afar off from God. There were things in your life that didn’t allow you to come close. But God came close to you. On the cross that first Easter, Jesus did what he had to do, so that you could have peace with God. You have invited Jesus to come into your life and you have chosen to follow him. He has done exactly that.

            I want you to know that God wants your story to become more profound. And it is the same process

Unexpected - Ministry opportunity
-                       Suffering
-                       A community spurring you on
-                       Some new truth about God

Unexplained             - Is this really God
-                       I don’t understand everything I see.

Unbelievable            - Now you know you are to live in faith but
-                       Does God really want to take me deeper?
-                       Does God really want an intimate relationship?
-                       Does God really want me to abandon myself to Him?
Undeniable   - You take a step of faith and watch what God does.


Lord Jesus, I want to thank you for how you have allowed our stories to intersect with the Easter story. Lord, for whatever stage we find ourselves in, the undeniable, the unbelievable, Lord, I pray that you would allow your Spirit to so be drawing us to yourself. Thank you Lord, for what you are all about. Amen.

Thank you, Listeners for your words of encouragement, and for keeping us in your prayers.   Keeping this program on the air continues to be a work of faith. If you can help with that, please make out a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184 , Rideau Ferry , On. K0G  1W0. Or you can give online by going to

Alan Churchill, the founding pastor of this ministry is writing a monthly devotional. Alan is well known for his spiritual insight and ability to communicate the truth of God. If you would like to receive this devotional, go to our website at and sign up to start receiving it right to you e-mail inbox. We know that God will bless you through this ministry. (

May you know   Jesus Christ personally and profoundly.  May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart .  And may the heavenly Father surround you with His constant and abiding and accompanying love

Music- Jody Cross – Rekindle  - Giver of Life – (Track 11 --- 5:03)

- Rev. Brent Russett

To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link:

Sunday, 24 March 2013


Rev. Brent Russett
By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:   
PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, March 24th, 2013:

Palm Sunday’

            Good morning. And welcome to good news in the morning. My name is Brent Russett. I am the Senior Pastor at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church. It is my pleasure to look at some of life’s challenges, and then bring you some good news in the morning.

            This program is sponsored by Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184 Rideau Ferry, ON K0G1W0. Or you can find us on the web @

            What a great morning to celebrate. It is Palm Sunday. It is the Sunday before Easter. It is the Sunday where Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and crowds worshipped. We are going to unpack that story in a moment, but before we get there let’s listen to:

Song: Bob Fitts – This is the day – from Millennium Worship –He is excited about who God is. (Track 3 3:57)

            Have you ever waked up in the morning, and got that sinking feeling? You know it is going to be a long day at the beginning of a long week. There is much to do. The situation in front of you is stress filled. The outcome is uncertain. I am sure that when Jesus woke up that first Palm Sunday morning he felt that way.

            By the end of the week, he would have cleared out the temple, celebrated the last supper with his disciples; Sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane; Been betrayed by a friend; Been arrested by the Sanhedrin; Lied about, spit upon and condemned to death. He would be beaten bloody and then crucified and killed. He was going to bear the sins of the world. His Heavenly father was going to hide his face from him.—To say it was going to be a bad week is like saying an atomic explosion is somewhat noisy.

            But as the sun peaked over the hill at the town of Bethany, and Jesus rose from sleep, he knew it was going to be a long week. Although--- the circumstances were pleasant for the moment. He was at the house of friends. Mary and Martha and Lazarus. Lazarus had become somewhat of a celebrity. He had been dead for four days until Jesus called him out of the grave and back to life as easily as you might call your family for supper.

            Everyone in the village of Bethany had been at the funeral. Everyone had seen the 4 days of mourning. But now Lazarus was sitting a the breakfast table. His very existence was causing a stir.

            Now as you know, Jesus was nobodies fool. Some people don’t seem to understand that if they do certain actions those actions will cause a predictable reaction. Jesus was not like that. He knew exactly what he was doing.

            As he approached Bethany, he knew he was the hero. He had raised Lazarus from the dead. He also knew that the people in Bethany would follow him into Jerusalem. He also knew that if he rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey that is would cause a stir. It would make the Romans edgy. It would make the Sanhedrin angry. It would bring things to head.

            If self preservation was Jesus’ goal, this was not the way to do it. If staying alive was Jesus objective he was going about it the wrong way – and he knew it. But self preservation was not his objective. His heart was as big as the world. For God so loved the world. His objective was to die for the sin of the world.

            Let’s take a break from the story for a moment. When I look at my own heart, and I often see this draw towards self preservation, towards playing things safe, towards comfort. But as soon as I give into those kind of things my world starts to shrink. I start to be concerned with only the me and my. Life starts to revolve around me. And when that happens my soul starts to shrink. I start to be less like Jesus.

            The gospel has never been about playing it safe. Look at the apostle Paul,

I have worked much harder been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked,

            The gospel has always been about a full life, a real life, it doesn’t promise a safe life. It calls us to really live.

            I am thankful to be part of Christian community that calls me beyond self preservation and playing things safe. Let me tell you about a couple of people.

            Let me tell you about Al and Joanne Brown. Al owned his own computer company. At the time when God called Al and Joanne they had four kids. They sold the company moved to Thailand. Now they have set up and organization called Compassio. It works along the Thai Burmese border with Burmese refugees and children of prisoners and orphans

            You look at that – and say this is not the way towards self preservation. That is not the way to accumulate a pension plan . But I want to tell you, as I talk to Al, you can tell he is excited to be where he is. His world has grown large as he has followed God’s call. It’s not easy, but he would tell you, it is good, very good.

            Let me tell you about another couple in our community.  Chris was an electrical engineer making good money. Then God called him back into ministry with  the Navigators. Moving from a very good salary to having to raise one’s own support is not exactly a move towards security. But they followed the path that God put before them rather than move towards self preservation.

            But because of their move, people have come to know Jesus. Lives have been changed.

            I know a lot of people have chosen to follow Christ’s call rather than the path of self preservation. It may limit your opportunities, but it enlarges your world.

            Some of you may be sitting there and saying, following Christ hasn’t cost me all that much, should I feel guilty. I would say this to you. Other people’s path, is not your path. You are responsible for following God’s call on your life. But you don’t know what the future may hold. Life with Jesus is often an adventure.

Music –How deep the father’s love for us.  By Stuart Townsend on the Worship together live album (track 6  --- 2:56)

Mark 11:1
1 ¶ As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples,
 2  saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no-one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.
 3  If anyone asks you, `Why are you doing this?' tell him, `The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.'"
 4  They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it,
 5  some people standing there asked, "What are you doing, untying that colt?"
 6  They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.
 7  When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it.
            We don’t know if Jesus pre arranged this colt. I think the real miracle here is that he sits on a colt that has never been ridden and he isn’t bucked off. I must say, that would wreck the story. But if Jesus could speak to the wind and the waves and calm them, speaking to a colt and calming it would be nothing.

            Everyone who first read the gospel of Mark would understand is that this is a political story.

            Kings rode into the city after conquering the enemy. Jesus was imitating the kings of his time. The symbolism of a Kingship would be unmistakeable to the people. That and 200 years before , as recorded by the Roman Historian Josephus, and the book of Maccabaeus - Simon Maccabaeus rode into Jerusalem like a Messiah. That would not be lost on this Jewish crowd either.

8  Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields.
 9  Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
 10  "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!" "Hosanna in the highest!"
            Even the worship was a political statement. Jesus is a King. Hosanna was a form of praise, but it was also a prayer that said, “Lord, save us.” So you have the crowd chanting “Hosanna. Lord, save us. Lord, save us.”

            Then they acknowledge that Jesus comes in the God’s name. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Jesus is sent from God. He is sent to rescue us. He is God’s anointed one.”

10  "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!" "Hosanna in the highest!"

            Then the crowd chants, David’s kingdom is about to be restored. Praise God in the highest. We are getting our land, our country back for here is our king.

            It is interesting that when the gospel of Luke tells this story, it becomes instructive on worship. It also has Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. But there is none of this is Mark. It is what it is.

            It is a statement of truth of who Jesus was. He is the king. He is the messiah. He is ushering in a kingdom. It could be construed as a political statement. But it was not meant in the way the crowd took it. The crowd was looking for the over throw of Romans. Jesus was looking for the overthrow of the dominion of sin. He wasn’t looking to conquer Pontius Pilate, he was looking to defeat Lucifer. He wasn’t looking to overthrow the Roman army, he was looking vanquish the power of sin.

            Jesus was often misunderstood. That happened to him a lot. Here is the thing. He didn’t seem to be all that worried about it, except when it came to the people who were his disciples. He wanted them to understand who he was. He wanted them to know what he was doing. But he knew most people looking on would not get who he was or what he was about.

            I must say that I don’t like being misunderstood. I really hate it when people misinterpret my words or my actions. I think that is one of the reasons that God, with his sense of humour called me a highly introverted person, and gave him the task of expressing his truth understanding that on a lot of days I will be misunderstood. I think either he wanted a good laugh or he was just trying to make me more like Jesus. Most days I believe the latter.

            My guess is that many of you don’t like to be misunderstood either. But the people of God were often misunderstood.

            Noah was misunderstood when for decade after decade he built a boat, that wasn’t near any water.

            Moses was misunderstood, when he tried to intervene on behalf of his people, and ended up killing and Egyptian. He was misunderstood again when he went back to Pharaoh and said, let my people go.

            David was misunderstood when he played for Saul – and had a spear thrown at him for his trouble.

            Then came the prophets. Jeremiah, Hosea, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, they were all misunderstood. The people of God through the ages have been misunderstood. There is a pretty good chance that you will be too. But that is alright, in that you will be like Jesus.

            Now the people of God through the ages did not go out of their ways to be misunderstood. They just were. Some people are misunderstood because they are just plain weird. That has nothing to do with being like Jesus.

            But by faith what is invisible becomes visible to us. So it is no wonder that we are misunderstood.

            We love one another. Not because of the hobbies we hold in common, but because of the Lord whom we serve. When we walk in the light as Jesus is in the light, we have fellowship with each other. No wonder we are misunderstood.

            We serve a God who we can’t see, but know to be real. But others around us don’t believe, and have a suspicion that he is not real. No wonder were misunderstood.

            You are a people belonging to God. And as the KJV puts it, “you are a peculiar people”. Not because you dress weird, well some of you do but that’s not the point. You are a peculiar people, not because you talk weird. You are peculiar people because you see by faith what is invisible.

            It was the same for Jesus. The battle was not against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers, the spiritual powers of darkness. The battle was for the kingdom of God, it was against the kingdom of darkness. The battle was for righteousness against sin. The battle was for spiritual life, it was against spiritual death. The battle was for heaven, it was against hell.

            And he was misunderstood by the crowds who want to make him a King to conquer the Romans. He was misunderstood, by Judas who somehow he had disappointed. He was misunderstood by Peter when he tried to wash his feet. He was misunderstood by the Jewish Leaders when they tried to examine him. He was misunderstood by Pontius Pilate as he tried to examine him. He was misunderstood by the thief on the cross who insulted him.

            He was misunderstood by Satan who wanted him dead. He was misunderstood by the disciples when they knew he was dead.

            But there came a time when he started to be understood. When the Roman centurion saw how he died, he started to understand, truly this man was the son of God. When the veil of temple was torn in two they started to understand. When Jesus descended into the depth Satan started to understand, he hadn’t captured Jesus, he had unleashed him.

            For he rattled the bars of hell and set the prisoners free. He grabbed death by the throat and conquered him. He took on the demonic legions and disarmed them. And now they understood. They understood that this was God’s plan from all eternity. They understand that where they thought they had won they had in fact lost. They understood that sin had be conquered. Death had been defeated and Life had been gained. And from that time on they would be subject to the power of the risen Lord.

            I want to tell you that you may be misunderstood, by your family, by your friends, by your employers, by your teachers. They may not understand what you value. Self preservation which is at the top of their list, isn’t at the top of yours. They may not understand how you think. That your trust is in the one who you cannot see, but you know lives within you. They may not understand why you do what you do. You choose to live with integrity even when it cost you. You choose to live with truth, even when lying is easier.

            But I want you to know, you are understood by God. You are understood by the one who knows all and sees all and understands all. He takes a look at you, and your faith and your values, and he say, my child. And what you find is your identity is not found in either the cheers or jeers of the crowd. It is found in the one who gave his life for you. And that is enough.

            So it was Palm Sunday morning and Jesus was getting out of bed. He knew it was going to be a long day at the beginning of a very long week. But he also knew God would come through. He knew next week at this time He would meet Mary in the Garden and the two men on the road to Emmaus. He knew that God would smile.

            For those of you who feel like you are not understood. Hang on – you will see the smile of God.


Lord, Thank you that you understand us. Amen.

Thank you, Listeners for your words of encouragement, and for keeping us in your prayers.   Keeping this program on the air continues to be a work of faith. If you can help with that, please make out a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184 , Rideau Ferry , On. K0G  1W0. Or you can give online by going to

Alan Churchill, the founding pastor of this ministry is writing a monthly devotional. Alan is well known for his spiritual insight and ability to communicate the truth of God. If you would like to receive this devotional, go to our website at and sign up to start receiving it right to you e-mail inbox. We know that God will bless you through this ministry.

May you know   Jesus Christ personally and profoundly.  May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart .  And may the heavenly Father surround you with His constant and abiding and accompanying love

Music Guy Penrod –(From his Album Hymns)  The Solid Rock  (Track 9  3:07)

- Rev. Brent Russett
To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link:


Sunday, 17 March 2013

'JONAH' (Cont'd.) - Chapter 2

Rev. Juliet Schimpf
By Rev. Juliet Schimpf   

Rev. Juliet Schimpf  is the Minister of 
First Baptist  Church in Perth, Ontario:

LINK to CFRA broadcast of Sunday, March 17th, 2013)
Broadcast Notes:
'Jonah' (Cont'd.) - Chapter 2

(Context:  Ninevah - Assyrians were enemies of Israel)
First 2 chapters (50%) Jonah: 
"Before God can do something through us, He must first do something in us."

     Jonah ran from God—to Tarshish; a city in Spain, in opposite direction of Ninevah and about as far away as possible!

o   a. fear of the Ninevites who fuelled the Assyrian war machine
o   b. prejudice; He didn’t want God’s favor to extend to His enemies; He wanted God’s favor to rest solely upon the people of Israel

·         RUNNING:
o   chapter 1:  a disobedient prophet running from God
o   chapter 2:  a praying prophet running back to God
o   chapter 3:  a faithful prophet running with God
o   chapter 4:  an angry prophet running ahead of God
Jonah 2
1Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish
·         did not pray in the bottom of the boat; slept
·         we tend to call out when life is going badly
·         re. prayer:  William Law:  “He who has learned to pray, has learned the greatest secret of a holy and happy life.”
‘I called to the Lord out of my distress,
   and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
   and you heard my voice. 
·          “Sheol” is more literally translated grave; metaphor = Jonah’s descent in the ocean is analogous to one’s descent to hell
          MATTHEW 12  THE SIGN OF JONAH:  38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth. 41 The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!

3 You cast me into the deep,
   into the heart of the seas,
   and the flood surrounded me;
   all your waves and your billows
   passed over me. 
* Jonah knows that it was actually God working through the hand of the sailors.
* For all Jonah’s mistakes in chapter 1:  he proves wise in chapter 2

* from rebellion to repentance; from discipline to dedication

*How we respond to discipline determines how much benefit we receive from it.

* Hebrews 12:6 
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son/daughter.”[
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

4 Then I said, “I am driven away
   from your sight;
* shall I look again
   upon your holy temple?” 

·          RE. TEMPLE:  Jonah had a somewhat restricted view of God and his presence.  The prevailing opinion in Israel in Jonah’s time was that God was limited to the temple in Jerusalem or, at most, to the soil of Israel.  That’s why Jonah thought he could flee from God.
5 The waters closed in over me;
   the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped around my head 
·         weeds in whale?
6   at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
   whose bars closed upon me for ever;
yet you brought up my life from the Pit,
   O Lord my God. 
·          Carroll Simcox|:  “To be afraid of God is to run away from Him.  To fear God is to stand in awe of Him.”
·          Before God can do something through us, He must first do something in us.”

7 As my life was ebbing away,
   I remembered the Lord;
and my prayer came to you,
   into your holy temple.
·         “As my life was ebbing away, I remembered the Lord….”
o   We tend to remember the Lord when the going gets tough

8 Those who worship vain idols
   forsake their true loyalty.
·         MESSAGE:  “Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love.”

9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving
   will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Deliverance [salvation] belongs to the Lord!’ 

·         Jonah’s view of salvation has broadened—salvation belongs to the Lord and he can save the Ninevites if he wants to.
·         Now, Jonah is ready for his task…..
·         Before God can do something through us, He must first do something in us.”

10Then the Lord spoke to the fish, and it spewed Jonah out upon the dry land. 
·         God commands creation:  storms, shuts mouths of lions, spoke through a donkey to Balaam (Numbers), etc.

Let’s pray:

Our Gracious Heavenly Father, We thank you for the life-example of Jonah. And we thank you that when he thought that all was done, that you intervened; That you sent a large fish and that you rescued Jonah, because you were not finished with him yet.
And would that comfort some listener this morning? Would it comfort the listener who thinks their life is finished? And would they hear clearly from the voice of God, that you are the God of second chances; and that you have plans to prosper us and give us hope and a future?
Lord. Thank you that you are not done with us, yet!
And I pray, Lord, for the listener who is in a season of discipline, right now; who has been ‘timed-out’ for whatever reason. And would they max out this season, not run from it, not regret it, but embrace it; and actually say, “God, what do you want to do in me during this season of waiting, so that, later down the road you can do mighty things through me?”
God, we just thank you that you are good, and do good, 24/7.
Bless each listener, here this day, and lead us boldly and faithfully in the days to come.
We ask all this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Rev. Juliet Schimpf
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