Those of you who have kids will recognize the scene:
You've asked young Buford to help out with a task that isn't one of his usual chores. He rolls his eyes, procrastinates for another 15 minutes, and then, after you ask him for the 3rd or 4th time, he grunts, drags himself with an overly-dramatic demonstration of just how draining this request is on him, and begrudgingly (and barely) performs the task.
The prophet Jonah, after spending a 3 day "time out" in the fish's belly, finally heads off toward Nineveh to carry out the task God had given to him. But it looks a lot like Buford's attitude. He tells the people what God asked him to tell them, but it's not with the attitude I'm sure that God would have preferred.
What about us? How much of our obedience is begrudging obedience?
I hope you'll be able to join us this coming Sunday, May 21st, as we look at the 3rd chapter in the book of Jonah. It has plenty for us to digest and apply in our own lives.
This Sunday will also be a reason to celebrate! Six of our young people have completed a year of Confirmation in which they met with me each week as we studied the Old and New Testaments, the foundations of the Christian faith, and even a bit of church history. It was a time to ask questions and consider what it means to be a Jesus-follower.
As a part of the worship service, we'll hear from the Confirmands and honor them for their commitment to see the class through to the end. They're each at a different place in their walk with Jesus, and we're committing to support and pray for them as they continue the journey that we all share.
This year's Confirmands are:
Have you ever been in a "see-your-life-flash-before-your-eyes" situation? I've been pretty fortunate in that I can't recall any times in my life when I have been frightened for my life. Yes, I've been on some pretty scary roller coasters, gone rock climbing, and even went sky diving. But none of these experiences had me believing that I wasn't going to make it. Maybe I was naive....
However, I've had innumerable times when I've cried out to God to rescue me from messes that I've found myself in. Some seemed to have come out of the blue, but many of them were messes of my own making. It's interesting that even people who don't profess any faith in God will call out to him in desperate situations.
The wonderful news is that God listens and responds to us when we sincerely cry out to him. That doesn't mean that he will necessarily eliminate the circumstances - he often uses those difficult experiences for our long-term benefit. But he never abandons us. In the words of Jesus, "And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matt 28:20).
This Sunday, May 14th, we're getting to the "big fish" part of Jonah's story. Jonah chapter 2 is his cry for help and the point when he stops running away from God. How about you and me? Will we stop our own running or is it going to take a fishy detour before we start going God's way?
There are a number of things coming soon that you'll want to mark on your calendar:
When I was an Art Major in college I was encouraged to accept the role as Student Representative to the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. I was told that it would be a good thing to have on my resume and wasn't a huge commitment. In typical Jeff fashion, I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Okay."
I went down to the MCA Chicago and gave them whatever info they needed to make me the official student rep to North Park College. While there, I wandered around through the museum to see what exactly I was representing. I remember they had a Chuck Close exhibit of his gigantic, photo-realistic drawings of faces. Very impressive! There was also a series of ceramic pots. Nothing particularly of interest in either their design or arrangement. I have no idea what the artist was trying to convey, but I got the message, "I suckered a bunch of people into believing I've created some contemporary art by placing a series of ceramic pots in a row."
I don't believe I returned to the MCA Chicago nor do I believe I did anything to encourage other students to go. I was the world's least effective student representative - kind of an undercover representative who kept my role a secret. Of course, I probably listed it on my resume for some art-related job. After all, it sounds good.
Did you know that you're a representative, too? In fact everyone who has accepted Christ is a representative of him to everyone we encounter. Even when we aren't trying to represent Jesus, we still are. Kind of a scarey thought! I think that explains why there are some bad opinions out there about Jesus and his followers.
This Sunday, May 7th, we'll continue our journey with the prophet Jonah through the last part of chapter 1. I hope you'll be able to join us as we think about our role as his representatives to others.
Cinco de Mayo
Join us for an all-church fiesta this Friday night, May 5th!
Starting at 6:00 PM we'll be sharing in a wonderful South-of-the-Border potluck meal featuring some delicious dishes whipped up by Suellen White and her crew - plus the salads, sides, or desserts you contribute!
Then we'll have piñatas for the kids and a bunch of crazy games courtesy of Pastor Jeff. Lots of laughter is guaranteed! See you there!
Crisis Fund Offering
We've had a number of people in need over the past few months and our Crisis Fund is now in need of replenishing. This Sunday we'll have a basket collecting donations which will then be used to help those within our congregation and community who find themselves in financial need. You can make a check out to "CCC" and place it or cash into the basket following the worship service or drop it off/mail it to the church with a designation that it should be applied to the Crisis Fund. Thank you for enabling us to share the love of Jesus in a practical way.
Thoughts about living as a Jesus follower and life at Community Covenant Church