The Jonah Effect

Posted: September 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »
Copyright Eric Morris 2006

Copyright Eric Morris 2006

There are a lot of things going on in the United States today, politically speaking (bear with me a minute, this is not a political rant).  It isn’t hard at all to see that our country is at a fork in the road and the vehicle is stalled until we decide on a direction.

In times like these, the opinions on what the problems and solutions are vary, and some who carry them speak louder of it than others.  I have heard that the Obama administration is taking the country to a socialist, Marxist, communist direction, and I have heard many solutions varying from impeachment, to voting out all incumbents in 2010, to outright revolution.

Now, others feel this is a great direction.  There are millions of individuals who need the health care programs being proposed, the programs afforded by the stimulus to help with heating bills and home renovations, and the incentive at a corporate level to be more environmentally responsible.

Regardless of which camp you are in, I offer the following:

There was a man named Jonah, you’ve probably heard of him.  God speaks to the prophet that he is to go to Nineveh, and we know his reaction.   He gets on a boat and heads the opposite direction.  In response, God sends a violent storm and everyone on the ship is afraid that the storm will sink the ship.

Here is the how the rest goes down (Jonah 1).

All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.   But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.”

Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.   So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”

He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”

This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.)”

Doesn’t this sound familiar? Let’s bring it into today’s world.

The ship (country) is in troubled water, and people (especially conservatives) are running around screaming, “The sky is falling!”  They are crying out to their gods (representatives, radio talk shows, and the like) “What do we do? Why is this happening?”  all to no avail.  They think they are being punished for some wrong doing of theirs, or those around them, but this is not the case at all.

See, the story is not about them, and it is not about the storm: It is about the saving of a people.

The entire time this storm is going on, where is the prophet?  He is in the bottom of the ship, hiding.

And there it is.  Jonah finally faces the truth that all of this is happening solely because he is not doing what God commissioned him to do.  See, the answer for the men of that ship (and our country) was not to throw the captain (president), crew (congress), or cargo (legislation) overboard.  None of these would stop the storm, and did not cause it.  The only thing that can stop it is the obedience of God’s people. Our problem is, we’re running and hiding in the bottom of the ship still and not recognizing our wrong.

Jonah had to realize his disobedience was the problem, own up to it, and then obey.  Once he decided that he was responsible for the calamity around him, he jumped overboard (died to himself and his own ideals).  Instantly, the storm was gone, and I love this part, “God provided…”  We need to get to that place as believers where we say, “It is our fault that this storm is on you.”

So what is the believer to do in the current political climate?  Obey God’s commissions.  If we simply lived (and I am including myself in all this) as Christ taught, none of these actions the administration is purposing would even be necessary.  God told us to take care of the fatherless and the widows.  He calls the believer to give all to those in need and not to worry about himself.  He calls us to be good stewards of the earth.

As for the health care bit?  Where is the believer in this?  See Matthew 4:23-24 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.”

If we as Christians would stand up and pray for our leaders first, without prejudice, malice, or selfish motivation, that in itself would be a milestone.  Let’s take care of what Jesus called us to do FIRST, and he will calm the storm around us.  The revolution that needs to happen needs to be in the hearts and actions of God’s people.

- mooney


Free Sample?

Posted: August 14th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

free_sampleWe’ve all been there.  You’re walking through the food court of your local mall, bee-lining it to the restrooms because one of the kids can’t “hold it” any longer, and you hear the words, “Free sample?”  Your thought process stops for a moment and your mouth begins to water as the smell of General Tsao’s chicken hits the back of your tongue.  Your head turns past a smiling lady and your gaze turns toward the tray she is holding.

“Free sample?”

Little Johnny is tugging at your arm, and it is the moment of decision.  What do you do?

At this point, my senses override my child’s pleading to relieve himself and I say, “Sure!”  Now, I have no intention or time to indulge in the delicacies the Flaming Kitten, I mean Wok, but I know a little dab will do for now.  Maybe next time I’ll get the veggie with three meat special, but for now, it’s off to my fatherly duty.

Maybe you find these people annoying and just brush by them in annoyance.  But you know, they really don’t mind it.  It’s a time proven effective way to generate sales: Get the product before as many people as possible. Some will buy, some will not.  The number of people that buy will go up exponentially however, if you you can get them to taste its savory goodness.

What is this all about?  The gospel.

In Matthew 4, Jesus tell his potential followers, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Most of my life that translated as, “Let’s go catch some people.”  Intriguing, right?  But how do we do it?

Most of today’s literature would suggest that you become good friends with someone, then over time share the gospel with them.  Honestly though, if you are a Christian, how many non-church friends do you really have, and of those how many do you actively try to tell the good news too?

I think this is a flawed method, and unscriptural.  See, in calling the disciples to be fishers of men, they new exactly what it meant.  Their method of fishing was not to put bait on a hook and pray that a fish would bite.  No, they took their boat to where they knew the fish were, and cast a net.  Some times they caught many fish, others they caught none.  When they cast where Jesus told them, their nets were overflowing to the point of breaking.

Are you starting to get it? Jesus wants us to spread the net wide, and offer our free gift to everyone.  Sure, some people are going to blow you off, maybe even be angry; but in the end, if we offer as many as we can something they can sample, many more will receive the gospel willingly.  Some will chose to follow Christ, others won’t, let the Holy Spirit worry about the results.

For now, let’s try to get over our shyness, and offer the one thing that actually matters in life.  maybe the next time you ask someone “Free sample?” will be the one time they accept.

God bless!


Don't let it be said by God, "I never knew you."

Posted: August 13th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Saw this recently.  Wow.  About 10 minutes long, but it will really make you think about.  There is a way to pursue righteousness that leads to hell!


By whose authority?

Posted: May 18th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

law-gavel_and_scalesI was reading in Matthew today and something really stood out to me.  It’s at the end of the beatitudes in Matthew 7.  After giving this wonderful teaching of which our Christian life should be modeled after, there is this little diddy (verses 28 and 29):

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”

Ouch.  It sounds as though some of what Jesus was saying was not overly revolutionary in that it had been said by others before him.  The difference this time was that there was something different behind His words: Authority.

It really got me thinking about many of the sermons and books that I have consumed and taken part in over the years.  I can remember few where I have said, “Wow.  That was powerful,” at the end of them. Maybe it is because of this very thing mentioned by Matthew.  Those few were delivered with the authority of God behind them, which leads me to consider the others.  By whose authority were they given?

I think of my writing, and the content of much of it is just ranting, which is something delivered of my own authority, and I will be held accountable for that (ouch).  But really, we must consider the motivation and origin of what we consume and deliver, even if from “religious authority.”

Since I cannot help what others do, it has to start with me.

- God, please help me to discern what is originating from my own soul, and what is coming from yours.  Let it not be said that anything I do is out of a spirit of manipulation, self, or of my own authority, because these are dead words.  But help me discern your voice, and only be a vessel your words pour from.


Sebastian’s Voodoo

Posted: March 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I found a link to this video at my friend Christopher Hopper’s website, and thought I would pass it along.  Watching it, I ask myself, “How far am I really willing to go to answer the call of God, knowing that there is a world in need of a selfless act of love?  (John 15:13)

It’s Dark.  It’s Deep.

Leave your thoughts.

Edit: The site only has a quicktime version, so I also found it on youtube for your viewing pleasure.

Click photo for video

Click photo for video


Wake me up!

Posted: March 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Wake Me Up by Tim Reimherr

I feel a shaking though its faint
Something’s coming am I too late
I need to be ready
The earth is groaning as it waits
Longing for the coming day
I need to be ready

Pre-Chorus:
Grant to me the grace I need
To live a life found worthy in the end
Violently I will seek
For wisdom is justified in the end

Chorus:
Wake me up, wake me up
I don’t want to be sleeping
When You’re coming
Wake me up, wake me up
I don’t want to be lying down
In this final hour
Wake me up

The nations gather as they say
Let’s break their bonds
And cast their chains I need to be ready
Deep darkness is coming soon
Do I have oil to make it through
I need to be ready

Bridge:
Time is running out, I say to all who hear
Lift your voice and shout
The bridegroom is in the land
Turn while there’s still time
The Lord He may relent
Will the way you live your life
Make it through
When God judges you.

Copyright © 2006 Tim Reimherr/Forerunner Music


“Change we can believe in”

Posted: February 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Political, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Well, that slogan should be familiar to everyone.  It’s President Obama’s campaign slogan.  Whether you believed in it or not, change is here.   With the signing of the Stimulus Bill, change is no longer knocking on the door, but sitting on the couch waiting dinner to be put on the table.  That’s change for sure, but not change I want to believe in.

I have spoken with many people, Christian and non, not about the content of the bill, but where they think it’s taking the country.  I heard answers all along the spectrum from, “Finally, we can get out of this recession,” to “lock and load, there’s going to be a revolution.”  Some see it as positive, some as the express lane to the Socialist Republic of American States.

Either way, there is a lot of fear because none of us really know (see Biden’s 30% chance of failure comment).  People are very disturbed at the way our social order is being rearranged.  With taxes going up, politicians effectively dividing the country, hundreds of thousands are losing their jobs and homes, and a war that seems never-ending, people are starting to panic.  And panic demands a me-first attitude.

People are starting to grab onto what they believe is theirs, and holding it close. Even the church.

Many of the people in know that are screaming, “The sky is falling!” are the people who claim to have a relationship with the Prince of Peace (Jesus).   I can’t find that attitude from Him, and certainly those times when His disciples acted in that manner, he quickly reprimanded them.

Well, this is no reprimand, but it is a heads up!

We should not be the over-reactors, nay-sayers, or messengers of doom, we should be holding fast to the rock that does not move, and offering others the Hope that we (are supposed to) cling to.

So to those those of you, even in the church, that see the world falling about you and are afraid, may I offer you a change you can believe in.  There is a God (Jehovah) who loves you.  His Son Jesus came to make a way so that we could be in a relationship with God.  Believe in Him!  All of your problems may not disappear and this country may fall into a tailspin, but He is our hope.

In the light of eternity, a recession is nothing.

” Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny[a]? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” – Matthew 10:28-33 (NIV)


Are you for us or for our enemies?

Posted: January 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Well, once in awhile something in the Bible really gets to me; not in the upset way, but the haunting, don’t let me sleep well kind of way.  Such is it lately with the following verses from Joshua:

Joshua 5:13-14 – Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”

It seems I ask that question a lot about people and organizations. Are you for me, or against me? It’s wrecking me that the “commander of the army of the LORD” wasn’t there to take a side, but to represent the Father. That is where I should be also.  How many times, whether in politics, religion, or just with friends, do I go into a situation with prejudice, always wanting to and forcing others to take sides?

Unfortunately, this mindset also makes it into friend and family relationships.  I find myself thinking, “you’re with me, or against me,” which is probably not the case at all.  Oh that I could get to this point where I step off my soap box and realize that as a representative of God, it is not always my duty to demand friend or foe.

The general here said, “I don’t take sides, I obey God.”  Unfortunately in this case, Jericho was on God’s hit list of cities to bury.  As I go forward, I need to remember to ask God what I need to do in a situation instead of drawing my own line in the sand.  Who knows, maybe instead of throwing stones, He’ll ask me to tell them, “Go and sin no more.”

Peace,

- mooney


Jesus’ Writing in the Sand

Posted: January 6th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Here’s an interesting thought. What did Jesus write in the sand in John 8? I have heard many theories, but someone finally showed me a scripture to back one up, let me know what you think. He says that Jesus wrote their names in the sand:

John 7:37-44 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” So there was a division among the people because of Him. Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him.
Jesus teaches on the living waters, He is rejected by some that wish to kill him for it. The next chapter (not sure if it’s the same day or weeks later, but I imagine the events are close together in time and chronological.

John 8:3-11 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

This is all great, but where’s the tie-in?

Jeremiah 17:13 O Lord, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You shall be ashamed. “Those who depart from Me Shall be written in the earth, Because they have forsaken the Lord, The fountain of living waters.”

Is it possible that John 7-8 are a fulfillment of this prophesy and Jesus was writing their names? hmmm Maybe you have seen this before, but it is new to me and I find it fascinating!

peace,

- mooney


Faith as a Mustard Seed

Posted: September 24th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

I read something interesting about the whole “faith of a mustard seed” thing. I have heard many different arguments on faith, the power of faith, moving literal and/or spiritual mountains, etc and this is not to start an argument, just maybe a different perspective not seen before.   So here we go…

Mustard Seed

Mustard Seed

Most people take Matthew 17:20, “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” And again in Luke 17:6, And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.” and interpret this way. If I have even just a tiny bit of faith, as small as a mustard seed, then these things are available to me; but maybe that is not what it is saying.  See, the only other time that mustard seeds are mentioned in the Bible is in parallel passages referring to the Kingdom of God:

Matthew 13:31-32Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”

Mark 4:30-32 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

Luke 13:18-19 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

Mustard Tree

Mustard Tree

Obviously these are the same story as accounted in the different gospels, but they reveal something. They are not talking about the size of the mustard seed, but the uniqueness of such a tiny herbal seed and how it grows. I did a little studying on mustard and here are what I believe Jesus was talking about.

The mustard plant has is one of the smallest seeds that are planted by farmers (obviously not the smallest seed of any plant) at 1/8 inch in diameter. The mustard seed, once planted, begins (noticeably) to grow the very next day. In fact it is one of the quickest maturing plants around reaching full maturity in about 40 days.

I believe that God used this plant as an example of our faith in that once we receive Christ, our faith begins to grow immediately. The number forty in the Bible points to tribulation or trials (Israel in the wilderness for 40 years) which would speak of a definite maturing process for our faith (part of growth and maturity come from overcoming trials in our life).  When mature, the mustard plant is much larger than any of  the other herbs which could speak to our faith having the potential to grow beyond that of others.

So “faith as a mustard seed” to move mountains I believe refers not to just a little faith can move a mountain, but rather that a faith that is growing and maturing, though it started with a small beginning, will give you the ability to move mountains (overcome trials).

Please leave your thoughts.

- mooney