Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, December 14, 2014

In Memphis, TN they have a famous quarter mile stretch of a road called Beale St. It is Memphis’ version of New Orleans’ French Quarter, however, it is about 1/10 the size of the French Quarter. So when there are big events at the local venue such as a concert or basketball game the street serves to bottleneck a crowd. Much like the French Quarter, Beale St. is infamous for the clubs and bars that line the road and this notoriety is heightened when a crowd shows up. When these crowds show up, you can guarantee the Christian fundamentalist picketers will be there as well. I don’t know your view on picketing, but when I used to go to Beale St. it always came across as somewhat obtrusive and obnoxious. I know that the gospel can often seem to unbelievers to be obtrusive and obnoxious and I do not doubt that God even uses picketers to save many souls. However, when we look to Jonah I think we see a different picture of how God calls us to a place to preach the good news to people. 

First, we see that Jonah was reluctant to go to the place that God called him. The Bible says that Nineveh was a three days journey. A three days journey is definitely out of your way. This is not an errand that God was calling Jonah to do for him, He was calling Jonah to go to a place. It takes more investment when it is a three days journey. We also see that Jonah first went to a completely different city than the one that God called him to. Jonah was afraid of Nineveh. It was a great city and was filled with a people that hated God. One of the most striking things about the book of Jonah is Jonah’s response after God relented from the disaster that he was going to bring on Nineveh. Jonah was angry with God because he thought that God was not being just in holding back his wrath. This very attitude seemed to always come from the picketers and comes in our own hearts often. They displayed a God who was only wrath. They seemed to only talk about justice. A lot of what their signs say is true about God’s wrath, but it comes across much like Jonah’s anger. 

We are called to go where God calls us and preach good news of repentance and faith. Yes it is true that God will display his wrath if we die in unbelief, but what we often fail to recognize alongside Jonah and the picketers is that we are also hopeless without God’s grace. When we truly understand our sin and hopelessness before God we are humbled and we are filled with motivation to go where God calls us so that we can share the good news of God’s grace to a people who are just as undeserving as ourselves. Take time to reflect on how God is at work in your life and where He has currently called you to reach out to the lost with the Word of God. Ask in prayer if He may be calling you to go somewhere else. If He is, do not hesitate to go and go knowing that you are equipped with the gospel of grace that God uses to save lost sinners. 

THE WORD

Scripture: Jonah 3:1-10
Sermon: Where Will Jesus Send You?

SONGS

O Come All Ye Faithful
listen | chords | lyrics/info | purchase

Joy To the World
listen | chords | lyrics/info | purchase

Hark the Herald Angels Sing  (arr. Traditional)
listen | chords | lyrics/info | purchase

Savior of the Nations, Come (Cardiphonia)
listen | chords | lyrics/info | purchase

Song of Preparation: You Said (offertory)
stream | chords | info | purchase

Song of Response: Hark the Voice of Jesus Calling (tune: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus)
stream | chords | info | purchase

Speak Your Mind

*

%d bloggers like this: