The Lighthouse Keeper

Greetings from Pastor Kerry, former pastor of Spring City UMC. This blog contains my sermon outlines and/or manuscripts from my pastorate among the people of Spring City PA, from 2006 to 2011. Pastor Dennis is now the lighthouse keeper. Come and worship on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

On Jonah, and Jesus too

January 25, 2009
Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Jonah 3:1-5, 10 and Mark 1:14-20

My sermon outline:

• Jonah, no background. Jewish, “Dove”, son of “My Truth”. 800 years BC, northern kingdom of Israel. God asked J to go to Nin, 300 miles to the east. Nin had walls 100 feet tall (okay, 20 feet) and it would take 3 days to walk around the city.
Impenetrable fortress in the land of the hostile neighbors, the Assyrians. Oh, and their wickedness is great enough to catch God’s attention.

We know not their specific wickedness (evil ways & violence in 3:8, perhaps morally blind 4:11) but this we know: God planned to destroy them.

• What is “Ninevah” for us? What formidable powerful wicked neighbor strikes fear into our hearts and promises to defeat us? When I was a kid Nin was Russia. Before that maybe Germany. Nowadays Iraq.

Or Nin could be metaphorical for local resident evil, impenetrable. As close as Main Street or your own household or even your own self. A power that cannot be beaten.

Though contemporary society is wary of naming evil
and is perhaps more comfortable saying Live & let Live,
God does not tolerate wickedness, and would have people speak against it.

• So Jonah does what any might do. Buys a ticket in the other direction.

Yet after memorable detour, we arrive at chapter 3. God reissues his command to Jonah, Go to that great formidable city and proclaim what I have to say about their wickedness.

& he goes. 40 days poof! & they listen. & they repent in action. & the impenetrable fortress is turned by one man speaking God’s word.

• Take home points: Speak against sinfulness. Listen / Do / Repeat. Face challenges with God. Go; for the mission field may not come to you.

• Mark. Jesus collecting disciples, not a synagogue or school, but where workers are, at the dock. Normal, not specially trained.

Jesus invites Simon & Andrew to “Fish for people” & whatever that means, they do it.

Not “as soon as” whatever or “when the opportunity is right” the opportunity to follow Jesus Christ is now.

• James & John, in training to take over father’s trade, also stop & follow.

• Kingdom isn’t going to grow itself, neither are the wicked spontaneously going to turn from their ways. By trust & follow will insurmountable opposition be changed.

God calls US to spread good news of salvation & reconciliation.

• Take home points: No special training prereq. Follow Jesus now. Jesus is good news.

• Hymn 344 Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 68 in worship.


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