Yesterday was my second official Sunday preaching here at New Hope Church of the Nazarene in Whangarei. We had a little chat about Jonah, of all people.
What do you think of when you hear that name? Maybe a big fish? Maybe a wicked city called Nineveh? Maybe you think about Jonah and his selfishness?
In reality, the Book of Jonah in the Bible is less about the man Jonah, and MORE about the heart of our COMPASSIONATE GOD who takes no delight in the death of sinners and is relentless in His pursuit of the lost and broken people. Don't worry, I'm not going to give you the whole sermon, but I would like to offer this challenge:
-- Where is your Nineveh? You know, that place, part of town, or group of people you would avoid at all costs?
-- What would your Nineveh look like if they responded to God's conviction and mercy the way Nineveh actually did. (FYI- This city that was considered "sin city" of their day actually repented and was restored. The people actually responded and changed!)
Imagine what life would be like for us and our families if we were bold enough to love deeply and offer the hope of Christ to those that , quite frankly, we'd rather not. Imagine what your city or neighborhood would actually be like if people loved Jesus? Perhaps the crime rate would decrease. Perhaps there would be healthy marriages. Maybe people would be quick to forgive and slow to accuse. Maybe miracles would happen.