Sometimes, it’s easier to run towards God’s will then it is to run from it.

now when you preach about Jonah usually

you’re going to hear something about how

he ran from God the Bible says that I

believe it’s in verse 3 I didn’t look it

up that this this morning but I believe

this in verse 3 is it in verse 3 where

it said that Jonah ran away from the

Lord so when you’re preaching to people

you’re always preaching to somebody who

is running somewhere I realize that

everybody in this room is running from

something to something running from the

Lord is how they put it I just want you

to leave the church when I say this but

that Jonah Jonah probably didn’t see it

at the time like he was running from God

did not I’m saying is it’s not it’s not

like how many of you have ever run from

God’s purpose for your life before even

if you just did it for 15 seconds I know

you’re really holy but how many of you

have had a season where you knew God

wanted you to something I don’t want to

do it and you kind of did everything

possible to do it not do it and

sometimes it just be easier to do it

like in the story of Jonah he goes to a

port called Joppa and he finds a ship

and the Lord told him to go to Nineveh

well Jonah decides to go to a place

called Tarshish here’s what interested

me in studying the map of Jonah’s

journey when I looked and traced where

he went I found out where God told him

to go was only 500 miles away from where

he was where he went to get away from

where God told him to go was 2500 miles

from where he was you know sometimes you

got to work harder to disobey God then

it would be to just do what he told you

to do in the first place no I’m serious

I wish some of us would have apply as

much creativity to obeying God as we do

to disobeying him some of you are really

creative sinners you got alibi listen

allies you’ve got two phones to help you


I will come to this side I think I wore

them out already in this early in the

sermon but sometimes it would just be

easier to forgive and to hold on to the

garage why is it that we would rather

run 2500 miles away from God than 500

miles to our assignment I think it’s I

think it’s I think it’s because when

we’re when we’re in our story it’s not

as simple and I’ve been preaching this

all year hope you’re not getting tired

of hearing it but I’ve been

understanding the blessing of

perspective and the usually perspective

only comes with reflection that is the

Bible was not live-tweeted do you

understand this that the Book of Jonah

was not written while Jonah was running

it wasn’t written if Jonah had written

this when he was running he would have

said I’m being logical I’m being

practical that’s how he would have said

it had he written it while he was on the

run touch somebody and say don’t tell

your story too soon because it is only

after Jonah has done the will of God and

experienced a lot of different things

and seen the results of his rebellion as

well as experiencing the transformative

power of repentance

after his resentment that he is able to

say I was running from God I wouldn’t

have known I was running from God until

that storm hit see because we always

want to blame every storm that we face

in our life on the devil especially

however long you’ve been in church

usually you end up talking about the

devil more after being in church 20

years then you talk about God because

everything is the devil that’s one

advantage that people who don’t go to

church have over us and getting their

lives together they don’t have a devil

to blame we just put everything on him

we don’t have to deal with ourselves

I have preaching the Lord you hear

so Jonah

the Bible says can I preach about Jonah

can I preach about Jonah Bible says that

Jonah went to Joppa and he got on a ship

and he paid the fare because somebody

said when you run from God it’ll always

cost you something I’m not preaching

about that today but I could and then

the Bible says that he went down from

Joppa down to Tarshish and somebody said

when you run from God you’ll always go

down but when he got about I don’t know

let’s say let’s say you got about

halfway there and it seemed like he was

working he was sleep under the debt he

was sleeping while the storm was

happening because God sent this storm

because God will allow things to come

into your life to get your attention

because he’s not going to allow you to

be content in your complacency all of a

sudden the sailors realized that the

reason that they were experiencing the

storm was not because of something they

had done but something that this prophet

this rebellious prophet at the and he

was asleep under the deck and when they

woke Jonah up and said call on your God

he said well I can call on him but it

won’t do any good because if I pray

while I’m headed in the wrong direction

my prayer is just a pretense so what

you’ve got to do is throw me off the

boat and the storm will stop and so I

have thought about that one thought that

some some of you are going through a

storm not because of something that you

did but because of who you have on your


in fact I preached it I preached it at a

youth convention one time at a

Pentecostal youth convention one time

and my message was called throw Jonah

off your boat and I was preaching it to

girls who were dating guys that are

dragging them down and so I would I

would encourage some of you maybe you

don’t have Jonah on your boat but maybe

he’s in your phone and I think some some

of you the most

spiritual thing you could do while I’m

preaching and I don’t even mind if you

do it you don’t even have to listen to

me is use that swipe feature on your

phone and you know that red one that

says delete some of y’all got Jonah in

your phone you’ve been texting Jonah

talking to Jonah and wondering why your

life’s going down but today is your tech

touch somebody say delete so when you

preach about Jonah can you tell I like

to preach about Jonah because I see

myself in Jonah I’ve seen myself

rebelling against something God has

called me to do I’ve seen myself go 2500

miles before I realize this is

ridiculous there’s no way that I’m gonna

be able to run from the presence of God

where can I go from your presence if I

said it happens you’re there if I make

my bed in the depths you’re there so I

know what it’s like to run and then find

out after you run you’ll only run so far

before you hit a roadblock and so I know

it’s like the run and I know it’s like

having some relationships that probably

I don’t need anymore and all of that is

good as well as preaching on the subject

of racial reconciliation it is

interesting to note that Jonah was

effective in ministering to people that

he didn’t even like for when he finally

did open up his mouth and preached to

the Assyrian people in the capital of

Nineveh there was great repentance in

the land I don’t think that the Book of

Jonah is about racism but I think it

does apply because we see here a guy on

the outside judging what it’s like to be

people on the inside and from his own

perspective inside of himself he comes

to all kinds of conclusions about what

kind of people God can bless and what

kind of people God can’t bless and what

kind of situations God can work in and

what kind of situations God can’t work

in Jonah finds out in the midst of that

that to the ends of the earth the

compassion of God will reach to anyone

who will call on the name of the Lord

and so we see that picture of

reconciliation in the Book of Jonah but

mostly what we know about Jonah is that

he spent three days in the belly of what

the Bible calls a great fish

which we usually call the whale let’s

get a look at the whale right about the

time that the storm started raging in

Jonah’s life God sends a whale to pick

him up and I don’t know because I am not

privy to the communication that took

place between the whale and God how God

got the whale in the right position at

the right time to know that this is

where Jonah’s gonna be when he’s about

to drown that the whale had I don’t know

how God spoke to the whale to go get

Jonah if it’s anything like finding Dory

God used echolocation and maybe God said

to the whale come on people come on that

section right there know love come on

did you see the movie you know certain

types of whales they emit a sound so God

said to the whale Google June and the

whale set to go Luger in it interesting

how the whale had better sense to do

what God said then Jonah did and the

whale swallowed up Jonah up and

delivered him so the Book of Jonah is a

book about rescue now I need to know I’m

preaching to because there’s a chance

I’ve got the right sermon but I’m

preaching it to the wrong people

has there been a time in your life

I’m just asking where God rescued you

from a situation that your own

disobedience created anybody anybody

anybody has God ever sent a whale to

pick you up now it’s an important thing

to know that God saved Jonah but the

accommodations weren’t that luxurious

could have sent a cruise ship Royal

Caribbean he could have sent it he could

have sent up a freight liner but instead

he put him in a deep dark place see

because of God rescues from your trouble

and makes it too comfortable you’ll be

quick to get back into it so God said I

need to put you in a dark place for a

minute so you’ll remember what

disobedience feels like what I’ve

noticed though is that sometimes we miss

God’s provision because we’re so picky

we don’t like what God sent to pick us

up with and we would rather drown by

ourselves one time in the first year of

our marriage I I got really got really

sick it wasn’t serious it turned out not

to be search about fell serious at the

time because I couldn’t eat every time I

would eat it would just burn all down in

my insides even when I would drink water

and so this went on for like seven days

I didn’t know what the problem was at

the time and I was really enjoying

putting on fifty pounds in my first year

of marriage and this interrupted my plan

that really is true I put on 50 pounds

in the first I think it was 18 months of

our marriage because Holly is a

fantastic cook and she is also a

temptress but man when it what what

happened that I I didn’t know at the

time I took this pill this antibiotic

that went down and got stuck in my

esophagus and then it burned into my

esophagus so then every time I would try

to eat or drink water I couldn’t I

couldn’t do it and so got real bad and

at the time I traveled and preached all

the time and I was always driving you

know up and down the roads usually

usually just driving more than flying

and so I was going from one place to the

other had been about a week that I had

been hurting and I didn’t know what was

wrong I went to see this doctor and kind

of said some things and I didn’t know

what’s going on and so I’m driving to my

next speaking engagement right and I’m

calling Holly and I bust out my razor

phone and I’m like man I’m sucks I can’t

still hurts it hurts worse and worse and

worse and she goes you’re going to the

hospital you need to drive yourself to

the hospital I got breach engagement she

said you’re gonna cancel they can find

another preacher

something’s really wrong with you you

need go to the hospital you’re gonna go

to hospital you gonna call him cancel

and I never called him I canceled before

I don’t think I’ve done it since and so

I was I didn’t want to do it but I did

it and I stared I’m in a hospital I’m

turning the hospital and I remember I’ve

got a couple of hours still left to go

cuz I’m out of town I’m driving south of

town and so I Drive by this hour

hitchhiker and decided to pick him up

because that’s what you do when you’re

driving yourself to the hospital you

pick up hitchhikers when you are a

Christian like me I don’t even know why

I picked him up it was a season in my

life when I pitched and picked up

hitchhikers I don’t do anymore but

this guy yes in my car and I don’t

really feel like talking cuz I’m drive

myself to the hospital because I have a

hold of my esophagus burning my life

away this guy’s all talkative all chatty

and everything and so we ride together a

couple minutes and a lone gasps and I

pull into the gas station and I’m

feeling like cheerful not a cheerful

Giver but I decide to if you probably

want something to eat so I said hey man

I said I’m a pump the gas you go in the

gas station get yourself something to

eat whatever you want to come in and pay

for it afterwards he goes well actually

I see a McDonald’s over there and it

wasn’t like one of the McDonald’s that

was right there in the gas station I’m

gonna have to go now drive through the

drive-through and go to McDonald’s but I

said alright you know Jesus said go the

extra mile and all that so I’m like

alright man pump the gas we’re gonna be


we’re going through the drive-thru at

McDonald’s and I’m just gonna order

whatever you know cuz I can’t eat

anything and so here I am ordering food

for a guy he’s sitting there I’m not to

smell this food in my car and this

delicious McDonald’s food that’s right

I’m not too good for McDonald’s I said

it was delicious

not that health-conscious freak and so

uh so I’m going to order and he

interrupts my order and he’s like no I

want a quarter pounder hold the Mayo

hold the onions I said alright he wants

a quarter pound I’m gonna get a quarter

pounder hold the Mayo hold the onions he

said and some chicken selects

now listen this was not some skinny

hitchhiker he didn’t look like he needed

a meal that bad

so my compassion is running out quickly

I said all right he wants a quarter

pounder hold the mail hold the onions

and some chicken selects he said and

some fries I said surprise please he

said in a biggie size and I’m thinking

I’m not saying this because I remember

I’m a good Christian I’m a man of God

I’m thinking man you should be grateful

to get a ride now you want to hold the

Mayo hold the onions

you got me spending $75 in the

drive-through and McDonald’s and I can’t

even eat then he took it way too far he

said can I get him McFlurry

I said no he’ll have a water and I got I

got him a water in an interesting how he

can go from I just need a ride do I need

some chickens is it interesting how you

can go from God if you’ll have mercy on

me a sinner in an interesting how you

can go from God if you’ll get me out of

this situation God if you’ll just be

with me but then over time something

happens along the journey and you start

thinking you know I don’t like the way

it smells inside of this whale in an

interesting how when you started serving

God you didn’t need people to notice you

you were just glad to be known by God

but over time you start getting real

picky I came to tell you today then if

you’ll get grateful see this is what

Jonah did he’s in the belly of the fish

and the Bible says that in Jonah chapter

2 for several verses he’s complaining

he’s blaming he’s talking about seaweed

around his head he’s talking about the

pillows that raged over him he’s

describing in detail his distress but

what chapter 2 verse 9 I love it because

the Bible says that when Jonah made this

shift everybody say shift he said but I

with shouts

of grateful praise we’ll sacrifice to

you what I have vowed I will make good

it I will say salvation comes from the

Lord and I don’t think it’s any

coincidence that in the very next verse

after Jonah got grateful even in a hard

situation when Jonah got grateful even

in the belly of a fish when Jonah got

grateful he got out I came to make an

announcement when you get grateful when

you open your mouth clap your hands

shift your mindset lift your eyes and

give God praise come on touch somebody

say I’m coming out with a shout I’m

coming out with a shout you didn’t touch

your neighbor maybe you don’t like the

shout maybe it’s like but that’s not my

personality time no no it’s not your

personality type until you get excited

about something I found out that

gratitude is the gateway into the

provision of God well is it interesting

let’s just study this for a moment

interesting that the Bible says in Jonah

1 verse 17 that the Lord provided a fish

do you think Jonah saw it that way

when he was being swallowed probably not

thank you Lord for this provision didn’t

feel like provision at the time at the

time being in the belly of the fish is a

problem so sometimes it takes time

before you can see the problem as the

provision hey thanks for watching make

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