The New Year brings fresh possibilities of what can be achieved in our lives. As the clock hits midnight, it strikes a corresponding chord within each of us that it doesn’t matter what we’ve gone through in the previous year, with its challenges, disappointments, or even life-altering events, we get to have a rewrite. The simple fact that we’re still here gives a renewed hope of starting a new chapter.

On New Year’s Day, Pastor Rich held up the mirror of God’s word to see ourselves in Jonah’s story with a collection of talks from the Book of Jonah. Reading from chapter 1, he showed how God spoke to the reluctant prophet. But the message pushed Jonah out of his comfort zone, so he ran away onboard a boat headed in the opposite direction from God’s intended purpose.

We were also prompted to self-reflect as we embark on #PrayFirst, our 21-day period of prayer and fasting for God’s purpose for our lives. He showed that it’s not so much about getting a new word from God but being obedient to the last word he gave you.

 

Jonah’s name is a paradox. It means dove and the first thing we think of is an ability to fly away from an uncomfortable situation and in Jonah’s case, run away to a different boat.  But the bible also shows a dove as a symbol in noble contexts:  Noah used a dove as a messenger after the flood for a sign if the water has receded from the earth, the Holy Spirit came in the form of a dove after Jesus’ baptism and Jesus told us to be innocent as doves.

As humans, while we tend to resort to the baser instincts of ourselves, the truth is we are capable of much more if we are willing to flow in God’s direction. For example, instead of giving a piece of our mind to somebody, responding with a kind word or instead of holding a grudge, choosing to forgive. We ought to take a cue from Jonah, to learn that it will cost us less to follow God’s will than to run away from it.

3 things to keep us from choosing the wrong boat:

1. INTIMACY WITH GOD

The only way we grow in intimacy in our relationship with God is when we spend time with him. We do this in our time of prayer where we not only talk to him but allow him to speak to us. He can fulfill his purpose for our lives if we allow him to shine the light of his word in areas we’d rather keep hidden.

2. BIBLE APPLICATION

Although reading the Bible is a vital part of your walk with God, it’s imperative that we not only read the Word, but that we also ask God how we can practically apply it to our lives. The blessing isn’t in the knowing, the blessing is always in the doing.

3. COMMUNITY WITH BELIEVERS

Let’s resolve to be intentional with the people we choose to hang with going forward. This life was not meant to be done alone but it needs to be done with people who will propel you to your destiny rather than keep you in the same spot year after year. Be strengthened by a community that will see you and your purpose through life’s storms.

Listen to the Full Message