Seek Don’t Run!

(audio sermon by Gary Sampson)

Jonah ran. When God calls you to a tough assignment, or essential responsibility, seek him for how to do it. Never run.

Speakers notes follow –

Seek Don’t Run!

Jonah 1.1-3.1

The wireless operator of the Titanic: “The Californian (ship) had called me with an ‘ice report’ about five o’clock. I was rather busy, and I did not take it. I was doing some writing at the time, writing accounts on the table. I continued on the accounts for about 30 minutes. Then I took the report…the Californian had passed three large icebergs, and gave their latitude and longitude. I wrote it on a slip of paper and handed it to the officer on the bridge.”

“Did you make a record of it?”

“No, sir. If we made a record of all these messages we could not begin to make up our accounts.”

Often we are too busy to heed warnings. Please listen!

If you hear nothing else today, hear this – Seek don’t run!

Jonah called to preach to Nineveh – Israel’s enemies – Jonah wanted them destroyed, not saved! Bring enemies to church!

Runs opposite – to Tarshish meaning ‘open sea’ – that’s running!

Are you running – calling-ministry, responsibility-marriage-tax, confrontation-boss-sibling?

Ways of running – ignore issue, avoid person, act like its okay, distract yourself, drink it away, hide, really weak – suicide

Seek don’t run – say ‘yes how?’ not ‘no I cant’

Jonah had opportunity to repent – closed his mind

Storm grew – sailors notice – a warning sign – Jonah doesn’t want to see it – goes below – sleeps – ignores it

When we ignore/run life gets rougher – tax, health, wife vital signs

Often its God’s warning – Lewis – ‘God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains’

When the storm grows – God is shouting – he loves you – those around you – saying don’t ignore, run – face, fix – I’ll show how!

– Seek don’t run!

Sailors call on godsCapt ‘how can you sleep – call on your god’

When tempted God will provide a way out – Jonah doesn’t call – he’s avoiding his God! Avoiding repentance – the call

We say ‘Doubting Thomas’ – should say ‘Stubborn Jonah’ – are you a stubborn Jonah?

– Seek don’t run!

Cast lots – Jonah selected – got short straw (msg) – God shouting!

When God shouts we think he’s angry, wants to punish – usually its love, wants best for us –

Thief on run – 1981 VW Beetle stolen – police sent urgent message as local radio stations – poison in car – El 479 – God doesn’t want to punish but save!

– Hear warnings – Seek don’t run!

Jonah prefers death – given another chance to repent – change direction – says throw me!

Sailors try row instead – eventually pray and throw – sea calm!

Jonah sinks – goes blackwhale-shark safari – blackness – weird – finds he’s in a body bag – breathing!

Is this real? Many think its a story – parable

Little girl talking to teacher about whales – Teacher: It is physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it is a very large mammal its throat is very small – Girl: Jonah was swallowed by a whale – Teacher reiterated it was impossible – Girl: When I get to Heaven I will ask Jonah – Teacher: What if Jonah went to hell? – Girl: Then you ask him.

Sperm whale can swallow – survival needs miracle – whether historic or parabolic not important – message is seek don’t run!

MomentumDown to Joppa – Below deck – into the depths – I sank down – No one running from God ever went up!

But (v6) ‘you brought my life up from the pit‘ – Jonah seeks God – ‘my prayer rose to you‘ – ‘vomited (up) onto dry land’

– Seek don’t run!

What Jesus said about Jonah – the sign – Mt 12.38-41

Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.

Whats the sign? Jesus mentions two – Life after the tomb – Gentiles judging Jews!

Today all believers are as prophets – mouthpieces of God – all have a Nineveh they’re called to – a circle of influence – are you obedient or running?

– But Gary, how do I reach them? Seek don’t run!

This week I went to Nineveh – invited 5 – Moonshine tonight – join

You’re a prophet – there is joy in fulfilling the call, none in running – Seek don’t run.


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