Over the last two weeks, Maina Mwaura has been bringing some powerful messages. I’ve heard so much positive feedback, that I thought we should take a break from our Year Of The Bible discussion, and talk about “Saying Goodbye and Saying Hello.”
The Holidays are Here
There are LOTS of things going on right now as we head toward the end of 2017. Thanksgiving Feast, Hope Tree, Light Up Ellijay, and lots more. Be sure to be IN on all the detail by using theorchard.life. You can sign up to serve right there as well!Next Steps & Events
If you haven’t heard Maina’s messages about saying “goodbye and hello,” you can always catch up on our website. OR even better, subscribe to the podcast, and always get the latest messages delivered automatically right to your device!Watch & Listen
Have you ever been in that awkward situation where you tried to avoid someone? You know, you tried to duck from them in a crowd, at the store, or at an event… Only to be caught by them?
Why do you avoid those people in the first place?
What is it like to be caught by them?
Maina started off in the story of Jonah, being called by God to go to Ninevah to preach. Of course, Jonah did his best to avoid God. In fact he ran. He ran in the opposite direction. Jonah decided to head for Tarshish, rather than to obey and go to Ninevah.
Jonah 1:3 (NLT)
But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
Have you ever had the experience of avoiding God? Even running from Him?
How did that work out for you? Maybe someone in your group has a personal story about that.
We all know how it worked out for Jonah. God allowed a powerful storm to come on that ship. It’s crew panicked, and thought for sure they were about to be sunk. They threw everything overboard to try to survive. At some point, one of the crewmembers said something along the lines of “you know, this kind of thing never happened until you-know-who came aboard.”
That kinda seems a little silly to us, but Jonah agreed with them. He said “this terrible storm is all my fault.” (Jonah 1:12) So Jonah said that they had to throw him overboard. They did, and the storm “stopped at once.”
It immediately got better for the people on the boat, but things went from bad to worse for Jonah.
Jonah 1:17 (NLT)
Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.
Can you imagine this situation? Honestly, this is one of those stories in the Bible that could cause me to doubt it’s reality. Seriously. Who would possibly buy this story? I’ll tell you who… Someone who has seen God work in their own life in miraculous ways, right?
So, Jonah has a way back… But it isn’t the easiest way. God “arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah.” I’m sure that Jonah would have preferred that God had arranged a cruise ship. One with a waterslide, great entertainment, and a fantastic spa package. How awesome for Jonah to return to shore being “blessed” by God with such style and comfort!
But that isn’t how God worked. Maina said that being in that fish left Jonah with scars. I would imagine those scars were both physical and emotional. That really has to do something to you. Why would God do that to Jonah, the one He wanted to use?
What kind of scars has God allowed you to accumulate? What have been some of the biggest trials or torments of your life?
Why do you think God has allowed you to have those?
Jesus himself took on some pretty significant scars, didn’t he? After the resurrection, there was doubt among the disciples about whether he was real… Whether or not he could really be trusted. In that moment of their doubt, Jesus pointed to his scars.
Luke 24:39 (NLT)
“Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.”
God used Jesus’ scars to cement the disciples’ faith into their hearts.
And here is the thing about scars… They aren’t just a sign of wounding, but they are also a sign of healing. Your scars mean you have gone through something, but they also mean you are in the healing process.
Isn’t that what Jesus wants to do? Isn’t that what he wants to show others through your scars? That HE is the healer of all our past wounds?
Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
Jesus’ primary ministry was to heal us by his own scars. Look at his hands and his feet… YOU are permanently engraved there.
God turns our scars into our ministry. I was once again priviliged to hear Suzie Fleming’s testimony at Celebrate Recovery this week. What an amazing story of horrible scarring, only to discover beautiful healing. (If you haven’t heard her story, WOW… You need to!! It is a movie waiting to be made.)
How has God worked healing from your past scars? How does he want to use that story in others’ lives today?