Jonah A: Questioning the Heart - Jonah 4:4, Psalm 42:5

Is there a louder cultural message being pushed right now than “follow your heart?” We are constantly being asked to make all sorts of decisions and actions simply on the basis of emotion. Instead of heart, mind, and will uniting against a fractured sense of self, they seem like enemies who are fighting each other for supremacy. The result is what Psalm 42:5 describes: our souls are not quiet; they are in turmoil. And so we’ll take any drug, try any therapy, listen to any guru; we will do anything to avoid confronting our emotions.Because of this, one of the…

Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2019 by CJ Bowen

Jonah VI: The Great Mercy of God - Jonah 4:5-11

In Jonah 4:5-11 God uses an object lesson to go to work on Jonah’s heart, acting out a drama in Jonah’s own life to expose the hard-hearted hypocrisy that led Jonah to hate God’s mercy. Jonah will be given a taste of a merciless God, and when God shows him his reaction, Jonah will be confronted with a glimpse of his own withered-up heart.In his anger at God’s mercy, Jonah exiles himself from the place of God’s blessing and heads for the desert, where there is no natural shade and where the sun will kill you. And so the Lord…

Posted on Thursday, March 14, 2019 by CJ Bowen

Jonah V: Angry at Mercy - Jonah 4:1-4

Here’s the danger we face when we hear the story of Jonah: we can make the prophet into such an irrationally prideful, selfish, and angry man that we can no longer see ourselves in Jonah. We’re all standing over on God’s side; we love mercy and grace, and so we’re shaking our heads at the stubborn prophet, instead of looking for reflections of Jonah in our hearts. But we won’t grow spiritually by shaking our heads at Jonah. We will grow if we recognize the roots of our anger in Jonah’s story, and open ourselves up to embrace the scandal ofSo…

Posted on Thursday, March 07, 2019 by CJ Bowen