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Then, we kind of lost all of our brainpower and reasoning. We lassoed the shark’s tail, and we began to drag this thrashing shark into the boat.
When this nine or ten foot bull shark hit the deck of the boat, we scattered. We all said this in unison, “I wonder what it’s like to be eaten by a fish?” Well, today, we’re gong to meet someone who knew the answer to that question. His name was Jonah. Jonah was eaten by a fish, and, amazingly, he lived to tell about it.
Jonah’s story is preserved for us in the Old Testament. And, I believe, God has given it to us in order to show us the do’s and the don’ts of negotiating the storms of life. I’m in a series called “The Perfect Storm.” We’ve said throughout this series that life is full of storms. What happens, though, when we cause the storm? What happens when, because of our behavior, a storm strikes? And, then, what happens when we do the wrong thing in the midst of the storm? Where is God? What’s He thinking? Do we have another shot at the deal, or what?
Let’s get up close and personal with Jonah. I think we can learn some things and download some things that can revolutionize our lives and the way we handle these storms.
If you have your Bibles, turn to the book of Jonah Chapter 1, and I’ll begin to read, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai.” We’re not sure by what medium or how this word came to Jonah. But God spoke to him. We’ve all felt God speaking to us. We’ve all felt the word of the Lord coming to us, maybe through a message, a song, a drama, a quiet time, or prayer. I don’t know, but we’ve all felt it before.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by sharks. Even before it was popular, before Jaws swam onto the silver screen, I loved these fish. During my lifetime, I’ve had the opportunity to swim with sharks, actually hold live sharks, and even catch several sharks.
And speaking of catching sharks, about fifteen years ago I went fishing with a close friend of mine, Bob Craig, from Houston. He had a boat called the Action III. We were off shore maybe seventeen or eighteen miles. We anchored next to a shrimp boat called The Chuck Wagon. After three hours on the ocean, it became the “Upchuck Wagon,” but that’s a whole other story.
Anyway, we were catching fish in the eight to twenty pound range, like the King Mackerel and Bonito. Being a shark lover, I brought my big game shark outfit with me. I took one of the fish we were catching, put in a couple of hooks, and chunked the entire fish overboard. I just had a feeling that there were sharks in the area.
This fish floated in the water for thirty minutes. We kind of forgot the fish was there, until, suddenly, the reel began to scream. We picked the reel up from the rod holder, strapped my harness on my back, hooked it into the reel and I was locked into a behemoth of a shark.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever stood up and fought something stronger than you. But this fish was so big that I had my uncle actually hold me from behind, so I would not go overboard. We fought this fish for well over an hour in the triple degree Texas heat. Finally, we got it close to the boat. And, to my amazement, my friend Bob Craig pulled out a gun and began firing shots at this big bull shark, subduing it somewhat.
Also, realize something else. Realize that God cares. God cares for you. Mark Chapter 4, verse 38: “The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’” I’ve said that before in storms. Haven’t you? “God, do you really care? I mean, come on, God, I don’t really feel you right now. I can’t really see you right now. Do you really care?” I hope you didn’t miss what I just said. I didn’t “feel” you right now. We get all focused on feelings and, often times, we miss God.
Yes, our relationship with God brings forth great feelings. Often times, though, it does not. Sometimes we don’t have that “feeling.” We just need to be obedient and follow the Lord. We need to realize that He cares for us, and then, as we do what the Word says, the feelings will follow. Christianity is not something we just feel our way into. “Well, if I feel a quiver in my liver, if I feel it, then it must be God.” NO! You could have had some bad Domino’s pizza last night. That doesn’t mean that. Remember God cares.
I like what the master angler, Simon Peter, said about storms. He said, “Cast all you anxiety [all of you storm stuff] on Him, because He cares for you.” For many of us, right now, going through difficult times, difficult storms, we need to cast our anxiety daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes minute by minute, on Him. Why? He cares for you.
If you have got a mind, a couple of ears and a mouth, you can become a great communicator. It is interesting. Great marriages and bad marriages all face the same issue, communication. But what separates the great ones from the not so great ones is obvious. The great ones have husbands and wives who work at it, who tackle this task tenaciously. Those who have sorry marriages for some reason don’t work at communication. They throw their hands up in the air and say that is just the way it is.
Last weekend C3 Global launched this series of talks called 4KEEPS – Keeping Creativity In Your Marriage. We found out that marriages that really have it going on are made up of spouses who maintain a tireless MWE, a tireless marital work ethic. We also said that to carry forth a tireless marital work ethic, you need creativity. I defined marital creativity as innovative action for qualitative growth. No area in marriage needs innovative action, creativity and work like communication. So goes communication, so goes conflict resolution. So goes communication, so goes sex. So goes communication, so goes intimacy and romance and so on.
Bring back a verse of scripture that I used to open today’s message. This text gives us several communicative options that are out there for the taking for husbands and wives. Let me push the pause button and say something to single adults. Hey, singles, this series is for you. Quite frankly, I meet too many of you who come to the altar ill prepared and clueless as to what it takes to have a great marriage. Ninety-four percent of you will get married at least once. That is what research has revealed. Let’s say, for example, that you are part of the six percent who never get married. Ed bet you know a married person or two. You can give them counsel. You can give them direction. Also, this stuff will help your speaking and listening skills around the office, the apartment complex, at play, whatever.