INTRODUCTION

Jonah was a prophet who loved his own country, Israel, so when God told him to go to Nineveh—the capital city of the Assyrian empire, known for its brutality and licentiousness—Jonah ran.  When Jonah’s boat encountered a violent storm and seemed likely to sink, Jonah told the crew to throw him overboard, knowing that God had sent the storm because he ran.

  • What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done voluntarily?  Maybe you jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, went white water rafting, stood on the surfboard at Half Dome, or braved the skywalk at the Grand Canyon.


UNDERSTANDING

Have a volunteer read Jonah 1:15-17.

Jonah gets thrown overboard, but God sends a big fish (probably a whale) to save him from drowning.

  • What does this story teach us about the character of God?

In his sermon, Mike talked about some of the supernatural things we read about in the Bible: Jonah surviving inside of a whale for three days, the Red Sea parting for the Israelites to cross, the walls of Jericho falling down after Joshua and the Israelites marched around it, a few loaves and fish multiplying to feed five thousand people, Jesus walking on water, a storm suddenly stopping at Jesus’ command, and Lazarus’ resurrection from the dead.

  • Do you believe these things actually happened?  Why or why not?

  • Have you ever experienced something supernatural or something that you would consider a miracle in your own life?

Have a volunteer read Jonah 2:1-9

Jonah prays this poetic prayer, thanking God for rescuing him from death.

  • Have you ever been given a second chance? What did you do with it?

  • Where have you experienced God’s mercy in your life?

  • In what areas do you find it easy to trust God, and where do you find it difficult? Why do you think it’s easy to trust God with some things but not with others?

  • When you don’t trust God, what do you tend to trust? Money? Your own skills and abilities?

  • Where do you need God to intervene in your life currently?


ACTIVITY

Sometimes we allow prayer to become routine or we turn it into a list of requests that we have for God, but like human relationships, our relationship with God is strengthened when we express gratitude.  Spend a few minutes now writing your “rescue psalm,” a prayer giving God thanks for a time when he has rescued you.  If you’re willing, email that prayer to jonah@eastside.com.


APPLICATION

We often think of slavery as something that was abolished 150 years ago, but there are more than 20 million people around the world who are enslaved.  26% of them are children, and 22% of them are forced into sexual slavery.

They need to be rescued.

In Park Rapids your group can contact Rising Hope to learn more about how you can make a difference: http://risinghopefoundation.org/

In Orange County, Eastside partners with local law enforcement officers to provide for girls rescued from human trafficking.  We assemble gift bags full of new clothes, personal items, and gifts for girls who have just been rescued.  Complete this form, and the Compassion team will follow up with a specific list and instructions. https://eastsideconnect.ccbchurch.com/form_response.php?id=198