What’s Your Tarshish?

Sunday as we continued in our Glorious Mess with “Running from God” (Jonah 1), we were confronted with the reality that we all have our “Tarshish” – the place we go when we run from God. Jonah ran to Tarshish, a port city in Spain, 2000 miles west of Israel. The edge of the earth in Jonah’s day. The place where the map stopped. It’s as far away as Jonah could possibly go. Tarshish was an exotic place, the Disneyland of the ancient world. 1 Kings 10:22 describes some of what you could find in Tarshish. “For the king had at sea the ships of Tarshish with the ships of Hiram; once every three years the ships of Tarshish came bringing gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks.” So Jonah ran to Tarshish trying to outrun God’s call on his life.

What’s your Tarshish? Where or what do you run to… work, entertainment, sex, alcohol, materialism? We all have our Tarshish? You want to know a popular Christian version of Tarshish? We use God to run from God. In Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Pastor Peter Scazzero talks about how Christians often create a great deal of “God-centered activity,” but we ignore the difficult areas in our lives that God wants to change. All those hours spend reading Christian book after Christian book, going from small group Bible study to small group Bible study, serving in ministry after ministry. They’re all great things. But if we’re not careful, we can use Christian activity in an unconscious attempt to escape from the pain in our lives and ignore what God is really trying to do.

What’s your Tarshish? where do you run?

Sermon Series: Glorious Mess

We all spend a significant portion of life running, chasing down our own plans and desires. Like the biblical character Jonah, however, we eventually discover we’ve made a mess of things. And even in the mess, we keep running away from God. In Glorious Mess, we’ll discover how God’s relentless grace extends into all the messes we make in our lives. A line from one of my favorite songs says, “If God’s grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.” This faithful, loyal, undeserved love from God through the gospel of Jesus Christ pursues us, woos us, and changes us. We’ll realize that He can transform our mess into a “glorious mess” as we not only receive forgiveness, but also as we receive His direction and encouragement to live out and share His relentless grace with the people in our world who find their own lives in a mess.

You’re invited to join us May 20 – June 17 to discover how God can reveal His love no matter how far you’ve strayed. Here’s the line up for the series:

May 20 – Listening to God

May 27 – Running from God

June 3 – Crying out to God

June 10 – Seeing God Work

June 17- Embracing God’s Relentless Grace

Throughout the series, we’ll reference Pastor Mike Howerton’s new book Glorious Mess. Mike is a personal friend, a powerful communicator, and a great pastor.

I’m looking forward to seeing you and your guests during this series. And I’m looking forward to seeing how God turns our mess into something glorious.