For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.
2 Corinthians 1:20
How do you get more out of life with less sorrow, effort or headache? Is this too much to ask ? an unrealistic pressure on God ? I read how God worked on an un- loved prophet (Jonah) gave him immensely more - more power, more love that he ever had to begin with.
Jonah saved (not destroyed) a city - no other prophet did that. He was man of the match, prophet of the year, the original superhero who makes quick work of syndi- cated sin and restores peace to the city. He did better than Noah - he didn’t flood the world. He did better than Lot - he didn’t fry a city in sulphur. He did better than than the Jews in Goshen - he didn't down an army in the deep blue.
Jonah preserved thousands by just showing up. He taught people the fear of the Lord and to love God’s law, not just obey it. His story went round the ancient world. But Jesus didn't commend him for his work, but the experience he went through. No other prophet had drowned and returned from hell to share his story. It gripped the imagination of an entire nation. In a day, a city was won. It was a revelation of hell like no other. But we only find out the reason why he was sent there at the end of the book.
￼It's in chapter 4 that we uncover his sin. Jonah didn't like to be wrong and his gift got in the way. What other prophet walks into a city and gets this kind of results ? Apparently one day in hell is worth more than a thousand sermons.
Jonah’s Anger at the Lord’s Compassion
“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by flee- ing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
This year, would you trust God for 1.5 times his presence in your life, your family and church and I'll tell you what 1.5 times means to me, how I arrived at this figure and why I think its important for me to get your buy in, your Amen on this. Ten years ago, we were meeting at Market Street. God said that our monthly money would grow by a certain percentage and I kept it in to myself, mainly out of unbelief, mostly stricken by fear.
I never imagined that God would shift us out of a financial district into a red-light district to make this happen. But at that time I hardened my heart to that particular grow ratio. I was afraid and because I didn't share it with any- one, I didn't see it come to pass until 10 years later (which is last month). This year, another target has been set for me in His sovereign purpose and it's this 1.5 times grow ratio that I'm sharing with you now because I don't how long we have left in Geylang.
You see, presently, we're walking, yes. We’re up and about in miracle wholeness. But like Mephibosheth of old, I've always seen the street ministry as something that's been dropped - dropped from the arms of the church agenda, crippled from birth at best mis- handled by those who should have known better. It's the lovingkindness of the King that has called the church back to the streets. Like the cripple at the gate called Beautiful, we're finally up and trying out our new legs. But we're not yet leaping or praising God like we should.
Earlier this year I gave a warning - and the word was 'slow is fast' - that speed is not always accuracy, that wis- dom is not for the horse but for the rider. It was a cautionary word and I still feel reluctant to get into any new projects this year.
However, I predict for many of you that are following these newsletters, that "this time next year" you are going to see this specific 1.5 increase without sor- row. “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. Psalm 33:9.”
We need to be bigger men with larger capacities to contain what God is bringing to us without leaking it all out again. In my 1.5 x budget at the church for example, I'm not asking my mem- bers to raise this amount. I'm asking them to stand with me on this divine promise and give me an “Amen”. (I al- ways say that a pastor is just an Amen- collector). I would like every one who reads this to be blessed out of your socks this year -- to believe God to be 1.5 times wiser in your life choices, to obtain 1.5 times more of his righteous- ness, peace and joy in personal mastery and business dealings ?
It's not just about money but about income without sorrow, not just about unsaved loved ones but un- loved saved ones, and above all - about blessing God, making 1.5 times the con- tribution we did last year in the streets, on the mission field, in the classroom, the prayer tower, and in the secret place. Imagine, what if God allowed you to make 1.5 times the impact you did this time last year ? In that case, what kind of person would you need to be?
Have you ever thought who wrote the book of Jonah?
Nobody could have known his story, not the sailors that threw him over- board, not the captain that woke him up in the hold and told him to call upon his gods. The king of Nineveh in sackcloth and his people in ashes would have only known part of the story. Both the whale and the worm didn't say a word. So who could have written all this down ? except the prophet himself. And yet, why include chapter four ? why confess to your crimes in public, open yourself up to criticism ? unless this is exactly the doorway out of eternal misery. It wasn't Nineveh that needed saving. It was the prophet him- self.