God Works Through Our Obedience

The book of Jonah tells the story of the amazing revival that took place in Nineveh when the entire city (every man, woman and child) return to the LORD in a single day.  But, the majority of this book (75% of it) is devoted not to the greatest revival in human history, but to the disobedience of the prophet named Jonah.
When Jonah decided to disobey the LORD’s command to travel to Nineveh he instead went to the shore in Joppa and happens to find a boat heading for Tarshish…2500 miles in the wrong direction.  The ship was there, right when he needed it.  Doors seemed to be opening for him.  However, just because a certain way seems facilitated does not mean that God has provided it.  Sometimes opportunities present themselves that are not God’s will.  Just because you are asked out on a date, offered a job, asked to enter a partnership…does not always mean that it is God’s will for your life. 
If Jonah had gotten all the way to Tarshish he would have been a 4 months journey away from Nineveh – a destination that was only a 3 weeks journey from where he had started.  If God had not interrupted Jonah’s travel plans with a giant fish, his disobedience would have taken him on a 9 month detour. 
But God did intervene and had a great fish swallow Jonah to change his course for Nineveh.  And the bible tells us that Jonah spend 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of this fish before he prayed to God.  I don’t know about you, but I think the first thing I will do if I am ever swallowed by a giant fish is pray.  I will be crying out to God within 3 seconds…not days.  But, I have noticed in my ministry that the longer people remain in rebellion against God, the harder it is for their heart to be softened toward Him when things really get bad. 
When Jonah finally obeys and speaks God’s word to Nineveh, it took just one day for the whole city to come to repentance.  For almost 3 years now I have been telling you that I believe God intends to use TGPA to bring revival to Atlanta.  Maybe like me you are becoming impatient and perhaps you are questioning if God really intends to use us to turn our city inside-out.  But what I since God saying to us is that He is not the hold up.  The Godlessness of our city is not the hold up.  It is our reluctance and disobedience that is keeping Him from bringing salvation to Atlanta the way He did to Nineveh.
Jesus gave his charge:  “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you.  I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (Message Bible)
Let’s make 2016 the year of eager obedience to the great commission of sharing the gospel.  Let’s make this year the year that God turns the hearts of our city back to Him because we were obedient to what He has asked us to do. 
Pastor Jonathan