The main message is about responding to the God of second chances, as seen in the story of Jonah and the Ninevites. Despite Jonah's reluctant faith, God accomplished His will, leading to the Ninevites' quick and surprising repentance. This reminds us that sharing the good news of Jesus can lead to unexpected outcomes and salvation. Our role is to scatter the seed, leaving the rest to God. We must not pick and choose who receives forgiveness; instead, we should be open to God's work in reaching those who are far from Him.

Pr. Todd Mathison

Responding to the God of Second Chances

Jonah
Jonah 3: 1-10
August 6, 2023
The main message is about responding to the God of second chances, as seen in the story of Jonah and the Ninevites. Despite Jonah's reluctant faith, God accomplished His will, leading to the Ninevites' quick and surprising repentance. This reminds us that sharing the good news of Jesus can lead to unexpected outcomes and salvation. Our role is to scatter the seed, leaving the rest to God. We must not pick and choose who receives forgiveness; instead, we should be open to God's work in reaching those who are far from Him.

Responding to the God of second chances. That’s what we’re gonna look at in today’s message. We’re in this th third week of a four-part series on the Book of Jonah, and really the subtitle says it all for all the messages that God has, grace for all. God has enough grace. For all the first week way of reminder, we looked at actually being embraced by God’s grace and then how when we live in that, then we get to live that way towards others. In a grace filled life last weekend, we learned that that God meets us often in the storms. Of life that he uses for his purposes to help us turn toward him and like Jonah in the belly of the great fish finally turn toward God in repentance and in prayer, and how we see that God invites us even in the tough times in life to turn to Jesus in faith. This week we look at. The God of second chances for both the people of Nineveh, as well as for Jonah himself, and how God then is the same God today as he was then extends himself to you also as the God of second, third, fourth unending chances of turning toward him. So we pick up in chapter three. If you have your Bibles, your devices, I invite you to turn to Jonah. Chapter three. It’s toward the end of the Old Testament. We’re gonna read the whole third chapter, which kind of ironically, uh, echoes the very beginning of the first chapter. We find ourself back in this place where God has a request for Jonah. And so last weekend we ended where God had commanded the fish to vomit Jonah on dry ground, and that’s where we pick up our text today. Jonah chapter three. Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it. The message I give you, Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now, Nineveh was a very large city. It took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city. Proclaiming 40 more days and Nineveh will be overthrown. Talk about a not so seeker sensitive message and the response. The Ninevites believed God a fast was proclaimed, and all of them from the greatest to the least. Put on sackcloth. When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh by the decree of the king in his nobles. Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything. Do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows God may yet relent and with compassion, turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish when God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways he relented. And did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened the word of the Lord. Thank God. Join me in prayer, living God, as we look into this account in Jonah and we see your call and invitation to turn toward you. Boy, these people, tough people, and nine of it did it. Even Jonah did it. Help us to do the same. I ask in Jesus’ name, amen. Dear friends, grace to you and peace from God, our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. This really shows a God of good news because it reveals a God who is relentless when it comes to offering mercy for us.

Just as we looked in the first week, God pursues us relentlessly. He pursues us how with an invitation to turn from a way of destruction toward him and life. It shows someone like Jonah that even at our worst or in our darkest hour, God is there with us, and the grace of God is for us. God is for us. We looked at that already in this message series, and you’re going to hear those words again when we come to the Lord’s table. Jesus is for you. In fact, he was given. For you. God did not give up on sending his message of invitation to the people of Nineveh so that they would turn from reaping the, the rewards of their violent ways. And God had not even given up on this reluctant prophet Jonah to accomplish his mission. I mean, God, throughout Jonah, the book of Jonah, you see God as a God of second, third, and fourth. Of unending chances, he’s a goddess. Second chances, my wife and I are about a year and a half new to the valley here, east Valley, and I’m still learning some of the roadways and the different, you know, milestones and such. And I remember early on, a couple months after we moved here, I was off to a, an appointment, got off the 60, went on a main artery and I thought, why are these people driving so slow? And I was able to kind of do my little. You know, Andretti, move of nascar, kind of navigating around them, thought, what’s going on here? Do they all forget to drink their coffee this morning? And sure enough, behind me flashing lights, I was driving through a school zone. What an idiot. I thought I, yeah, I’m the only one who knows how to drive here. Obviously not tail between my legs. I pull over to a side street, the officer walks up. I don’t have a really good kind of, Poor meek me face. I was just gonna take my medicine. I mean, I was repentant. You know what? And I know we’re known here in the valley of being hard on school zone speeding as we should be. He gave me a warning. That was it. No, $200 fine. No six hour class to go through. No insurance hit. I mean, He gave me a second chance, and I am kind of fastidious now about following the speed limits in school zones out of really outta gratitude for how I was treated by this police officer. Undeserved and yet gracious Jonah was swept out to sea in a fierce storm thrown overboard swallowed by fish. As God was giving him opportunities to listen, another opportunity that God was extending grace and a second chance to him, though he didn’t deserve it. So here’s my first point, and it’s really the main one today. God is a God of second chances. I just want you to get that even like for our new members and for all of us in the church family, this is a core teaching.

We focus on God’s grace. God is a God of second chances. He calls us to turn from our sin and going our own way and to live in forgiveness and freedom and joy. And I discovered what that police officer, what Jonah found out about a God of second chances. ’cause you see, at the very heart of God, out of his love who he is, there’s this deep desire to see all people turn to him. And. Repent and receive his invitation of forgiveness. It’s in God’s character. God is love. God is merciful. He is just in giving us second, third, and fourth chances. And even though Jonah had rejected God’s command to go to this, these people who are an arch enemy of his, we established that earlier. God rescued him actually with the waves and the wind and the storm and the giant fish and gave him a second chance for us this morning. There might be a, a few different ways we hear a message like this, A God of second chances for some of us. This morning, kind of like Jonah, that there are people that God has asked you to extend grace and mercy to give them a second chance, and yet, have you noticed how like these people are, sometimes those people, you know what I mean? There are people that for what, for whatever reason, we like Joe and I have written them off. As unworthy of the love and mercy of God, could be for any number of reasons, socioeconomic status, color, their skin, political leanings, a deep personal hurt that still cuts you to the quick to this day. All kinds of reasons for us to wanna withhold mercy from others. We want mercy for ourselves, but don’t we want justice for others? It’s not how God has treated you or me in Christ Jesus. So we, some of us may hear it that way. Others of us may hear a message like this, and maybe, maybe you’ve written yourself off. As someone being unworthy of God’s love and mercy, you may have the sense that you’ve done things or acted in ways that disqualify you from receiving the gift of God’s grace and mercy in Christ Jesus. And I have good news for you. God’s grace isn’t based on what you do or don’t do. It’s based on who Jesus is and what he’s done for you. Because you can’t earn it and because you don’t deserve it and are still giving it, there’s no way that you would be denied it. And there’s no reason for us to deny it from anyone else either. Perhaps. Someone here today needs to hear this, that God loves you deeply, unconditionally, and you need to learn that to the. Depths of your bones that God has your best interest in mind. God is a God of second, third, and fourth cha chances calling you to turn to him every day. It’s quite the invitation and message that the people of Nineveh. Received in just what was their response to Jonah’s message? Well, it starts with this grassroots movement of repentance that makes its way all up to the king of Nineveh. I find it interesting that Jonah’s reluctant obedience resulted in a decree of repentance from the King of Nineveh that included everyone.

In, in the text is very clear, including even the animals. In other words, it demonstrated a genuine, complete full turning from their sin because as the king said, who knows, God may relent and change his mind. Maybe that’s how you feel about God too. I mean, who knows? Maybe just maybe God might forgive me. Here’s a second point I want make. When hearing God’s grace, expect the unexpected, the response of the people in Nineveh. No one saw that coming, but it came nonetheless. And when you hear God’s invitation to turn toward him, may your response be the same that you can know. That God relents from punishing you for your sin because Jesus took the punishment for you. That’s why we say in our confession, in our liturgy, God is faithful and just, it says this in the scriptures. He’s faithful. He will always forgive you, and He’s just He. God has every right to forgive you, all your sin because of Jesus Christ. He’s Jesus already died for that sin. Justice has been met before a holy God. And then you are granted this substitutionary death when you just believe who Jesus is and what he’s done for you. It’s like God is faithful and just to forgive you your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Hmm. So when hearing God’s grace, expect the unexpected. And third, receive what is undeserved. In second Peter in the New Testament, there’s a beautiful verse that kind of lays this out. That passage says The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness under. Instead, he’s patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. That’s God’s heart. God is patient with us. He doesn’t want anyone to pair. She longs for all I. To turn to him. You know that word perish. It means destruction. The word for repentance means a changing of the mind or a turning from going your own way and turning toward God. So God’s call for all of us to repent. It’s not a turn or burn focus. It’s a turn and be saved. It’s a message of deliverance. It doesn’t have to mean overturning, but rather a turning. Just as the people of Nineveh turned toward God and received his grace, that’s his invitation to us as well. Praise God. You know when you read through the book of Joe and I, and I still commend to you to read through this book, it’s only four chapters long. Takes about eight minutes. Okay. I was just talking to someone this week who came and said, they read through the book twice this week and God said something to them different each time. That’s God’s living word. That’s the nature of the Bible. Reading through the book of Jonah, it’s very clear that Jonah is no role model for us. He’s this reluctant, disobedient prophet who in a strange way is a sign of the perfect prophet who was very willing even to the point of sacrifice. Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ even references Jonah and says, just as he was three days in the belly of the fish, I’ll be three days in the grave, but for Jesus, he broke out of the grave, defeated death and sin and the devil for you and for me.

And so now for all who believe in Jesus Christ, he gives full and free forgiveness and the power to become children of God. Because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. We also can repent and God relents. And the truth is, as we confessed earlier in the service, you know we do mess up by what we say and do. Don’t say don’t do every day. So here at Victory we teach what’s called daily repentance. It means daily turning to the God of second. Third and fourth chances. ’cause you’re gonna need it each day, multiple times a day. And God always grants it. He’s faithful and just to do so. And so even now as maybe you can use these next few moments to prepare your heart for communion, it might be an expression, maybe it’s the first time, maybe you’re saying, I don’t even really quite understand it, but Jesus, I am turning toward you. And so then come and let this be kind of a. An altar call of of sorts for you. If that’s your heart, turn to God in repentance and come and partake for all of us might be a reminder as we remember Jesus’ broken body and shed blood given for you that God might always be in a posture of second chances, offering you continually His grace, forgiveness, and mercy. Let’s pray. Living God. Now by your Holy Spirit, take the words of your scriptures, put ’em in our hearts that we might turn towards you in humility and gratitude, and in faith to the glory of Jesus, in whose name I pray? Amen.

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Don’t hesitate to reach us out at (480) 830-5024, or message us filling the form below.

GriefShare

The GriefShare Program is a 13-week series of videos that we watch each week of the meeting. Each weekly GriefShare group begins with a 30-minute video featuring respected experts on grief-related topics and helpful stories from people who have experienced loss. Their insights will help you manage your emotions, gain clarity, and find answers to your questions as you walk through the grief process. We welcome everyone who has a loss; whether it be a child or a parent or spouse.

The videos are followed by discussion. Talking with other people who understand what you’re experiencing brings great comfort, normalizes the grief experience, and offers a supportive environment to work through your grief.

Each session stands alone, so you can join anytime. Consider a single session to learn about the program.

We meet every Monday from 12:30-2:30pm here at Victory.
Check out the schedule.

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Don’t hesitate to reach us out at (480) 830-5024, or message us filling the form below.
Learn more about GriefShare at their webpage: www.griefshare.org.

WOMEN’S MINISTRY

We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study.

Summer Schedule (May-Sept): 2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am

Winter Schedule (Oct-April): 2nd Tuesday of the month

Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am

Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)


Women’s Ministry

PURPOSE STATEMENT

As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Women’s Ministry

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

    FAMILY PROMISE

    Four times a year we host families experiencing homelessness at Victory for a week at a time. Volunteers needed to set up rooms, preparing a meal, serve/clean-up dinner or stay as an overnight host.

    Upcoming Host Weeks: April 16-23, 2023 & November 112-19, 2023

    STEPHEN MINISTRY

    Stephen Ministers are lay congregation members trained to provide one-to-one care to those experiencing a difficult time in life. 

    GRIEFSHARE

    A grief recovery support group where you can find help and healing for the hurt of losing a loved one.

    13-week Program: Mondays, 12:30-2:30pm, February 13-May 8, 2023
    (No meeting April 10th)
    GriefShare.org

    LSS-SW

    Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest (LSS-SW)

    I-HELP PROGRAM: We provide a safe and secure place for women who are currently experiencing homelessness the 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month.

    FOOD PANTRY: Food boxes distributed Mondays & Wednesdays, 9:00-11:30am.
    Utility & rental assistance by appointment only 480-654-4539.

    Victory Quilters

    We meet the 3rd Tuesday and Wednesday of the month at 8:30am. Come when you can, stay as long as you can; everyone can cut, sew, pin and tie knots. You do not need to be a church or circle member to attend. Bring a friend! The quilts are donated to Navajo Lutheran Mission, Orchard: Africa and Lutheran Social Ministries. We typically break for the summer. Please check schedule.

    MUSIC MINISTRY

    Ensembles at Victory practice weekly during the high season to prepare for weekly worship and special events. In addition, many people share their talents individually. Click here for our concert line-up!

    NAVAJO LUTHERAN MISSION

    Serving the Navajo community of Rock Point, AZ, a remote, isolated village near the Four Corners. The Mission campus includes a K-2 private Christian school, clinic, cultural center, water project and food bank.  (nelm.org)

    FAIR TRADE

    Victory Women support Lutheran World Relief (lwr.org) by selling Fair Trade hand-made crafts, jewelry, coffee and tea that generates income for small-scale businesses in third world countries. 

    OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD

    A “shoebox ministry” of Samaritan’s Purse, delivering gift-filled shoeboxes to boys and girls around the world.

    ORCHARD: AFRICA

    To equip the church to respond to poverty & injustice, thereby caring for the vulnerable using four programs: Food & Agriculture, Care, Education and Ministry.  (orchardafrica.org)

    Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

    WOMEN’S MINISTRY

    Welcome to the vibrant women’s ministry at Victory Lutheran Church! As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are committed to growing in faith, affirming our gifts, and supporting one another in our callings. Our purpose is to engage in ministry and action, promoting healing and wholeness in the church, society, and the world. At Victory Lutheran Church, our women’s ministry provides a nurturing and empowering space for women of all ages to connect, grow, and serve together. Through uplifting worship, inspiring Bible studies, enriching events, and impactful service opportunities, we equip women to live out their God-given purpose and embrace their unique gifts. Join us as we journey together, fostering fellowship, spiritual growth, and making a lasting impact within our church, our families, and our wider community.

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ,  and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

    • 2nd Tuesday of the month
    • Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am
    • Naomi Bible Study – 2:00pm
    • Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)