A Mixed Up Minister?
What insights does the book of Jonah have for ministers today?
Led by The Revd Tom Stuckey, a former President of the Methodist Church.
Major Points From The Minor Prophets
At Highworth Methodist Church we have recently finished an Evening Preaching Series on the 12 Minor Prophets namely, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. In the preparation for the sermon series we found a number of books helpful, but as sometimes happens, I discovered what I have found the most helpful book of all after we’d completed the Series!! I’ve just read John Blanchard’s excellent ‘Major points from the Minor Prophets’ whilst on holiday. Blanchard himself is a veteran evangelist and Christian apologist whose previous books are published in over sixty languages. In ‘Major Points from the Minor Prophets’ it is evident that he is drawing on a lifetime of Christian ministry and reading. Here is no purely academic study, but also one grounded in rich and varied ministry experience.
The book itself contains an introductory chapter on the Minor Prophets - often the ‘cleanest pages in many Bibles’! - as the Foreword points out - and then gives a good sized, yet manageable chapter, on each of the above Prophets. He is keen to point out that the 12 Minor Prophets are ‘minor’ because of their length, but not in terms of their message - indeed they speak powerfully to God’s people today, as indeed does all of Scripture. John Blanchard helps us to get to grips with that message, in an accessible manner, and apply it to our lives, Christ’s Church and indeed to our nation and the nations. Themes such as social injustice, rotten religion, poisonous hypocrisy all come under the spotlight of God’s awesome holiness. We are constantly pointed to the wonder of Salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed the book is full of practical spiritual and pastoral application. It’s not always comfortable reading, you may see some things differently from Blanchard, but I have found it a well worthwhile read, often causing me to think, “Why didn’t I see that when I was preaching on such and such a prophet!!” But it’s not for preachers only!
Within the compass of a brief review such as this it’s obviously not possible to give detail - but let me finish with a just a few quotes from the chapter on Jonah ... “when the going got tough, Jonah got going - but in the wrong direction’’ ... ‘’Going as a one-man missionary to Nineveh may have been difficult, but running away from God was ‘mission impossible’ ... God chastened [Jonah], frustrated his plans, wore him out with sorrow, hurled him into the sea and into the belly of a great fish - but he never abandoned him [emphasis original]. Jonah was taken a long way out of his comfort zone, but never allowed out of God’s grip.” And nor are we - no matter what. Thanks be to God!