Big Fish…Big Attitude – Why Believing is a Good Idea

Jonah started into the city, walking one day, and he cried out, “Just forty days more and Nineveh will be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They proclaimed a fast and put on mourning clothes, from the greatest of them to the least significant (Jonah 3:4-5, Common English Bible).

How easy it would be to just not listen. Here is this crazy man who seriously smells like dead fish, walking around town, shouting out to anyone who would listen, “Just forty days more and Nineveh will be overthrown.” How easy would it have been to say, “He isn’t a prophet, he’s a crazy man?”

That happened more than once in the pages of the Old Testament. It is why Sodom and Gomorrah fell. They were warned. They were warned more than once. Abraham was told if he could find one person in Sodom and Gomorrah who was righteous, a person who believed and would follow God the cities would be saved.

It happened in the New Testament. There should be no question, these guys were far more interested in following the law than following God. Again, these guys had multiple ways and times they could turn things around. Some actually did. There was Nicodemus and Joseph. Both were Pharisees and both chose to listen. We also should not forget about Paul. Talk about a change in someone. God grabbed Paul and nothing in his life would ever be the same. Being willing to listen to God changed EVERYTHING in Paul’s life.

It happens in our own lives. Some listen. Others of us fall well short. When one reads Chuck Colson’s story, it is easy to see both sides of this. By his own admission, Colson, a Watergate conspirator, would do just about anything in the name of power. Then he was caught. Then his life started to crumble around him. Everything changed. Even in Federal prison he knew things were different.

When Jonah went walking around Nineveh, the people did more than listen, laugh, and walk away. Most of us would do just that. That is the way respond, not some of the time when someone claims to have a prophetic voice and are calling people to change, but all the time. Some of these people might just have heard a word from God. Not all, but some of them. Yet we tend not to listen to any of them. Sometimes I think it is because we don’t like what we here. We would rather continue on with the way we do things. Change is hard and its easier not to listen.

The people of Nineveh knew what they were doing, the way they were living was wrong. They knew it was not the way God called on them to live. They knew they needed to change their lives. They knew they were hearing the voice of God.

Perhaps what we need most to do is to really listen for the voice of God. Then, when we hear that voice (I have posted before on this topic), respond as God instructs us. When we do that we will change our lives. When we do that we will change the world.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thanksgiving,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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