Use the Triple Play as you read with your family, your small group, or even in your personal devotion times!
Highs and Lows: Start by sharing at least one high and one low from the day. Don’t skip this step!
Daily Dig: As you read the text of the week, customize your experience with resources found here to help you grow!
Pray: Take time to pray about the highs and lows and what you’ve read. Give thanks for the highs, ask for help in the lows, and pray for God’s Word to be alive in you each week!
Daily Dig Resources
Everyone learns differently, so we have lots of ways that you can make your time in the Word your own.
These videos and resources will help you dig in and understand the passage.
Other Helpful Resources
Ideas for activities and things to do to apply the text.
Jonah and the Big Fish
Hi families and welcome to the 4th quarter of “St. Matthew in the Word”! It has been so much fun reading God’s Word with you, making videos, and learning through these different activities too.
This week, you are diving into the Bible story of Jonah, a man who tried to hide from God, got swallowed by a big fish (Can you even imagine???), was vomited out of the mouth of the fish on land (Can you even imagine that too???), and then followed God’s command and went to the city of Nineveh to warn the people to change their evil ways. We, like Jonah, don’t always obey God and what he asks of us either, especially when it might feel hard to us or scary. But just like Jonah and Nineveh, we can also be so thankful for a God of mercy, forgiveness, and love. What a great reminder to me to do a better job of being that to others who hurt me too.
Thank you Jesus for dying to take away my sins!
FOR THIS WEEK’S ACTIVITY, MAKE SURE YOU WATCH THE VIDEO OF MRS. WIENEKE IN THE BIG FISH. She has a special request in the video of how you “free” Jonah from the fish. Don’t worry…you won’t have to spit him out.☺ You might need some help from your parents on some of these steps.
Step 1: You have a piece of paper with two stick figures. This is your Jonah. One you will end up being put in the balloon and one you can use to tell part of the story if you would like.
Step 2: To make the cutting a bit easier, you can cut Jonah out either way below.
Step 3: Fold either Jonah as tight as you can. You will only need to fold one Jonah.
Step 4: Carefully put the folded Jonah in the balloon.
Step 5: Blow up and tie the balloon with Jonah in it. You now have Jonah in the belly of the fish!
Step 6: Cut out the fins and the tail. I added lines but feel free to color or decorate as much or as little as you want.
Step 7: Grab some scotch tape at home (or whatever tape you have) and tape the two fins to the bottom of the balloon and the tail to the back of the balloon by where you tied it.
Step 8: If you have a permanent marker at home, draw a face on your fish too. Fantastic job!!
The fun is not over! When you are ready (and you might want to keep your fish in your house for a few days since it’s so cute), make sure you watch the video to see what you are supposed to do next.
Written by people you worship with at St Matthew.
God Loves Your Enemies
By Pastor Matthew Starner
Jonah 4:10-11: And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”
Whether you think about it or not, we’ve all got some sort of enemy. Maybe not quite an enduring arch nemesis who is actively plotting against you, spending their days and nights twirling their mustache and scheming to take you down. Maybe they’re more along the lines of a hater – someone who is jealous of you or critical of you. Someone who competes with you or just finds all the ways to get under your skin. (I hear this is how U of M and State fans feel about each other.)
Regardless of the degree to which they’re your enemy, they’re out there and they make your life a little less pleasant than it otherwise would be.
Jonah and the Israelites felt this way about the people of Nineveh. The Ninevites were enemies of Israel. They were an evil and brutal empire and when Jonah gets the call from God to go tell the people to repent or God would destroy them, Jonah thinks this is a no-brainer. If he doesn’t tell them, his enemies will be destroyed. Who wouldn’t want to see their enemies get what’s coming to them?
You probably know the rest of the story. Jonah runs from God, tries to avoid his calling by having himself thrown overboard into the sea to die but God saves him in the grossest and weirdest way possible. Then, and only then, does Jonah halfheartedly do what he was asked to do and preaches the weakest sermon ever, barely setting foot in the giant city. But for all of Jonah’s lack of effort, the people of Nineveh respond to God’s Word and they repent. So God spares them.
If the story ended there, it would be an inspiring story of a reluctant servant who ended up doing what he was asked and a whole city was spared.
But then there’s chapter four…
In the 11 short verses of Jonah chapter 4, we see Jonah struggling to come to grips with a fact that we too probably struggle with: God loves our enemies as much as He loves us. In fact, God loves the whole world – enough that He sent Jesus to live, die, and rise for everyone who ever has lived and will live. Even the people that we don’t get along with or like very much – God loves them as much as He loves you. He desires to see them repent and turn to Him just like He wants that for you. God reasons with Jonah, but Jonah is blinded by his hatred of his enemies.
The book of Jonah ends with a question mark. Shouldn’t God care for the people of Nineveh? We never get a response from Jonah, but it wouldn’t matter if we did because it’s a rhetorical question. Of course God cares for Nineveh! He cares for all of His creation! And we, like Jonah, get to share that love with the world around us – even with our enemies.