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More Than Just a Big Fish Story

Steve Ranney, Pastor


One of the most dramatic stories in the Old Testament is the story of Jonah.  It is the story of a man who was instructed by God to do something that he did not want to do.  Rather than obey God’s direction in his life, he goes down to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and buys passage on a ship that is going the opposite direction.  In order to get Jonah’s attention, God sends a huge storm that threatens to destroy the ship.  Jonah realizes that he is the cause of the storm and tells the captain that in order to save the ship, they must throw Jonah into the sea.  When they finally do, God sends a large fish (most likely a whale) to collect him.  While in the belly of the whale, Jonah repents and agrees to do what God has asked him to do, and he is then taken back to the shore and ejected from the fish.  That is usually where my Sunday School teacher stopped the story, along with a lesson to always obey what God tells you to do and with the addition that you can not run away from God.  The problem is that this story is just the set-up for what the Book of Jonah was written to teach the people of Israel and us.  The big message of the Book of Jonah comes in the last two chapters.


That is why this month we will spend three weeks looking at this amazing Book of the Bible.  Starting on July 9, we will walk with Jonah on that long and winding road to Nineveh and, through him, try to hear the powerful lesson that God was trying to teach him.  Along the way, I think that we will find that this is much more than just a big fish story.  Join us, either in person or pick up the sermons on line at



Meet Steve Ranney


As we welcome our new Pastor, Steve Ranney, here is a little information to help us get to know him better:


  • Married to Kim Skilling who is a graduate of Princeton Seminary, is celebrating over 30 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and is now the Designated Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Anaheim

  • Two sons and a daughter and two grandchildren.

  • B.A. in Ministry from Northwestern College in Roseville, Minnesota.

  • Master of Divinity from Denver Seminary.

  • Doctor of Ministry in Preaching from McCormick Seminary.

  • Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1991.

  • Associate Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church of Centennial, Colorado, 1991–2006.

  • Pastor/Head of Staff of St. Mark Presbyterian Church of Ballwin, Missouri, 2006–2015.

  • Steve seeks to lead both by example and by challenging people to use the gifts that God has given them for the building up of the body of Christ.  Thus, Steve's main focus is helping each person grow up in their relationship with God so that God will be able to bless others through them.






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