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A Compelling Invitation...oughta make one stop and think

Every time Jesus steps into our path, we have a choice—follow him or act like it never happened. Sometimes God endeavors to get our attention by putting a person in our path who speaks our language or asks us a question that makes us think. Sometimes God allows a difficult circumstance that we can learn from or wakes us up with the thought ‘Where am I going? What am I doing? There must be something more!’ God gets our attention in different ways, but always leaves us with a choice of how we will respond. Many moons ago, I read a book that I cherish to this day. At the time, all four kids were at home, varying ages and grades in school, life was full. . . and I was driven by a passionate desire to make my life count for God. In the wee hours of the morning, I diligently studied how to ascertain God’s will for next steps in my life. The takeaway from that book: watch to see where God is working and join him there.1 In today’s passage in Mark 1, we see some folks make up their minds to risk it all, and do just that. Mark does not transition us with a lot of detail or explanations in his gospel. Rather he 'writes with a paintbrush...' and compared with the other three gospel writers, requires 'readers to enter into the drama of the Gospel in order to understand its meaning.'2 The Scripture: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1.15 Clearly, Jesus is now on mission. With the little village of Nazareth in his rearview mirror, Jesus sets his course to the Galilee region that will be his new home base. Note: throughout the gospels, it seems that there are two places where Jesus finds comfort and solace: around the Sea of Galilee3 and on a nearby mountainside. I guess I’m a little like Jesus then! I love being near the water—whether ocean or lake or river or the seashore; it just grounds me. Similarly, being in the mountains fills my soul as well. Jesus felt the same way – just sayin’. Come with me to the shore of the beautiful lake, [pictured] as Jesus issues a compelling invitation to four men. Mark writes: “As He was going along the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will have you become fishers of people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. And going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, who were also in the boat mending the nets. Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and went away to follow Him.” Mark 1.16-20 We know through the other gospels that word was out about Jesus—the rabbi who taught like no other, offering a hope that people desperately needed as they awaited the Messiah who would free them from their despair. But here's the thing – Jesus issues the same invitation to you and me today. And as always, we have a choice to follow him or look the other way. While our circumstances today are quite different than those of the first century Galileans who were living in despair awaiting the Messiah to come and save them, our world is just as desperately in need of a Savior. Let me have your attention for a minute: it is no accident that there is a move of God that started in our GenZers4 a couple weeks ago, just before The Jesus Revolution movie had been scheduled for release this past weekend. Knock, knock. Jesus calling. Two things: our young people are desperate for the truth of a God who loves them beyond measure and the reasonable faith that is laid out in Scripture! Our country as a whole is literally sick from 'looking within to find happiness' and from 'living their own truth, creating their own meaning.' That experiment has failed! Time for something based on truth - biblical truth that conforms to reality. You know, those four fishermen Jesus called that day lacked most of what we esteem today--education, wealth, power or position--yet they were wise enough to respond to the most compelling invitation ever made: Follow me. How about you? Today I'm wondering if you will step a little closer to the Rabbi, I'm wonderingif you will join me in praying that he will continue to draw young people to himself as he has begun to do these last weeks... oh and I wonder if you might go see the Jesus Revolution movie and perhaps take a 20 year old with you. It is a true story, a God story. Brilliant. Follow me...a compelling invitation that oughta' make you stop and think. I'm praying for you, Christine compelling song: be blessed! 1 – Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God. I read it in the spring of 2001. 2 - James R. Edwards, The Gospel according to Mark, The Pillar New Testament Commentary Eerdmans, 2002, p. 13 3 – The Sea of Galilee is not a sea at all; it is a large freshwater lake that’s almost 13 miles long, 8 miles wide, and ranges from 80 to 160 feet deep 4 - Gen Z: anyone born after 1997

^^the shore where Jesus called the disciples^^

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