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Friday, April 17, 2009

Three bears outhouses
Outhouses for sale near New Holland, PA
(We never know what we will come across in our travels!)

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"A Fishing Story"

"I'm going out to fish" (John 21:3).

Striped bass from Chesapeake BayI'm not an avid fisherman but if the opportunity comes up I will sure join others. Several years ago I went with a group of friends on a fishing trip to Chesapeake Bay for striped bass and it was quite pleasurable because we were catching lots of fish!

Today I want to share another type of fishing story that took place on the Sea of Galilee headed up by Peter, who of course had a vocational background as a fisherman.

I wonder what that first "workweek" following the resurrection was like for the disciples of Christ.  What a tremendous weekend it had been. On Resurrection evening Christ had come right into their meeting.  I'm sure the emotional thrills of the events of Resurrection Sunday were still very real in their hearts.  What an incredible "WOW" day it had been. 

Sea of Galilee (photo by Chaucee Stillman)

But John 21 records a fishing story that took place on Lake Galilee after Christ had appeared to his disciples.  I encourage you to read the entire account in John.* It happened sometime between the week after the resurrection and the Ascension.

Peter and six of the disciples were together.  It was just an ordinary day. I suppose they were waiting for further instructions from the Lord and perhaps wondered, like we often do, "What's next?"

I sense a restlessness in Peter as he says, "I'm going out to fish."  I can identify with that. Waiting when the directions aren't clear can be very hard for many of us.

The other disciples said, "We'll go with you."  Well it's sure nice to have company when your fishing. I wonder what these men were experiencing in their hearts.  Were they dealing with the reality of living their lives on an ordinary day after such a WOW day?  Was there sort of a letdown feeling?

They fished all night but didn't catch anything. That sure must have been very discouraging. I know there are those who say they enjoy fishing because it's relaxing and peaceful just being out in nature. But for me, and many others, when I go fishing I want to catch fish!

But Jesus met them the next morning and everything changed. (I'll write about that Monday.)

The church has had several what I call "WOW" days; such as the day of the resurrection, the day of the Ascension and the day of Pentecost.  The next universal WOW day will be the day when Jesus returns.  But since Resurrection Day some 721,000 days have come and gone with men and women living and dying for this resurrected Christ.  The vast majority have been normal days.

But we have our personal "WOW" days as well.  Spiritually it includes events like our conversion to Christ and baptism, perhaps for those like me, ordination to Christian ministry, which took place nearly 30 years ago on May 8, 1979 in York Pennsylvania.  WOW type days are also our wedding, a graduation or the birth of a child. Sometimes WOW days are painful like the day I received news that my Mom had a serious fall resulting in a life-altering brain injury while visiting my brother in California.

Local churches have WOW days as well. Perhaps the dedication of a new building or the installation of a pastor. But I especially consider those times when the Holy Spirit moves through the congregation in a significant way.

But the vast majority of our days are ordinary in which we make a daily decision to follow and obey Christ, no matter what the present circumstances are and not based upon how we feel that day. That's the real key to a steadfast, fruitful, victorious, abundant and lasting life of service for our Lord.  Every day, let us determine that like Joshua, we will wholeheartedly serve the Lord!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Jesus, the events that took place in Bethlehem's manger, at Calvary's cross and in the empty tomb where Your body laid for three days supersedes any commemorative event in history.  We look to the past where we witness Your sovereign power at work in the midst of ordinary people on those WOW days.  And now, as we go about our daily routine of working, caring for our families, and living responsible Christian lives we are filled with anticipation for the greatest promise yet to be fulfilled, the next WOW day.   This supreme event will take place when You come down from heaven, and with the trumpet call of God, You first call the faithful ones who have died.  Then those of us who are still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet You in the air.  What extra-ordinary encouragement this brings me today on an otherwise ordinary day. 

Note: Many people attend church especially on Easter Sunday; some perhaps to honor their praying parents, spouse, or children and others as a traditional religious custom.  Perhaps they were moved by the message and the powerful and lively refrain to a great Resurrection hymn such as "He Lives" which many congregations sing with great exuberance.

But where's their heart today, after we celebrate the reality of the resurrection and worship the ever-living Lord Jesus Christ?  I wonder what would happen if all the people who showed up for services at churches this last weekend really became committed, active followers of Christ. I have a feeling the world would be considerably different!

* Here is the entire account of the fishing trip recorded in today's message John 21:1-14

Photo of Sorbert Lemon Chiffon Viola

In the eastern part of Lancaster County there is a nursery that has been growing Azaleas, Rhododendrons and other plants continuously since 1922. It is so beautiful. My favorite photo is of this Sorbert Lemon Chiffon Viola. (Click here to enlarge photo).

Witness sign: "Calvary Covers It All"

Yesterday we passed
this interesting sign in New Holland Pennsylvania. My brother gave me a book that chronicles interesting witness signs and we have plenty of them around here!

I find this sign interesting due to how it may be misinterpreted. Many of us raised in the Christian faith know what Calvary is (where Christ died) and that the phrase "Calvary Covers It All" is the title to a grand old hymn. But I wonder, especially in light of the business, if there are those who might think Calvary is the brand name for a new cleaning product!

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.

"Today I Choose"  Video

"Calvary Covers It All"
Video  This is the song the sign above is proclaiming!

Finally let me share a photo of my friend Rick Steudler and his prize catch!
Palomino trout caught in Pine Creek PA by Rick Steudler
 Palomino Trout caught in Pine Creek PA

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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