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Monday, August 22, 2011

Martin Farm Pond
Martin Farm Pond
I was to have preached from one of the small boats seen in the right of the photo.

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"Come, Follow Me"

"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps"  (I Peter 2:21).

Yesterday I was invited to speak at a "Galilean Service", a first for me. Neither Brooksyne or I have heard of such a service since these were not common in other regions where we have lived. Essentially the speaker preaches from a boat to the congregation gathered by the side of the water, similar to Christ preaching from a boat on the Sea Of Galilee.

The last time I recall being in a small, non-powered boat was some 25 years ago on a canoe trip down the Clarion River in northern Pennsylvania. I was young and relatively thin at the time and was assigned to ride in the front with a rather large friend who sat in the back of the canoe (about twice my weight). That created some balance problems on the canoe and we had quite a time staying on top of the water rather than capsizing into the river.  But I survived to tell the story and there are those reading this who will probably recall that odd sight. 

I am not sure why I was asked to preach at the Galilean service. I would like to think it's because I'm an interesting speaker, but as I was talking to Brooksyne and Ester they suggested it was due to my booming voice which can easily be heard from a boat (no mic needed).  Or perhaps I'd stir some excitement as I tried to maintain my balance standing in a small swaying rowboat! Much to my disappointment and others, thunderstorms overruled our plans forcing us to hold the service in a church fellowship hall so, at fifty-six years of age, I have yet to preach from a boat.

There were a number of ministry experiences Jesus and his disciples had as they traveled on the Sea of Galilee, in addition to those times Jesus preached from the boat as others sat on the seaside.

Christ's call to the first disciples as He walked along the Galilean seaside indicated early in His ministry His desire to connect by means of communication.  You see, Peter and his brother Andrew were fishermen.  When Christ called out to them and said, "I will make you fishers of men" He had their attention.  Several years later Peter cast a wide Gospel net on the day of Pentecost and brought in a huge catch, demonstrating his Spirit-enabled proficiency as a "fisher of men".

Christ said to them, "Come, follow me". In his letter Peter expresses the follow theme, calling his initial readers and all to
"follow in His steps."  This phrase was the basis for Charles Sheldon's Christian Classic, "In His Steps".

Now certainly I believe it's appropriate for us to heed God's call to be "fishers of men", but I want you to consider another element of the text today; how we communicate timeless truths to a spiritually blind and Biblically illiterate world.  In calling Peter and Andrew, Christ used words and concepts they could understand.

Today I urge you to allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in finding ways to reach the hearts of those whom you meet as you "walk beside the sea". May He also give you the words to clearly communicate the message of Christ's salvation to all who will hear.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, just as You called the fishermen, tax collectors, and other commoners to be "fishers of men" You also call and equip us to reach the lost men and women of our day.  May our hearts be filled with compassion and our spirits charged with faith as we prayerfully seek to make a difference in our own generation.  It is not by our own might, our talents, or our power, but it is by Your Spirit that we can effectively reach the lost.  Help us to be faithful in doing so. We pray in Your name.  Amen.

Today is my spiritual birthday. Forty years ago I accepted Christ at a rally in Kansas City Missouri with Evangelist Lowell Lunsdrom preaching. Today I renew my commitment to follow Christ!

Amish drive through banking
We enjoy sharing interesting sights we encounter during the course of our travels. I don't suppose too many of you follow a buggy through your local bank drive-through.
If you do, watch out for the exhaust emissions!

Amish hay raking 8/18/11
We never weary of seeing the Amish working in the field. This farmer is raking hay, a job I recall doing back in my college days on a farm outside of Springfield, MO. However I was driving a tractor not a team of horses!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Paul Grabill"Paul Grabill... His Life and Legacy"  Video  Last week I wrote concerning the passing of Paul Grabill, a long-time minister friend. I see that his son posted the actual video tribute presentation used during the service for Paul. This was a very moving part of the service. I post this video especially for readers who may know Paul, but frankly it's so well done with background music that it will bless even those who did not know him. As I have shared Paul was my age, married his wife Arline the same year Brooksyne and I were married (1976), and also served in vocational ministry so that helps me relate all the more to his earthly journey. The selection of photos is outstanding and I especially appreciate the fact that it includes some from Paul's last days here on earth which provide some real "that's the way life is" perspective. You may find yourself weeping. His celebration service was an outstanding reminder of living and dying well in service for Christ.

"I Will Make You Fishers Of Men"  Video  Following my message last night John Keefer, the host pastor, had us all sing this song we probably recall from our childhood days (or from teaching children). It sounded beautiful!

"Rise And Follow Me"  Video  Rhonda Vincent  I tend to enjoy the Bluegrass sound!

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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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