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Monday, April 17, 2023

Sand sculpture

"A Fishing Story" (Part 1)

Message summary: Every day, let us determine that we will wholeheartedly serve the Lord on both the WOW days and the ordinary days!

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

I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

For many the first day of trout season has great significance. This year it was April 1st and our neighbor Doug was determined to go in spite of some inevitable challenges of aging. He is near 80 and has not missed the first day of trout season since he was 15. That's 65 straight years, never missing! We've met a lot of devoted fishermen over the years, who do it for recreation and relaxation. But today let's consider a different kind of fishing trip where the fishermen caught fish for a living. This trip took place after the first Easter.

Many people attend church services to express their devout faith in the resurrected Christ on Easter Sunday. Others go as a reminder of their childhood or to please family members. What would happen if all the people that showed up for church on Easter Sunday really became committed believers, active in their church, and shining lights in their community. We expect that the world would be considerably different!

Of course it's great to see the church full, but where are these same Easter "followers" on Monday and the days that follow? Perhaps they were moved by the message and the powerful musical reminders that Christ is alive. But where's their heart the next day(s), after we celebrate the reality of the resurrection and worship the ever-living Lord Jesus Christ?

The first miraculous account of Resurrection Sunday changed everything. Still very fresh and energizing, it's possible that Peter and John or other disciples retold this account over and over as they stood by the city well greeting the townspeople who had gathered to draw water. What an incredible power-packed "WOW" day it had been, especially when contrasting it with what appeared to be a powerless, spiritual defeat only three days earlier.

But John 21 records an interesting event that took place after Christ had appeared to his disciples twice. It happened sometime between the week following the resurrection and Christ's ascension 40 days later. Peter and six of the disciples were together and it was just an ordinary day. Perhaps there was a restlessness in Peter as he says, "I'm going out to fish".

The other disciples said, "We'll go with you". 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? They fished all night but didn't catch anything. (That sure must have been very discouraging.)  But Jesus met them the next morning and everything changed. (More about that in tomorrow's message.)

The church has had several universal "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 when Jesus returns. Since Resurrection Day some 726,350 days have gone by with men and women living and dying for this resurrected Christ.

We all have our personal "WOW" days as well. Spiritually it includes events like our conversion to Christ. It also includes days like our wedding, a graduation or birth of a child.

But the vast majority of our days are ordinary in which we make a daily decision to follow and obey Christ, no matter the present circumstances or how we might 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 we will wholeheartedly serve the Lord!

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
No turning back, no turning back.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying man
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.  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. This supreme event will take place when You come down from heaven and, with the trumpet call of God, You first raise up 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 us today on an otherwise ordinary day.

And yet there are many living in extra-ordinary times where their lives are laid on the line for simply trying to live an ordinary life choosing You as their Master and Savior. The enemies of the cross did not come to an end when You were slain, but the generations follow even to our day, determined to stamp out any who proclaim You as their Lord and Savior. We pray for the families and loved ones of the many innocent believers in recent months, weeks and days who have been martyred and others rejected and abused because they choose to devote themselves to the risen Christ. The Crown of Life they receive in heaven, for remaining faithful to the end, will make the atrocities of this life appear as an early flight to their eternal home. We devote ourselves to You, our risen Savior and Lord, during ordinary and extra-ordinary times. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Follow You Anywhere" Click to listen on YouTube  Passion, Kristian Stanfill

I (Brooksyne) was so deeply moved in my spirit when we sang this song yesterday in our church service. I paused my singing voice and checked my inner spirit when the words came up, "I'll follow You anywhere, wherever You lead me, whatever it costs me, all I want is You". I pray that if I am put to the test I really am willing to pay the cost, no matter the price tag, as those who are willing to lay down their life rather than deny Christ. It's a convicting song and speaks to the heart. It's a song of devotion based upon conviction. May I be so convicted that I will give Jesus my all!

"Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me"  Click to listen on YouTube  Selah

Pink heartbreaker tree
We had a bit of rain this weekend and our view really started to green-up. The tree in the foreground is a gift from Don Eaton, a tree farmer friend. It's called a Heart-breaker Weeping Redbud. Flowers are grouped in clusters held tightly against the stems and branches, that create purplish pink outlines of the branching structure announcing that spring has arrived!

Donegal Springs
Donegal Springs is the source of Donegal Creek

Dan Rice with worship team
Yesterday one of our worship leaders was Dan Rice (L), who grew up in St. Marys, PA where we planted a church (1977-1993). His father, Frank Rice, pastored another church in St. Marys as well. After his retirement it turns out we both ended up attending the same church and he was also a Sunday School teacher in another Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF) class before his death several months ago.

Watching pets
When we're outside and the dogs are still inside we have a captive audience, just waiting for their invitation to join us.

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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