it's always good to be reminded....

Last night was the 1 year anniversary of 1021 (our young adult bible study here at LifeHouse). It was awesome to think back on the year of all the fun times we've had, all the ways God has changed us, and all the relationships we've built. I look amongst those people and find some of my treasured friends... not to mention my husband (who I met through 1021). A year ago when my friend Jimmy met with me, Mike, and Sheri, we would have never imagined all that God would accomplish. What was really cool last night though was God's simple reminder... The reminder of His invation to simply "come away" with Him... to "follow Him"....
Last night we finished up our study on the book of John. Today, as I've reflected on John 21, one piece has stood out to me so much... the interaction between Jesus and Peter.
To sum up the interaction Jesus, who has resurrected from the grave but not yet ascended to Heaven, is approaching Peter who has gone out fishing. Jesus is simply questioning Peter... "Do you love me?" Of course Jesus knows the answer to this. What I've found that Jesus asks us questions not so He can know the answer but so that we can. Jesus uses this time with Peter to remind him that he is changed and he will now pastor people and his life should look differently than it did before. He also foreshadows that Peter is going to die a martyr of the Gospel.... and then Jesus finishes with "Follow Me."
If you rewind a little and go back to Peter's initial calling, it's pretty similar...
Matthew 4.18-20: "While walking by the Sea of Galilee, He(Jesus) saw two brothers, Simon(who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for the were fishermen. And He said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
So we find Peter... fishing... being invited to follow Jesus.
It's interesting that after 3 years with Jesus, what Peter chose to do (along with the other disciples) was fish. Jesus had died, been buried, resurrected and they were going back to their comfort zone. Now please don't get me wrong... I'm not putting down the disciples... I'm relating with the disciples... see I'm a HUGE fan of the comfort zone. If you've read my blog, you know... I'm not adventurous or spontaneos by nature. I like my usual. I have favorites... and most days, I stick to them. And that's simply what these disciples were doing. But I love how God kindly reminds Peter of His beautiful invitation... "Follow Me."
The first time Jesus invited Peter to do this, Peter had no idea who Jesus was... I'm sure he never dreamed he'd spend 3 years in contant communication with the Messiah of the world... that he would hear the teachings and preachings of the Son of God.... that he would be so intimately close with this Man that his life would never be the same... or that he'd watch him die a brutual death to then raise up 3 days later and conquer sin and death for eternity. Think of all that Peter would have missed out on.
Now here Peter is again.... right before Jesus is to ascend to Heaven... given the same invitation... "Follow Me." Jesus doesn't sugar coat it... He doesn't promise it will be easy, comfortable, or a day fishing on the sea... He even clues Peter in that he will die because of his faith. But He invites him to simply follow... to be a part in God's plan... to pastor God's people... to have an eternal impact on the Church.
It's amazing how even those closest to Jesus needed reminding of their invitation, purpose, and call. We all do sometimes. When I look back at all the times in the last few years that I felt God inviting "Follow Me" and I think of the outcome of the times I said yes... I am blown away. Even just looking back at the year of 1021... what if Jimmy has dismissed God's tug... oh what we would have missed out on. Our call in life isn't to settle in to our comfort zone or to return back to the person we were before we knew Christ. Our purpose isn't to just survive day to day and try to find ways to be happy. Our call, our purpose, is to every day, in every moment, accept the invitation to Follow Him. I know I will always have days that I "go back to fishing" or that I am simply to scared of the outcome. But my desire for myself and for you is that we will say "YES." That He will invite "Follow Me" and we will with joy and excitement say "YES."
Maybe you're reading this and you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus and you feel like you need to say YES. Maybe you feel like God is calling you to start serving in your church. Or maybe you've been distant from God and you need to return. Maybe God's calling you father/husband to lead your family differently or calling you mother/wife to care for your home differently. Maybe He's leading you to be in ministry as a job or be a missionary. Or maybe He's simply asking you to jump on board for anything He puts in your path. Whatever circumstance you find yourself in, Jesus is calling... "Follow Me."
And the only correct answer is YES.
We finished our time last night with a song we've grown to love at 1021. A song that expresses the invitation that you and are so graciously offered...
"Come away with Me. Come away with Me. It's never too late. It's not late. It's not too late for  you.
I have a plan for you. I have a plan for you. It's gonna be wild. It's gonna be great. It's gonna be full of Me. Open up your heart and let me in."



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