Recap of last week's youth group message plus an exclusive cliff hanger for next week!:
Last week we embarked on a new series, "Follow Me." In Matthew 4:18-20 Jesus calls his first disciples, "As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a new into the lake, for they were fishermen. 'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will make you fishers of men.' At once they left their nets and followed him."
Think of your favorite movie. Now, think of your favorite movie character. Is this movie one about a man who watches some TV, goes to school, plays a sport, comes home, realizes his jeans are getting worn out, and spends the rest of the movie seeking a way to get a new pair of jeans? Would a climax about a new pair of Gap jeans being purchased cause you to leave a theater satisfied and inspired or ranting about wanting you money back? And what about your favorite character? Is he or she a character that is seeking comfort at whatever cost, not willing to sacrifice for a goal, unwilling to stop to help other characters? Would a character like this ever be considered worth admiring?
I'm sure there are a few movies that you like that are not epic, and that are not inspiring. But, if we think of our lives as a movie, chances are an epic and inspiring movie with a noble and lovable character would be more desirable. A character that maybe starts of living an ordinary life, who is thrown into an incredible story and through that story is transformed into an aspiring man or woman is a character that is worth rooting for. Maybe we're settling too much in our lives...perhaps there are more epic stories waiting for us if we just drop our nets and follow Jesus.
Think of the disciples. These men were fishermen. Day in and day out they went to the sea, cast their nets, and dragged in whatever haul there was that day. This is a similar story to a lot of our lives. We go through the motions of what we are expected to do. Jesus offers another way of living.
In John 10:10, Jesus promises that he offers "life to the full." He has come to give those who choose to follow him the fullest life possible. He promises to lead us to the story that the God of the universe has written for us.
The beginning of a story, before any action starts, is called the "inciting incident." The inciting incident is an experience that causes the character to jump into the story. Something happens, and the character chooses to run toward the unknown, away from the comfort of routine into a real story. Have you had an inciting incident yet?
Jesus' invitation to follow him is out there today. He offers it to each of us. We have to make a choice. Do you choose to leave worldly comfort to wholeheartedly follow Jesus, who offers us life to the full? Or do you flee to comfort that eventually will lead only to death?
This week, be reflective. Are you following Jesus? Or are you still hanging back holding onto a net...onto being "normal"?
Sneak peak for next week: Once we jump into this story, what happens? What characters do we become? If we follow Jesus, where does that lead? Jesus lived a life centered on forgiveness and mercy. How do we as his followers live this out today? If we do, is it really living fully?