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Summary: This is a fun sermon to preach! God’s call extends from the ordinary (apostles) to the extraordinary (Jonah). Many times God calls us through the subtlety of invitation as in this text. We are invited to go and do likewise.

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Mark 1: 14-20

January 26, 2000

Paonia United Methodist Church

How many of you watch the news?

Have you seen the case being brought against McDonalds

That eating their food makes you fat?

Duh!

Of course it does… that’s what makes it taste good.

Thankfully, that case was dismissed this week,

But still has the possibility of being retried in a federal court.

Its staggering even to my imagination…

And I have a pretty good imagination.

People can sue one another over just about anything.

This also carries over to what we say when we open our mouths.

Say the wrong thing, at the wrong time, to the wrong person,

and chances are, you can be sued.

Now, interestingly enough, because of this threat

Employers are very careful about what they put on a recommendation

When an employee leaves.

Therefore, a new tactic has been employed.

This new tactic is to assign mediocre and ambiguous praise

Leaving the reader the responsibility to read in between the lines

And decipher what is actually being said.

Someone has compiled a list of "intentionally ambiguous job recommendations."

First the recommendation and then the translation:

Recommendation: While he worked with us, he was given numerous citations.

Translation: He was arrested several times.

Recommendation: I most enthusiastically recommend this person with no

qualifications whatsoever.

Translation: "This person HAS no qualifications whatsoever."

Recommendation: "I’m sorry we let him get away."

Translation: "We should have had him prosecuted."

Recommendation: Given the opportunity, I am certain that he will quickly

forge a name for himself within your company.

Translation: "Don’t leave any blank checks lying around."

Recommendation: All in all, I cannot recommend her too highly.

Translation: "In fact, I cannot recommend her at all."

With all the litigation in this day and age,

And people afraid to write the truth for fear of being sued,

It makes for a difficult time finding good help.

And that is what I want to talk about today.

What does it take to find good help these days.

Now last week, we heard about the calling of Samuel, Phillip, and Nathaniel.

We saw two very different extremes in God’s hiring process.

If you remember the calling of Samuel,

Samuel literally stood in the presence of God and heard him speak to him…

Very dramatic to say the least.

The came the call of Philip and Nathaniel.

Again, if you remember the story,

You will recall that the most memorable part of the story is its

Total lack of drama.

It was very low keyed and ordinary.

And, if you remember,

We learned that both calls were just as real and valid

Even if they were so completely and totally different.

Well today, we reenter God’s hiring process as we see two very different examples

Of God’s call.

1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me."

3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD .


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