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Summary: Jesus will meet us at what ever level our love and commitment. It is time for us to hit the stop button and to get off of the "Guilt" Merry-Go-Round. It is time to move forward in the faith and to be conformed into the image of Christ.

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For those unfamiliar with an Anglican Service there are four Scripture readings before the message. Today’s readings were: Acts 9:1-20; Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11-14 and John 21:1-19.

The Prairie Home Companion tells a story ... of a man ... from Lake Wobegon.

He would come to the altar time after time ... and weep buckets of tears ... then come back the very next Sunday ... and do same thing.

Larry Sorensen ... kept repenting and repenting ... but somehow ... he couldn't get beyond ... the repenting stage.

Larry could not believe that Jesus ... would totally forgive him.

The guilt of all he had done ... caused him .... to be unable ... to forgive himself.

Instead of being free from guilt ... and moving on, ... he came to church week after week ... constantly feeling guilty.

He could not get off the guilt merry-go-round.

He could not move on from his guilt.

Today's Gospel text ... points to a person who Jesus had called ... to be ... a fisher of men.

He often blurting out things ... without thinking them through.

At times he would take some hasty action ... or saying something ... that he surely regretted later.

And his denial of the Lord ... must have weighed heavy ... on his heart.

He said he would never deny him ... even if the others did.

Yet ... he did deny him... three times.

He probably thought he was permanently disqualified from ever doing the Lord's work ... again.

Near the beginning of this chapter Simon Peter states: ... "I'm going fishing."

He is returning to his old life ... His life ... prior to knowing Jesus.

He leaves with the weight of guilt ... hanging heavy ... on his shoulders.

His Yoke ... is very heavy.

He probably has replayed the tape of his denial of the Lord ... over and over again in his mind.

It was all ... just too hard. (Long Pause)

There was a man trying to cross the street.

As he steps off the curb ... a car comes screaming around the corner ... and heads straight for him.

The man walks faster, ... trying to hurry across the street, ... but the car changes lanes ... it is still coming directly ... at him.

So the man turns around to go back, ... but the car changes lanes ... yet again ... and is still coming ... straight toward him.

The man is so scared ... that he just freezes ... and stops ... in the middle of the road.

The car then swerves at the last possible moment and screeches to a halt right next him.

The driver rolls down the window.

The driver is a squirrel.

The squirrel says: ... "See, it's not as easy as it looks?"(Pause)

Beloved ... It is not as easy as it looks ... when you are trying to forgive yourself ... for something ... that you have done wrong.

At times there are certain things you look back on in your life ... that you punish yourself with ... over and over.

At times ... they seem almost impossible ... to overcome.

So ... What can we glean from our text ... that will help us to get past those things ... that are keeping us chained ... to the past?

First and foremost, ... we need to be reminded ... that it was Jesus ... who initiated the encounter.

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