Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: God is calling us to ministry, will we follow Him or sit by and watch?

I’m Calling You

Mark 1:16-20

January 8, 2012

Most of us really enjoy the routine things in life. It helps us feel a sense of stability. And we need to have things in life that aren’t forever changing, since so much in life is changing around us. While the routine things are good, too much of the same old routine can get very old, and lead us to feel like we’re in a rut. Sometimes we want to break out of that same old routine. After all, the routine things in life are -- routine.

Let me tell you about one man who became tired of the routine things in life. His name is Larry Walters. Larry was a truck driver in Los Angeles and he had a Saturday routine. He would get out his lawn chair, drink some cold beverages, have a snack and sit in his lawn chair enjoying the sun. That was it.

Larry became tired of this routine, he decided to do something adventurous. Larry wanted to see what it looked like about 100 feet above his home. So he purchased 45 helium weather balloons and got his neighbors to help him anchor his lawn chair into the ground. This is a picture of his chair. He had milk bottles filled with water, to be used as weights.

He made some sandwiches, had his cold beverages and brought along a pellet gun so he could shoot out balloons so he could have a smooth descent. Here’s another picture of Larry on his chair and just after lift off. At the appointed time, his neighbors cut the anchor and Larry went up to 100 feet. But there was a problem . . . he didn’t stop at 100 feet. He went up . . . and he went up . . . and he went up. Larry eventually reached the height of 16,000 feet in the air. In fact, Larry traveled into the approach pattern for Los Angeles airport. Pilots reported seeing a man in a lawn chair and balloons floating in the air. All airplanes were diverted around Larry. You may wonder about his sandwiches, drinks and gun . . . Larry was too afraid to let go of the chair.

Eventually, he found the nerve to shoot out some of the balloons, but then dropped his gun, and finally he floated back to the ground, got tangled in some electrical wires, and part of Long Beach lost power. Before he was arrested, reporters asked him why he did this, his response, “well you can’t just sit there.”

Obviously, don’t try this one at home, and while I wouldn’t do this, it’s obvious that there was something stirring deep in his heart. He went about it the wrong way, but for Larry, there was more to life than just sitting in that lawn chair.*

His story led me to think about our story! No, I don’t think we’ve had anyone take that type of a balloon ride, but what kind of chair are you sitting in? Or let me ask it another, “what’s stirring in your heart? Is anything stirring in your heart?”

Too often, we’re just plain comfortable, we like sitting in our comfy chairs. We get all wrapped up and get nice and cozy and warm, and when you’re that way, who really wants to move. We’re just comfy. And there are times, when we should get nice and comfy and cozy, but when God is calling us, are we willing to get up and get going, even if we don’t know where that final destination is; or maybe we hear the call, but we’re just not willing to go.

In Mark 1, Jesus called His first disciples. Listen to this story . . .

16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.

17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.

19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets.

20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Jesus called them, told them something really bizarre for fishermen, they wouldn’t be catching fish any longer, and what do they do? They don’t question, they don’t try to rationalize it, they just get up, drop their nets, leave their boats, leave their occupations and follow Jesus.

Think about the situation these first disciples lived in — they were under Roman persecution, they were paying high taxes, with nothing to show for it. Their money wasn’t being put aside in a 401K for retirement. The temple was demanding money and offerings, maybe they felt bored and trapped by what was going on. There was no way out. Have you ever felt that way? Maybe you feel that way right now.

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