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Summary: This generation seeks a sign, no sign will be given to it.The California Gold Rush and King Xerxes are used for examples.

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WANT TO SEE GOD WORK?

JESUS SERIES VI: THOSE WHO WANT A SIGN

INTRO: Before we look into what makes God work (and there is really no exact way, there is no way God will fit into a box), we will take a look at what does NOT make God work.

A SIGN: I was chatting a way back with a friend on facebook. The gist of his message was he was seeking a sign, and essentially if God would only give him a sign, then he would believe in Christ. But the problem with that thinking is that God is not a genie granting wishes for our convenience, and more than likely had already shown himself in this mans life and he missed it.

BIBLE VERSE: Matthew 12:39

12:39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

Two points makes this clear. First, God does what He wants to when He wants to, not what we want him to when we want. Second, who asks for a sign? Who? Read the passage of scripture again.

TRANSITION: No signs are need, but there are some things highly recommended…

1. GO

BIBLE VERSE: Matthew 4:19-20

4:19 He said to them, “Follow me, and I will turn you into fishers of people.” 4:20 They left their nets immediately and followed him.

EXPLANATION: Give some brief detail on how amazing this actually would be. I mean, if a man walked into my school and said follow me, I hardly think I would turn off the overhead, walk out of the HS, leave my family, and spend the rest of my life learning from him. Would you?

IF YOU WANT TO SEE GOD MOVE, THE FIRST STEP IS TO GO!

EXAMPLE: CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

When it comes to “GOING,” there might have never been a larger time of people going than when gold was discovered in California. Here are some odd stats:

Cost of Items: Would you spend $100 for a glass of water? Some 49ers on the California Trail did. Because of poor planning, many western-bound 49ers were unprepared for the hot, dry deserts of Nevada. A few sharp businessmen in California knew this and took advantage of the situation. They traveled eastward with barrels of water. Extremely thirsty, many 49ers paid $1, $5, even $100 for a glass of precious water. But water was not the only expensive item on the Oregon-California Trail. For example, at the start of the journey, flour could be purchased for $4.00 a barrel, but further along the price rose to a sky-high $1.00 per pint. Other staples could also be quite expensive:•Sugar $1.50 per pint •Coffee $1.00 per pint •Liquor $4.00 per pint. Surprisingly, there were other staples that were amazingly cheap. For example, at Ft. Laramie, bacon could be had for a penny per pound. Those who had excess bacon often considered it worthless and dumped it by the side of the road. One emigrant reported seeing ten tons on one pile.

The Stinky Trail: Imagine the sunburn you’d get from being outside from sunup to sundown every day for six months. No sunblock. No lotion. That was reality for the California-bound 49ers--most wound up with leathery, sunbaked skin. But that was just the beginning. Imagine sweating profusely in 90 degree heat day after day--but never taking a bath or shower. That too was typical of life on the trail. And remember, this was before the days of t-shirts and shorts. Women wore long dresses for the most part, and men wore long pants. And there wasn’t even much changing of clothes. They wore the same clothes day after day. Could it get any worse? Yes. They often had no choice but to drink rancid water, which had the inevitable result: diarrhea. For many, it was a chronic condition. All these factors combined to create some rather deplorable hygienic conditions. Even the native tribes were repulsed by the smell. The Native Americans, who bathed regularly, thought the emigrants were uncivilized because of their poor hygiene.

Going Thru Antarctica: Not every 49er used the Oregon -California Trail. There were other routes to gold country--one came perilously close to Antarctica! Those who did not want to endure a four month walk across the west, traveled to California by ship. Trouble was, there was no direct water route to the west coast. So a ship leaving New York had to travel all the way to the tip of South America--skirting the edge of the the Antarctic continent--before heading north to California. It was a difficult trip that sometimes took a complete year. So it was inevitable that several shortcuts were developed for the gold-crazed 49ers who were in a big hurry to get west. The most popular cutoff involved taking a ship to the Isthmus of Panama, then trekking overland to the Pacific side (remember, there was no Panama Canal then) where another ship would pick them up--hopefully. When the 49ers got to the Pacific side, they waited and waited for weeks, or even months. When a ship finally did arrive, passage might cost $500 or $1000, and sometimes there was no space at any price. Even worse, many of the Pacific-side ships were unseaworthy and sank en route. In the end, many regretted not taking the overland route.

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