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    by Michael Carl.

    "As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his

    brother Andrew casting a net into the sea?for they were fishermen.

    And Jesus said to them, 'Follow me and I will make you fish for

    people.' And immediately they left their nets and followed him."

    What did it mean when Jesus strolled the shore of Lake Galilee

    and call those men to serve Him without reservation? Well, in

    one way or another, it meant a complete surrender to Jesus.

    When they heard Him say, "'If any want to become my followers,

    let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me'"

    (Mark 8.34), they eventually learned that He meant it.

    For most of them, it meant dying for the Lord. We all know from

    Foxe's Book of Martyrs that all of the original Apostles, second

    edition (with Matthias), except John went to a martyr's death.

    Thomas, not realising the full impact of what he was saying, said

    it correctly when he said in John chapter eleven, "'Let's go back

    to Judea so we may die with Him.'"

    Yet, we have to ask today, what does it mean when Jesus says,

    "'Follow me and I will make you fish for people'"? Is there any

    real meaning behind Jesus' own words, "'If any want to become

    my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross

    and follow Me'" for us today? Do we really believe this or have

    Christ's own words simply become a romanticised exercise in a

    formulaic religious contemplation for today's 21st Century North

    American Christian?

    In truth, we have to come to terms with the reality that if we don't

    really believe He means what He says in these Mark passages,

    then in fact we are denying the truth and efficacy of God's Word.

    As one of my teachers along the way said, "We´re professing

    believers; but in fact, we´re practical atheists."

    The good professor was blunt, but brutally true. When it comes

    to obeying the Word of God, we don´t do too well with the

    passages requiring personal sacrifice.

    Folks, this must change. If we're ever to realise the depth and

    beauty of a vital relationship with our Lord, we have to let go and

    be willing to trust Him with ALL of His Words.

    Are we willing to do that?

    If not, then our practical doubts are going to rob us of the very

    meat and meaning for which we deeply long.

    Let us resolve this day that we're not going to be spectators;

    we're going to take a step from the shore, wade in and fully

    become "a fisherman".