Posted on Mon, Jul 31, 2006
Are you a fishermen or fisherwoman? Do you hate the "getting ready" part of fishing? Maybe you're the kind of person who finds it easier to put things off than to dive right in and do them. This message was written to help each of us understand our most important job, and how we can accomplish it for Christ.
"Are You Ready To Go Fishing?"
Matt. 4:19 Matthew 4:19 (NLT)
19 Jesus called out to them, "Come, be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people!"
Every fishermen knows that in order to catch fish you have to use the right kind of bait Did you understand what I just said??—I said every FISHERMEN knows you need to use the right kind of bait.—But what about those of us who aren’t really fishermen?? What kind of bait are we supposed to use??
You see my idea of fishing involves waiting for rain, then waiting for it to get dark, then looking for a flashlight (and batteries because there always dead), and of course a bucket. (pastor has all of these items behind the pulpit as visual aides and takes them one by one from the pulpit and places them on top of a table on the stage) Then venturing out into the damp, cool darkness of the night, in search of night crawlers. Oh, and one thing I forgot, is that before I go looking for night crawlers, I need to drink some coffee or Mountain Dew, so I have plenty of caffeine in my body so I am wide awake and alert,---- now I’m ready to thrust my fingers into the mud, in an attempt to catch that quick little night crawler, j-u-s-t--so I can go fishing the next day.
Then the next day, you would think, I’m ready to go fishing, but no, before I can actually head out to the lake, I need to do some more preparation. I need to pack a cooler with lunch, just in case I get hungry. (These items are out of sight until Pastor talks about each one and places them on or next to the table.) Let’s see what else do I need?? Oh, I need a water jug, in case I get thirsty. I need to make sure I have gas in my pickup so I don’t’ run out of gas on my way home from the lake. (Inside joke because I actually ran out of gas once) Then I need to make sure I have gas in my boat.—Can you think of anything else I need??
Congregation responds with “you need a fishing rod.” Pastor “Oh yea, I don’t want to forget my fishing rod. Usually I have to look for mine because I haven’t used it for so-o long. When I find it, it’s then that I remember that the last time I used my rod and reel, my line got tangled and my reel got all messed up. Now I need to spend a half hour, getting my rod and reel ready to go fishing. Can you think of anything else I need to have so I’m ready to go fishing? Congregation responds with “ a tackle box.”
Pastor “Oh yes, I don’t want to forget a tackle box.” This one is Marvin’s (pastor opens it up) boy, Marvin has a bunch of lures and stuff in his tackle box, next time I go fishing, I’m taking Marvin along with me. My tackle box is empty compare to Marvin’s. I could really do some serious fishing using Marvin’s tackle box.
When I finally reach the lake, I cast my line into the lake, convinced that I have arrived!! I am about to catch the biggest fish ever pulled from the lake!!! But then one minute slowly passes, then another, then another, and as I look at my watch thinking surely a half hour has past, I am dismayed to find that little more than 5 minutes have elapsed since the last time I looked at my watch. .
So I settle into this scenario, this adventure, I have waited so long for and anticipated with so much enthusiasm. Surely there is a “big one” waiting to snag my line at any moment. SUDDENLY!--I feel it,--- you know what I’m talking about,--- that little tension on my line, that gives me hope that I do have a fish interested in my efforts. I “set” the hook, ready to reel in the big one, but as my line gets to shore, all there is on my line, is a huge amount of weeds from the lake. As I attempt to clean the weeds off of my hook, I accidentally poke myself, and the pain in my finger is enormousness. Then I quickly remind myself, “isn’t fishing fun?”
Now obviously when I think about fishing, all the waiting involved, all the time spent in preparation, all the waiting involved, the pain in my finger, all the waiting involved, the little fish I will end up taking home, did I mention all the waiting involved?? Then I arrive at home, to exhibit my catch, only to hear my neighbor say, “I usually throw the small ones like that away.” I smile, at his apparent success, and then it hits me, I have to clean this fish I caught, and after I get done with that, my fish is smaller yet, and I began to wonder,---if a trip to McDonald’s for a fish sandwich wouldn’t be every bit as pleasurable???
Those of you who are devoted fisherman are hearing me, and shaking your heads in disbelief. Others of you are saying, “I’ve been there.” .
Obviously I have exaggerated some of my preparation for fishing in an effort to get you thinking about some of the things you have a tendency to put off. Isn’t it amazing that when there is something you don’t really care to do, you can come up with a mountain of excuses why it makes more sense to put it off than to do it right away?
Obviously your motive (at least 9 out of 10 times) will establish just what hurdles you are willing to cross in order to accomplish your task. (TAURUS illus.)Our old car has had a radiator leak for quite some time. Somehow, I have managed to avoid fixing the leak. First I was gone for a week, and then Heather was gone for 2 wks so I could drive her car. Then I was gone for a week, so I didn’t need the car fixed. Then Heather was gone for another week, so I could use her car again. This last week was state fair, and I needed the pickup most of the time, so I was able to put off fixing the old Taurus one more week. What are you putting off doing, simply because the hurdles seem to high to address?
Of course it is a Biblical concept to count the cost before you take on a project, yet how many projects do you and I leave undone, simply because we have convinced ourselves that there are too many difficulties ahead of us. It’s often far easier to put a project on the back burner, even ignore it, simply because all we can see are the problems that may occur.
The average person would say that fishing for fish, is no big deal, you can choose your own level of intensity. Some fishermen,-- get down right serious about everything they do regarding fishing; -- the next person goes fishing more to enjoy the time alone with God and His creation.
How many projects have you failed to start or complete, simply because you over-burden yourself, with everything that is required before you can be successful??
When real fishermen goe fishing, they are prepared, wanting to go. The Anticipation of catching a fish drives them; they don’t even consider all they need to do to get ready to catch the big one. Their determination looks beyond everything involved in getting to the lake,--WHY?? Because their mind is focused in on catching “the Big One.!!
That’s the way you and I need to be when we think about reaching out to others with the love of Christ. But it’s so easy for you and I to focus on all the problems like getting ready, knowing what to say, what if I don’t catch any fish?? What if I’m rejected? What happens then, is that we fail to get outside our door, and the biggest problem with evangelism continues.---Do you know what that is??? Individuals are dieing and NOT going to heaven, because they aren’t hearing,--- why aren’t they hearing??? Because nobody is personally telling them,--- Why is nobody telling them?? --- Because we get stopped before we ever get started. All the hurdles keep us from getting serious about fishing. (sharing our faith with others)
When I finally get out to the lake, get my boat on the water; my main concern is getting my line in the water. Does it really matter what kind of bait I use?? I used to think that if I am quiet enough, and if I pray enough, some big fish will come and bite on my hook. Since moving to ND I have learned that you use the kind of bait according to the kind of fish you want to catch.
You can actually look in the Minot Daily to find out what kind of fish are biting, where and what kind of bait is catching the “big ones.” And even what time to go fishing. I discovered something since moving to ND, You can really get serious about fishing!!.
I wonder sometimes how serious we are about fishing for people??--Are we serious enough that we want to take some positive steps so we actually get on the water?? Or are we caught up in everything that could go wrong?? Does the preparation stop you from actually sharing your faith with another person??
As Christians you and I need to understand that Christ’s command to fish for men and women is not option. Jesus didn’t say, you know some day, when you get up enough courage, some day when you have nothing else to do, you go and tell others about me.
Maybe it would help if you knew what you needed to go fishing??
What do I need to go fishing??
I need a LICENSE
Acts 1:8 You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
The first thing you need to go fishing is the Holy Spirit. You need Jesus Christ living inside of you. If you have a personal relationship with Christ, you have the Holy Spirit living in you. The power and authority of the Holy Spirit is your “license” to tell others about Jesus.
If you find that you can’t go fishing because there are too many hurdles, (pastor points toward the table of fishing accessories) you need to ask this question---Who is placing the hurdles in front of me??--- Surely the Holy Spirit will not place anything in your way if you’re being obedient to Christ’s command. So if you are not prepared to share your faith, you can be assured it’s not God keeping you from sharing.
So the first thing you need is a commitment to Jesus Christ and a desire to grow in your faith. You need the right motivation
You will never catch any fish, if you are burdened by the task. If you do catch any, it will be by accident. Understand that your faith is your license and the power to overcome the obstacles comes from God through the Holy Spirit’s work in you heart.
2. I need to THINK like a fish. Mark 9:4 and Colossians 4:5 (TLB)
Matt. 9:4 (NLT) Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, "Why are you thinking such evil thoughts? 5 Is it easier to say, `Your sins are forgiven' or `Get up and walk'?
Colossians 4:5 (TLB)
5 Make the most of your chances to tell others the Good News. Be wise in all your contacts with them.
There is a huge problem for us as believers—it is easy for us to forget how unbelievers think! The longer you are a believer, the less you think like an unbeliever. Resistance to the Gospel is often simply a result of poor communication. You need to have a missionary’s heart, if you don’t know the language, yon can’t communicate with the people.
If you don’t’ ask the right questions, you won’t get the right answers
If you don‘t get the right answers, you won’t get the right strategy.
If you don’t develop the right strategy, you wont’ get the right results.
The problem that most unchurched people deal with is that they don’t understand what happens in church. (It’s kind of like a cat watching an aquarium with fish in it. The cat watches the fish, but does not understand what the fish are doing. To some non-churched people, church is supposed to be like any other entertainment they may attend. It’s our job to help them understand what we do and why we do it, and how it makes a difference in our daily lives.
3. I need the right BAIT 1 Cor. 9:20-22 Matt. 20:32
1 Cor. 9:20-22 Paul said ”to the Jew, I became a Jew, to the Greek, I became a Greek, in order that I might win some.
Matt. 20:32—Jesus said “what do you want me to do for you”?
You and I have so much to offer unbelievers!! We have the joy of Christ in our hearts regardless of our circumstances. We have forgiveness of sin, freedom form the burden of guilt, the assurance of eternal life. We have the fellowship of other believers; we have a whole congregation (like an army) ready and willing to go to prayer on our behalf.
Action point --- I would encourage you to go home today, and write out a list of benefits that you have personally received from being a Christian. People want to know why they need Jesus. IF you know why you need Jesus, you have a good start on knowing why others need Jesus.
Who do you want to reach? What are their needs? How can Christ fill the void you see in their lives?? What can I tell them about Jesus that will help them recognize how much they need Him? How has going to church and having Christ in my heart made a difference in my life??
4. I need to GO where the fish are.
Luke 14:23 (NLT) 23 So his master said, `Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.
Thursday night, my family and I went to the Rodeo at the state fair. During the intermission, a clown drove a boat into the arena and attempted to fish. He had everything he needed to fish, he had a rod, and reel, a net, his only problem was that he wasn’t where there were any fish. He clearly had the wrong idea about fishing. In order to catch fish, you need to go where fish actually live,
I would have a pretty tough time catching fish in my driveway wouldn’t I?? Yet we sit in our houses and expect to catch fish. WE expect non-churched people to come to our church because it’s here. WE pray for non-believers, but I believe Jesus would tell us that we are his feet, yes we need to pray for them, but we also need to be His hands and feet to take the message to them. I have yet to catch a fish in my driveway. Serious fishermen know where the fish are hungry; they go where there are fish!!
The most receptive people are people in transition,—people who have just moved into a new neighborhood, People who have just changed jobs, are under tension from recent injury, or loss of loved one.
You need to be aware of what is going on around you. Jesus was always meeting people at the point of their biggest need.
In Sunday school we talked about the fact that nobody knows their neighbors, as Christians, maybe it’s our job to know our neighbors.
5. I need to EXPECT to catch some fish.
Galatians 6:9 (NIV) Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
The one thing that I don’t have on this table of things I need to go fishing is a pail or a stringer to put the fish on.(or in) What fishermen goes fishing without something to put this catch into??
How many fishermen go fishing expecting to catch nothing?? They may go fishing and forget to take something along to keep the fish in, but they go expecting to catch fish.
When you’re fishing for people, you need to be prepared to tell them how to ask Christ into their heart. You need to be able to show them ways in which they can grow in their faith. All the things you are already doing are preparations for sharing your faith,
Anyone can be won to Christ if you discover the Key to his or her heart. The key is felt needs. The secret of catching fish is capturing their attention, using the right kind of lure—showing them that you care, and then telling them that you care because Jesus cares. .
Fishing can be fun, if you approach it with the right attitude. Too many times, you and I give up because we forget that we have a license, a right, even a command to fish! Wouldn’t it be terrible if Christ revoked our license because we weren’t using it??
2. You and I fail to realize that the fish are hungry!! People need what we have to offer them. They need Jesus!! What would you do if you were living without Jesus?? How would your life be different?
Our concern shouldn’t be whether we need to go fishing or not, our concern should be that we know what our bait is. Do you have something to offer someone who is living day to day and week to week without hope??
Sitting at home or sitting at church waiting for the fish to bite, won’t get your line wet, and it certainly won’t strengthen your faith. But to have a part in another persons’ coming to faith in Christ, Wow! That’s the motivation you need!
The best thing about fishing is the expectation involved. What if I tell that person how Jesus has changed my life, and they want to know Jesus too??
Have you ever wondered why Jesus used the analogy of fishing when He taught the disciples to fish for men??
- Fishing was their occupation; they could understand it.
- Fishing is something everyone can do, regardless of your age.
- Fishing is something everyone can enjoy.
- You have to go fish in order to have the joy of catching one!
- When you catch a fish, it’s always a trophy in God’s eyes!
So what’s holding You back?? Are you ready to go fishing? My prayer for each of you is that our Lord will give you a heart for the lost, that He will empower you to see beyond the preparation, so your focus will be on catching some fish.
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