Monday, August 25, 2014

A Worthwhile Fishing Trip

Our sermon series about fishing has made me think about the sport of fishing in a different way.  If you were here Sunday you might remember our Praise Team singing Rhonda Vincent's "Fishers of Men."  Jesus tells us to "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of people."  So, we are called by Jesus to fish for people and Jesus will teach us how.  One way He has been teaching me this past week is to get my mind on the important and off the overrated.

My friend Ken sent me a video which was a commencement address by Steve Atchley.  The address is 10 minutes but I am recommending it to you as something that will wisely use your 10 minutes.  It is NOT overrated.  Here is the link.  I hope you will take the time to listen to some good advice about beginning a journey and staying on course.  It will help you to be better fishermen and better fish.  It will help you follow because you will not be stuck on the entitlement mentality that is so prevalent in our society.  It will give you perspective to lose the pressure of thinking life is all about you.  And it will tell you that God hopes you will enjoy your life (in the words of Solomon) "under the sun,"  eating, drinking and working toward the goals God has set for you.  I hope the next two months will help you find that goal and find the joy in living for and through an amazing God.


Monday, August 18, 2014


When I was growing up my next door neighbor was named Toad.  I never knew his real name because everyone called him Toad Eatman.  I am guessing he was in his 50's when I knew him.  I knew his daughter and I remember she was older and a nice person (she tried to teach me to dance, with very little luck).  But Toad always had a special place in my heart for one reason.  Toad taught me to fish.

I remember when I was a little boy Toad would take me to one of the local lakes and we would fish for bream and bass.  He taught me all about the nuances of fishing and I have retained a love for this sport through the present day.  He taught things like, "If you keep it eat it."  "Throw back the little ones so they can grow."  "Tie your knots well or you will lose your lure and your fish."  "Leave the lake as good or better than you found it."  "Nature is God's creation so take care of it." "A good fisherman is patient and persistent."  I could go on with many lessons Toad taught.  But here is what I have decided to do instead.

I will, over the next few months, be passing on my fishing passion to my church.  Jesus called His disciples and said,  "Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people! (Matthew 4:19 NLT)."  I figure if He is teaching us to fish, maybe we should listen, learn and live it out.

Join me for this series of fun and fruitful fishing tips.  I hope it will be as fun for you as it will be for me.  This week we will learn about Toad, my fishing teacher and how some of Toad's advice mirrored the advice of a much greater fisherman named Jesus.


Monday, August 11, 2014


As I continued to think about my heroes I thought about how heroes are people who make the people around them better.  They challenge us ... they inspire us ... they lead us by going out front and showing us the way.  This is how Jesus led.

If you remember, Jesus talked a lot about the Samaritans.  They were a leftover, half-breed group who was left behind after the Assyrians (721BC) hauled away everyone of importance from the northern Kingdom of Israel.  John Wayne would have said, "they weren't worth killin!"  So they were left behind, hated by the "real" Jews and a pariah in the society of Jesus' time.  Jews that lived in Galilee would travel on the east side of the Jordan for an extra two-days just to avoid the Samaritans.  It is thought that Mary and Joseph's journey went straight through Samaritan country, a possible testament to the lack of Samaritan prejudice in Jesus' upbringing.

One day Jesus defies a number of the social mores of 1st Century Judaism as he meets a Samaritan woman at a well.  He is showing and telling.  He shows by 1) conversing with a woman, 2) conversing with a woman living in sin, 3) asking her to draw water from the well for Him, 4) through the power of this conversation, sending her out to retell this story to others.  He tells by 1) telling her the story of her life, 2) telling her the connected history of the place they are meeting (He connects her to the Jews who hate her), 3) he tells her about true worship (in Spirit and Truth) and 4) he tells her that he, as a prophet, knows about one as lowly as she is.  The end result of this conversation is that the woman goes (she has become missional), she shares (she has become an evangelist) and she brings people to Jesus (she has become one who connects others to Jesus). 

Is Jesus leading you?  Are you going, sharing and bringing people to Him?  If a 1st century Samaritan woman can do it, maybe we can!  If He is your hero, maybe you should respond! Just a thought.  Randy

Monday, August 4, 2014


Recently I received an email from a church that did a sermon series on superheroes.  That is popular now with the X-men, Thor, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spiderman and the like.  While these movie superheroes are presented in a very human way with their confusion, flaws and internal conflicts, I have to admit I thought the series title was both cliche' and a bit of a publicity stunt (especially true since the church staff were presented as superheroes, uniforms and all).

As I think of heroes I was wondering about real heroes.  Yesterday afternoon we read the names of WW1 soldiers who gave their lives in defense of our country.  I think they qualify.  I thought about our mission connections and the people who work with those mission churches every day.  They qualify too.  Then I thought about Hebrews 11.  Liars, adulterers, murderers, people who questioned themselves and God, and just folks who tried to follow God's call the best they could.  No uniforms, no special powers (except those that God gave them) and no credit ... just faith.

It reminded me about one of my earlier churches that was very far off-base in their faith journey.  I was telling some friends (a husband and wife) at the church how I would be leaving that summer.  The wife said, "We thought you would be the one who saved our church."  That was, at least, part of their problem.  They were thinking I would be their superhero when the only superhero worthy of the title was a man who came down from God's throne, lived in humble estate, had nothing except 12 faulty followers, was accused of hanging out with sinners, was convicted of blasphemy and was nailed to a criminal's cross.  But His birth, life, death and resurrection was true salvation for everyone.  He is MY hero.

I think my next sermon series will be "Heroes of humility," telling the stories of Biblical and recent heroes who, overcoming their flaws, reflected Jesus in their lives, their work and their love.  I hope it will be fun to share these stories and hear that

Be careful who you place on a pedestal, especially yourself!  Randy