My partner for the day was my ole buddy Danny H. Danny is a legend in his own MIND…….excuse me, I mean his own time. He has convinced himself that he is the better fisherman between the two of us, and being the good sport that I am, I just let him go on believing that. At any rate, we pulled up to the boat launch bright and early yesterday morning. Dark clouds were hovering over the lake and rain drops were dotting the water as we backed the boat in and prepared to set off. As we made our way around the lake I was forced to trim back my normal speed due to the stinging drops of rain blasting us in the face. We began to fish as the gloomy clouds made their way across the sky, some dropping more precipitation than others; it was certainly not the best conditions to say the least.
At this point in the story you may be thinking, either these two guys really love to fish, or they are just plain crazy to be out in the middle of a 2500 acre lake in the rain. You see, it wasn’t so much that we just love to fish, although we do. And it wasn’t so much that we were just crazy, although we are sometimes. But before we left that morning to drive to the lake I turned on the television and caught a local station doing a weather forecast for the area that we were fishing. That forecast said that the foul weather that we were experiencing would give way to blue skies and sunshine by noon. And so, armed with that forecast, I had no reservations about getting on the boat.
Now, had I not seen that forecast, there would have been times during the morning hours when the clouds were dark and the rain was harassing us that I would have been tempted to turn the boat around and head home. But I simply believed the weather report, I HAD FAITH IN THE FORECAST. Had I turned the boat around and gave up, we would have missed a beautiful afternoon on the water.
Perhaps you are reading this blog today and life has handed you a storm. Gray clouds may be hovering overhead, rain drops of gloom and despair may be dotting the water all around you, and you may be ready to just turn the boat around and give up. I want to encourage you to stay on the water. Why? Because I have read the forecast for those that are followers of Christ and it tells me weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 56:8) The forecast says when the enemy comes in like a flood, our God will raise a standard against him. (Isaiah 59:19) The report that I read every day tells me that greater is HE that is in me, than he that is in the world (I John 4:4) and it also says if God be for me, who can be against me? (Romans 8:31) .
The extended forecast gets even better. It informs us that there will be some clouds. There will be some dark times, but it also lets us know that one day faster than a wheel ever turned on an axle, or a hoof ever struck a pavement, the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, is going to step through the clouds and gather his people from every corner of the earth. Paul the apostle put it like this, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:16)
It doesn’t matter if you can’t make sense of it. It doesn’t matter that you can’t see anything but dark clouds hovering over your head. Your Heavenly Father has declared that the thoughts that He has toward you are thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a good end. (Jeremiah 29:11) Have FAITH IN THE FORECAST. God has this awesome way of working things out for his people.
Sara and I are praying God’s absolute best for your life. Have a great week.
DO SOMETHING WITH IT!
I began my week off with a great trip to Stonewall Jackson Lake in Lewis County, WV for a couple days. My favorite fishing partner, who also happens to be my wife, was with me and we soaked up the sun all day long. It was a great time to say the least. Then on Wednesday afternoon I left for the New River in southern WV. I took along three guys from the church, who also happen to be some great fishing partners, but don’t look near as good as my wife! The weather was beautiful, the scenery was breathtaking, and the fishing, well, I have seen better on the New River, but it was good. We returned on Saturday afternoon and I immediately began to get my boat ready to return to Stonewall Jackson lake for a trip that I have been looking forward to for a while simply because my dad was coming along with me. Due to Dad’s work schedule and location we don’t get to spend the time together that we would like. Dad is a successful sales manager for a company called Veolia and his office is in Richmond, VA.
So we packed our gear and set out for a father/ son fishing trip on Sunday afternoon. We stayed at a motel on Sunday night near the lake and we were up bright and early ready to catch the BIG ONE on Monday morning. That morning was gorgeous. The sun was climbing up from the mountains and was just beginning to peak over the horizon. Song birds were singing, and a turkey gobbler looking for some spring love was letting everyone know he was in the area. The bass fishing was slow at best- ok, let me be more honest with that statement- the bass fishing was DEAD. Nothing at all biting and we threw everything we had at them.
At around 11:30 I fired up the motor on the boat and let the 115 horsepower Mercury take us across the lake in search of Musky. Thanks to Ed Metheny, who attends the BVC, I have been smitten with the Musky Bug. At 11:45 I rigged up one of my Musky rods for Dad and one for myself and we began to troll up a mouth of a creek. We never made it 100 yards when my reel started singing that sweet song that all Musky fisherman live for. After a brief fight my Dad dipped the net in the water and we had our first Musky of the day in the boat. The fish measured 40 inches. We were as happy as a butcher’s dog! After some quick pictures and a couple fist bumps, we released the fish alive and well. We both returned our lines to the water and I started the motor and continued to troll up this creek, when no more than 80 yards from the last spot my reel again sounded off and I picked up the rod and felt what I immediately knew was the fish of a lifetime on the other end. The next several minutes were pretty crazy as I fought to keep this fish on the line and bring him to the boat. After what seemed like an eternity, Dad again dipped the net and we both drug on board a huge Musky measuring more than 52 inches and weighing over 37 pounds! Oh Yeah!
I know I’m a pastor, but I wouldn’t dream of asking you to accept a story like that without some pics to back it up. So check out the pics at the bottom of both fish. Side note for any die hard Musky fisherman: The big Musky was returned to the water as well, in good shape and swam off with no problems.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, this is a blog from the Senior Pastor of the Believers Victory Center, shouldn’t there be something spiritual in it? Of course there should, so here ya go. When Jesus walked the Earth, He invited a select few men to be his disciples. Most of them were fisherman. In Mark 1:17 he says to them, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” In other words Jesus is telling them, if you lay down your nets and follow me, I will allow you to catch a real trophy, which we know are people. Jesus was on this Earth to cast the net and catch people. He said in Luke 19:10 “I have come to seek and to save that which was lost…” When he called his disciples he was simply asking them to be His fishing partners. And now as disciples of Christ, we are called to be Jesus’ fishing partners. We are called to cast the net and to bring in a catch of people to be born into the Kingdom of God.
Here are a few things I have discovered about fishing: First, you can’t set at home in your Lazy Boy and catch anything, you have to go to where the fish are. The same is true with being fishers of men. We can’t just set in our comfortable churches each Sunday and expect the lost to come to us, we have to go to them. When mankind needed a savior, God didn’t just set in the corner of eternity aloof to our problems and plight, but rather he got up and walked down through forty- two generations of mankind and came to us. That’s why we call him Emmanuel, because he is truly GOD WITH US…..when we couldn’t get to Him, He came to us.
Another thing I have discovered when fishing is that sometimes you have to change lures and how you present the lures to the fish. I have loads of lures that I pack on each trip, because if they aren’t biting on one lure, then I will certainly change the lure and throw another one at them. When it comes to spiritually fishing, many times we are reluctant to change the lure, or change the presentation and because we refuse to budge from our sometimes mindless religious rituals we end up missing opportunities to reach people for the Kingdom of God. Are you afraid of change? Don’t be. If God is in it, embrace it. No one said to change the message, it’s the method that we wear out many times.
One more thing before I end this already too long blog; from my fishing experience I can tell you this, it really is impossible to clean the fish before you catch them. I know this sounds obvious, but all you have to do is take a look around at many churches and Christians and you will easily find that we haven’t figured this out yet. Our example, and the Master Fisherman had this principle figured out. He was never shy about loving the unlovable, and touching the untouchable. He ate and He drank with sinners (Luke 5:30-32) and the religious leaders of the day hated him for it.
I come from a rough and rowdy past to say the least and I can tell you this, when I was doing my own thing and living for the moment totally separated from God, I was never drawn to God by church folks that looked down their pious noses condemning my every move. I never felt the love of God from those that were quick to toss me under the bus and be content with me just sliding into hell. But thank God there were many in my family, and many Christians that showed me the love of God by loving me through a mess. They were quick to put their arms around me and tell me how much they believed in me and how much God still loved me. That was the difference in my life and today I am a testimony of the life changing power of a Good God in heaven. Let’s not try to clean the fish before we catch them.
If you are still reading this, thank you so much for hanging on to the end. A special thank you to all the non-sportsmen that made it to the end of this blog.
As always, Sara and I are praying God’s best for your life. Get out there and do some fishing now! BOTH KINDS!
DO SOMETHING WITH IT!
Before I let my brain lapse into total vacation mode, I should write something of worth. Last Sunday we celebrated Easter, the day the Spirit of God invaded the tomb and raised to life the three day dead body of our Saviour. The crowds at our two services were great. The level of excitement was tangible among the congregation. Kids were sporting their Easter outfits. Dinners were planned. Families were together. The weather was absolutely beautiful. It was certainly a great Easter day. Now we are on the other side of Easter day and many times it’s easy to let our level of excitement and expectation go back to “normal”. But there is where we miss it. Jesus didn’t get up from death and kick the end out of the tomb just for one day. Scott Fawley, our IGNITE Youth Pastor said it best last Sunday, he said “Jesus didn’t come out of the tomb on Sunday and then crawl back in on Monday.” Now that will preach!
We need to live mindful that we serve a LIVING SAVIOUR, not just on Easter, but every day of the year. In addition to that, it would also do us well to understand that the same power, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. The great champion of the Faith the Apostle Paul declared in Romans 8:11 “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Do you get it? The Spirit of God lives in us and John writes in I John 4:4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” A few years ago I began to encourage my congregation with this thought: There will never be anything AGAINST YOU that is greater than the God that is IN YOU. As a Believer, no trial, no circumstance, no dilemma can ever be greater than the God that lives in you. Can I get an AMEN somebody?
My prayer for you this week is that you will simply live in the light of the Risen Christ and will walk with the revelation that the Greater One lives in you.
Sara and I are praying God’s best for you. Be blessed.
DO SOMETHING WITH IT!
To get started, I am pleased to announce that the brand new believersvictorycenter.com is live! Remember, it’s a work in progress and we are building the site as we go, but I think it’s a great start and I am looking forward to all the new features this site will have to offer. A huge thank you to Jason Cooke and his staff at JCI Media in Winchester, VA for the great work.
This is an important step forward for the Believers Victory Center family as we continually progress with the vision that God has given us for our region and beyond. As I write this I am more aware than ever of how great our God has been to not only myself, but to this vibrant, amazing church that I love so much. It’s been an exciting ride so far, one that I plan to write about in weeks to come, and I am confident that even greater things are yet come. Which brings to mind this awesome song by Bluetree that I will leave you with for this week.
I love you guys and are praying God’s best for you and yours.
DO SOMETHING WITH IT!