Back from Vacation

Well, I’m officially in the “post-vacation dig out” phase.  Emails are piled up, tons of messages to be answered and a to-do list that needs some things crossed off immediately.  Sometimes you begin to wonder if it’s worth it to even take a few days off, then you snap to your senses and say OF COURSE IT IS!

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!



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