From the monthly archives:

March 2011

Go Fish

March 29, 2011

Shrimpers headed out for the day

Plowing the surf for the catch of the day

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea.”

Spend any amount of time on the Gulf Coast and you will see the difference between the cast net and the dragnet.  The fisherman on the bank swings the cast net over his head at the school of fish blindly swimming into his better view.  The net falls, the bell shaped oval sinks and the fisherman draws it back to the beach with the catch.

It’s the shrimp boat whose dragnets sway in the pitch and draw as they plod the surf to the shrimping grounds.  The booms hang the nets that will drag through the water indiscriminately hauling in every manner of fish, shrimp, bottom feeder and crustacean… both the good and the bad dumped onto the deck to be sorted by men in rubber boots and strong backs.  It’s the dragnet, not the cast net, that the Kingdom of God is like.

For a long time I missed this.  Like a political vetting process, I wanted to know the heart before I heard the repentance.  Call it discriminating or discerning or being intuitive, in the end it was just short of being biblical.  The Kingdom Call is to “whosoever will” and not to the ones that I think are keepers.  Though I might fish for a certain species, I don’t cut the line if the bite is not right.  The old description of fishing applies… if I always caught the right kind of fish they would call it “catching” and not “fishing.”  And so it is in the Kingdom.  We are called to fish and to put all of the catch in the hands of our loving God.  It’s all about fulfilling our Kingdom commission not about doing things our own way.

Jesus talked a lot about His Kingdom during His final days on this earth.  His purpose was not information but inspiration.  His earthly mission would be complete through death and resurrection but His eternal mission would just be beginning.  That mission was spoken of in His instructions to the eleven commissioned before His ascent into Heaven.

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always , even to the end of the age.”

For centuries the church has fixated on the instructions beginning with “Go” and ending with “I am with you always.” But it is the true beginning and end that hold the power and the purpose.  Listen to the words:

  • “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth…” Defeating the final curse of death that had reigned since the Garden was the ultimate claim of the cross.  Yes, sin was defeated but sin was only the first domino to fall.  The curse that reigned supreme was death which held final authority over man.  But now Jesus held the keys!  His first words to John when He gave him His revelation were, “I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” What an incredibly comforting greeting.
  • “… even to the end of the age.” There is nothing that will interrupt the total and complete authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.  There is nothing that will confound the Name that is above all names.  There is nothing that can compete, challenge, supplant or take territory away from the Lordship of Christ in this age as well as into eternity.  This is the great promise of the complete work of grace that carries the wounded soul into eternal glory.

We are commissioned to go in all of the authority of Jesus until eternity.  Our method is to lay out the dragnet bringing all to Jesus… in every way, with every technique, without fear of failure and without becoming weary of well doing.  Our goal is not success measured by the catch but to daily leave port and drop our nets.  We work for the Lord of the Kingdom who seeks out a catch whether big or small until the end of this age and the new beginning in Eternity.

Relentlessly, unceasingly, deliberately catching souls for Eternity.

So don’t be weary.  Palm Sunday and Easter are upon us, two Sundays whose greater attendance is guaranteed.  Between now and then, lay out your dragnet and pull in the harvest to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  In our own church, special events are taking shape whose success is based on what souls we will catch for the Kingdom.  So, GO FISH!  What other job could you possibly have where the goal is to fish all day?  Not a bad assignment if you ask me.


Words that Last

March 24, 2011

I’m eating breakfast this past Saturday morning when the cell phone rings, goes to message and finally gives the “ding ding I’m done” sound. Saturday morning is detach time. Phone calls, emails, texts and the rest of the smart phone curse is banished to the counter top, at least until I choose to pick it up.

The message was from Dan and here is what he said.  “I was on your website, the one called ‘Almost Daily Blog’?  You haven’t posted anything in a long time.  Are you OK?”  Thanks, Danny.  I kinda dropped the ball for awhile.

Some blogs post daily, sometimes multiple times during the day and I have found that there are a lot of words, information and facebook-like posts that really don’t matter.  It made me think about my own words. Was I just adding to the words, blogs, posts and tweets that could fill landfill after landfill if not for the mystery of the internet with its insatiable appetite for any and all information?

I had begun to suspect that my adding to the pile of words was like looking into your refrigerator filled with those styrofoam boxes of leftovers. Occasionally, you open one and actually eat out of it.  Mostly though the contents lose flavor as quickly as its appeal once it is wrapped in white foam.

The question is … what remains relevant in a world obese with words and clogged with throw away information?  Jesus said this,

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away… in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away.  So will the coming of the Son of Man be.”  Matthew 24

“My words will not pass away…”  Do you think He knew how many words would be spoken, how many books written?  Do you think He envisioned the internet and the glut of information and languages it would contain?

It doesn’t matter.  He wasn’t talking about the competition of words and ideas.  He was simply stating that the living, all powerful, creative, and everlasting breath of God would speak words that live eternally. “The word of God,” says the Psalmist, “stands forever.”

I want to say and write God breathed words, words that have the proven staying power that will stand the test of time.  Jesus said that when the end comes, life will be going on just like life always has… “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage”… until the completion of God’s plan.  And then the end will come.

Our world today looks a bit like those end times, doesn’t it?  When else has there been so many impossible wars, social anarchy, entrenched sin, earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear disasters?  You just can’t make this stuff up.  Yet we all go about our lives just a little worried, but mostly about our 401k’s.

But “the word of God will not pass away.” What was promised He will not forget and that should motivate us to action.  Jesus tells about the faithful slave and the evil slave, the women who were foolish and those who were prudent, the one man left in the field and the one who was taken.  He paints a vivid picture of the season yet gives no time line, only the admonition, “always be ready and always tell others about the Truth.”

I want to be relevant.  I want my words to be like salt in the wound of sin, burning in a way that will cleanse and drive all to the One who can make all things new.    I want the church, Jesus’ church, to return to the “first love” of telling all about the only One who truly loves their soul.  The friendship of Jesus cannot compare to the haphazard and shallow friendship of this current age.  In other words, Jesus will never de-friend you.

And I want you to do those things, too.  It is time to crawl out of the chaos and live “seated with Him in the heavenly places.” From that honored position you can hear His words, feel His very heart beat and regain the passion to work in the Father’s field.  Only through those tasks will we be ready to give an account on that Day. In this chaotic world of useless and techno-colored information, lets take the words that will not pass away to those who soon might.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.  Isaiah 40:8