Mending the Nets
Nibblets of Understanding from the Fisherman's Net
Matthew 4:19 (Amplified Bible)
19And He said to them, Come after Me [as disciples--letting Me be your Guide], follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!
Fishers of Men - Music Video
From many sources of information and prophetic fullfillment, it has become clear to many Christians that we indeed are in the last days. Some say even the last of the last days.
So we as Christians need to equip ourselves and show ourselves approved so that we may provide the neccessary information to those that are lost and are seeking for answers and the truth. We need to be confident, loving, and understanding, of a persons needs. We need to be able to take the place of Jesus and be his hands and heart and extend ourselves to the lost and guide them in the right way. Yet, not always are people so easily receptive. People have gone through many things and are now looking for answers. They are expecting answers. Let's learn to become the means to provide those answers shall we? Let's take a personal part in the taking of the gospel unto the ends of the earth, shall we?
Lets learn how to witness, to live the gospel, and to share the gospel.
Witnessing through Love!
10. Lots of Tracts
Creative Ways of Spreading the Gospel
. . . Sharing Christ through the free distribution of Christian videos to prisons, jails & reformatories. Free, high-quality Christian video libraries provided to financially-needy prison chaplains for evangelism and discipleship. Nonprofit, nondenominational, biblical. Helping chaplains change hearts and lives.
Witness #1 This is No Bologna
Upon meeting Randy in the local supermarket, (yes you can even talk to people about Jesus in a supermarket), we quicly started up a nice conversation near the bologna section. I was with my brother in Christ and as we approached Randy, I noticed his shirt had the name "Tommy" on it, so out of fun, I said, "Your name isn't Tommy is it? He smiled and began with a spanish tone of speaking, "No, my name is Randy".
After a few rounds of light chit chat, I decided to come right out with it and say
"Do you by any chance believe in Jesus?" He said, "Of course", but I could detect also some hesitation in his voice, so I then said, Well don't get offended by what I am about to say, but, How are you doing with that, I mean following Jesus?"
Now some of you might think that that's pretty bold or pretty audacious, or even judgemental, to talk with him like that. Yet, we did not have too much time. Plus, while I agree to be as gentle as I can with people, our spiritual job as Christians is to be an example and to play the part of the sower, who intentionally goes out to sow. (Matthew 13:1-23) While tracts are sincerely a good witnessing tool, as they give people time to read a the message a little in kind of passive way, they can plant a seed. Yet, what if that person is in a crisis and really needs someone to talk to, but is too weak to ask for help?
In proverbs, it says to not withhold good from whom it is due, when it in your power to do it.( Proverbs 3:27) We for starters have the good news in our power. We also have the real answer to share with people even if sometimes you get rejected by them when you attempt to share the gospel with them. Not only do we have the good news in our power, we also have the knowledge and the means by which to lead or bring someone to the spiritual rebirth. It is actually quite easy, once you get past all of their reasons why not. Some may not allow you to get past their reasoning, but it is ok, because it is still, a good seed planted, with a personal touch.
Jesus said to the disciples, "You were once fisherman, but I will make you fishers of men." In order to do that we have to go out into the field, the highways, the bi-ways, the stores, the bus- stops, the parks, the laundry mats, literally anywhere a 5-20 minute conversation can get drummed up. There is a verse that says, Where I am my servant will be also". Jesus is ready, able, and is already working in this field that is white for harvest. What about us? Are we secret service Christians? Do we hand out tracts with tact, and hoping they will call us back?
If we were the ones not saved or the ones who were unawares, would we ultimately, want someone to lightly disturb our lives with the gospel of grace? Or would we rather truly be left alone to ourselves to do our own thing? I don't know about you but I would have liked someone to disturb me a little out from the pathway of destruction that I was on, to dissuade me from it.
Like the brother in Christ that walked up to me 30 years ago with his corny black poindexter glasses, and, said to me in Mcdonalds, "Have you heard the word of the Lord today?" I thought inside Oh, great just what I need is a Hare Krisna guy trying to get me to be religious or join him. I then thought, Well I got nothing better to do, since my car batteries are dead, and I can't go nowhere, I might as well have some fun. So, I decided to get into it with him and show him what I knew about God.
That brother was disturbing me and my life, but guess what, when He showed me the verses about being born again John 3:1-7 I got stumped in my tracks. What he didn't know, but Jesus did, was I had already been seeking after the truth in my own way, looking into many religions, including scientology, and here through this event, Jesus was using this brother to show me the entrance doorway into the kingdom. I thought to myself, what if this is what I am looking for, and it was odd because the bible text seem to jump out at me and say push the button, its right here! It was kind of like the coyote in those road runner cartoons. Just push the button!!!
So I said to him show me how to do this. He was startled, and bawked a little, and said "Well I have to show you some bible verses first." I replied, "No, no, show me now, how to do this, and you can show me all the bible scripture later." So, he brought me to a couple of his friends, and I prayed the sinners prayer right there in the Mcdonalds. I got saved right then, right there. Jesus forgave me, and filled my soul with the Holy Spirit. I felt drunk and I thought Oh, this for real, who are these people?
So, perhaps not everyone will be ready, but how are we to find out? We have to be willing to seek after the lost. We have to be willing to make ourselves available, for our Majesties un-secret service. Of course you have to use wisdom, especially on our jobs, because we are there to work. Of course not every place is a good place or every time is a good time, but good fisherman will get to know the places and times where and when the fish are more willing to bite.
Now with respect to Randy, something very interesting and unusual happened. We asked him some general questions about salvation and about being born again. His response was that he had difficulty believing in being born again, for his sister had just died this very day from cancer.
He explained further that the people in the church of his sister were also born again, according to him. According to him, they had instructed his sister to stop taking her medication and just have faith. I responded that no one should instruct a person to come off medication unless the Dr. says so.
Now, again, I do not know what the real truth was on this, but what I did recognize was that he was going through a personal devastation and crisis with respect to his faith and people of faith. It was Jesus who directed me earlier to this store, and He told me that He had someone there for us to talk to. I knew then that Jesus had placed us in his path and he walked right up to us. Jesus wanted to comfort him, knowing what he had been through, and He had used us for Randy because we made ourselves available.
Had we not disturbed his path a little, we would have missed the opportunity, and he would still be overwhelmed with this. Had loved not interrupted, there would have been no intervention.
So there is no need to sweat the small stuff, just offer yourself to be available and Jesus will take care of the details. That's what makes it so interesting, because you will recognize, His presence, and action, and love and He will leave you in awe.
Randy said it was like a Deja vu. I said it was Dios, de vu. He left encouraged, lifted, and laughing. Isn't that what good news is supposed to do? Perhaps, he was not ready yet to receive all that we were to say, but after prayer, I am sure he was be alright. Later, when God sends another brother or sister his way, he will remember that God did not forsake Him, but was there to surely carry his personal grief and sorrow
Let us all learn to be there for others and to be a means and a vehicle for God's grace and love to flow through. As Randy kept repeatedly saying, its all good!
Witness # 2
I just watch the wheels go round and round
In this witness I had to go wash my son's clothes quick at a laundry mat as my son had to go to work, in a few hours, but still needed his clothes washed. I went to our apartment laundry mat and it was shut down for remodeling. I decided to go up the road to do laundry at a regular laundry mat because I could buy a Sunday newspaper there. This is how the witnessing opportunity developed. Notice how I said opportunity.
There are many times witnessing or sharing the gospel opportunities can come up in our lives. If we are looking for that divine appointment or appointments, we will usually spot the opportunity when it shows itself. A sower went out to sow. A person who shares the word of God is looking for opportunities to sow the word into people's hearts. We have to trust that God sees what we are attempting to do and trust He will be with us as we do so. We have to trust Him leading us, and we have to trust that He will guide us in the witness as well. This is His show not ours. Jesus said "The fields are white for harvest but the laborers are few". He also said "Where I am, my servant will be also".
Jesus is already sharing the gospel o the kingdom through men, on tv, on the radio, and many other vehicles, but one on one, or two on one gospel sharing is very effective. But how do we get past our fears? Well starting a conversation with someone may be uncomfortable, but we start conversations with people all the time as we go through the day, over trivial things, or just to say hello. The trick is to have a plan or mindset that when you see the opportunity arise, you are willing to jump in and trust that Jesus has got you covered.
Of course there are ways of doing things, and one way many salesman uses to break the ice is an idea called F O R M S. This means you can start a conversation casually and by dicussing things about family, occupation, recreation, material desires, and spiritual things. You can relax into a freindly discussion without being nervous. This is not done robotically or fearfully but casually and friendly. The truth of the matter is that we are loving someone into the kingdom, and so we are on their side and are looking for developing a true relationship with them. Our goal is that they become a brother or a sister as a member of the kingdom of God. So it is not plastic conversational technique, rather, it is a place to start up a conversation and then to allow and trust the Holy Spirit to guide you in what to say. If we trust Jesus will back us up, it becomes a whole lot easier. After all He said He would, and as you experience Him doing just that your confidence level will go up.
In this case, it was easier still. As I was sitting next to somone, and (I'll call him Stan), he began talking with me. He was pointing out to me how a kid was wearing his pants down in the laundry mat and how if he was his parent he would not be having pants down like that. So since he started, I decided to go with his flow (I become all things to all men). He went on like that for a while, and then I began to share and ask him questions, allowing him to talk, listening, and being a friend to him. I was not shoving verse after verse about the gospel down his throat until he got upset and then go away. No, I instead, built trust with him, and then in the midst of this, I asked what kind of church he went to. He said Catholic. I said, I was raised Catholic, and was even an altar boy.
I said I was in a nondenominational church now, and I told him the reason why I left. I thought that it was due to my rebellious teenage years and that the service was overall kind of boring to me. I told him I have no dis-repect for the church as I went on Sunday to pay my respects to God. Yet the reason why it bored me as a teenager was because of the monotone sayings that went back and forth. It somehow did not seem genuine or from the heart.
He immediately related with that but then replied, "Well as long as one believes in God it does not matter what religion you are." I asked him "what did he mean by that"?, "You mean all roads lead to God like all roads lead to Rome. He said "Yes", but told me he believed this way because he had dated women from other religions. He said "They seem pretty much the same."
Now this is where I gently started moving him toward the truth. I said "Well how do you explain one religion saying you live once and another says that you are reincarnated and come back to live again"? This is where I pulled out my bible and asked him, if I could just show him one verse in the bible. He agreed but said, "Well you know how there are many translations and the words are changed from version to version." I responded to him and said, yeah that is true, but they really are not that much different. The basic overall message remains intact, but most people dont study the bible enough anyway to appreciate or detect those differences.
The verse I showed him is this one John 14.6 "Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me." I said to him "Notice the second part there, no one comes to the Father but by Him. That shuts out a lot of religions right there does it not? He brought up the translation thing again and I told him to go home and look it up on a bible online bible study thing so he could see how this verse is said in different versions. I said that I like to study with the different versions as it gives me kind of a stereophonic view of the word. I look at the different hues, and than add them up to come to a "Central" understanding. If there is something off, I usually can tell that too.
Let's look at that for ourselves now about the different versions and see how they compare. John 14.6 in parallel
Now he did not get saved there, nor did he see anything miraculous, except someone genuinely caring and understanding how he thought. He quickly wrote down the verse and was going to check it out. God had somehow touched his heart. Now I had to go then and I could have gotten his number to talk with him again, I could have invited him to my church as well, but I had to get my son to work so I had to go. Its ok, God touched him. God is using the body of Christ as a whole to bring people to him.
If you can get people to come visit your church then that's good and glory to God. If you can somehow exchange phone numbers or emails that is good to. It's good because you can follow up an continue ministering to that person as they can receive. Yet, if you cannot, the Chief Shepherd will bring someone else along, or they will stumble on to a Christian radio or TV program and He will continue to draw that person into the kingdom. All that we have to do is to not be afraid, and to allow ourselves to be used by Him to love them into the kingdom of God. After all how did He draw us in, and by what means? Was it through one person or a series of events?
Will we willing look for ways to allow God for us to participate in the gospel or will we sit on the sidelines and let someone else do it? Kind of like when John Lennon said " I just love to watch the wheels go round and round. This kind of thinking might work if you've already have made your multimillions, done what you want to do and you just wanted to retire, raise a family, and disconnect from the world in a kind of a pacified, Far eastern and Buddhist-like mentality. It looks like a good idea if you just want to chill and live the rest of your days out in peace. Yet it wont fit well on a battlefield of spiritual warfare vying for the destiny of someone elses eternal soul.
We as Christian must be willing to go into the enemy's camp, to seek to rescue the lost, and even rescue those that don't even realize they are lost. Christ came for us and loved each of us us, while we were yet sinners, while we were right in the midst of our sin. His blood that He shed at calvary was good and is good for us. His blood is good for everyone, but only if someone shows them how to receive there salvation. Let us go out into the fields and work the work that He has for us, for the fields are white for harvest.
God can use you in line at the grocery store, in any place where there is a little lag time. He can use you by yourself or better yet if you go out with another brother or sister will you find the verse two are better than one, and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.