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Luke 5:1-11

One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. 8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” 9 For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus. NLT

By then end of this short passage, life had completely changed for these fishermen.

They had already fished all night, cleaned their nets and were relaxing and listening to Jesus teaching. Suddenly, he asked them to go out fishing again. Peter said (v5) ‘we have fished all night and caught nothing’…isn’t our ministry like that sometimes? We labour long and hard with seemingly no results. But Peter said ‘But if you say so…we will’. God sometimes asks us to do stuff that doesn’t immediately make sense.

KEY VERSE v4 “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

  1. Go out where it is deeper (into deep waters) – get out of the shallows (no fish there!) where if something goes wrong, it’s easy to fix. It’s our comfort zone. It maybe that we have to go back as the disciples did to a place where there was disappointment, hard work but no results. It maybe that we have to go into unchartered territory, into the unknown as that is where the wild fish are. We are so used to looking after the fish in the pond that we don’t go out into the deep anymore.
  2. Let down your nets to catch some fish – don’t say that you’ve tried it before and it didn’t work, be obedient to God. We have to let down the nets. Anyone can do social work such as foodbanks, debt counselling etc (good that there are) BUT ONLY the church, the people of God, can introduce people to Jesus. We can be out there in the deep doing this stuff, but never let the nets down. Make opportunity for people to respond to the invitation of knowing Jesus. Be passionate and bold. Give people a chance.

Find the deep water and fish there. Don’t leave the net in the boat or on the shore!

In v10 the fishermen were called to a new task of fishing for men and in v11 they obeyed and left EVERYTHING to follow Jesus.

Obey Gods direction and the prompting of the Holy Spirit. If we are faithful, God makes us fruitful.

Based on a talk by Steve Clifford (Evangelical Alliance) http://www.eauk.org

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Think back – how old were you when you came to faith in Jesus? I was 16.

Charles Spurgeon was 15, William Booth was 15, George Whitfield was 16, C T Studd was 16,             D L Moody was 18 and Billy Graham was 17.

Jesus was in his early 30’s and most of the disciples were aged between mid teens and early 20’s! The first youth group…they went on to turn the world upside down.

It is generally thought that the best age to be a youth leader is 20-25. The older brother or sister approach. But in Gavin Calver’s book ‘Disappointed with Jesus?’ he tells of a survey of about 200 young people asking what type of youth leaders/mentors would they like. Over 85% of them said a parent or grandparent figure! Wow! The church is full of them!

A few years ago I was told this story of a chapel in Wales who started a Youth Club where most of their youth workers were over 70! They had 16 active members, all retired. Three teenagers walked in one January to get out of the cold. They got such a good welcome that they came again.

After a month or so, the YP asked for a youth club. The local Head of Youth For Christ in the area who lived a couple of villages away agreed to run it for the chapel on condition that they helped.      2 members were present each time to welcome the children and do the refreshments, though they have been known to join in quieter games. The first volunteer to help was Beryl who was 98! The youth club needed a budget. Chapel cash-flow was a bit tight so they used the old Sunday school account which was sitting doing nothing and the members also each gave £1 a week into the youth club fund. The YFC leader later suggested that they start giving less as the money was coming in faster than she could spend it. The average youth club attendance was 6.  The youngsters then asked for cooking lessons so that they could throw a Christmas party for the old people who help run the youth club for them.

There is something dynamic in the amazing combination of the enthusiasm of youth and the wisdom of age.

Who are you mentoring?

Praying Together

Praying on your own is a vital and healthy habit. However, it is important to pray with other Christians. Why? Well…

  1. We follow the example of scripture
  2. It increases our faith
  3. God delights in unity
  4. We are enriched by our different understanding and practices of prayer
  5. It helps us to better discern God’s will
  6. It draws more people into becoming the answer to our prayers
  7. We encourage other people to pray

“The prayer meeting is the powerhouse of the church” – how is your church doing? It is interesting that people turn out for all sorts of events and activities in all weathers yet the prayer meeting is often the gathering with the lowest numbers. Surely this is the place where we together hear God’s direction and purpose for our activity?

Image result for prayer image

A few verses to ponder…

1 Peter 4:7-8 The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. NLT

Acts 1:14 They (the disciples) all met together and were constantly united in prayer NLT

John 15:7-8 But if you remain in me (Jesus) and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! NLT

(With thanks to Chris Band, author of ‘On our Knees’)

I recently came across this African proverb:

‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’.

I reflected on this after going to an anniversary service of a local small church. They are part of a cluster of 4 small churches in West London who meet together on a regular basis. All 4 churches came to celebrate the anniversary with tea and worship. There was a great atmosphere as people met, exchanged news and renewed friendships. The largest of these churches has 25 members, the smallest has 5. However, we know that kingdom life is not about numbers, it’s about health. Each of the 4 churches could celebrate how God is moving and working in their churches and people in the community being reached.

Interdependence is the way of the Kingdom.

Psalm 133

 

 

On My Knees

Product DetailsPrayer is one of those things – we know it’s vital to our walk with God, but we still do not spend enough time talking and listening to God. I have recently read a great book called ‘On My Knees’ by Chris Band. It is a very honest look at prayer – why pray, how to balance prayer and doing and how prayer actually changes the world.

There is a lovely illustration of God’s patience with us – a child is helping Grandpa in the green house to plant seeds. It takes at least 3 times as long as if he did the job himself, but he enjoys his granddaughters company and they work together at her slow pace. This is our God – he is patient with us and allows us time to work things out. Our Christian life is a journey, more like a meandering river than a canal running from A to B. It’s like jazz music where composition and improvisation run side by side to create something unique. If you have a SATNAV, you know that it always gives you the fastest route to your destination. However, if you do head down a different road to the instruction, it re-routes to accommodate you. We have a great God who gives us a healthy mixture of stability and flexibility.

The opening lines of the Lord’s Prayer serves to focus us on God.

Our Father in heaven – our relationship (our), who He is (Father) and where He is (heaven).

Hallowed be Your name (He is worthy of our worship – the name above every name)

Your Kingdom come (therefore…my kingdom go…)

Your will be done (not mine) as it is in heaven (all commands carried out obediently).

Focusing on God fuels the revolution from self-centeredness to God-centeredness. God knows our hearts and thoughts. The Bible helps us to express these in prayer, there are twice as many psalms of lament than there are of praise! God is there with us in all of life’s messiness.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly to you.

It is always good to visit other churches so when I was abroad recently, I went to Mount Horeb Baptist Cathedral. The word was powerfully preached by a man who admitted that he would rather be preaching on God’s love, grace etc, but was compelled by the Holy Spirit to preach ‘Please don’t go to hell’.

It was a full gospel message based on Jesus’ parable in Luke 16 v19-31 about a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus. The rich man lacked nothing material in life, died and went to hell. The poor beggar Lazarus died and went to heaven.

The preachers main points were:

  • Life on earth is temporal
  • In death, all we have physically vanishes
  • Everyone dies
  • We have this life to decide where to spend eternity
  • What you do about Jesus and His free gift of salvation will determine your destination
  • Whether you believe it or not, heaven and hell exist

The preacher went on to quote Jesus as he taught much about hell (Matthew 13, 16, 25, Luke 16 etc). To conclude, he simply stated that the fact that only belief in Jesus as your saviour opens the way to heaven (John 14 v6). He then asked people where they stood before God, and to come forward if they knew they were not saved. 12 people responded that day to receive salvation.

When was the last time you heard / preached a sermon on heaven and hell?

24/7 Faith

Listening again to one of my favourite songs ‘God in my living’ by Tim Hughes, I am reminded that God is God of the small, the everyday, the deep sorrows and the great successes. All of life. The key is to praise and thank Him anyway, regardless of circumstances. He does not change. His love and faithfulness, strength and comfort see us through any situation. Be blessed by these beautiful pictures alongside the words on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk4AuUbGWCE

God in my living, there in my breathing, God in my waking, God in my sleeping,

God in my resting, there in my working, God in my thinking, God in my speaking.

God in my hoping, there in my dreaming, God in my watching, God in my waiting,

God in my laughing, there in my weeping, God in my hurting, God in my healing.

Be my everything, Be my everything,

Christ in me, the hope of glory

You are everything.