Fishing Etiquette

April 23, 2013

“Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 12:3

 

When I was younger, I loved fishing on the pier at the coast whenever possible.  Some of my greatest catches ever, occurred when I would fish for hours on one of several piers at Topsail Island, North Carolina.  Unfortunately, most of those piers have fallen victim to hurricanes and are no longer in operation.  Fishing has always been my one of my greatest passions.  However, there was always something special about fishing on those piers.   When you went fishing on the pier, you would find the atmosphere one of two ways.  There would be a few with rods hanging over the side, waiting for the fish to bite or there would be people lined up and down both sides pulling fish in from one end of the pier to the other.

When the fish were biting, there would be so many people on the pier, everyone had to make sure they fished straight in front of them or they would find themselves tangled up with a lot of other lines.  This was a regular occurrence, especially when  there were inexperienced pier fisherman or those who had been fishing there so long, they believed they had a right to fish wherever they wanted, regardless whose line was already in the water.  When everyone concentrated on their on line, everything went a little more smoothly and the fish were hooked and reeled in.  It  has become apparent to me that we ministers could take a lesson or to from fishing on a pier.

While I value good advice and criticism as much as anyone, I have come to the conclusion that there is way too much of that going around these days.  I received my calling from God as did other ministers.  When God called me, He impressed upon me to preach the gospel and disciple His people.  No one else has ever had to remind me of my calling or instruct me on what to do.  I thank God  for doing that for me.  Over the years, I have on occasion, been criticized by other ministers (and some laity) for my ministry performance.  One  minister did not approve of my preaching style, one did not approve of the version of the Bible I used, one did not like my humor and one felt I was too “laid back”.

In my earlier years of ministry, I let things like this bother me.  It seemed like no matter what I did in the ministry, there was someone there to make sure I was chastised for my method or motives.  These days, I have a much better approach towards these kind of remarks.  It’s called, “Fishing Etiquette”.   Speaking in relation to pier fishing, keep your line in front of you and pay attention to it or you are going to find yourself tangled up in someone elses line, keeping anyone from catching anything.  That’s just not good fishing manners! Now, I know as you are reading this, you may be thinking I sound harsh.  Please believe me when I say my intentions are not to be harsh, but straight-forward and direct.  The good Lord knows I have made more than my share of mistakes in the ministry.  However, there has never been one instance, that I am aware of, where God didn’t help me to realize the mistake.  He has a way of doing that to those who strive daily to serve Him.

The last thing our church families need to see are ministers and church leaders tearing down one another.  The focus of every minster is mainly two-fold, evangelism and discipleship.  There were twelve disciples with Jesus, none of them being alike, but all working with the Master.  None of those twelve performed their ministries in the exact manner, but each one’s goal was to spread the gospel.  In the same way, ministers are not the same.  Each one is created with a different personality which leads him to preach, teach and lead in different ways.  This does not, however, mean that because a minister performs his duties in a different manner than another minister that either has the privilege of putting the other under the proverbial microscope of criticism and declare his ministry a failure or disaster.

There are so many people today wandering through life without Jesus.  We, as ministers, will battle the adversary our entire lives for the souls of mankind.  The minister’s goal is preach the gospel until there is no more breath left in our bodies.  Let’s spend the time we have working together, without criticism and concentrate on spreading the gospel, making disciples and exalting our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Remember, we are not competing with one another, for we are co-laborers in Christ!  Our methods may be different, but our mission is the same.  Because I long, like so many of you, to hear the rewarding words from our father in heaven after our well fought fight on this earth. ‘Enter in, for you have served me well.”

 

 

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The Cost of Silence

June 20, 2011

Edmund Burke once said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”   What a remarkably true statement.  Only a casual glance at the news each day will provide enough evidence to convince most skeptics that evil dominates every area of society.   Wars, riots, corruption, marital infidelity, homosexuality, abortion, religious intolerance, religious persecution, divorce, and murder, only to mention a few, are seen and read about daily.  To ask why and how the evil in this world has become more and more widespread will produce a simple answer.  There has been too much silence.

Today, because of silence, abortions are legal, prayer has been removed from schools, homosexuals are permitted to marry and to adopt children, and marijuana can be grown and purchased legally in some states and the Ten Commandments are being stripped from most public places.  All of these horrible things happened because the saints of God were silent.  Nothing was said, nothing was done.  Only silence.  No one said anything.

Nothing has seemed to change.  God’s people are still silent.  Whenever another evil advance by the adversary takes place, God’s people do what they have done best over the past 45 years, they remain silent.  What is it going to take for the Christian population to wake up and cry out, “Thus saith the Lord!”  What keeps the people of God from breaking the silence and speaking out?  Is it persecution?  God’s people have nothing to fear.  Jesus said, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).   Jesus knew the evil of this world would grow and advance, yet He selected His people to be His mouthpiece and speak out on His behalf.  He assured His followers that they would be rewarded for the commitment and loyalty to Him.  So, if the silence is out of fear for persecution, remember Jesus’ promise.

Silence has caused the church to fail miserably.  What a lousy job the church has done in order to overcome evil.  So lousy in fact, most churches today are overwhelmed by the evil in their very own pews.  Why?  Because of silence.  God has set aside men of His choosing to preach His Word with clarity, without apology and boldly before this evil world.  And what is coming from the pulpits across America today?  Silence on the issue of evil.  The worry of losing the laity by preaching the sermons that a lost and dying world needs to hear compels these yellow-streaked cowards to hide behind their podiums and preach watered down, tickle-me-elmo sermons that would not keep a fly off of a rotten apple, much less a lost soul out of hell!  And it’s all because of God’s people remaining silent when evil is advancing daily.

What can be done one would ask?  The people of God, those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ, who acknowledge Him as their Savior and the Savior of this world, must realize their duty.  Understand that God has given the authority to His followers to proclaim His Word to this world, warning that all who do not follow Him will perish in an eternal hell.  Do not let fear be a factor in serving God.  As Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul.  Rather fear Him who can destroy both the body and the soul in hell”(Matthew 10:28).   Stand firm in God’s Word, constantly warning this world of the consequences of those who continue to live in sin and reject Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Do not remain silent!

The “Indifferentitis” Virus (via Friedtaters)

July 8, 2010

There is a horrible virus going around in churches today.  It is a virus that, if left unchecked, will cause churches to die in epidemic proportions.  The name of this virus is "Indifferentitis".  What is Indifferentitis ?       Indifferentitis is a satanic-driven virus causing churches to become indifferent to the work of Christ, both inside and outside their walls.  Diagnosing Indifferentitis is relatively easy.  A visual examination is all tha … Read More

via Friedtaters

The “Indifferentitis” Virus

June 30, 2010

There is a horrible virus going around in churches today.  It is a virus that, if left unchecked, will cause churches to die in epidemic proportions.  The name of this virus is “Indifferentitis“. 

  1. What is Indifferentitis ?       Indifferentitis is a satanic-driven virus causing churches to become indifferent to the work of Christ, both inside and outside their walls.  Diagnosing Indifferentitis is relatively easy.  A visual examination is all that is needed to identify if your church has Indifferentitis.
  2. What causes Indifferentitis?      The main cause of Indifferentitis is the loss of love for Jesus Christ.
  3. What are the syptoms?     Symptoms may vary from church to church, depending upon the spiritual condition of the congregation.  Diagnosing Indifferentitis is relatively easy.  A visual examiniation of the church will show the congregation as detached from it’s purpose, disinterested in it’s mission, dispassionate about the Gospel, cold and uncaring towards the lost, unconcerned about advancing God’s Kingdom and unemotional in it’s worship to God.  Once all of these symptoms occur, the diagnosis for the church is a slow death unless treatment is immediate.
  4. What happens when a church gets Indifferentitis?      Churches where indifferentitis occurs will experience a gradual to rapid decrease in overall attendance, an absence of evangelistic ministries, decreases in stewardship, mundane worship, ineffective ministries, apathetic leadership, and weak discipleship.
  5. What increases the risk of Indifferentitis?     If Jesus Christ is not the main focus of minstry in a church, Indifferentitis will take over the church, causing it to become completely ineffective in ministry.
  6. What is the treatment for Indifferentitis?      Treatment for Indifferentitis is simple if the church will consent to allow God to take over every aspect of the ministry.   This means the church will have to return to their first love, Jesus Christ, and make Him the center of the ministry once again.   Church leaders will be required to return to a Bible-based style of leadership where management-based leadership is replaced by ministry-based leadership.  The congregation as whole must accept God’s Word as Truth and be determined to live out His commandments by serving Him and Him only.   There must be a yearning to reach the lost, disciple the saved and worship corporately in a way that would bring glory and honor to God.   The Bible must be taught and preached with clarity and unapologetically.   And lastly, there must be a revival!   When this occurs, the church will once again be healthy.
  7. How can Indifferentitis be prevented?     Making Jesus Christ the love of the church is a highly preventative measure.  Churches in love with Christ are devoted to constant prayer, discipleship, evangelism, worship and seeking God’s will for their ministry.  These actions on behalf of Jesus will always be effective in preventing Indifferentitis.

Be Still Wiggle Worm!

December 28, 2009

Have you ever been called a “wiggle worm”? Well, I have.  My mother, as well as others, used to tell me how active I was all of the time.  I guess in today’s terminology, I would have been labeled with Attention Deficit Disorder or just plain Hyperactive.  I have never been one to be still for long periods of time.  My wife  will be the first to tell you one or two days of being stuck in the house with me is tormenting for everyone.  It has always been, and continues to be, hard for me to be still. 

Being  a “wiggle worm” comes with great expense.  It has cost me a few thumps on the head by my dad during church when the preacher had gone way past his allotted sermon time and my body could not take “stillness” another moment.  It has kept me from catching the “big one” while fishing because I was in too big of a hurry to reel it in.  And, it has cost me that “monster buck” on the wall because I could not sit still enough and wait for him to get closer for better shot.

Now, I know that I am not alone in my vices.  There are those out there who have difficulty being still also.  They probably are not as quick to admit it as I am, but if they were asked, they would admit they are “wiggle worms” themselves.   “Wiggle worms” are usually very impatient.  They have an attention span about the length of a stick of gum.  “Wiggle worms” can not pay attention for long, even when it is in their best interest.  For a “wiggle worm”, being still is very difficult. 

While it is difficult to be still, God wants us to be still in order that we may know and understand Him. Psalm 46:10 says, “be still and know that I am God.”  In other words, God says, “stop, listen to My words and understand who I am.”  It’s hard to listen to God, much less really understand Him, if you do not take the time to know Him.  We have to put aside all of the “busy-ness” in our lives and give Him the attention he deserves.  If you  are like me, there is something going on every minute of the day that competes for our time with Him.  There is your job, all kinds of appointments, school, kid’s activities, homework, housework, baths, and everything else.  But God says, “Be still!”  I’ll bet you are very much like me.  You want, no, you long to be in His presence.  That place where it’s just you and Him.  A place where you can bow, sit or kneel before Him and talk to Him about anything.  A place where you can once again discover how great it is to be before Him and worship Him.  I know.  I so long for those times everyday.  And, we can have them, everyday, if we will only be still.  The more time we spend with Him, the more we will know about Him and appreciate Him as our God, our King.  So, how about it all of you “wiggle worms?”  Don’t you think it’s time to be still?

I Was Just Thinking…

December 18, 2009

It’s snowing outside.  That means I can’t go anywhere or really do anything.  Well, I could go somewhere.  I own a four-wheel drive which is very capable of getting around in the snow.   However, since it is cold and windy outside, I am opting to remain in my recliner with the foot-rest up.  I am dressed in my favorite clothes, (t-shirt and sweatpants) which I believe people should wear more often.  There is a beautiful woman (my wife) sitting in the chair next to me with her laptop, totally involved in her virtual cafe, making sure meals are cooked and served in a timely manner.  The Christmas tree lights are giving off a soft warm glow, reminding me of the how blessed I am to have a safe and comfortable home to live in while the weather is so extreme outside.

So, I am sitting here  thinking….is it not sad that there are so many who are so less fortunate? 

Think about it.  Right now, someone is searching for a place to sleep tonight somewhere out of the cold and wet weather.  They will find a box, a drain tile, an abandoned building to stay in or a bridge to find shelter under.  They have no bed, no blanket and no pillow.  I have a home that has a bed for each of us and more than enough room for the four people who live here.  I am blessed.

There is someone, right this very minute, who longs to have something, anything to eat.  They are sick, shaking, and on the brink of total exhaustion from a lack of food and water.   They will fall asleep tonight thinking about how they will find their next meal tomorrow.  Tomorrow will be another battle for survival.  Tomorrow,  hunger will take another life or maybe even theirs.  I just finished eating a good home-cooked meal and there were leftovers for tomorrow.  I have a refrigerator, a freezer and a pantry full of food.  I am blessed.

There are people getting up before daylight, right now, walking miles, just to get to work.  They will make the journey back home later, only to do it again the tomorrow.  Some of these people  are making that walk with no shoes and no protection from the elements of nature.  I have a vehicle that I drive each day.  When it is cold outside, I turn on the heat and continue to drive warmly to my destination.  When it is hot outside, I turn on the air conditioner and continue to drive without breaking a sweat to my destination.  When it is raining, snowing or sleeting outside, I always arrive safe and dry.  I am blessed.

Right now, as you are reading this, someone is sitting at home all alone.   They are so lonely.  They have no friends, no family, no one.  They long for a phone call, a letter or a visit.  They feel trapped.  Hopelessness and despair are now the only companions they know.  They are desperate for happiness and joy to take back their lives, but to know avail.  They are finding themselves once again contemplating their own death, thinking about how much better they would be and how much better the world would be if they were only dead.  They are only contemplating now.  However, there is one who has already taken their life while you have been reading this blog.  I am surrounded by great friends and a wonderful family.  Being alone for an extended period is something I have never experienced.  My life is full of joy and happiness, even when things are not exactly perfect.  I have the perfect soulmate.  God picked her just for me and for that I am extremely grateful.  Contemplating my death is the furtherest thing from my mind.  I am truly blessed.

I long for the day when we will all be with our Savior in heaven where no one, not the homeless, not the hungry, not the sick and not the lonely and depressed will ever lack anything.  A place where “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:4).  Yes,  I am so blessed.  Guess what?  So are you.  Let us all never forget how blessed we are or take our blessings for granted.

Fried taters and the Bible

December 15, 2009

Cooking has been a favorite pastime of mine for many years.   Since my wife ranks cooking down there with mopping the floors, I received no argument from her when I volunteered to do all the cooking if she would clean up the mess. After 23 years of cooking, I am proud to say I am what some would call a ” master” of country cooking.  I’m not a chef by any means, but I have been known to make dishes that would make the Beverly Hillies come back for seconds.

If you were to ask me to give you one dish that I like the most, fried taters would be my top choice.  Now if you have been blessed to raised in any part of the southern United States, then you are aware of how awesome fried taters taste.  And, they go with anything.  There is nothing better than fried taters with onions (and peppers) served beside a good old helping of eggs for breakfast.  Or, how about fried taters with a mouth-watering bologna sandwich for lunch?   Better yet, throw a helping of fried taters against some country fried pork chops and you will find yourself  wondering if you have died and gone to heaven!  Put’em on top of your head and your tongue will beat your brains out trying to get to them!  I’m telling you folks, fried taters makes any dish better.  If you don’t believe me, just try them for yourself.

I know you are wondering what fried taters has to do with Christianity.  I’m glad you asked.  As I stated at the beginning, I have been cooking for some time.  I did not come the conclusion overnight that fried taters went with everything.  I learned that over time. 

When I asked Jesus to be the Master of my life, I began to read the Bible daily.  I had been told by my parents and people who cared for me that the Bible was the best “book of directions” I could own.  It took me a while to learn what they had told me was true.  I have discovered over the years that the Bible has something to say about every area of my life and the circumstances of everyday drama.  In other words, it goes with everything. Just like fried taters!

So if you are living your life without having experienced eating fried taters and the joy of reading the Bible, then my friend, you are missing out on something great.  One provides nourishment for the body.  The other provides nourishment for the soul.  While fried taters are so good, they can not compare to God’s Word.  As a matter of fact, when it comes down to it, you can live without the fried taters, but you will never truly live without God’s Word.  The Bible says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  So, you really haven’t lived until you feed upon God’s Word.  Take time out of your schedule this week to try it (with some fried taters) and see for yourself that it really does go with everything in your life.

Moving On

December 12, 2009

For some time I have been using podbean as my source for blogs and videos.  However, I will begin using WordPress as my blogsite beginning December 14, 2009.   I invite you to visit with me each week as I discuss a wide variation of topics, all of which are aimed at bringing Christ into our minds.  I’m looking forward to a new beginning with each of you.

Merry Christmas!!