boat and net

Today I was at one of our new start churches.  They meet in a rented facility, come early to set up for church, and stay late to take  things down and put everything back in its proper place ready to be used for another purpose tomorrow. Today I fulfilled the responsibility of my position, I received new members and preached and encouraged the folks to reach their community for Christ.  I was able to pray for a young man who received his first local ministers license.  After the service we enjoyed a meal and  fellowship with the Cross-Way Community Church. We are committed to start 70 new congregations in the next 5 years!  I am always challenged when I meet with groups like I met with today.  First I am surrounded by commitment.  Our pastor and his spouse work full time jobs. Yet they pour themselves into this new venture God has given them.  Many question the commitment of todays leaders.  I wish you could travel with me every week.  I see commitment in large doses each and every week as I visit our congregations.  Today I reminded the new start congregation about biblical commitment.  I preached from Luke 5 and ended at verse 11:

11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Here is the biblical picture of commitment.  The disciples who had experienced a long night in which they caught no fish, had pulled on shore, mended and cleaned their nets ready for the next evenings fishing trip. They were not hobby fishermen it was their livelihood and career.  Yet they came up empty.  Sometimes you can do the best that you can do and things still do not work out.  Jesus asked them to pull out into deep water and to let down their nets.  Simon Peter told Jesus that they had worked hard all night with no results, but because Jesus commanded them they would indeed let down their nets.  Jesus wants all of us to go out into deep water, the place where we know we are in over our heads and we have to trust Him.  It is for the believer, the safest place to live.  Because of their obedience in letting down the nets, they experienced a great catch.  Jesus wants to use us to further the reach of the gospel.  Now notice verse 11.  Whenever Jesus calls us, we have to respond.  The response of the disciples was to pull their boats on shore.  They left everything! You do not hear much about total commitment today.  Jesus still requires complete and total commitment on the part of His disciples.  They left whatever had a pull on their lives and followed Him.  That is the essence of being a Christian, we are to be totally committed Christ followers.  Every week I see people who are living out this verse in our world today.  In a low commitment world, I see totally committed Christians on a regular basis.  Today I experienced it at the Cross-Way Community Church of the Nazarene in Beech Grove Indiana.  Each week I meet Christians who both challenge and encourage me to be a better Christian.

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