Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch Part 2.

Luke 5: 4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

empty boat on shore

 

Jesus was speaking to the crowd that had gathered within earshot. The crowds pressed in to “hear the Word of God.” Jesus saw some boats that weren’t being used, but belonged to Simon Peter. Jesus used Peter’s boat for a platform. The boats were for fishing, not showboats, but they were available. In cooperation with Peter, the owner of the boats, Jesus positioned himself to teach.

Friend, is your everyday lifestyle available as a platform Jesus can use to declare God’s Word to anyone close enough to pay attention? Are we willing to pause washing our dirty nets long enough to give Jesus a chance to speak? Do we have to finish cleaning the nets and tidying the boats before Jesus is welcome inside? Is there room in the boat?

If we aren’t close enough to hear the command, who moved?

 

To be continued…

3.31.16 Putting Them to Work

Putting Them to Work

 

Last night God answered another significant prayer as I was seriously seeking His direction. God is glad to do that if we are willing to obey no matter how it turns out.

I have been one to build a ship but fail to launch it. Always preparing, but not putting out the effort and risk to actually fulfill the dream. http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/seize-the-moment!1 this article by Rick Warren was very inspiring!

Oh, the preparation! I have gathered a mass of books, study materials, music in print, CD, cassette tape, instruments all for the “ministry that God must have in store for me someday.” Decades ago, during a move from one house to another, my oldest son remarked wryly “Dad, I think you like books!” looking at the pick-up truck full of boxes of books and recordings.

I remember showing my collection of commentaries and pastoral conglomeration to a young protege’. “If I had known that I wasn’t going to be preaching to large crowds on a paid church staff, I could have saved at least $10,000 in books,” I told him.

I can part with the books much easier than the guitars. I have many books in digital format now that don’t require a lot of shelf-space, dusting, or tidying up. But the guitars and amplifiers have required a separate room in our house.

A while back, I realized that God wanted what He had given me to be put to work. My guitar and book collection is much trimmer now and others are grateful, especially my wife.

Matthew 25:27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.

 

*Update: Since this time, I have been donating guitars in a raffle-testimony fashion. We set up a booth at a public event (if they allow us) and offer tickets on the guitar. To get a ticket, people listen to a 3 minute testimony. After the testimony, we draw a ticket and give the guitar to the winner!!!

We have seen responses to the Gospel EVERY time we’ve done this.

My guitars have been put to work for the Kingdom!

Praise God!!

Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch Part 1.

Luke 5: 4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

Four points:

  1. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon” Jesus had been speaking generally, then stopped to privately address a disciple close to Him.
  2. “Launch out into the deep” time for action! It’s deep and out of your control.  It may seem mundane because it’s a fishing boat, not a battleship or luxury liner set on a world cruise. But Jesus is in the boat. Maybe you expect to catch close to the shore like during the spawn, but there’s a risk of failure. Jesus didn’t say to study or remember others’ fishing patterns, buy a new boat (or guitar, ouch!), or even check the weather.
  3. “Let down your nets” Notice it is not “bait and switch.” No hidden hooks here! It’s more like planting seeds. Nets aren’t for collecting or holding onto. They don’t tear or need mending if you keep them safe and clean. Nets are easily managed if left in nice, quiet bundles just out of the way of foot traffic on your nice, pretty boat. Or hanging on your wall or even better, in the case under your bed!
  4. “For a catch” What do we expect? Fishermen expect fish. Farmers expect crops. Shepherds expect herds. It depends on how God made and prepared YOU.

TO BE CONTINUED….

 

 

3.30.16 Ps. 52

PSALMS 52 HCSB

 

1 Why brag about evil, you hero! God’s faithful love is constant. ×

2 Like a sharpened razor, your tongue devises destruction, working treachery.

3 You love evil instead of good, lying instead of speaking truthfully. Selah

4 You love any words that destroy, you treacherous tongue!

5 This is why God will bring you down forever. He will take you, ripping you out of your tent; He will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah

6 The righteous will look on with awe and will ridicule him:

7 “Here is the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, taking refuge in his destructive behavior.”

 

8 But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever.

 

9 I will praise You forever for what You have done. In the presence of Your faithful people, I will put my hope in Your name, for it is good.

 

My commentary:

V.1 Bragging is dialogue of the proud and arrogant. “God opposes the proud” even if they are applauded as “VIP” or “MVP”

V.2 “devises” shows conscious effort and preparation

v.3 “Love evil” enough said.

v.4 You probably have a storehouse of evil ammo to use against those who love the Lord

V.5 Let’s pray that when God brings you down, you will repent so it will not last “forever.”

V.5b Whatever is sheltering you is transient and will be exposed

V.5c You and your influence will no longer torment people seeking God

V.6 God will bring honor to Himself and compassion to His people.

V.7 We are admonished to make God our refuge and shelter, our provider and provision. You will serve as a bad example.

An Open Letter to Bree Olson (Former Pornstar)

I know little to nothing of Jonathan Welton, but I LOVED this letter!!! What a great example of Grace!! JWM

 

 

AN OPEN LETTER TO BREE OLSON, (FORMER PORNSTAR)

Dear Bree,

Normally, “open letters” are reserved for people picking fights or debating; that is not why I am writing to you today. As you know, it can be quite difficult to get emails through to celebrities. The layers of email filtering and boundaries can be very hard to pass.

In your case, this especially makes sense as I would guess that much of the mail you receive is very rude, insensitive, gross, or judgmental. This letter is very different.

I was heartbroken while watching your recent interview about how you are being treated since you left the Porn Industry. But let me start with telling you a little about me.

I am 33 years old and President of a large Christian college. I have been married for 12 years, and have two beautiful daughters (3 years old and 6 months old). Yet I lived with a slavish addiction to Internet pornography for a large portion of my life. I did a lot of really bad things, which led to almost losing my marriage 6 years ago. It was at that point that God removed a spiritual cancer from my heart. The pain in my heart, that had driven me to choose porn as a self-medication, was finally healed and the shame that came from the porn was washed away permanently.

That is a big story to cover in one paragraph but I believe that God treats us according to our destiny, not according to our history. You are not a porn-star, that is your history, you are your destiny and your destiny is still ahead of you in the future.

I hear the pain in your interview and as a father; I would never want my daughters to feel like you are feeling. You should not be treated this way, it is wrong and I am sorry. No matter what my daughters ever do, they will always feel loved, safe, clean and cherished in my presence. You deserve to feel the same and I am sorry that you are not able to feel that way right now. I want you to know there is hope. Please do not give up. Do not give into the dark thoughts, I have been there too, ending everything will not make your life feel better, it will simply end your hope of a good future, and there is hope for a good future, push through and keep going.

As a man, I apologize to you, please forgive us. Men were designed by God to be protectors, but many of us have become predators. What I can tell you is that men can become transformed into healthy safe protectors that you would feel clean and shame-free around. I know this because I have become that. Not only do my daughters have a loving father, but my wife has a husband that she can totally trust.

I don’t know if you have any church background, I would guess that you might, considering that 89% of strippers (I know you aren’t a stripper) have a church background (Statistics from “Stripped” by Bernadette Barton). So maybe you have heard the story of the son that took his father’s inheritance and ran away from home to do evil. Then when the son returned to his father, he threw his arms around his son and cried because his son had returned. The son must have thought his dad would be angry with him, maybe he would be punished, or maybe he would have to be ashamed of what he had done. But the father loved him in such a way that the past was washed away and relationship was restored (read the full story here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/…).

I know God as a Father in heaven that loves and cleanses us of our past. I believe that He has me writing to you today to tell you that He is calling for your heart. He loves you and wants to put the shattered parts of your heart back together. He wants to wash you clean from the shame, to stop the dark thoughts, to remove the bad dreams, and to put joy back in your heart. I see the happy little girl that you used to be, He wants to restore what was stolen from you. I believe that if you are honest and close your eyes and ask God to cleanse you and hold you close, you will be able to begin the same kind of relationship with Him.

Even if you aren’t ready for that loving relationship today, I want to extend an offer to you. My college, Welton Academy, we will give you a full scholarship. We have 1300 students in 30 countries and what I constantly hear every single day is how each student has been profoundly impacted. Lives have been transformed, shame removed, pain healed, marriages restored, insecurity and fear replaced with peace and confidence.

There is literally no other school like us. I believe that I could put you in front of any of the 1300 students and you would feel loved, accepted, valued, safe and treated with respect. We are not just a school, we are a family, and as a healthy family we have certain values, these lead us to love those that are down and out, the broken and hurting.

We have many celebrities that are a part of the school, but we keep their identity secret because we are not trying to use them for advertising. We do have Brian Head Welch of the band Korn, and he agreed to go public and help us advertise. But that is the exception. If you take me up on the full scholarship, we won’t tell anyone outside of our staff, you will be able to safely and anonymously take your courses (it’s 100% online).

Regardless of how you take this letter, know that we love you, you have value, there is hope, you have a destiny to fulfill, and please don’t live life looking over your shoulder.

Dr. Jonathan Welton Best-selling author and Founder of Welton Academy

  1. Bree, if you want to contact me, send me a PM at: https://www.facebook.com/Jonathan-Welton-155606377891031/

PPS. I could have tried really hard to get this to you privately, but I think it is better that others see an example of how you should be treated and talked to, so I am willing to put myself out here and throw myself under the bus with you. Much love, JW

Accolade

ACCOLADE

The young man lay down and closed his eyes, and took a deep breath of the Presence of God.

His mind was still very active, so inside, he knelt before God to bring another gift of worship, his everything-holding nothing back, but willing to be shown if anything was hindering his fellowship with God.

As the young man offered his gift to the King, He extended His hand to the young man from His throne to indicate that the young man should stay knelt down and said, “Now, I have something for you!”

 

As the young man waited before Him, the young man could tell he was in the Throne room like in outer space, where the earth was God’s footstool. There was no one else but the King and the young man. The young man was aware that without the King, he couldn’t be sustained where he was on his own. The young man was supported by nothing but the King’s invitation and pleasure. The young man was aware of the King’s Majesty and his own helplessness.

As the young man noticed his helplessness, the King changed the young man’s attention, as He stretched out a sword and dubbed the young man like a knight. The young man noticed that his garments changed as the young man was outfitted for the role.

The young man’s new outfit wasn’t a distraction to the King’s Majesty and love for him.

The young man’s attention changed to a huge door that opened for him as he stepped up to it. The doorkeepers recognized the young man and permitted passage like he belonged there.

As the young man stepped in, he immediately saw his King. This time the King was at the head of a round stone table and the young man was invited to take his own seat.

In the Throne room, the young man hadn’t looked up to see His face. Here at the Table, the young man saw his King. Seated in splendor, robed in white that was laced in gold, the King was surrounded by pure light so bright the young man could barely look at Him. The King’s hair and beard was also made of this light laced in gold. His crown was indescribably beautiful.

Obviously, the young man was stunned by His appearance, but it was His eyes that the young man can’t forget. The young man has seen those eyes repeatedly throughout the years since. Piercing, all knowing, all powerful!  Those eyes were filled with an eternal consuming flame of purest light. Gazing at Him could never be matched by another experience. Everything important was there in those eyes!

Jesus glanced around to draw the young man’s attention to the table and those around it. What the young man thought was a simple round stone table had become very long, even beyond a vanishing point, so he could not measure or begin to know how big it was.

Around this Table sat a multitude. Men and women from across all ages and cultures were also invited and seated there. The young man saw polished and refined leaders in the most ornate of uniforms across the spectrum of history ranging all the way down to bloodied and muddy soldiers who barely survived enough to get there.

The multitude of these warriors was varied and vast, but they all had one important thing in common: the eyes of our King. The Glory of having endured His cross and received the power of His resurrection, endured temptation and having hazarded their own lives for the sake of the King and His Kingdom.

 

The young man knew that there were many, but they were few compared to the mass called humanity, and he was invited to take his place there. As the young man took his place, he knew he was called to recruit and train others for this team.

My Take on Calvary Baptist Church Dec. 7, 2015

Yesterday morning, as our meeting was coming to a close, many people were at the front. They were praying,
hugging, crying, laughing, blessing, and generally fellowshipping at a level rare to my 45 years of church experience.
Is this the Revival we have been praying for, waiting on, and investing in our whole lives?
About a year ago, we had about 200 in attendance. Now we are running about 400 every week. We
have baptized over 100 (mostly adults) in less than 4 months and new members are flocking to
discipleship classes and small group meetings. Our Sunday School attendance had been in decline and
threatened stopping altogether. Now we are scrambling to find enough chairs every Sunday morning.
The reports of changed lives are astounding! New Christians are walking away from dark lifestyles in
abundance as addictions to meth, alcohol, and deviant sexual behaviors are being turned away from to
walk anew in Christ. Whole families are coming to Christ.
Of course, not everyone is happy about it. You can imagine that as God changes people, some people
won’t change, and so our attendance is changing too. New faces abound and they glow with the joy of
Jesus in their faces!
We rejoice in what God is doing, but we also know we can fall if we start taking the glory to ourselves.