Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Catch and Keep or Catch and Release?

I love to flyfish.  There is something about wading into a river, looking for signs of a trout, learning what they are feeding on, choosing the right fly and casting with precision to the right location at the right time.  When the trout rises, sucks down the fly and my line takes off with that familiar 'zing', my heart pumps shooting excitement in my veins as I play the fish into my net.  Some fishermen may take that trout and put into their creel (basket) but I put the fish back into the water so it can swim, play and reproduce so that there are more and more fish to enjoy catching.

I also love fishing for people.  Not only to see them come to Christ but also to see those who are following Christ to become people fishermen as well.  I love to watch and pray for men and women who are hungry for Jesus, who will rise to the call of God in their hearts and suck down large quantities of His Word only to be released back into the world to grow, reproduce and bring others along in their faith.

The challenge for me in all of this is the waiting.  Waiting for men and women who are hungry for more of Christ - who are ready to exchange their life for His.  In my experience, these people are becoming more and more rare.  Maybe because too many fishers of men are putting their catch in their creel instead of releasing them to grow, thrive and reproduce.

What about you?  Are you hungry for more of Jesus, His Word and His people?  Are you willing to be a fisher of men (Matthew 4:19)?  When you do catch a soul, do you put them in your creel or to do you release them back into the world to grow, thrive and reproduce?  I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spiritual Farming

What does the picture of the farmer below communicate to you?  Take a look at where he is standing, what he has in his hands, look at his posture, and his focus.  Look at the soil, the water and lastly, look at the crops themselves.  What do you see?

The crops are often the focus in pictures like this, but there is so much more involved in this picture.  Without the farmer, his care, the shovel, water, dirt and sunshine, there would not be any crops.  Often Christians pray for the fruit, the crops, but are less excited about all that is required for the fruit to be enjoyed.

I can imagine this field a few months earlier; there was probably not much growing.  The farmer had to plow the ground and break up the dirt that had become calloused from the winter.  There may have been weeds pulled or rocks removed along with some cover crops planted that would grow quickly and then be plowed back into the ground for additional nutrients.  I'm certain there were was a lot of sweat, sore muscles and prayers for rain as the precious seeds of the crops were sown into the field with great care and anticipation.  Did you notice the knee brace on the farmer?  Possibly a reminder of injuries that come from caring for the land and the crops.  And then there was a bunch of waiting...waiting for the seeds to germinate and poke through the soil that was loved on by the farmer.

After much hard labor, the crops are still not ready for harvest, but they will be soon enough.  A little sunshine, a bit of rain and the tender care and sacrifice of the farmer and the crops will be ready to give up their precious fruit.

The story can be seen as an allegory of what it takes for fruit to be seen in the lives of believers and not yet believers.  There must be a farmer, one who cares for people and is willing to disciple them Discipling people is simply pointing them to Jesus and teaching them to obey His truth.  There must be a lot of prayer and spiritual sweat put into the soil of souls.  This will include time spent with the soil (people), time spent with God in prayer and in the sowing of the hope of God in their hearts.  There must also be patience to wait for the soil (the heart of a person) to be ready to receive the seed and then for germination to take place.  

Helping people become like Jesus is really simple, a heart (soil), the Word of God (seed), some prayer and care (water and sunshine) and a bunch of love (hard work).  It is really simple - just a few ingredients - but helping people become like Jesus does require hard work, discipline, sacrifice and a focus of obedience to what Jesus has called us: to help people become like Him.

Are you making disciples? 
Do you believe that you are to be making disciples?
What excites you or scares you about making disciples of Jesus?
If you are not making disciples, what would be helpful to you in order to begin the process?

Let's dialogue about this if you'd like by leaving a comment/question below.