Going Fishing for Jesus

1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing [their] nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto [their] partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw [it], he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so [was] also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. Luke 5:1-11

I remember when I was contemplating studying for the ministry, an uncle of mine jokingly told me being a pastor was a great job because you only had to work a half day a week and you could go fishing the rest of the time.

To be honest with you, it’s even better than that. A pastor’s job allows him to go fishing every day of the week. And, of course, the same is true for every Christian. Even though we may have toiled all night and tried every thing we can think of, Jesus tells us to let down the nets for a catch and He fills the nets beyond belief.

Jesus calls you and me – every believer – to be fishers of men (cf. Luke 5:10; Luke 24:46-47; Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16) and He commands us to let down our nets again and again, trusting that He will accomplish His purposes. And so we do. We continue to preach and proclaim God’s Word, knowing and trusting God’s promise that His Word will not return to Him void, without accomplishing His purpose (Isa. 55:10-11).

Perhaps we can take the analogy of our text even further. Jesus commanded His disciples to launch out into the deep and let down their nets for a catch. He didn’t tell them to stand on the safety of the shore and try to bait the fish in. He sent them out to where the fish were – in the deep – and it is there they were to let down their nets.

So also, Jesus would have us to go out into the world where the people are – maybe even into places we would rather not go – and there let down our nets. It doesn’t usually work to call the fish to come onto the shore or to jump into our boats. Nor is it sufficient to simply invite people to come within the walls of our church building that they might hear the Word of God and believe. We need to go to them and find ways to reach them with the Word of God where they are. It’s only when they are caught in the net out there that they can be brought into the boat and in here!

So, how do we launch out into the deep that we might catch men for Jesus? First of all, we need to go out where the people are and not expect them to come to where we are. Secondly, we need to let down our nets, and they may need to be let down deep to where the fish are. That means finding ways to touch people’s lives with God’s Word where they are and in ways that they will hear. Thirdly, we need to remember who it is that fills the net and follow His fishing instructions. We won’t catch souls for Jesus unless the nets we let down are His words of Law and Gospel – warning people concerning their sin and its eternal consequences and telling them of God’s mercy and forgiveness and life in Christ Jesus, who fulfilled all righteousness for us and then suffered and died on the cross for our sins and the sins of all and rose again in victory!

And what a great job God has given us! We get to go fishing every day by taking the message of His Word out into the deep, where the lost are, and catching them with the good news of forgiveness and eternal life through faith in Christ Jesus, God’s Son and our Savior!

Dear Lord Jesus, You have called us to be fishers of men, to launch out into the deep and let down the net of Your Word for a catch. Grant us the faith to go out into the world and proclaim Your Word to people where they are that You might fill the nets and bring people from the depths of sin to faith in You as their Savior. Amen.

Do You Recognize God’s Voice?

“Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth” 1 Samuel 3:9 (Read 1-10)

When the LORD God called young Samuel, Samuel did not recognize the voice of the LORD and ran three times to Eli, saying, “Here am I.” We are told that Samuel failed to recognize the LORD’s voice because he did not yet know the LORD (v. 7).

Finally, Eli realized that it was the LORD calling Samuel and directed him to go lay down and, if He heard the voice again, to reply, “Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth.” And when the LORD came again, Samuel was given a message concerning God’s coming judgment upon Eli and his sons.

Today, I ask you if you recognize the voice of the LORD God calling to you.

Now, many might expect God to talk to them directly or to have Him whisper in their ear or their heart; but that’s not necessary and those who expect it open themselves up to self deception or even the voice of Satan and his evil angels who love to present themselves as angels of light (cf. 2 Cor. 11:14). God has clearly chosen to speak to us another way – in His written and recorded Word, the Bible – and that should always be the first place we go to hear God speaking to us, as well as to confirm that any other nudges or urgings we might feel are really from God Himself.

The Bible tells us that the Scriptures are God-breathed – God speaking to us – and the Scriptures reveal to us the salvation God provided for us in His Son and also how God would have us live as His redeemed children (cf. 2 Tim. 3:14-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21). Through the Bible, God speaks to us, revealing our sinful and lost condition and offering to us forgiveness and life through faith in Christ Jesus and the redemption He accomplished for all when He suffered and died upon the cross for our sins and rose again the third day (cf. Rom. 3:19-26). And, through the Bible, God also teaches and guides us that we might know His will and live for Him (cf. Ps. 119:9-11; 105).

Indeed, it is true that most don’t recognize God calling them through the Bible. They consider it nothing more than the voice of men. But that is because they do not yet know the LORD and sit humbly before His Word and say, “Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth.”

God is calling you, speaking to you! Don’t expect an audible voice or a miraculous appearance. He’s already come to us in His Son, and He calls us through His written Word. Listen. Read. Pray that the LORD would open your ears to hear and to believe His Word.

Open my ears, LORD; and “Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth.” Amen.

What is it to be baptized into Christ?

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” Romans 6:3

What is it to be baptized into Christ Jesus? The apostle Paul wrote to the believers at Galatia (Gal. 3:26-27): “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ….” In His letter to the believers at Rome, the apostle said (Romans 6:3-4): “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

In his letter to the Colossians (Col. 2:12; cf. 8-15), St. Paul says we are “buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”

What does all this mean? It means that we who are sinful and unrighteous of ourselves and stand condemned by God’s law under the old covenant enter into a new covenant with God established when Christ Jesus, as our substitute, fulfilled all righteousness for us and then took the full condemnation and punishment required by God’s law for the sins of all mankind (cf. Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 10:9ff).

When we are baptized, we are joined to Christ Jesus. His death for the sins of all becomes our death. And, as He was raised up from the dead, we are raised up from spiritual darkness and death and given new life in fellowship with God our Father, as well as the certainty that we too will be raised up unto everlasting life. In this new covenant, our sins are paid for and forgiven and we have new life and eternal salvation. Outside of this covenant, we stand condemned for our sins and face the eternal consequences.

This is why it was necessary for Jesus to be baptized (Mark 1:9ff.; Matt. 3:13ff.). It was not for Himself, for He was without sin. It was for us that we might be baptized into Him and enter into this new covenant in which our sins are washed away and forgiven through His shed blood and in which His Spirit regenerates us, creating faith in our hearts, and makes us alive to God.

And so, when we are baptized into Christ, we are joined to Him in His death and in His resurrection. All our sins are paid for and forgiven and God raises us up from spiritual darkness and death and gives us new life in Jesus, our Savior.

Open up our eyes, Lord Jesus, to see that in our baptism, we were joined to You and have entered into a new covenant in which Your death for the sins of all mankind is counted as our death and Your victorious resurrection means we are accepted and forgiven and have new life in fellowship with the Father. Keep us in this new covenant until our bodies, too, are raised up to live with You in Your kingdom forever and ever. Amen.

[Scripture quoted from the King James Version of the Bible]

 

‘Wise Men Still Seek Him!’

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2; Read Matthew 2

Wise men from the east, perhaps through study of ancient prophecy (Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17), understood that the appearing of a special star indicated the birth of the long-promised Messiah and King of the Jews and traveled many miles to worship Him and offer Him gifts. The chief priests and scribes in Jerusalem knew the Scriptures and the place where the Messiah was to be born from Micah 5:2, but apparently were too busy practicing their religion to go there to seek Him. Herod, hearing of the birth of the Messiah, was afraid of losing his kingdom and sought to slay the Christ Child.

This raises an important question for you to consider. “How do you respond to the news that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world to be your Savior?”

Do you, like King Herod, fear that Jesus’ coming into the world will interfere with your life? Do you seek to keep Him out of your life so that you can continue on in your own ways, doing the things you want to do, without Jesus there to interfere? Do you stay away from church and even sometimes wish people would quit talking about Jesus and teaching from the Bible?

Are you, like the chief priests and scribes, so busy with your religious service to God that you don’t have the time or the desire to seek out Jesus even though you may know much about Him? Are you able to recite the facts about Jesus and tell others how they should live for Him and serve Him, but are yet unable to honestly say that you know Jesus or have walked with Him?

Or, have you, like the Wise Men of old, heard of Jesus’ coming, sought Him out through the study of the Scriptures, found Him and worshiped and honored Him as your Messiah, Savior and King?

You know, the saying is still as true today as ever: “Wise Men Still Seek Him!”

Events and Announcements at Good Shepherd

Welcome to our guests and visitors. If you would like the pastor to call or visit with you, please speak to him after a service, call him or contact him by email at pastor@ goodshepherdrogers.org.

Readings for Nov. 11, the First Sunday after the Epiphany, are: Psalm 29 Genesis 1:1-5 Romans 6:1-11 Mark 1:4-11. Please read them in their context as you prepare for worship on Sunday.

Sunday’s Bible Class will continue its study of Genesis at chapter 36.

An evening congregational Bible Study will be held this Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the church.

Church Council will meet on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. Remember to share ideas and suggestions for mission outreach with the pastor or a council member.

Verse to Remember

“Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 29:2

Remember to Pray

Remember to pray for our church and for all our members, that none be lost to Christ’s kingdom but that all continue in repentance and be strengthened and built up in the true and saving faith in Christ Jesus through the hearing and study of His Word. We continue to pray for all who have been sick or who are suffering among us, for our extended families and those in need, and for believers who are alone and have no congregation. We remember the churches and pastors in the Philippines. We pray for those suffering and persecuted around the world. And we pray for our nation and its rulers, that our people would repent and look to God for mercy.

Other Announcements

Online worship services can be found at Good Shepherd’s YouTube channel. The YouTube address is: https://www.youtube.com/user/goodshepherdrogers. Subscribe to the goodshepherdrogers channel and share it with others.

Special gifts may be designated for the church’s charity fund – used to help those in desperate need.

Devotions and Study Materials are available on the church website: http://www.goodshepherdrogers.org.

Facebook users are encouraged to like the Good Shepherd Rogers Facebook page and to share items posted there. Visit our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/goodshepherdrogers.

‘The LORD giveth wisdom….’

“For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6

God gave to Solomon wisdom from His Word, making him known all over the world for his great understanding (1 Kings 3:4-15). We see Jesus’ wisdom and understanding of the Scriptures at the age of 12 as He sat among the Jewish teachers listening and asking questions (Luke 2:40-52). And we too were made wise unto salvation through the hearing of God’s Word (Eph. 1:3-14; cf. 2 Tim. 3:15).

And, if we desire to grow in wisdom and understanding, God is the source and His Spirit is our teacher (1 John 2:27). Thus, we pray for wisdom and understanding (James 1:5) and read and study God’s Word; “for the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6; cf. 2:1ff.).

Though the world would have us believe the Bible is foolishness, it actually reveals the wisdom of the Almighty God who created all things and who sent His Son to redeem us. It explains how life began, how we became sinful and inclined to evil and how God provided a remedy for our sin by sending His only begotten Son to die in our stead, rise again and win our eternal salvation (cf. 1 Cor. 1:18ff.). The Scriptures reveal to us our utter sinfulness, Christ Jesus as our Savior, and how God would have us live as His redeemed children (cf. Rom. 3:10-26; 2 Tim. 3:14-17).

God desires us to grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him and His plan for our salvation. Therefore, we read and study the Scriptures to learn of Christ Jesus and all He does for us. And, treasuring the wisdom of God revealed to us, we join with the psalmist in saying: “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day…” (Psalm 119:97).

We read and meditate in God’s Word, “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light” (Psalm 36:9).

Make us wise, O LORD, in the true wisdom revealed in Your Word. And, above all, make us wise unto salvation through faith in the Son that we might have pardon, forgiveness and everlasting life for the sake of His innocent sufferings and death for us upon the cross. Amen.

[Scripture from the King James Version of the Bible]

 

It doesn’t have to be hard to tell friends of Jesus

Telling people about Jesus doesn’t have to be hard. Why not copy and paste the following letter and sign your name at the end in place of mine and tell your friends of Jesus and why you trust in Him as your Savior!

Dear Friend,

I would be remiss if I did not tell you of Jesus and why I trust in Him.

I trust in Jesus because:

1. I am a sinful human being and come far short of God’s expectations. I have broken God’s commandments – when not in my words and actions, in my thoughts and desires. I stand guilty before God and am deserving of His condemnation and the eternal fires of hell. God tells me so when He says, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

2. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, born of the virgin Mary, kept all God’s commandments for me – perfectly in thoughts, desires, words and deeds – and He took my sin, my guilt and my punishment upon Himself when He suffered and died upon the cross for the sins of all and then rose again on the third day. For Jesus’ sake, God pardons, forgives and accepts me as His own dear child and will freely give me the everlasting joys of heaven. Again, God tells me so when He says that all are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).

It is my hope and prayer that you, too, will trust in Jesus and know and possess God’s pardon and forgiveness for all your sins through faith in Him, be accepted as God’s dear child and have a place in His everlasting kingdom!

Your Christian Friend,
Randy Moll

A Father’s Prayer

A Father’s Prayer
by Randy Moll

This child You trusted to my care.
This child I did in my arms bear.
To Baptism’s water this child I brought,
And faith in You Your Spirit wrought.

This child I told of Your dear Son
And what He by His death has done.
To this child I read Your Word,
And for this child my prayers were heard.

In Your house and on church pew,
I taught this child to worship You.
This child I guided in Your ways
That Yours this child might be always.

Oft I’ve sinned and failed to be
The kind of dad this child should see.
By Christ’s shed blood, You’ve cleansed my soul;
O keep this child from my sin’s toll!

This child You’ve given me on loan
Has gotten big and now is grown.
My hands, too frail this child to bear,
Can only fold and offer prayer
That this child of tender heart
Would ne’er from You or mercy part.

Watch o’er and keep this child of mine
that (s)he may be forever Thine.
To Thee, O Father, God above,
I entrust this child with all my love!
To Thee I bow, my knees do bend.
In Jesus’ name, I say, “Amen.”

Do you want to be wise?

“O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.” Psalm 119:97-104

Do you want to be wise? Do you want to have understanding? If so, let God teach you through His own Word, the Bible!

Our world is full of false ways and misguided directions. People, both knowingly and unknowingly, adopt beliefs and philosophies which lead to eternal ruin. They live their lives foolishly and without understanding, and they conclude their lives in fear and despair.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. God has given us a witness to the truth. Through His Word, He seeks to teach us to see ourselves as we really are and to know Him and the salvation He has provided for us in His Son. He seeks to teach us of Him and His ways and to lead us in the way everlasting!

The Bible tells us of the Holy Scriptures in 2 Timothy 3:15-17 that they “are able to make [us] wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus,” and that the Scripture is “given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

Do you want to know the truth? Do you want to know the way of salvation which God has provided for you in His Son? Do you want to know which is the right way to live your life for Your God and Savior? Read His Word and meditate upon it! Study your Bible and turn from the many false ways into the way that the LORD God would have you go! Repent of your sinful ways and trust in Jesus Christ’s blood shed for you upon the cross; and then, in the wisdom which God gives through His Word, follow Jesus!

O Spirit of the living God, move me to read and study Your inspired Word and grant me a heart of wisdom to understand and turn from my sinful ways to Jesus my Savior for pardon and forgiveness. And then teach me Your ways that I might walk in them. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

[Scripture from the King James Version of the Bible]

 

Events and Announcements at Good Shepherd

Sunday, Jan. 4. Bible Classes at 9 a.m. and Sunday Worship with Holy Communion at 10 a.m. A potluck dinner will follow our worship service. All are welcome. We will also hold our monthly Sunday School opening at 9 a.m. and consider options for mission offerings in the new year.

Wednesday, Jan. 14. Monthly evening Bible Study will meet at 7 p.m., with topic yet to be decided.

Wednesday, Jan. 21. Church Council will meet at 7 p.m. Remember to contribute ideas and thoughts to expand our mission outreach locally and abroad.

Preparing for Sunday

Scripture Readings for Sunday are: Psalm 119:97-104, 1 Kings 3:4-15, Ephesians 1:3-14 and Luke 2:40-52. Please read them in their context as you prepare for worship.

Sunday Adult Bible Class will continue its study of the Book of Genesis, at chapter 35, verse 1.

Verse to Remember

“O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97

Remember to Pray

Remember to pray for our church and for all our members, that none be lost to Christ’s kingdom but that all continue in repentance and be strengthened and built up in the true and saving faith in Christ Jesus through the hearing and study of His Word. We continue to pray for all who have been sick or who are suffering among us, for our extended families and those in need, and for believers who are alone and have no congregation. We remember the churches and pastors in the Philippines. We pray for those suffering and persecuted around the world. And we pray for our nation and its rulers, that our people would repent and look to God for mercy.

Other Announcements

Online worship services can be found at Good Shepherd’s YouTube channel. The YouTube address is: https://www.youtube.com/user/goodshepherdrogers. Subscribe to the goodshepherdrogers channel and share it with others.

Special gifts may be designated for the church’s charity fund – used to help those in desperate need.

Facebook users are encouraged to like the Good Shepherd Rogers Facebook page and to share items posted there. Visit our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/goodshepherdrogers.