4 When he had finished speaking,
he said to Simon,
“Put out into deep water,
and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master,
we’ve worked hard all night
and haven’t caught anything.
But because you say so,
I will let down the nets.” 6
When they had done so,
they caught such a
large number of fish
that their nets began to break.
I have a meeting with the church tec team in a little bit. We need to talk through some of the things we can imporve. Its part of moving from survival mode to moving forward mode. I am thankful that we have survived. I know it stretched all of us and there were weeks that looking at the circumstances was enough to make one want to roll up in a little ball of dispondency in the corner. This is not however, the posture of faith.
During that time I was reminded of a sceane from the movie Facing Giants. Its been a while since I've seen the move but to my best recollection. The Janitor tell the coach a story about two farmers who were both praying for rain. I found the clip one movie clip is worth a thousand words. Praying for Rain. There is another similar clip that jumped out at me at the same time from the latest Robin Hood with Russel Crowe. In it the seed for planting has been stollen and Marion tells her people to prepare the fields because God will provide. Wish I could find that clip for you. What I hope to convey here is that circumstances and lack of provision and how you feel about yourself and your life really are just the stage upon which faith in God is played out. Will you look at your circumstances and give up? Will you take how you feel and go down in dispair? Will you look at the lack and say God is not able or willing to help me? I read this quote by Meister Eckhart today and I think it is a good rule of thumb. "Do exactly what you would do if you felt more secure." We often waver between faith and unbelief and we wonder what we should do. Turn back, sit here stuck, or press on ward. If you knew the end of the story - what would you do?
I love the story of Joseph in the Old Testiment. What I love about the story is that for years nothing works they way he envisioned it. He even had these amaizing dreams from God about his brothers bowing down before him. He's sold by his brothers, wrongly accused by his masters wife, he's in prison and interperts the dreams of a baker and a cup bearer and is forgotten. All the circumstances and signs point to Joseph, dude you are a looser and God has forgotten you. That is the message the enemy trys to tell all of us all the time. If the enemy does not use that one he will use the one about you never being up to or adiquate for the task - give up now before you make a bigger mess of things.
I am here to remind you that Jesus keeps his promises. Jesus hears and answers prayers, Jesus knows the plans he has for you and they are to give you a hope and a future.
The challenge to us as leaders of a seemingly dying church was to keep preparing our fields for rain. Sure we had to make some decisions on a more practicle level in the event that God did not send a last moment resuce - we could not just run it into the ground and walk away. We needed to be sure there was money to pay a short severece of our pastor. There were things we needed to be honorable and responsible to do in a right way. I was often reminded of the story in 2 Chronicles 20 of Israel surrounded by enemies - a future that appeared to be one of death or slavery at the hands of thier enemies unless God did a mircle. We serve a God of miricles, of last minute saves. I belive he is honored by our desire to walk before him in a right way. When we keep doing the things that are before us that we can do while we wait for Him to "send the rain" of the desperate need that we have prayed for. Every good story has a bit of tension, a period of time where things look impossible or hopeless but then something changes and the story moves forward in some un-expected way.
Our God is an authors, Author. He is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Artist Creator of all artist creators. The question is do I believe that he is working in and through my ciricumstances for my best interest? I do. Do I believe that if I am off track in some way that he will keep working with me till I get it figured out? I do. Do I believe that God will provide even when His answer seems to be delayed? I do.
How will you spend that uncertian time between realizing a need, praying for it and ultimatly recieving it? Will you spend it wining, compaining, worring, doubting, trying to maipulate the outcome?
None of us walks perfectly and I fall prey to those things but my heart is for God's will not my way. I have made a pracitice of when I feel overwhelmed, frightened, worried, doubting that I turn to Jesus. I find verses to stand upon, I recall time that God has delivered me in the past. I push past the fear and do the things that I am able to do and make up my mind that I will trust, hope and believe that God is working and the answer that I need will come when God is ready to send it. In the mean time I do what He has given me to do.
There are often times that I find myself feeling discouraged and feeling in adequate. I look at the things that God has shown me and I wonder if it is just my particular form of crazy. I do see through the glass dimly and I don't always fully understand the little glimmers of things that the Lord has shown me. Things do get hard and sometimes I come very close to giving up. Sometimes God has to send others to encourage me and help me to drag my way to the finish line. Don't give up
If I knew how things would turn out, if I knew that God does come through and does provide, if I knew I would be adiquate for the task before me.... what would I do? Would I turn back, stay stuck, or keep moving forward? I would keep moving forward.
What will you do? How will you respond and prepare your field for rain, while you are waiting for God? Take some time to think about if God sent the rain today are your fields really ready. Get ready His rains will come. Will they come on a planted field that will produce a harvest or just make a big mud puddle because you did not trust God enough to do your part while you waited for him. Perhaps he is delaying his answer in mercy because you are not really ready for rain.
The disciples fished all night and caught nothing and Jesus came along and said throw your nets out one more time on the other side. They came home with a catch of fish that was beyond what they could have even anticipated. Where is Jesus saying to you to try one more time. Cast your nets again even if it seems crazy.
You know the needs and desires that we have before you. You have heard our prayers, and you know our deeper needs and how you wired us. You know if we are ready for you to send the rain. We may think we are ready, when we still have much work to do to be ready to recieve the rain.