Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Crickets or Worms?

Fishing in one of it's simplest yet most enjoyable forms is going after pan fish on the river. What is a pan fish? Well it's usually a term for a sunfish or similar species. Generally, it is bream or as we so often refer to them locally here in the south, shellcrackers, red breast, and bluegills. As you prepare to go catch a "mess", one of the first things one ask themselves is, "I wonder what they're bitin?". No, I didn't misspell that. We don't say biting down here when we go "fishin" and I'm trying to bring you into the setting. Nevertheless, to make sure you have a successful bite, you cover all the bases. You get crickets, some "pinks" perhaps (worms also called nightcrawlers), and possibly other seasonal creepy crawlies that the fish might like to eat. With that, you're bound to have some success given that you know how to present the bait and you don't do anything stupid to scare the fish off. The reward is an awesome fish fry complete with hush puppies, fries and coleslaw. Boy do I love the south!

This is all good but my intention here is not to teach anyone how to catch a mess of fish for dinner. The picture is a little bigger and certainly more important that that. I'm going to be the fish now. I'm swimming in a river of sin and I certainly don't want to be caught in the net of a church in which I think is full of politics, judgment, hypocrisy and void of love. Not to say I don't believe in God and Love Jesus for I most certainly do. But here I am swimming in a river of muddy water where my direction and my faith is as unclear as can be. My intention is staying away from the the lures of church which at times have become objects of despise. I've seen every bait that can be thrown my way and I'm not "bitin". Then one day, I am presented something that I've never seen before. I won't call it a bait or a lure because that is deceptive and it is anything but that. It is more of a net. I am willingly caught in this net and gently transported to a crystal clear stream where I feel love, where I want to love others, where I can be myself and still openly love Christ and share him with others without fear. It is a church without boundaries but yet a clear direction, which is the only direction. It is the direction of Jesus Christ and as soon as I willingly surrender unto his net, I am anything but caught. I am freed.

This is a church that can let go of tradition and focus on the important thing which is salvation through Jesus Christ. It is very modern and lets people be people. We drink coffee in church. I wear cargo shorts and a t-shirt to service. The music presentation is for worship and it's engaging to youth as is a rock concert. Everyone is welcomed. I see that everyone is loved. Yep, hook, line and sinker and I am forever grateful.

Why do so many other churches get it wrong in bringing someone like me to Christ? The answer is simple and we turn back to fishing for bream as I quote myself from earlier: "you're bound to have some success given that you know how to present the bait and you don't do anything stupid to scare the fish off." The reward is certainly much better than a fish fry.

Mathew 4:19"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."
Jesus has certainly made fishers of men at Rockbridge Community Church in Dalton, Georgia.

I now stroll up to the banks of the river. I cast out the net. But the net is no longer mine because Jesus has made me a "fisher of men".

In case you're wondering, I most certainly still love a good fish fry and will drown a cricket in a heartbeat!

side note:
Georgia vs Oklahoma State this weekend..........GO DAWGS!

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