Tim Davis, Speaker, Author, and Trainer with The John Maxwell Companies
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.16(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Fishing Every Day
By Rob Woods
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Rob Woods
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhy Fish?
Why go fishing in the first place you may ask? Well, to be a Christian means to be like Christ and to follow the commands of Christ. With that in mind, the obvious reason to "fish" is because Jesus himself commanded it. In Matthew 28:19-20 and then again, in Mark 16:15-18, Jesus' final statement before His ascension echoed this command. "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses in both Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Acts 1:8
All through the Gospels and throughout the New Testament we find example after example of Jesus and the Apostles witnessing even to the point of danger and death. More than once do the Gospels mention that the people prepared to take or stone Jesus. Paul talks of being beaten, stoned and imprisoned. The Apostles were imprisoned, threaten, beaten and in most of their cases, ultimately killed. Yet, in spite of the knowledge that simply being silent would save them from their persecutions, they continued to spread the message of Jesus Christ.
They understood what it meant to be a Christian. Their passion caused them to become known for turning their world upside down. They were truly thankful for their salvation and they truly believed in their Savior. The love, compassion and freedom that overcame them caused them to want to share that with everyone.
I've said all that up front because I want everyone to stop before you begin reading this book and ask yourself a very important question, "Where do I stand spiritually?" When I ask that question, I'm not just asking whether or not you are saved. I'm asking you have you ever repented of your sins before God and confessed Jesus Christ as His only Son. I'm asking if you believe He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on a cross for the remission of all sins. That is for all, you, me and everyone. I am asking if you believe he was then resurrected to the right hand of God the Father in Heaven where He sits today making intercessions for us. I am asking all of those things, but I'm also asking are you still in love with that same Savior? Are you still as excited about the fact that you will eventually spend eternity in Heaven with the God who forgave you and gave you grace you never deserved and freedom you could never imagine? If you're not, you need to check yourself.
Here's a thought; is there anything in our lives that we were once thankful for and now it is the very thing we complain about? Almost all the time, the only thing that changes is our attitude. When our attitude is the problem, the only problem is us. How often do we blame or complain to God about things we can fix ourselves? If we're not living a Christian example and we're not witnessing in words and deeds to the world we live in, how will we ever be known as those who turned their world upside down? Do you find every excuse to miss church? Do you complain when you can't find one? Is your favorite television program more important than your Bible reading or prayer time? Are your activities and children's sports and school functions more important than things that have an eternal value? As a society, we wonder why things are so bad in the world today. The answer is simple, the answer to all those questions I just asked, was and still is, yes, in most people's lives.
I plan to use fishing scenarios in this book to relate to witnessing situations. When I go fishing if I see a snake, a frog, a turtle or really anything else that catches my attention ... the race is on and the fishing is on hold for a few minutes. That's sort of how this book will go. When I get off on one of my adventures, bear with me, I'll be back in a bit. I hope this book helps you to see that only when we see things how others see them, can we relate to those people. Remember, you don't have to be perfect in your Christian walk, but you had better be passionate. Passionate people draw people. No one gets excited about going somewhere or doing something that's boring, but a celebration draws a crowd. If you're excited about your Christian walk, other people will want to be around you. When people want to be around you, the opportunities to be a witness are everywhere!
Cast Your Line and Wait
Sometimes fishing is aggravating. You cast your line, and you wait ... and you wait. Oh yeah, and you wait some more. I personally enjoy fishing in a creek where the water is clear and I can actually see the fish. I feel more in control even though I really am not. At least, I can see the fish and it's not so boring. Though waiting may be boring, there's nothing more frustrating than seeing the fish swim all around and not pay any attention to your bait.
Sometimes when you're fishing you throw out your bait and the fish will swim up to it and look at it. They stare at it and stare it at for the longest time. You try everything you can think of to make it interesting to them, but all they do is stare. No matter what you try, they don't want to even consider taking a chance.
How does this relate to spiritual matters? How many people walk around in life everyday and not pay attention to spiritual matters at all? They're not interested in anything you throw at them. How many people do you come across in life that you try to talk to about Christ but, they're just not interested? They don't even consider your message.
At my 10 year high school reunion, I had a situation that really helps explain this scenario. I introduced my wife to a girl who had made a statement once that impacted me spiritually. This girl really had no idea she had made an impact on me to be truthful. She didn't even remember the time or the statement. In all honesty, all she did was say something one time that made me think. Nothing major, it was just that at that moment in time I needed some encouragement and those simple words stuck with me. I have often thought of those words in difficult times. To me, it was just the fact of knowing someone cared. As I was introducing my wife to her and telling her how much her words had meant to me, a couple of our classmates were standing with us listening to the conversation. As we were catching up, I was telling them some of the things that God has truly blessed me with the opportunity to do and in an indirect way, how my friend's words had played a part in that. One of the classmates listening to the conversation was obviously stirred emotionally. I could see tears welling in his eyes. Throughout the night I made a point to talk with that classmate in particular. He was close by most of the night and I knew something was drawing him to me. But, whenever I would turn the conversation to spiritual matters, he would always find an excuse to walk away, only to come back a few minutes later. It was the same scenario over and over that night.
What did Jesus say to do with people like this? Jesus said in Matthew 10:14-"Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet." Walk on by. Jesus didn't cry and chase after people and beg them to accept Him. Some people will not accept your message and some people don't even want to hear your message. Our job as Christians is to present the message of Jesus Christ. That's it. It's an individual's choice whether or not to accept it, not ours. To be a Christian means to be like Christ. To be like Christ means to do what Jesus did and what Jesus said to do. No more, no less. While this sounds uncompassionate initially, it's what Jesus said to do and what He did.
Here's another thing to consider in scenarios like this, there's a reason for everything. What I mean is, not everyone is ready to accept Christ at their first opportunity. Like I mentioned in the story, my friend only said some encouraging words to me. Those words were a seed. They were like bait to a fish. Had she asked me to go to church with her I would have said no. I wasn't ready to go to church at that point in my life. However, her words kept me from doing things that I would have done had she not said them. In 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, Paul talks about how some people plant and some people water but God gives the growth. Maybe when we encounter those people, like my classmate who listened to the conversation, but who wasn't ready to talk about spiritual matters. Maybe we are the ones simply planting the seed. My friend's words to me were planting. But, the harvest event in my life was 2 years after my friend spoke her words to me. According to the scripture I just referenced, there's a reward for each part. We should never feel like a failure if the person we're dealing with doesn't receive our message. As in fishing, when we cast the line, the fish don't always take the bait.
Protect Your Bait
A lot of people never properly protect their bait when fishing. There are some fish that never intend on taking the bait in front of them. Their only desire is to kill it. They're not hungry and in truth the bait is not appealing to them. They simply want to kill and destroy. For instance, when a fish is protecting her eggs she will chase off any other fish that comes around them. If you throw your bait, a minnow for example, near them, she will kill it. She has no intention of eating the minnow; she simply wants to kill it.
Jesus recognized the people who fit this description when it comes to spiritual matters. In Matthew 7: 6, He said, "Do not give what is Holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." Whether it is the message of Jesus Christ, your dreams, your loved ones, your finances or anything else that is precious to you, these are your pearls. Jesus said there are people who are not worthy to have access to your pearls. Their only goal is to destroy the things that are precious to you. Protect your bait (the message) and yourself (the messenger).
Christians get hung on the "turn the other cheek" philosophy. Yes, Jesus did tell his disciples to turn the other cheek and to pray for your enemies. But, He also beat the money changers and ran them out of the temple! One of my favorite books, which I love, is Ecclesiastes. Chapter 3 is one that every Christian should understand ... there is a time for everything. Yes, there is a time to turn the other cheek, but there is also a time to fight back. Since our country and world are going to hell and taking people, especially people we care about with it, maybe's it time to fight back now!
Some people just want to "debate" religion. They already have their series of questions formed and they really don't want to discuss the topics. They only want to throw their questions out one after the other and take scriptures out of context to try to prove themselves right and anyone else wrong. Listen, let's just be totally, brutally honest here. I don't care if you're a Christian, an atheist, a Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim or believe in creationism or whatever, the bottom-line is it all comes down to faith. You ultimately have to have faith in whatever you believe. You have faith there is a God who spoke everything into existence or you have faith everything keeps reincarnating itself. Or maybe you believe in evolution which my Pastor sums up in his statement that you believe you came from goo to you by way of the zoo. You have faith in something regardless. That's just the way it works. While I'm making this point, understand that just because someone else has faith in something else doesn't mean how you believe is wrong. That's the thing that separates true Christianity from other religions. If a person doesn't want to accept our religion, we tolerate their choice to believe something different. Not force them through some religion hidden in a political system to accept our way.
Sometimes the threat to destroy our pearls will come from places that we may not expect. In the Gospels, there is only one place that Jesus was limited in his ability to minister—His own hometown! The Bible even says "and they took offense at him" Matthew 13:57. The people who are most unlikely to believe or accept the change in your life are the people who are the closest to you. That is sad, but it is true. As Jesus said, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household". The next verse says, "He did not perform many miracles there because of their unbelief". Their familiarity with Jesus prevented them from accepting Him as anything special. That familiarity cost them their opportunity at the miracle they needed in their lives.
Another point that will seem cruel, for our own spiritual health we sometimes have to sever relationships with people, including our own family. That doesn't mean you can't talk to or be around those people, though it could mean that, but you should definitely limit their access to you. Why, you may ask? If someone is a negative influence in your life, or creates a negative atmosphere, they are limiting you from reaching your potential. They are preventing you from fully being happy and their negativity will prevent you from ever truly believing in yourself and your dreams.
In Matthew 12:46-50, Jesus put believers equal to (and ahead of really because he didn't leave them to be with his blood relatives) his own mother and brothers. In Luke 12:51-53, Jesus made it plain that members of the same family would be at odds with one another and in Matthew 10:34-36 He even went as far as saying 'a man's enemies will be the members of his household.' Now, maybe I'm just stupid (it's Biblical term, it's in Proverbs) but common sense tells me NOT to hang out with my enemies.
So I can't have anything to do with my family if I'm saved and they're not, you may ask? No, I didn't say that but you may want to limit their access to you. In case you haven't figured it out yet, my answer to everything is go to the Bible and see what it says and then apply it. It's a novel idea; common sense is brutally honest sometimes. By the way, sense is not really common or more people would have it. Anyway, here's why you limit access, refer to Matthew 18:15-17. Wait a minute you say, that's how Jesus said to handle a brother in the church. Yes, but if Jesus put the church ahead of His own family (remember Matthew 12:46-50?). Then if it's the way to deal with your church family, it will work with you blood family as well. When you confront your family with the problem (whatever that may be), if they don't listen, take a witness or evidence of the problem. If they still won't listen, then disconnect yourself from them. The reason that disconnecting from them is important is twofold; one, for you, it protects you from the problem and the attacks that come with it; two, for them, your hope is the isolation they feel causes them to see the truth. In this way the problem can ultimately be resolved.
You Got A Nibble!
Children get excited fishing when they see their float start to move when a fish is nibbling. The anxiousness of getting to set the hook sets in. They wait and wait for just the right moment to set the hook. However, there are some fish that all they do is nibble. They never really take the bait and give you a chance to set the hook. There's nothing you can do. You can try to set the hook but, you can't because they aren't really biting.
The story of the rich young ruler is one that people usually think of only in terms of finances. However, what is truly sad is the fact that the man knew Jesus to have the answer to eternal life. In Luke 18:18, the young ruler asked Jesus "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?". After Jesus told him to follow the commandments the young man said these he had kept from his youth. When Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and give it to the poor, he became sad and turned away grieving according to Mark 10:22. The young ruler knew the truth, but because he refused to let go of the world, he never accepted the message Christ gave him. He never got beyond a nibble.
This one is hard. I've had several friends in life and several family members who will straight out tell you they believe in God. They believe Jesus and know they should go to church ... but won't do anything about it. We've all heard it, "if I went to church the roof would fall in" or "God can't handle all my sin." Are you serious? Let's see, there's nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). God created everything, but He can't handle your sin? Wow, you have severely over rated yourself. Yeah, I'm sure God is sitting on the throne in Heaven and when you told that lie he just looked at Jesus in total shock and said "Wow! Son, I didn't see that one coming did you?"
Ok, to help you witness to these type people let me give you a few quick history reminders that you can tell them to prove to them beyond a shadow of the doubt that God HAS INDEED seen sin of their caliber before.
1. Some guy named Hitler in Germany was responsible for killing over a million Jews. (God's chosen people at that)!
2. Some person (no I don't know his/her name) thought it was a good idea to make other human beings slaves. This one has happened several times by the way and is still happening everyday worldwide as people take women and children and sell them into prostitution.
3. Then there was a guy in the news recently who was killed that was responsible for over 3,000 deaths on September 11, 2001. Osama something I think.
I could go on and on with the Ku Klux Klan, Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer. If you want an interesting internet search to prove what God has seen, look up those names. Not to mention the obvious fact that people murdered Jesus. Yeah, nothing really surprises God as far as sin is concerned.
Now back to fishing (I told you I would come back to it eventually), when you encounter these types of fish the best way to get them to bite is to be aggressive. You almost have to force the bait on them. You have to throw the bait either directly in front of them or directly into their territory to make them go into attack mode, thus forcing them to bite. I'm not recommending you start a fight with someone trying to witness to them, I'm just saying when they give these excuses (and that's all they are) as to why they can't go to church or why they just can't accept Christ remind them their sin is no different than anyone else's. We are all saved by grace and since they feel they are the worst person on the planet, they are the perfect person for God to use.
Excerpted from Fishing Every Day by Rob Woods Copyright © 2011 by Rob Woods. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Contents1. Why Fish?....................3
2. Cast Your Line and Wait....................7
3. Protect Your Bait....................11
4. You Got A Nibble!....................17
5. You Have To Yank When He Bites: Setting the Hook....................21
6. Fish Fight....................25
7. It's Too Small, Throw It Back....................29
8. Dead Fish/Dead Weight....................33
9. The Right Catch....................39
10. Know Your Style....................43