Papa, Caleb & Rudi

Papa, Caleb & Rudi

Monday, June 14, 2010


It’s Thursday, June 10, 2010 at South Padre Island. I’m sitting on the 4th floor balcony of a condo overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. As I turn slightly in my chair I can see Laguna Madre Bay off to my right. A couple of days ago I caught ten very nice speckled trout in two hours of fishing in that bay. My thoughts lazily go to a group of fishermen found in Luke 5:1-11. These men were fishing for much different reasons than I. I was fishing for relaxation and sport; they were fishing out of necessity. If I failed to make another catch it was no big deal in the scheme of things. If they failed to make a daily catch it could mean the difference between eating and not eating. Read the story below:

1Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Jesus and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; 2 and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 3 And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. 4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." 5 Simon answered and said, " Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets." 6 When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; 7 so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet, saying, "Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!" 9 For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men." 11 When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.

Many lessons can be learned from studying this story; Simon’s willingness to help in verse 3; his obedience in verse 5; his benevolence in verse 7; his discernment of the supernatural and acknowledgement of sin in verse 8; etc. The thing that speaks loudest to me is found in verse 10. Fear of the unknown is very real and very destructive. Any time we begin a new endeavor, take a new risk or follow God into a new and deeper way, we can become the target of fear. Jesus said “do not fear, from now on you will be catching men”. Can you imagine the emotions this statement must have evoked in these men? One minute you are attempting to eke out a living in a job you have been training for your entire life, the next minute you are giving up everything to follow someone you scarcely know, starting a job you can’t even begin to be qualified for!

This week, as I alternately fished Laguna Madre Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, sat on the 4th floor balcony or visited the swimming pool, I heard discussions of events that bring real fear into people’s lives. These events are as distant as Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear saber rattling to events closer to home such as British Petroleum’s Gulf oil leak fiasco and the armed standoff between US Border Patrol Agents and Mexican Federal Troops because of a 15 year olds shooting death by a USBP agent. Fear lurks as a lion and seeks to paralyze and devour us. My bold statement is this; if you experience life long enough you will at one time or another feel the hot breath of fear on the back of your neck.

The “do not fear” that caused those four fishermen to trust and follow Jesus turned out to have only a temporary calming affect, for we soon see them again, along with the other eight disciples, facing another fearful event in their lives. Read below:

Matt 14:22 Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, " Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." 28 Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." 29 And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.

It is my belief that fear will come to all, even the courageous. Courage is not the absence of fear, but it is the ability to manage that fear in order to accomplish the mission. When Jesus called those four fishermen and told them “do not fear” he set something in motion that would change the world for good. Each time He speaks to us to “fear not” then helps us overcome that fear, He causes our trust in Him and our faith to move to new levels.

I’ve learned that faith is the antidote to fear. As faith increases, fear decreases. Only we can strengthen our faith. God has given guidelines to enable us to have strong faith. There are two ways that faith is increased: (1) hearing the Word of God – Romans 10:17; (2) Praying in the Holy Ghost – Jude 20. Praying in the Holy Ghost simply means praying in tongues as the Spirit of God gives you the utterance. Apostle Paul said it this way: 1 Cor 14:2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.

Read Romans 8:18-39 and feel your faith soar!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Hebrews 10:19-25 (The Message)
19-21So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into "the Holy Place." Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The "curtain" into God's presence is his body.
22-25So let's do it—full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

Vs. 25 says “not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching”. There are so many ways to communicate; phone calls, text messaging, emailing, blogging, face booking, etc. These are all great tools that I wouldn’t want to give up for a minute, however, if we are not careful we can use them as our primary means of communication. Personal contact can become an afterthought. It is certain that Apostle Paul was addressing a society that did not have the same means of communication available to them that we have today, but for whatever reason, some of them chose to “check out” when it came time to assemble together to worship the Lord Jesus.

We can and should study the Bible on our own. We can and should pray and communicate with the Lord on our own. We can and should praise and worship the Lord on our own. We should be part of GroupLife and live in community with other Christians. All of these things are necessary for our spiritual, emotional and intellectual growth as a Believer. None of these things takes the place of assembling together with other Believers in a weekly, large group setting. Something supernatural happens when we come together as a church family. The fruit of the Spirit begins to operate. The gifts of the Spirit begin to operate. Communication takes place, both with the Lord and with each other, prayers are answered and salvation takes place as we spur each other on. It’s hard to spur each other on when we are home alone.

If you have “checked out” of church; check us out, check back in and worship with your Christian family at Heartland this Sunday.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Took my 3 year old grandson, Caleb, out for a walk this week. The weather changed while we were out. The north wind picked up speed and the temp dropped several degrees. As we approached the house I told Caleb we needed to go inside and get a jacket for him before we finished the rest of our walk. The little guy just hates jackets. His response was, "Papa, I'm not cold, my teeth are just chattering." Where does a 3 year old come up with that? Oh well, being a Papa is the greatest!