The morning sun was peeking through the eastern tree line; the dew lay heavy on the spring grass testifying to the beginning of a new day. As I approached the church, known to its congregation as the barn, I could smell the fresh brewing coffee teasing my sleepy taste buds with their wake up call. I swung the door open wide allowing the fresh morning air to penetrate the hallowed walls of the sanctuary. I headed down the corridor to the kitchen to take on the task of preparing the morning breakfast for the fishermen on their way to the barn. Not long after the much needed help arrived ready to feed the hungry fishermen before they sat out on their journey to catch their elusive prey. I could not help but notice the closeness of the fishermen as they laughed at each other’s fishing mishaps and sometimes cry at their painful mistakes. The closeness was more than a brother or sister it was more like a spiritual connection seldom seen in congregations today. I pondered the unfolding events, taking note of the love for their fellow man. I wondered could it be because this group of fishermen had found a common ground that all were familiar with or was it the boats parked in every direction on the parking lot that prompted the fishermen’s respect for their fellow man. Then it was time to enjoy the wonderfully prepared breakfast. I pulled my distant thoughts back to the task at hand and as we bowed our heads in prayer my heart was filled with joy for my eyes had not seen nor my ears heard such love as was mentioned in that spring morning prayer. Then it was time to head for the lake so with boats in tow and cabs filled with fishermen with itching fingers ready to fire the first cast searching for that gold hidden beneath the waves we in single file drove down the road to secure our victory. We each, in single file with military precision, launched our battle ready water chariots and the morning came alive with the sound of racing engines ready to whisk us to our appointed destination. I felt the morning air, cool not cold, drifting over my skin like a feather floating on an evening breeze caressing my skin with its tender touch.
I closed my eyes, tilted my head back to soak in GOD’s beauty surrounding me. As the day lingered on our prey seem to elude us. I watched as the fishermen tried time after time to coax that slippery enemy to take the offering presented to them, but with no avail. Try as they may, not one man succumbed to anger, disappointment or entertained thoughts of giving up. As the day winds to an end the battle weary soldiers guide their trusty steeds back to the docks where food, laughter and good time stories are sure to come. As I watch these events unfold before my eyes I could not help but ponder again the closeness of the fishermen and their respect for each other. Was it the food or maybe the boats or maybe the laughter they shared and then it dawned on me, it was none of the above. Why had I not seen it before? Truly it was the love of GOD growing in a small group of fellow fishermen bound together by the bonds of fishing. Maybe we should go fishing more often!
The Just As I Am Cowboy Church Ministry, Fishers Of Men, went night crawler hunting. I will have to admit that in all my years of attending church, I have never seen such activity in a church. Men and children laughing and having fun crawling around on the muddy ground, light in one hand, bucket in the other trying to catch that slimy, slithering thing we call fish bait. What a site to behold peering across the vast open darkness at the bouncing spots of light darting across the openness like shooting stars on a moonless night. As humorous or beautiful as it might seem, depending on your view point, the end result is even more exciting. The smiling faces screaming look what I got and the buckets crawling with hands full of the best fish bait since GOD created the Garden of Eden. Then something even more wonderful happened. The rain began to fall and everyone knows that when it rains that is when night crawlers come out on top of the ground and lay around enjoying the cool night air doing whatever it is that night crawlers do making it easier for the crawler stalkers to obtain their elusive prey. Then I noticed something that probably most pew sitting, church respecting congregations has never seen. The pastor of the church dressed in bibs encouraging young people of the church to catch worms while he himself, as an example, laughing, kneeling upon the cold wet ground catching night crawlers, and they say miracles don’t happened anymore. Another observation that amazed me was the diversity of age which in turn led to the ability of the individuals attempting to separate the creature from its earthly dwelling. Ages of individuals ranged from 8 to 80 years old while the ability of the stalkers ranged from a Michael Jordan to Grandpa Jones but all were enjoying the game but at their own pace.
Fishers Of Men Ministry has always welcomed men, women and children of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to enjoy the teachings of GOD, fellowship and fun through fishing. The night crawlers gathered by the group will be used to catch fish to be served at Just As I Am Cowboy Church fish fry to begin in the spring. I, personally, can think of no better way to introduce people to GOD and his blessings than through fishing even if that means crawling around on the cold wet ground chasing that slimy wiggling night crawler. It sounds repulsive but hey join us 2nd Tuesday each month 6:30 pm and check it out for yourself who knows you might enjoy it.
Fisher’s Of Men meeting January 13th, 2020 opened with prayer at 6:30pm. ten members attended. A meal was served by Rita Arnett. The DIY topic of building a fish cooker for the church was discussed. The new discussion for the evening was “Water Temperature and Crappie”, presented by Gene Arnett. The results of the research are in the article below. Jeff Paul gave a short devotion from Ephesians 4:3-13. Jeff explained the importance of unity and how the Fisher’s Of Men team can become a more unified witness for Christ. Pastor Steve Miller presented the new rules for the upcoming Fisher’s Of Men Fishing Tournament. The rules including the revisions will be posted in the near future. Meeting concluded with prayer. Fisher’s Of Men would like to thank Rita Arnett for the great meal. The next Fisher’s Of Men meeting will be February 11th 2020 6:30pm please join us and bring a fishing buddy. To view or print the Water Temperature Article Click HERE.
Fisher’s Men gathered together for their meeting Tuesday October 8th 2019. Meeting opened with prayer and then they enjoyed a meal and fellowship. Gene Arnett then presented a DIY project, How To Build Your Own Boat Frame Cover. Comments and questions about the DIY project were discussed. If you would like to view the DIY project click HERE. Boats in the parades at Centralia and Paris were discussed and a decision to enter the boats was presented and approved. A short devotion was presented by Gene Arnett about ideas on how to reach more people with the gospel of Christ. Handing out tracks, bibles and prayer tents at events was discussed and tabled until the next meeting. Fishing tournaments were presented for next year and tabled for further discussion at the next meeting. The new t-shirts were handed out and they look great. Fisher’s Of Men would like to thank Rita Arnett for the great meal. If you get a chance please thank her. The meeting closed with prayer and thanks to the Lord for a good meeting. The next meeting is set for November 12th at 6:30 pm. If you like talking about the Lord and fishing then Fisher’s Of Men ministry is for you, please join us.
“Why did Jesus choose fishermen to be his first followers?” What does it takes to be a fisherman, whether recreational or professional? A blog written in 2010 by a bass fisherman listed traits that perhaps may draw us closer to the answer. The writer proposed the five traits as willingness to learn, patience, determination, instinct, and imagination. Let’s compare these traits and see how these may be applied to us as present-day disciples of Jesus.
Willingness to Learn
Who taught you how to fish? ” The first lesson a fisherman learns is how to bait the hook with a live, thick, wiggling worm. You may have started out with a cane pole which eventually evolved into a rod and reel, tangle-free of course! Fishermen are taught this skill at a young age usually by the invitation of a parent or relative. Children are eager to learn and willing do what it takes to master the new task. Their mind is readily open to new ways and ideas. Jesus knew these apostles were similar. They were open to Jesus, who “baited” them with a simple invitation, “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” Fishers of what!? Jesus spiked their curiosity, hence Andrew and Peter left their equipment, followed by James and John. They wanted to know more. They were willing to follow Jesus in order to learn more. Their lives were transformed forever. Is Jesus calling you to “come?” What do you need to “drop” or let go of to follow Him more closely? Are you open to His Words? What do you want to learn?
Waiting for a fish to take the bait can seem like an eternity! But it is time well-spent as one is enveloped in God’s creation: life-sustaining water, air-filtering trees, warmth-nurturing sunlight, and lung-filling fresh air! There is little concept of time since waiting is of the essence. The anticipation of what is yet to come, also known as hope, places attention not time but on what is the actual benefit of being patient. Hopefully, for the fisherman, it’s a great catch! Same is true in being a disciple of Jesus. Pope Francis writes, “Evangelization consists mostly of patience and disregard for constraints of time.” When sharing the message of Jesus with others, we first retrieve them from their “swimming hole.” It’s easy to cast a line into another’s pond. It’s challenging to reel them in and to bring them home to God. This is exactly the calling of a disciple: to meet others “where they are,” develop a friendship rooted in love and mercy, steer them by the actions of Christ and walk them out of the pond into an ocean teeming with grace. The fruits of casting the rod bear greater worth than the time it takes to wait. Remember what St. Paul writes, “Love is patient.” Am I patience with myself? Am I patient with others? Am I patient with God?
Fishermen are committed to the end-in-mind, that being to “limit-out” their catch. They possess a strong determination coupled with high motivation to reach the desired outcome. Yet, endurance is key to staying on task and putting aside discouragement. Knowing the good of the catch is enough to sustain determination. With the apostles, Jesus knew their determination was strong enough to endure the trials in order to fortify the community of believers who would in turn survive beyond martyrdom and be the People of God, the Church.
Even though we are clueless about what the hook will catch, we must never give up, for Jesus never gave up on His catch. Are we determined to preach the good news of Jesus to whomever God places before us despite the large distance from our comfort zone? Are we willing to cast “into the deep” where we cannot see where the baited hook lands? Are we dragging bottom and catching flounder? Are we skimming the surface and snagging carp? Are we somewhere in between and catching trout? Who do we know that may be floundering in faith? Do we need to take the surface dweller and help them dive deeper in their faith? Still better, who are the ‘tweens which are safest in the mainstream, afraid to rise or go deep?
Fishermen possess an innate ability to determine whether the catch will be good or bad in a certain spot, at a particular time and day, before, during or after weather events, or simply by going on a hunch. This ability is gained through experience and maturity. We must rely upon impulses guided by the Holy Spirit and developed through prayer. As disciples, we know a moment is good or not so good to “cast” our line. If we are prompted we should speak. How many times did we miss an opportunity to share God’s love because we did not follow a prompting? What is moving inside us to reach out to another with love and intent? What is holding us back?
Good fishermen teach others how to fish, list the possibilities, fish with them, watch them succeed then hand over the rod. Jesus did this with the apostles. He taught them, instilled hope, showed the way, affirmed their accomplishments then handed over the Church. It’s our turn to cast into the deep. Jesus has equipped us with the rod and reel of faith. We should cast our line into the water and see what happens! God is full of surprises! And who knows what will be at the end of the line! Happy fishing! Thanks be to God!