Tag Archives: Christ

There Just May Be Another Fisherman

19 Jun

In my last two years of high-school, I decided to start speaking to my friends about God. Some of them were professing Christians, some were catholic, and some just didn’t care about theism, but that didn’t matter. It was pretty cool to see their reactions to my beliefs. I would bring my bible to classes and sometimes my friends would open it, start reading, close it and give it back to me with a grin. They didn’t know what to think, but I made sure that they knew what my faith was all about.

One of my friends in particular, one of my closest friends at the time, became mad every time I talked about God. She was born and raised in a catholic family, but she only went to church for Easter Sunday and Christmas and she didn’t know Jesus as her personal saviour. I remember one afternoon we were both waiting for Math class to start and I mentioned God in our conversation. She was so frustrated that she said, “Do you always have to talk about God?!” She wasn’t happy at all and I think our friendship was affected because of my faith.

I didn’t do much else to introduce the gospel to my friends. All I did was talk about my faith and even though that’s better than not talking about faith at all, I still think sometimes that I could have done a better job at evangelizing.

But God showed me something recently that I wasn’t aware of a couple years ago.

Have you ever watched the movie, A River Runs Through It ? It’s a great film directed by none other than Robert Redford about a reverend in Montana and their two sons who love to go fly fishing. The two sons eventually part ways to pursue their own careers and are reunited later in their lives. It’s a great movie and if you haven’t seen it yet and you love a good motion picture, I suggest you rent it today.

There’s this one scene where Norman, Paul and Rev. Maclean (their father) go fishing in their favorite river, Black Foot. Norman (played by Craig Sheffer) sits with his father (played by Tom Skerritt) and they both watch Paul (Brad Pitt) as he fly fishes. Paul spots a great place to cast his hook and it pays off. A huge fish bites and takes Paul down the river a few hundred meters until Paul finally catches the tired fish. Here’s the clip.

Jesus tells his disciples to that they will be “fishers of men”, and if you’re a Christian, then you are called to be a “fisher of men” as well. To be “fishers of men” means to go and tell the world about the gospel of Christ Jesus and actually fish for people to join the kingdom of heaven. We are like Paul, fishing in a river for men to follow God. Sometimes it takes a whole lot of perseverance and dedication before you finally catch a fish, but sometimes they actually get away.

When I left high-school, almost all of my friends weren’t Christian and that made me sad. I often wished that I could have done more to bring them to God and sometimes I even got mad that God didn’t allow them to be converted through my testimony. I know, it sounds really selfish and foolish of me, but it’s the truth. I didn’t realize that even though so many fish got away from my bait and my hook, there may be another fisherman down the river who just might catch one of my friends. I’m not the only fisherman out there and I have to now trust that God will provide the right fisherman for my friends. If it happens that my friends meet many Christian fishermen down the river and escape each one, then so be it. I did my part to spread the gospel in high-school and even though I wish I could have done a better job, I can’t be mad at myself or God because I have no idea if my friends will meet other fishermen. I may even see that girl who got mad at me while waiting for Math class for talking about God in heaven some day.

You’re not the only fisherman. If you’ve been telling friends  about God and they don’t want to hear it or if you’ve failed in the past to lead people to God, don’t beat yourself up. Continue to talk to people about God even if they hate you for it. God may use you to convert your friends or you may be used to first plant a seed in their hearts and another Christian will lead them to Christ, if it’s God’s will for them to be saved. All you could do is persevere and pray for them. Continue to cast your hook into the water and let God take care of the rest.

Advertisements

Good Christian?

2 May

I read this short article by Francis Chan the other day and it really hit me. Francis Chan is the teaching pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California. He’s a great preacher with a unique in-your-face style of teaching. He wrote a book entitled Crazy Love. I’m looking forward to buying it and reading it as soon as possible.

This article talks about how much we overuse the word “Christian” to describe ourselves. Instead, we should use another word to evaluate our lives.

I think it’s time we stop asking ourselves the question: “Am I a good Christian?” We live in a time when the term “Christian” has been so diluted that millions of immoral but nice people genuinely consider themselves “good Christians.” We have reduced the idea of a good Christian to someone who believes in Jesus, loves his or her family, and attends church regularly. Others will label you a good Christian even though your life has no semblance to the way Christ spent His days on earth. Perhaps we should start asking the question: “Am I a good Christ?” In other words, do I look anything like Jesus? This question never even entered my mind until a friend of mine made a passing comment to me one day.

Dan is a long time friend of mine. In fact, he’s the pastor who performed my wedding. He was talking to me about a pastor named Von. Von has been working with youth in the San Diego area for decades. Many of his students have gone on to become amazing missionaries and powerful servants of God. Dan described a trip to Tijuana, Mexico with Pastor Von. (Von has been ministering to the poor in the dumps of Tijuana for years). Dan didn’t speak of the awful living conditions of those who made their homes amidst the rubbish. What impacted Dan the most was the relationship he saw between Von and the people of this community. He spoke of the compassion, sacrifice, and love that he witnessed in Von’s words and actions as he held these malnourished and un-bathed children. Then he made the statement that sent me reeling:

“The day I spent with Von was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to walking with Jesus.”

Dan explained that the whole experience was so eerie because he kept thinking to himself: “If Jesus were still walking on earth in the flesh, this is what it would feel like to walk alongside of Him!” After that discussion, I kept wondering if anyone had ever said that about me: “The day I spent with Francis was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to walking with Jesus.” The answer was an obvious “no.” Would any honest person say that about you?

What bothered me was not that I hadn’t “arrived”, but that I wasn’t even heading in the right direction. I hadn’t made it my goal to resemble Christ. I wasn’t striving to become the kind of person who could be mistaken for Jesus Christ. Isn’t it ironic that a man can be known as a successful pastor, speaker, and CHRISTian even if his life doesn’t resemble Christ’s

Forgiven Mocking Forgiver

4 Apr

We often take this time of year to remember Jesus Christ on the cross dying for us, for our sins. We think of the pain of the whips piercing his flesh, the crown of thorns pressed on his brow and the torturous walk up to Calvary. Then we remember how nails pierced his palms and his feet and how he stayed on that cross for hours upon hours and we mourn at the cross as Jesus’ mother did.

But we often forget one important aspect.

Stuart Townend says it perfectly in the second verse of his modern hymn How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.

“Behold the Man upon a cross

My sin upon His shoulders

Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice

Call out among the scoffers.”

We are no better than the soldiers who spat on Jesus 2,000 years ago. We mocked him at the cross and we mock Him when we sin, when we take the cross for granted. We are ashamed at our mocking voice, but in His awesome grace, he says to God to forgive us while we mock Him.

That’s the beauty of the cross: we are forgiven while we mock the one who forgives us.

The Dark Secret of Light

21 Mar

The darkness of the night craves for the light of the day.

In Ephesians 5:1-21, Paul plays around with this image of darkness and light. “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (v.8), “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (v.11), “But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. […]” (v.13-14).

Here’s an interesting fact: darkness happens when there is no light. Darkness craves light, there is no trace of light in darkness. In fact, the dark secret of light is that light is the complete opposite of darkness. Paul tells us in this passage that we are the light and the world is the darkness. Paul is telling the Ephesian church to be the complete opposite of the world.

Keeping these facts in mind, let’s see how well we’d score on the Being a Light” test.

If we are to be the complete opposite of the world, then we must not watch the same movies or TV as the world, we must not listen to the same music as the world, we must not dress the same as the world and we cannot talk or act the same as the world. If we do even just one of these things, then we are not being a light.

Remember, there is absolutely no light that resembles darkness. How much does your life resemble the world’s life? How weak of a light are you?

Holiness

12 Dec

For this week’s post, I have a few inspiring words for you from preachers and authors much more learned in the Word than myself. I pray that these words would have an impact on you and that they would challenge your soul just as they do mine.

Some of my views on holiness, as I once wrote them, are as follows: Holiness appears to me to have a sweet, calm, pleasant, charming, and serene nature, all of which brings an inexpressible purity, radiance, peacefulness, and overwhelming joy to the soul. On other words, holiness makes the soul like a field or garden of God, with every kind of pleasant fruit and flower, and each one delightful and undisturbed, enjoying a sweet calm and the gently and refreshing rays of the sun. Jonathan Edwards

Many years after I first read that “without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14), I began following this truth and encouraging everyone with whom I spoke to do the same. Ten years later God gave me a clearer view than I had ever seen before of the way to obtain holiness – namely, by faith in the Son of God. Immediately I began sharing with everyone, “We are saved from sin and made holy by faith.” I testified to this in private, in public, and in print, and God confirmed it through a thousand other witnesses. I have now declared this truth continuously for more than thirty years, and God has continued to confirm my work.  John Wesley in 1771

I knew Jesus, and He was very precious to me, but I found something deep within me that would not stay pleasant, patient, and kind. I did what I could to keep those traits suppressed, but they were still there. Finally I sought Jesus for help, and when I gave Him my will, He came to my heart and removed everything that would not stay pleasant, patient, and kind. And then He shut the door.  George Fox

All-Satisfying Treasure

1 Nov

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. – Matthew 13:44

This parable describes how someone is converted and brought into the kingdom of heaven. A person discovers a treasure and is impelled by joy to sell all that he has in order to have this treasure. The kingdom of heaven is the abode of the King. The longing to be there is not the longing for heavenly real estate, but for camaraderie with the King. The treasure in the field is the fellowship of God in Christ.

I conclude from this parable that we must be deeply converted in order to enter the kingdom of heaven and that we are converted when Christ becomes for us a Treasure Chest of holy joy — a crucified and risen Savior who pardons all our sins, provides all our righteousness, and becomes in His own fellowship our greatest pleasure.

So the faith that pleases God is the assurance that when we turn to Him, we will find the all-satisfying Treasure. We will find our heart’s eternal delight. But do you see what this implies? It implies that something has happened in our hearts before the act of faith. It implies that beneath and behind the act of faith that pleases God, a new taste has been created — a taste for the glory of God and the beauty of Christ. Behold, a joy has been born!

Once we had no delight in God, and Christ was just a vague historical figure. What we enjoyed was food and friendships and productivity and investments and vacations and hobbies and games and reading and shopping and sex and sports and art and TV and travel…but not God. He was an idea — even a good one — and a topic for discussion; but He was not a treasure of delight.

Then something happened. It was like the opining of the eyes of the blind during the golden dawn. First the stunned silence before the unspeakable beauty of holiness. Then the shock and terror that we had actually loved the darkness. Then the settling stillness of joy that this is the soul’s end. The quest is over. We would give anything if we might be granted to live in the presence of this glory forever and ever.

John Piper, Desiring God.  Multnomah Publishers Inc.. 2003. 70-71.

I pray that you will meditate on these few paragraphs this week. I will do the same and will write my thoughts next week.

May the Lord Jesus Christ become your treasure and bless you with His holy joy.


%d bloggers like this: