The Fishless Fisherman

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There was a group called Fishermen’s Fellowship. They were surrounded by streams and lakes full of hungry fish. They met regularly to discuss the call to fish, the abundance of fish and the thrill of catching fish. They got excited about fishing.

Someone suggested they needed a philosophy of fishing. So they carefully defined and redefined fishing and the purpose of fishing. They developed fishing strategies and tactics.

Then they realized they had been going at it backwards. They had approached fishing from the point of view of the fisherman and not from the point of view of the fish. How do fish view the world? How does the fisherman appear to the fish? What do fish eat and when? These are all good things to know.

So they began research studies and attended conferences on fishing. Some traveled to faraway places to study different kinds of fish with different habits. Some got PH.D.’s in Fishiology.

But no one had yet gone fishing.

So a committee was formed to send out fishermen. As prospective fishing places outnumbered the fishermen, the committee needed to determine priorities. A priority list of fishing places was posted on bulletin boards in all the Fellowship halls.

Still no one was fishing.

A survey was launched to find out why. Most did not answer the questionnaire but from those who did respond, it was discovered that some felt called to study fish, a few to furnish fishing equipment and several to go around encouraging fishermen. What with meetings, conferences and seminars, others simply didn’t have time to fish.

Jake was a newcomer to the Fishermen’s Fellowship. After one stirring meeting of the Fellowship, Jake went fishing. He tried a few things, got the hang of it and caught a choice fish. At the next meeting he told his story, was honored for his catch and was then scheduled to speak at all the Fellowship chapters and tell how he did it.

Now because of all the speaking and his election to the Board of Directors of the Fishermen’s Fellowship, Jake no longer had time to go fishing.

Soon he began to feel restless and empty. He longed to feel the tug on the line once again. He cut the speaking, resigned from the Board and said to a friend, “Let’s go fishing.” They did – just the two of them – and they caught fish.

The members of the Fishermen’s Fellowship were many, the fish were plentiful, but the fishers were few.

Lorne Sanny, Navigator Associate (thank you Cecil Bean for posting this!)

The Wheel

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I shared with the ladies at The River this week “The Wheel” – a wonderful visual illustration of the Christian disciplines necessary for a believer’s growth.  It’s a great point of reference and teaching tool!

If you are a Christian and have surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, then the next area of concern is what kind of progress are you making in establishing basic spiritual disciplines?

What are “the basics” of the Christian life?  These are disciplines that growing Christians maintain and that we desire to help others establish in their lives.

Wheel

  1. Christ the Center, “Lordship”. The hub of the wheel is Jesus Christ, He is at the center of a Christian’s life. Discuss – is Christ really Lord of all your life, are there areas you struggle to give Him control over? 2 Cor 5:17, Gal 2:20
  2. Word. One spoke of our relationship with God. Discuss – why to read, what to read, quiet times, daily Bible reading, learning to journal, how to do research, etc. Learn to hear it, read it, study it, memorize it, and meditate on it. 2 Tim 3:16, Joshua 1:8
  3. Prayer. The other spoke of our relationship with God. Discuss – why we pray, how we pray, what has God promised about praying, etc. Learn to pray more regularly and fervently, maybe keep a journal. John 15:7, Phil 4:6-7
  4. Fellowship. The spoke representing our relationship with other Christians. Discuss – do you spend time with other Christians, why we need other Christians, the role of the church, ways to stay involved and build friendships. Heb 10:24-25, Prov 13:20
  5. Witnessing. The spoke representing our relationship with nonbelievers. Discuss – the witness of our lives, why witness, how to witness. Learn write a testimony, learn an evangelism illustration, reach out to those she knows. Matt 4:19, Romans 1:16
  6. Obedience. The rim of the wheel, the most visible product of a growing Christian’s life. Discuss – why obey, what to obey, areas of struggle or disobedience. Romans 12:1, John 14:21

Adapted from Walt Henrichsen’s book Disciples are Made Not Born, chapter 8.

Charleston Road Trip!

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Fifteen years ago I moved to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky and landed in a Navigators women’s Bible study. The teacher, Susie Walther, asked me out for coffee. Then she asked about my quiet times and my spiritual life. I thought she was weird at first – no one had ever asked me about my relationship with God like that! I was intrigued, and hungry for growth. She pursued a discipleship relationship with me and invested two years of her life in establishing my faith and equipping me to serve.  All around me women were doing the same – meeting one-on-one and investing in the spiritual growth of other women. Today some ridiculously high percentage (maybe 80 percent?) of women from that group are in full time ministry, making disciples across the country.

This weekend we are gathering in Charleston, SC at the “To Train Up A Woman” Southeastern Navigators Women’s Conference. Several of us are speaking about our experiences with discipleship…  I’m really looking forward to the learning and encouragement that come when women who share a vision and a commitment to laboring in the Kingdom get together!