Tag Archives: disciple

A Fisherman Who Never Fishes

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I wasn’t always a minister. I’ve been in ministry of some sort for about 13 years, but this is not what I thought I’d be doing when I “grew up”.

When I went to college I wanted to be an engineer. I started at Harding as a pre-engineering student. It was when I got to organic chemistry that I realized that chemical engineering was out for me, so I switched to mechanical engineering. When I got to heat transfer I decided I wanted to do something with fewer moving parts so I switched to civil engineering.

Things went well for me in engineering. I was working 40 hours per week at Walmart. I had a new family complete with baby girl. I was running a paper route (400 papers per night), and I was still maintaining a C average in my classes.

When I realized I didn’t want to sit in an office crunching measurement numbers and calculations I switched majors again. I wanted human interaction. If you know any engineers you know they don’t think like a lot of people do, and many are very awkward socially. This is because their work is VERY intellectual, and they have to be extremely logically oriented, so their jokes are different and they don’t function well with the emotional sort (I say this as a recovering engineer student). So sitting in an office and working on a project with few other people suits them. I, on the other hand, crave social interaction.

So I switched once again to education. I wanted to use my math skills to teach others. I knew there would be much social interaction in that field, and I could influence someone’s life for good at the same time. This switch added another three years to my schooling for a total of six years in college.

What if I had decided to study about teaching or engineering all my life? Would I be a teacher?

What do you like to do? If you spent all your time studying about fishing and tying flies and gathering equipment, would that make you a fisherman? If you watched all the football games and knew every play; if you studied all the rules to football would that make you a professional football player?

Maybe you like knitting, so you study all the knots and needles and patterns. You even gather all the appropriate material. Would that make you a knitter?

I love rock climbing. I read about it and have all the gear. I know the knots and the great places to climb, but until I put my hand on a rock and pick myself off the ground I am not a climber.

We can study deeply in the word of God. We can attend church week after week. We memorize all the scriptures and even live good moral lives, but that doesn’t make us a Christian.

Christianity isn’t a moral religion. Christianity is an evangelistic lifestyle. To be a Christian is to be a disciple of Christ. Jesus said “follow me.” It’s hard to do that if you never move from your comfortable position.

Many people have gone to church all their lives and know all the right biblical answers, but they aren’t helping anyone else come into the Kingdom. They aren’t disciples. They are merely consumers of information.

Don’t do church. Don’t be a perpetual student. Be a worker. Be a disciple. What made me a teacher is when I began to teach. What makes me a preacher is that I tell others about Jesus. Guess what. You don’t have to have a degree to be a preacher. Just tell your friends about the One who gives you life and hope and forgiveness. Follow Jesus, and he said “make disciples”. When I’m actively making disciples I find that I am still constantly learning.

So don’t just attend church. Be the church. Shine your light. Tell others. And watch yourself grow in faith as you share it with others.

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“Woo Hoo” was the Word of the Evening

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The other day I took my kids to a local retreat center just north of town called Ashwood Palms to do some fishing in their ponds. My son has been asking me to take him fishing there since the last time we went which was about six months ago. When I told him our plans for the evening he was jumping up and down and shouting “WooHoo!”

We made all the necessary arrangements including a trip to Walmart to buy night crawlers. Then we got our gear together and made sure we had a snack for the venture. After that it was off to the fishing hole.

Our outing wasn’t about any particular type of fish. We weren’t even concerned with size. My hope for my son and my daughter was that they would simply catch fish, and lots of them.

They did just that! When they’d hook a fish there would be such excitement it heir little voices, and “WooHoo” seemed to be the word of the evening! Azariah and Sophia were congratulating each other like good sports. It didn’t matter that the fish they were catching were only inches long; they didn’t care about size. They were just excited to have the opportunity to fish and be catching.

I love seeing an excitement for fishing growing in the lives of my children.

There was once another group of fishermen who showed enthusiasm for their ventures. The group was Peter, Andrew, James, and John. They had heard John the Baptizer teaching in their area and had become followers of his, yet they had not neglected their duties as fishermen. The story that many people remember about this group is when Jesus told them to cast their net on the other side of the boat after they had caught nothing all the night before. When they did this they caught so many fish in one cast that they had to get a second boat to haul in all the fish.

They were excited. But this wasn’t the first time they had been excited in the presence of Jesus. When Jesus met Andrew, he was so excited about who Jesus was (the Messiah) that he ran to tell his brother the good news. When Jesus met another future disciple named Philip, it made him so excited that he ran to tell Nathaniel. This was the same guy that we read about later in the book of acts studying with an Ethiopian Eunuch.

These men were excited about Jesus, and he called them “Fishers of Men”.

I tell those stories because they have direct implications to each of us. In Matthew 28, Jesus commanded his disciples to “go and make disciples, baptizing them.” But he also gave them the charge to “teach them everything I have commanded you.” The disciples obeyed. A little over 50 days after the resurrection, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they began to preach. 3000 people were baptized that day, and the process of disciple making started.

We know that this command to “make disciples…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” was fulfilled through the disciples of Jesus. In 2 Timothy 2:2 we read discourse between Paul and Timothy, one of Paul’s disciples. He encourages Timothy to teach others who can then teach others. In that one verse four generations of disciples are represented.

Let me make one thing clear: this command is for each one of us.

The Christian music group Casting Crowns sings a song, “Here I Go Again” that has these lyrics: “here I go again talkin’ ’bout the rain and mulling over things that won’t live past today, and as I dance around the truth time is not his friend. This might be my last chance to tell him that You love him.”

The song is giving a great description of how we treat evangelism every day. Time after time we are presented with chances to talk to our friends and relatives about the love of Jesus, but instead we talk about the rain or work or kids or fishing or anything other than the saving message of grace in Christ.

I know all our reasons for shying back, but my question is this: if Jesus’ disciples were to make disciples that did the same things that they did, then if we aren’t spreading the message of Christ then can we really say we are disciples of Christ? This was a command, and it wasn’t “go make disciples, baptizing…and teaching some to obey.” This was a blanket statement for all of us.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all saw evangelism with the same kind of “WooHoo” excitement my children have for catching inedible fish?!

The story is told of an older man who went down to the beach after a storm to gather shells. When he got down there he found the sand littered with starfish. As he walked along in amazement at the sheer numbers he saw a lone child tossing starfish back in the sea. “Why are you doing that? There are so many you’ll never get them all! What does it matter? Why try?” The boy was unfazed, and as he picked up another starfish and tossed it back in the ocean he said, “it mattered to that one.”

Instead of being overwhelmed with numbers like the population of the earth or probability statistics, we are called to have the childlike enthusiasm that my children have. I know we can have that kind of enthusiasm too! Every time we see our child do something great we tell others with that kind of enthusiasm. Every time we get a new gadget we show it off with great enthusiasm.

You have been given life eternal through Christ regardless of your past. It was given to you freely with your baptism. Your friends and neighbors don’t have that gift, and they’re dying in their sins. You have the cure. Will you not tell them? Will you not offer them healing?

May we be people who re-evaluate our attitude toward the salvation we have received. May we then become downright giddy as we thank God for his saving grace, and may we be people who just can’t keep it in.

After the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when 3000 people were baptized into Christ the excitement was so prevalent that it took them only approximately a year to spread the message to the entire known world. When we catch this fire in this day when we are more connected than ever through texting and Facebook and twitter, we will change the world quickly as well. Let’s do just that!

If you have any questions or comments regarding this article, you can email me at jddobbs@verizon.net or call me at the office at 245-1611. You can also read all my previous articles at http://www.mrdobbs.org. God bless you, and spread the Word!


What to do when we wait

Can you imagine the situation of the apostles? Their leader, whom they had lived in close quarters with for the last three years has now been taken prisoner. They were trying him unjustly and illegally so as to frame him for crimes he did not commit. Then, they planned to kill him.

And they succeeded. They killed Jesus.

We speak often about Friday, and we preach about Sunday, but what about Saturday? It was on Saturday that they had to wait.

I don’t think this was a comfortable waiting either. They must have been constantly questioning themselves. Is that it? Was he really who he said he was? Did we just waste three good years of our lives? What’s next? He talked about rising from the dead, but what if it doesn’t happen? There had to be much trepidation in the hours between the cross and the empty tomb.

Read the account for yourself. Have you ever thought of what it must have been like?

We wait all the time, don’t we? We wait at restaurants, stores, doctors’ offices, amusement parks, airports, even the DMV. It is inevitable that sometime during your day you will have to wait for something. You’re not alone. Everyone waits.

What do you do with the time that you must spend waiting? Some people tap their foot and wrinkle their brow and become increasingly disgruntled. You know the pattern…they start mumbling about how slow this is and how much of a hurry they are in. They become rude to the people who are doing their best to serve them. God forbid they have to wait.

Is this you? I hope not. Waiting doesn’t have to be a negative time of your day. In fact, the next time you wait – for anything – try one of these few ideas.

First, remember the apostles on that lonely Saturday. What did they do? They prayed. Waiting is a great opportunity to pause and spend time in the presence of God in prayer. He wants to hear from you, and the only way you’ll have a great relationship with Him is to talk to Him. Pray for all kinds of things that you are going through, but don’t forget to pray for those who are making you have to wait. Perhaps they are having something worse than waiting that is going on with them.

Second, spend some time in the word. We live in the age of tiny technology. If you have a smartphone, you can access the mobile version of biblegateway.com, or you can download the youversion app or the logos app. All these are free, and they are great resources for reading the bible in whatever translation you desire on the go. I use all three of these at different times, and they are really great! More than just reading the word, though, just read a verse or two, and meditate on that passage. You will find God often speaks to you through His word in ways that cut right to what you are dealing with, even if it’s a struggle with being patient while you wait for that incredibly slow train that is cutting the town in half while you are trying to get the kids to school on time.

Lastly, just breathe. Take deep breaths and relax and let the cares slide right off of your shoulders. Sometimes we need to create peace times in our days, and waiting in line or at the red light can help fill those peaceful needs.

Jesus came to bring us peace. I think it was a powerful lesson in trust that the apostles went through on the Saturday so long ago as they waited for their messiah to be raised. You are faced with the same trust questions. Do you trust that God is in control even of this very situation? Do you trust that he works all things for your good (Romans 8:28)?

May you see waiting times as joyful opportunities rather than painful detours to your carefully planned schedule. Besides, when we tell God our plans He probably has a pretty good chuckle at our expense. He is always in control, and he wants us to allow Him to guide our lives so that Jeremiah 29:11 can be fulfilled in us.

If there is ever anything I can do for you, please call me at 245-1611, or email me at jddobbs@verizon.net. God bless you all!


What to do when we wait

Can you imagine the situation of the apostles? Their leader, whom they had lived in close quarters with for the last three years has now been taken prisoner. They were trying him unjustly and illegally so as to frame him for crimes he did not commit. Then, they planned to kill him.

And they succeeded. They killed Jesus.

We speak often about Friday, and we preach about Sunday, but what about Saturday? It was on Saturday that they had to wait.

I don’t think this was a comfortable waiting either. They must have been constantly questioning themselves. Is that it? Was he really who he said he was? Did we just waste three good years of our lives? What’s next? He talked about rising from the dead, but what if it doesn’t happen? There had to be much trepidation in the hours between the cross and the empty tomb.

Read the account for yourself. Have you ever thought of what it must have been like?

We wait all the time, don’t we? We wait at restaurants, stores, doctors’ offices, amusement parks, airports, even the DMV. It is inevitable that sometime during your day you will have to wait for something. You’re not alone. Everyone waits.

What do you do with the time that you must spend waiting? Some people tap their foot and wrinkle their brow and become increasingly disgruntled. You know the pattern…they start mumbling about how slow this is and how much of a hurry they are in. They become rude to the people who are doing their best to serve them. God forbid they have to wait.

Is this you? I hope not. Waiting doesn’t have to be a negative time of your day. In fact, the next time you wait – for anything – try one of these few ideas.

First, remember the apostles on that lonely Saturday. What did they do? They prayed. Waiting is a great opportunity to pause and spend time in the presence of God in prayer. He wants to hear from you, and the only way you’ll have a great relationship with Him is to talk to Him. Pray for all kinds of things that you are going through, but don’t forget to pray for those who are making you have to wait. Perhaps they are having something worse than waiting that is going on with them.

Second, spend some time in the word. We live in the age of tiny technology. If you have a smartphone, you can access the mobile version of biblegateway.com, or you can download the youversion app or the logos app. All these are free, and they are great resources for reading the bible in whatever translation you desire on the go. I use all three of these at different times, and they are really great! More than just reading the word, though, just read a verse or two, and meditate on that passage. You will find God often speaks to you through His word in ways that cut right to what you are dealing with, even if it’s a struggle with being patient while you wait for that incredibly slow train that is cutting the town in half while you are trying to get the kids to school on time.

Lastly, just breathe. Take deep breaths and relax and let the cares slide right off of your shoulders. Sometimes we need to create peace times in our days, and waiting in line or at the red light can help fill those peaceful needs.

Jesus came to bring us peace. I think it was a powerful lesson in trust that the apostles went through on the Saturday so long ago as they waited for their messiah to be raised. You are faced with the same trust questions. Do you trust that God is in control even of this very situation? Do you trust that he works all things for your good (Romans 8:28)?

May you see waiting times as joyful opportunities rather than painful detours to your carefully planned schedule. Besides, when we tell God our plans He probably has a pretty good chuckle at our expense. He is always in control, and he wants us to allow Him to guide our lives so that Jeremiah 29:11 can be fulfilled in us.

If there is ever anything I can do for you, please call me at 245-1611, or email me at jddobbs@verizon.net. God bless you all!


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