Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Dear Friends – within Linwood – and beyond!
I stand corrected.
Sunday I said that fish do not just jump into boats. Guess what? I got sent the link to a youtube video that shows…….fish jumping into boats! Granted, they are Asian carp, not small mouth bass. But it can happen. Here’s the link in case you are interested.
However, I will stand on what I said when the fishing we are doing is the “fishing for men and women.” I said that no one just jumps on their own from the ocean of life into the boat of faith. Every person who comes to know and trust Jesus has heard of God’s love or experienced God’s love through another person. That is why all of us are called to be witnesses! “Come follow me,” said Jesus, “and I will make you fishers of men and women!” That is not just the work of the first apostles. It is our work – if we acknowledge the incredible value of Christ ‘s love. How could we not want others to know it too?
Think about your own spiritual journey – the moment of decision when you knew you had placed your life in Christ’s hands, and other moments of conviction, growth, or grace.
The focus of those moments is, of course, on Jesus. However, for most of us two other things remain special in our memories – person and place. If I were to ask someone to tell me about their spiritual milestones, they are likely to say, “Our youth group was meeting in the church basement and my girlfriend decided to get really serious about her Christian faith”…or, “I hit bottom and found myself at an AA meeting at the Methodist Church on 5th street. We were all sitting around in a circle and the presenter started talking about Jesus as his ‘higher power'”…or “I hiked to the top of the mountain and I remembered what my friend Rick had told me”…
Person and place. What about your own spiritual highlights? Can’t you very easily think of the person and place? The person that God spoke through, or the person God used to prepare you, or the person who risked telling you the truth even if it hurt, or the person who just stood by your side. Those people become our “saints” – those set apart by God to make a difference in our lives..
And then there is the place where God met you, the place where you responded to Him, the place where you surrendered yourself to Him. Those places become sacred places. We see them like Jacob saw Bethel. “You were here and I didn’t even know it!”. And he marked the place with a stone pillar. (Genesis 28:16-18).
I am fairly certain that for those of you who are Linwoodites – especially for more than one generation, many of the people and the places that are a part of your spiritual highlights are right here at Linwood Park! God can and does work anywhere and everywhere. But, for some reason, there are also places where God’s Spirit has unusual freedom and power. I honestly don’t know why. And frankly, the “why” is not really important. The reality is that Linwood is a place where the Lord has had tremendous impact upon His people. This is not something we can create or manipulate. We can only receive it as a gift.
That brings us back to people. Thank God for those through the years that stood alongside, that told the truth, or prepared the way for God’s Spirit to work. But those are people of the past. What is needed now are the people who are ready to do some “fishing for people,” who are available to come alongside, to tell the truth, and to prepare the way for the Spirit’ work.
If God chooses, He can have some poor lost soul jump out of the ocean of despair into the boat of faith without any significant person or memorable place. BUT, that is not how God ordained it when the Lord said to Peter, ” Come follow me and I will make you a fisher of men and women.”
The fishing part -the people part has been entrusted to us. How are you doing?
Don’t forget, Bible Study begins this Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in the Chapel.
We are now recording Sunday Morning messages. Just follow the link below for last Sunday’s message about “Fishing.”
Blessings on you,
Hu Auburn, Linwood Park Pastor
An audio version of last Sunday’s sermon, Fishing, by Rev. Auburn may be found, along with previous sermons, HERE .
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