Fishers of Men

Watching my daughter fish on the lake out back this summer has been quite a joy. She got the fishing gene from her grandmother, my mom. It’s something that I didn’t get, but one I can appreciate. My daughter can stand for hours at the edge of the lake, even after she has worked all day, and cast her line into the water over and over as she tries to catch the “big one”. With each cast there’s an expectation of hope that she will bring in a fish. The size doesn’t matter. It’s the success of the cast that matters. She rejoices over every fish she brings in. 
Isn’t this exactly what God looks for from us? God has put each of His children in the ‘pond’ that is His Kingdom. And, He has provided us with all the equipment we need to ‘fish’. But unlike fishing in the natural world, He has provided an unlimited supply of people we can fish for. So many beautiful colors, sizes and types are out there. Some are docile, some fighters, others want us to think they are ignoring the tantalizing ‘bait’ we have put in front of them when we know they aren’t. But, as every good fisherman knows, patience is a requirement for success. If we get anxious and reel our line in too soon, before the bait is actually claimed, our fish loses interest and moves on. If we aren’t attentive, our bait can be taken, and the ‘nibbler’ wanders off before the hook can be set. Either way the ‘fish’ gets away. A loss for both them and us. It’s our job as ‘fishers of men’ to learn how to be the best fisherman possible. It’s not enough to have the best gear, although that does help, we have to learn all about the fish so every cast is successful and no fish gets away.

Jesus knew that fishermen would understand how to catch people for the Kingdom. As He said to Peter: Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19. Jesus had watched the men he called from the sea as they fished for a living. He knew they had skills and knew how to seek out the fish and to learn their patterns in order to be successful. As fishermen, they must have been thrilled to move on to fishing for bigger ‘fish’. Jesus knew that life-long fishermen would know how to apply their skills and knowledge of fishing into catching people for Him. And He was right. When Peter was sent out to fish on his own, after Jesus had ascended to heaven, 3000 people were caught in one day. Now that is one successful fishing trip!

These days I watch my youngest child fish our little lake out back. But, I believe that one-day God will let me see her ‘fishing’ God’s earthly waters that teem with’ fish’ that she will catch for the Kingdom. For now, I’ll continue to enjoy watching her fish at the lake edge while I fish in the Kingdom and wait for the day when we’ll fish together for God.

Deni Fortuna

When My Thoughts Wage War

Statistics show that a person has on average 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts per day. Whether those thoughts are negative or positive is another story. In the last couple of years, I’ve become more aware than ever about the management of my thought life. I’m still managing it, and I don’t think it’ll ever stop.

Why does it need to be managed in the first place?

Fear, doubt, anxiety, insecurity, lust, pride, false assumptions, and anger, just to name a few of the reasons why my thought life needed and still needs to be held in check.

These are a few things that I know many of us have experienced and have had thoughts about:

“What if I’m rejected?” 

“I’ll just fail again.” 

“It’s not like I’m really cheating.” 

 The danger comes when those thoughts get a relentless grip on our heart as they temporarily appease our emotional state. Thoughts become seeds of identity and behavior in the bed of our hearts. “I’ll just fail again,” leaves you locked in a frozen state of fear ultimately insuring nothing gets accomplished and prematurely aborting something great. Even if what you accomplish is solely the lesson from failing, you can’t really call it failing then, can you? 

 Intentionality is key here. I remember coming to my Dad with a situation regarding my fear and anxiety and he gave me gold that I’ll keep for the rest of my life. He said, “Rebuke it, in Jesus’ name.” In essence he handed me 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” Two important things here: I brought Jesus to the table, and, I realized I really did have control over what I allowed to be embedded in my heart.

 So, here’s an easy process to begin to take control of your thoughts and walk in victory. Addressing your thoughts, ask: Does this line up with the Word of God? If not, ask yourself why it’s affecting you the way that it is. What’s at the root of the thought. Then, reject the thought in Jesus’ name. Period. And finally, fix your mind on the opposite. If fear comes knocking, thank Him for courage. If false identity and insecurity knock, speak His promises over your life. You’re formed in the image of Christ and a child of God, not a slave to fear. I think you get the idea. 🙂

 Most importantly, spend time in His presence. A song I’ve been ministered by really explains it. “Prince of Peace” from Hillsong United, recently released on their Empires (Of Dirt and Grace) album, has been wrecking me every time I hear it.

“Your love surrounds me 

When my thoughts wage war

When night screams terror 

There your voice will roar”

Needless to say, I highly recommend it. The words couldn’t ring more true. Let His love surround you as you walk in victory and defeat every lie of the enemy.

 Victoria Torres

Train up a child

The word says in Proverbs 22:6,“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Pastor Victor talks about being mothers and fathers in the house. I have three smart, beautiful, and anointed daughters myself and yet the word in Proverbs doesn’t mean I am to just train up my own. There are many children who need the word of truth spoken into their lives.  

Working in the children’s ministry is something I truly treasure.

Kingdom Seekers! That was our theme for VBS 2016. To teach, instruct, and share the Word of God so that the children learn about applying that word in their lives through the activation of the Holy Spirit, is powerful. Putting the word FAITH before them and teaching them the meaning of it, letting them see what a precious and awesome jewel in God’s eyes that they are and reinforcing the truth of their identity in Christ was a joy shared that week. They learned they are born to REIGN.

Having the time to share with children principles of the kingdom of God is so exciting. Being able to share with them about their identities in Christ and the part in the Kingdom of God they play, worshipping with young ones who worship Him with hands lifted high and their mouths filled with praise, yep, it puts a smile on my face and joy in my heart.

When Pastor talks about being mothers and fathers in the house, that means pouring into someone else; instructing them, teaching them and loving them. And with that comes accountability to one another. You may have children of your own, maybe you’re a grandparent or maybe you don’t have children of your own. But, there are many young ones in the body of Christ who need to be nurtured, loved and taught by you.

“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body: and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord,” Colossians 3:14-16.

So I encourage you today to seek out a child (a young one in the Lord) that you can pour into. One that can be encouraged and edified. One that can be instructed in the word of God. The Kingdom of God is growing and maturing and by you pouring into others, you have a part in it.

It’s exciting to see young ones grow! Whether it is a young one in children’s church or an adult who is young in the Lord, seeing a brother or sister excel in the things of Christ and in His word is a joy we all need to have and experience.

 

Blessings,

Pastor Tammy

Maturing Accountability

Accountability in today’s society seems to vary depending on your world view, ask yourself

1. What is my worldview of accountability?

2. What is my role in accountability?

3. Where am I in accountability?

4. What is wrong with accountability?

5. What is the answer to accountability?

According to *Merriam-Websters.com accountability is the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions <public officials lacking accountability>

I showed the teens a video about the “†Accountability Ninja” it really refers to the world view of accountability, the “I can’t do it, you do it for me” view, whereas a believer can boldly proclaims I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, even to the point where I can accept being held accountable.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend


 Being sharpened may not be comfortable and at times sparks may fly, however you have to come to the understanding that it will require and investment, whether you are being held accountable or holding someone accountable.

Accountability will require you to invest yourself, your honesty with yourself and your accountability partner! Without honesty you are just wasting your time and theirs. It will also require your time, time invested in the word and time invested with your accountability partner. You’ll have to invest time in prayer seeking the Lord for direction and discernment and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And it will require and investment of your finances, meeting for coffee, lunch, etc. You have to make a conscience decision that you are going to make an investment in one of Gods children.

Why is accountability so important? Let’s take a look at Hebrews 6:1-2;

1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

The six basic foundation stones of the Christian faith are found in these two verses; they are:

1. Repentance from dead works

2. Faith toward God

3. Doctrine of baptisms

4. Laying on of hands

5. Resurrection of the dead

6. Eternal judgment.

What does accountability have to do with the foundation stones?

Everything!

Accountability is the “Mortar” that keeps your foundation stones in place, it strengthens those who walk in it.


 Look at what mortar does, in a typical block/brick the foundation is built upon like the picture below of our basement wall here at New Wine Fellowship,


Without mortar these blocks would not have the strength to hold the load of the building on top of it or the pressure form either side. As we walk out our salvation we have to invest in our foundation and in the foundation of others. The walk we are walking isn’t just for us it for those who need their foundation strengthened.

In James 5:16 the word states

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much

Mutual Confession, effective and fervent Prayers are an active ingredient of our mortar, if we leave out any of the ingredients we may just have sand. But it doesn’t stop there, let’s look at two words in this verse, look at effective and fervent. The synonym for effective is active, a verb (**remember school house rock “I get my thing in action “Verb”) active requires us to be in motion, and the synonym for fervent is fanatical that is doing something in an obsessive and dedicated fashion.

So we could translate the scripture to say:

“The active, fanatical prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

At the beginning I asked five questions which are a starting point, you could ultimately come up with hundreds of others for your personal life, however can you answer them honestly?

So I’ll ask:

1. Are you being held accountable?

2. So I have to ask are you being sharpened or sharping someone?

3. Are you keeping someone accountable?

4. Are you active and fanatical in your prayer life?

5. And lastly does your mortar have all the ingredients?  

I pray that you are allowing accountability to bring you to a greater level of maturity so your mortar is complete and that you are someone else’s mortar as they work out and walk out their salvation.

 ~ Pastor Jose

 

NKJV scripture used

https://youtu.be/EVNOaKpvzVI

* http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/accountability

**http://video.disney.com/watch/verb-schoolhouse-rock-disney-shorts-5036f628318e6ecd54d719d9