Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Casting Your Net

Casting Our Nets

Luke 5:4

When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

As we follow Christ, He has promised to make us “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). While there is nothing more unsettling than this reality that the God of the universe has chosen to use flawed individuals like us to reach the world for Himself, the fact of the matter is that there is no “Plan B.” Everyone who has ever been saved and everyone who will ever be saved have this much in common: they were saved as a result of some individual sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with him or her.

In the verse we just read (Lk 5:4), there are several important truths to help us and encourage us in our task.

Jesus calls us to “launch out into the deep.” The “deep” is not always comfortable, familiar, or safe, but that is where the fish are. If we are going to be fishers of men, we are going to have to step out of our comfort zones. But the good news is that we don’t launch out alone.

Jesus is with us. In v3, we are told that Jesus was in Simon’s boat with him. And as we launch out into the deep, he is with us as well. The concluding words of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:20 are, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Jesus is directing us. He told Simon exactly where to go to find the fish, and He will do the same for us. In John 10:27, He said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

Jesus took responsibility for the catch. He told them if they would let down the nets, there would be a catch. We have to remember that the “catching” is His responsibility. The casting of the net is ours.

How do you CAST the net?

Have you noticed how hard it is to get beyond, “How ya doin’?” in a conversation?

We don’t even wait for the answer. We ask the question and keep on moving.

Relationships take time to develop. We have to make time for God to use us.

How do you steer a conversation past the superficial issues of weather and ballgames and the latest news story?

C: CONNECT

Talk about the other person’s background.

Where are you from? How long have you lived here? Tell me about your family?

If there are commonalities that surface, explore them.

A: ACTIVITIES

Find out about the person’s work, hobbies, interests, etc.

What kind of work do you do? What do you do in your spare time? Ask about things you notice:

I see you have on a UNCG sweatshirt – do you go to school there?

What’s that you’re reading? Do you have an interest in that subject?

S: SPIRITUAL MATTERS

Find out if the person is open to discussing spiritual matters.

Are you a spiritual person? Do you ever think about spiritual things like prayer, heaven, God, etc.?

Their answer to this question will determine if you have permission to go farther with the conversation.

If their answer is negative, you might say, “I understand; I used to have no interest in those matters either until something really incredible happened in my life.” Don’t say anymore. Let them ask you to go farther.

If their answer is positive, you might say, “Me too. Can I tell you how I became interested in spiritual things?”

We are seeking permission to move forward. If they grant it, go for it.

T: TELL YOUR STORY

Your story is not the gospel. It is one person’s account of how you applied the gospel in your life. But it is a great way to gain another person’s interest in hearing the gospel.

Telling your story is biblical:

Look at Acts 26:9-23

Paul’s story can be outlined in three parts.

Part 1 (vv9-12): _________________________________________________

Part 2 (vv13-15): ________________________________________________

Part 3 (vv16-23): ________________________________________________

Your story has the same three parts, though the details are different.

Guidelines for writing your story:

Be brief. Your story should not take you longer than 3-5 minutes to share.

Be precise about how you came to know the Lord. You do not need to give details about how sinful you were or other unnecessary details.

Avoid “churchy” lingo, unless you intend to explain it. Example: It does no good to say you were “bought with the blood” unless you explain the significance of that statement. But remember, you only have 3 to 5 minutes to tell your story.

Be comfortable enough telling your story that it is fresh every time. You never want it to sound canned or rehearsed.

Stress that you are not perfect, but that God is helping you daily to grow in your relationship with Him. I like to say, “I’m not what I want to be, but I am not what I used to be.”

Keep these things in mind as you share your story:

PRAY! Pray before you tell it, pray as you tell it, pray after you tell it! Ask the Holy Spirit to give you boldness, wisdom, grace and strength.

The more you share it, the more comfortable you will be sharing it.

Be yourself. Be relaxed. Use a normal tone of voice.

Be friendly. Smile and make eye contact.

Respect the other person.

Be attentive to the other person. Listen to their words and notice their nonverbal communication.

Be real!

Ask the other person if they have a spiritual story. Has anything like this ever happened to you?

When you share your story, you are telling how you realized you need to live a different WAY, you learned the TRUTH about God and Jesus Christ, and He changed your LIFE forever. Remember what Jesus said in John 14:6 – “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Homework

Scripture Memory:

Romans 3:23

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Memorize the CAST Conversation Guide

Write out your story. Share it with one person.

IDEA: Tell someone that your pastor asked you to write your life story. Ask them to read it for you, or ask if you can share it with them first to see what they think.

IDEA: Over coffee or a meal, share with a friend or relative: “You know, we’ve shared a lot of stories with each other, but I just realized that I have never told you the best story of my life.”

2 comments:

Rich said...

Well this is the first time I have ever tried this. Dont know if it will work or not. I picked your blog because it seems you like to share your beliefs and so do I. I enjoy hearing why people believe like they do if they have Scriptures to support their beliefs. I dont like to just hear trite statements. I listen to all kinds of preachers and teachers on TV and radio, and have learned some maybe a little from most of them, even if I disagree with most they say. I dont argue Scriptures but would enjoy discussing beliefs even if I differ with someone. Does this fit into your idea of your blog or not?

Russ Reaves said...

Thanks for commenting Rich. I'd love for you to share your thoughts here. Just keep it clean and courteous.

I do like to share my beliefs. In fact, you might say I share my beliefs for a living. I am a preacher and a teacher. And, like you, I detest trite statements. If you can't back up your claim with scripture, don't make it! If I am wrong (and I very well may be) please use God's word to show me.

I am "allergic" to TV preachers. I honestly can't think of one on TV that I enjoy watching now that Adrian Rogers has gone on to heaven. On radio there are a few I like, but they are hard to come by. Thank God for podcasting.

I appreciate the spirit of your post. We don't argue here, but we do discuss. Keep reading and posting my friend.

By the way, how did you find my blog? I am glad you did.