YOU CAN'T FISH UNLESS
YOUR HOOK IS IN THE WATER
One of our members submitted the following article by an unknown author from a Missouri bulletin in 1974. Its message is still relevant.
I like to fish. And there isn't much wrong with me that a lot of fishing wouldn't cure. And there isn't much wrong with the people who comprise the church of the Lord Jesus that a lot of fishing wouldn't cure. Fishing for men, that is. Jesus said, when he called Peter, "Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
The waters are full of fish. But you have to go where the fish are to catch them. And that isn't all, you have to take the tackle along to catch them with. What's more, you have to have patience and work at it. Very few fish ever jump out of the water to bite my hook. I've found that you can't catch unless you have your hook in the water.
And most churches don't even have a hook in the water. We are fishing for men in a way that any sensible fisherman would know could catch very few fish. In the first place, most of us are too lazy to dig for bait. Our preparation for fishing for men is pitifully poor. Our knowledge of the Bible is meager, and our ability to use what knowledge we have is woefully untrained.
It is an accepted rule among fishermen that every fellow has to bait his own hook and land his own fish. Most of us are willing to go along for the trip, if someone else will dig the bait, bait the hook, and land the fish! The Lord makes in incumbent upon every fisher for men that he prepare himself for the task, that he dig out of the scriptures the material that will attract and convert. The Great Commission makes each one of us individually responsible for baiting his own hook.
If 2 or 300 of us were to approach the stream, and only one cast in a hook, the fishing would be uninteresting and the catch meager. That's the way it is when the congregation leaves all the fishing to the preacher. If he is the only one fishing for men, and often he is, what can we expect? Most of us don't even like to fish in the first place. We prove that by never going. And we don't even own the tackle. We are content to go to church. We are there every time the door opens, and we're satisfied with that. We believe the Lord is. If we didn't, we'd do better. We like to meet and eat. And we want to go to a church in an air-conditioned building, on padded pews, and hear a sermon on love. We don't care if the world roasts. We don't like to fish. There is work to fishing, and we don't like work! We like worship!
Did you ever read the 17th chapter of Matthew? Jesus in the end of that chapter gave his disciples a lesson on fishing. In it He gave an absolutely sure way to catch fish. All the essentials of successful fishing are summed up under three heads. There are:
(1) "Go thou to the sea;"
(2) "Cast a hook;" (
3) "Take up the fish."
This will do it every time.
We don't even obey the first one. We keep preaching to the members of the church. We don't go out anywhere; we invite the fish to come to our beautiful church building. They seldom do. And we don't care. We just keep keeping house for the Lord. The fish are in the sea. We must go where they are. And we must cast in a hook. If we can awaken every member of the church to the necessity of getting his hook in the water, there isn't any way of foretelling how many we may catch. Our nets might even break!
Irene Coffman now lives at 730 N. Market, Shawnee, OK 74801. Her phone number has also changed to 273-8409.
Gwen Barrett is now living at Sunset Estate #55, 201 W. Walnut (P.O. Box 630), Tecumseh, OK 74873.
Also note the change in the Johnson's address in "Prayer Concerns."
The beautiful service for Louise was very special to us. Thank you for being so caring and loving both to Louise and Harold. You have all blessed the lives of Louise, Harold, and us. May the Lord return it to all of you many times over. Lovingly, Gerald & Iva Kelly, Durant, OK (cousins of Louise Carothers).
From the Family of David W. Sperry
Thank you for the beautiful arrangement you sent. All your help during this time has been greatly appreciated. Thank you again.
Just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your support, encouragement and interest in me. Thanks for all you've done. God bless you for ever. Yuavonda (LaViness) Sperry
Thanks for everything you've done for my mother and me. Harold Carothers
Thanks for all the prayers and visits you made to Altha during her surgery and stay in the hospital. She is doing well and may get to go home Monday. David & Carol Smith, son and daughter-in-law of Altha Smith
Elders & Church:
Thank you so much for letting us use your building for Dad's (Alvin Jackson) services and the kindness you bless us with. Brenda Banks
Chad Beard had emergency surgery at Children's Hospital Friday night to remove the new shunts and tubing that had been put in place a few days previously. Since he has no infection this time, they were hoping to replace everything on Monday of this week. He will have to be hospitalized for several more days at best.
Altha Smith has done well following her colon surgery and was expecting to be discharged from Unity North on Monday of this week.
Ellen Childers had outpatient laparoscopic gall bladder surgery at Unity North on Wednesday of last week. She later had to return to the hospital and was discharged Sunday morning.
Earnest and Vesta Johnson are now at South Park Care Center #329, 5725 South Ross, Oklahoma City, OK 73119. They may now have visitors and will have a phone soon. This change of address should be noted in your directory.
Paul Harris's father, Ray Davis, is in room 754-A at Baptist Medical Center after an apparent stroke.
Alice Rice is in quite a bit of pain after falling on her knee last week.
Congratulations Shawnee Wolves on the State Championship! Congratulations also to Jason Perry who was instrumental in helping to attain that goal. Two other teens that are in the spotlight for recent accomplishments are Leslie Gettle and Hannah Farris. Leslie and Hannah have both been selected to be a part of the OBU Honor band. Way to go Jason, Leslie and Hannah!
Jim and Vivian Cross have invited the teens into their home for a Christmas Party, Saturday, December 13. The van will be leaving the building at 5:30 p.m. Guys need to bring a 2 liter bottle of pop and girls need to bring chips and dip. Everyone needs to bring a wrapped dirty Santa gift (guess what we'll be playing). Thanks in advance to Jim and Vivian for opening their home to the kids.
We have read the Bible through! Teens, if you haven't returned your Daily Bible yet, please do so soon.
December 13 - Saturday - party at Jim & Vivian's
December 14 - Sunday - AWTG @ Moore Central Leave @ 4:00 p.m.
December 20 - Saturday - Baking & caroling
December 17, Last ladies Class in 2003
December 21, Singing class, 7 p.m.
December 24, Devotional; no classes
December 24 - January 1, Holidays; church office closed most of the time
December 31, Devotional; no classes
January 7, Ladies Class resumes, 10:30 a.m.; January luncheon follows class
January 25 - 28, 55th Oklahoma Christian University Bible Lectureship, "The Kingdom of Inclusion;" see bulletin board