Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fishing for Men

We changed up our Men's NetWork fishing tournament this year. In the Lutheran Hour Ministries' spirit of equipping Christians to share their faith, we have been encouraging participants to take an unchurched buddy along when they go fishing. Our incentive includes three nice gift certificates for monthly stories that fit the bill. But it seems like it's harder than it sounds to ask an unchurched guy to go fishing.

Then we got the following submission from one of our faithful participants, John Nail:

"I have a story I'd like to share with you and request prayer for this young man. I know this does not qualify for anything, and I'm certainly OK with that. Our God is an awesome God and desires that none should perish.

"My wife (Sherlyn) and I camped at a Missouri State Park just 20 miles from our home. A get-away before school things take over my life. After having some friends stop by to eat and chat on Friday night, we had a relaxing day Saturday. Going to church at 5:30 p.m. and then back to the park.

"I arose at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday morning and biked down to the little lake in the park. Caught a few fish. My thoughts were on the LHM men's fishing contest and how they are working at getting fishermen to think about inviting a neighbor or co-worker along. I remember praying, 'Lord, help me remember to think about asking someone to go fishing that is not in our church family and doesn't have a church home.' I know very few outside the circle of church and school families. It seems like a logical excuse. The Lord understands. I get back to the campsite and clean up the catfish and crappie I had caught, and my wife and I were thinking of taking a bike ride as soon as we ate breakfast. It was 10 a.m. and we had not eaten.

"As we finished cleaning up after breakfast, we had a young man, named Ryan, stop by with a display of bugs mounted in a display case. He worked summers for the State Parks Department and wondered if he could show them to us. We, being active learners, agreed, and he proceeded to tell us about several of the specimens.

"We discovered he was from our home town and knew one of the families very well that had a child in our Lutheran school. He said he was working on his masters in biology. We were discussing, very politely, the differences in evolution and creation theories. He soon disclosed his father was a Lutheran, and he had graduated from a Catholic high school, but he would have to call himself an agnostic. The college professors made sense to him that we have a spirit, but it is a form of energy, and it cannot be created or destroyed (first law of thermodynamics). When we die, he believed, we just become part of the great cosmos energy field.

"The conversation then shifted to faith issues and the two world views. The God-less world view (evolution) and the Creator God world view (creation). We spent several minutes on the faith issue. Ryan made a comment about how there were so many translations how do you know which one to believe. I assured him the original languages had not changed since they were 'dead' languages. Our language changes frequently and so translations keep coming to try to explain the original languages.

"Since my wife and I had visited Petersburg, Kentucky, earlier this summer (Creation Museum) she had a pamphlet about the Bible that she offered Ryan. He thanked us for the cordial conversation and asked what time the services were at our church. We told him, and told him he would be welcome.

"I was amazed that here we were in a state park on Sunday with virtually all the weekend campers already gone or packing up to leave, and we get a visit from a young man from our home town who knew about our school and who engages us in a spiritual conversation.

"Our God truly does not want any to perish.

"We need to keep our eyes and ears open whether we are fishing or not and whether it is intentional or not. He is the One using us. To Him belongs the glory and honor!"

John Nail

John didn't think he was going to win. After all, he hadn't asked this guy to go fishing with him; he wasn't even in the process of fishing when he shared his faith with the young man in question. But this is exactly what this season's twist is all about. Look at the passions in your life: fishing, camping, sports, the arts, collecting stamps, whatever. It's like John said. If we keep our eyes open, chances are strong to great we'll see opportunities where God is opening doors for us to share our faith.

Reaching out to somebody else with the Good News God has given us is a surprisingly difficult thing sometimes. Do you have any anecdotes to relate when you've spoken to others about God or, perhaps, invited somebody to church? If so, do tell. You can let us know by clicking here and sharing your thoughts.

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