How To Fish, 1 April 2012

Big Idea: We can learn how to fish by seeing how Jesus sent out the 70.

Passage, Luke 10:2-12:  

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.


What does it look like to go “fishing for men”? The best way for us to learn how to do this is by looking closely at the life of Christ and to explore how he trained his disciples for the important task of “fishing for men.”

The need is great (10:2)

This past week the world population reached 7 billion people! Millions and millions of people have never heard of Jesus. Billions more are skeptical, blinded by sin, have rejected Christ, or have never encountered an authentic Christian.
Before Jesus sends out the 70, He tells them to pray for more workers.

The mission is going to be dangerous (10:3)

John Piper recently made this observation: “Brothers are being beheaded for what we believe. The difference is location. O Lord, make us real.”
"Enemy-occupied territory - that is what the world is." –CS Lewis
Oh that God would give us courage to join Him on this dangerous mission. May the Holy Spirit give us courage and boldness (see Acts 4:23-31)!!!
Obedience is radical...and dangerous.

The mission will require dependency on the Holy Spirit (10:4)

Imagine Jesus sent you on a mission but said to leave behind your cell phone, wallet, purse, and money. What else is there, right?! They had to fully rely on God.
Do we? When is the last time you truly prayed, “LORD, I’m desperate for You. I’m lost without You?”

"The great people of the earth today are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor those who can explain prayer; but I mean those people who take time and pray. They have not time. It must be taken from something else. This something else is important, very important and pressing, but still less important and less pressing than prayer." S.D. Gordon

Look for receptive people (10:5-7)

As we engage pockets of people with the good news of the Kingdom Jesus instructs us to go looking for receptive people. A “receptive person” or a “person of peace” is a man or woman who God has sovereignly prepared to receive the gospel message. Jesus instructs us to stay with that person and receive their hospitality and welcome. This is a revolutionary concept/strategy that we see all throughout the New Testament.

Mike Breen (author of “Launching Missional Communities”) offers the following advise:
o Find the person of peace, the person who is open to you, interested in you, likes you, wants to be around you...
o Go to their turf, where they’re comfortable...
o Allow them to serve you, show you hospitality...
o Spend intentional time with them...
Be ready to do the works of the Kingdom and speak the words of the Kingdom. ...
This is exactly what Jesus did this with
Zacchaeus, the woman at the well, and Matthew Levi! They were all very open to Jesus. Jesus met them on their turf (household) and allowed them to serve/host him...it was in this context that Jesus did His kingdom work and spoke His kingdom words. Look for and invest in receptive people.

He sends us out to serve/bless/meet needs (10:8-9a)

Our mission statement includes the line that we serve our communities. Actions speak louder than words. We are on a mission with words and deeds. Speaking of words...

He sends us out to proclaim/declare the gospel of the Kingdom (10:9b)

Another part of our mission is sharing our story. It is God’s story. It is both God’s plan for all of humanity as well as your story. Nobody can argue with your story. How is your life different because of Jesus?

There is no greater time of year to share your story. 2WordStory restarts next Sunday, which is also Easter. Wear your 2WordStory shirt. Invite people to join you next Sunday for Easter, the day people are most likely to respond to an invitation.

If Jesus has done nothing in your life, why celebrate it? I don’t celebrate Mexican independence on September 16 (not Cinco de Mayo!). It is irrelevant to me. I appreciate it, but it’s not personal. I do celebrate Independence Day on July 4 because I have personally experienced the benefits of living in a nation of freedom, liberty, and opportunity.

The word “gospel” means “good news.” We are to proclaim the good news that there is hope and freedom and forgiveness and life available to every man, woman and child on our planet. If we all go to heaven because we’re good, Jesus was a lunatic for being butchered on a cross for us.

“The Greek term “gospel” distinguished the Christian message from that of other religions. An ‘ev-angel’ was news of a great historical event, such as a victory in war or the ascension of a new king, that changed the listeners’ condition and required a response from the listener. So the gospel is news of what God has done to reach us. It is not advice about what we must do to reach God.” –Tim Keller

Celebrating Jesus’ birthday on December 25 is great, but the real celebration occurs this week as we remember the greatest demonstration of passion and love on the cross (as we did earlier) and our risen LORD, Savior and King.

Every kingdom has a king. The subjects dutifully serve the king and obey whatever he says. Most kings are tyrants and rule out of fear. Our king is benevolent and rules with love.

Much of this message was created by E.A.C.H., everyone a chance to hear,

You can listen to the podcast here.

Where Fish, 25 March 2012

Big Idea: We must go to where the fish are rather than waiting for them to jump into the boat.

Passage, Mark 2:13-17:  

Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”


They say that the key to real estate is...location, location, location. Any fisherman (or woman) knows that there are good and not so good places to fish. If you’re fishing in a boat and catch nothing, you’re likely to move to another part of the lake or ocean in hopes of finding fish.

I have seen fish jump out of the water, but I have never seen fish jump into a fishing boat! Half of the fun of fishing is going out to where the fish are, right?

We talk a great deal around here about Jesus’ final words, often called the Great Commission. In Matthew 28:18-20 He said

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Did you notice that word “go?”

That might be the most challenging part of fishing.

Jesus Went

Our passage this morning shows Jesus in action. He is not content to merely hang out with his friends or spend HIs time shopping at the Jerusalem Mall. He goes out to the people.

Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. (Mark 2:13)

We could take a great deal of time to examine this passage, but suffice it to say that Jesus went to a hated tax collector and invited him into His life. This was so...radical!


Back in the day, the Jewish Model of Discipleship began with children around age 6 in schooling called Beth Shefer where they spent five years memorizing the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. They knew how to “hide God’s Word in their hearts.” How many of you have memorized the first five books of the Bible?

You would think that an 11 or 12 year-old with five books memorized would certainly be prepared for lifelong service to God, but most kids stopped there and returned to the family trade, be it fishing, blacksmith, construction, etc.

A few of the best students continued their education in schooling known as Beth Midrash. There they memorized the rest of the Tanakh (Old Testament). In addition to memorizing the actual text, they learned the different Rabbinic interpretations on the text. This is while they were 10-15 years old!

Most graduates of the program would return home, but the very, very best went to a third school called Beth Talmid. The Rabbi did not look to merely transfer knowledge to his student, but actually transfer his life. The goal was for the student to become the teacher. The young man would travel with the rabbi from age 15 to age 30. The student became a shadow of the rabbi, walking so close with him that they would literally be covered in the dust of the rabbi.

Needless to say, those that survived the 25 year learning process could become rabbis, the highest honor in the culture (like a movie or rock star today!). Discipleship was not simply knowledge transfer, but life transfer. It happened while doing life with the rabbi.


Do you see how radical it was for Jesus to choose an ordinary, outcast tax collector like Matthew to follow Him? He did not memorize the Scriptures. He was not on anyone’s most likely to succeed list. Nevertheless, Jesus invites him into His inner circle.

This is how God works!

Consider this: Jacob was a cheater... Peter had a temper... David had an affair...Noah got drunk... Jonah ran from God...Paul was a murderer... Gideon was insecure...Mary was a worrier...Thomas was a doubter...Elijah was moody...Moses stuttered... Zaccheus was short...and Abraham was old...
In fact, Luke records this incident in the book of Acts:
“The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13, NLT)
Where Do You Fish?

Maybe you’ve been looking for the perfect person to introduce to Jesus. You know, that really nice, friendly person with good morals and values that everyone likes. You think, they’re so great, but with Jesus, they’d be even better!

That’s not what Jesus did. He approached THAT guy!

Maybe rather than avoiding ordinary people, you avoid others because YOU are so ordinary. Perhaps you think that you’re JUST a stay at home mom, a high school student, an average guy. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things for the Kingdom of God when they follow Jesus!

Getting There

How many of you enjoy vacations? How many of you enjoy long drives or flights to get to your destination?

I often find myself in a place that I enjoy, yet there were obstacles to overcome in order to be there. For example, I love to see the Detroit Tigers, but I have never been a season ticket holder. Why not?

  • cost of tickets
  • travel time
  • travel expense
  • finding companions
  • possibility of bad weather
  • finding a parking place
  • parking expense
  • walk to stadium
  • walk inside stadium to my seat

Some of these may seem lame, but the point is I always enjoy the games once I’m seated, but it can require great effort to arrive there.

The same is literally true with fishing, both for fish and for men. It doesn’t happen while you’re on the couch watching TV (or worse, watching a fishing show on TV!). You must go.


Let’s face it, some people make us uncomfortable. We might not like their attitude, language, personality, or even their smell! It feels safer to surround yourself with Christians that have similar values and beliefs. Jesus never said to stay in the temple. He didn’t intend for the Church to be a country club for members, but rather a mission outpost. His entire purpose on earth was to “seek and save that which was lost.” One of the three parables He told in Luke 15 tells us that He left the 99 that He had to go after the one lost sheep.

Our text today says

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
(Mark 2:15-17)

Where did He go? He went where the people lived. Today He would probably spend most of His time in coffee shops, night clubs, parks, bus stops, and malls. He went to where people were at. I know of no Scripture that describes Him at home playing video games or even reading a book. In fact, at one point He describes Himself as homeless, spending his time amongst people. His culture was obviously different from ours, but I wonder how many of us would’ve criticized Him.

A hospital is for the sick! The Church was created to reach the sick and transform them into wounded healers that can reach others.

Statistics tell us that the longer someone is a follower of Jesus, the fewer non-Christian friends they have. Some of you have virtually no interaction with the very people we are on the planet to reach! Again, this is not about pressure or force or getting points for yelling and hating people, but it is about preaching the Gospel through your words and deeds, presenting an alternative story that says there is something much greater to live for than money, fame, and power.

A Confession

This part of the message is especially challenging for me. My family, neighborhood, and job is filled with Christians. I have to make a conscious effort to build relationships with non-Christians, and I’ve been working on it. My moonlighting DJ business has given me opportunities to have conversations with spiritual seekers. I spend several hours each week in a coffee shop that serves as my remote office where I’ve been intentionally getting to know the staff and, on occasion, talk with other patrons. I’m hardly a model fisherman, but I’m striving to be.

The Heart of the Matter

I believe the real reason we aren’t more involved in fishing for men is not that we don’t know how (though we’ll talk about that next week) or even that we don’t have the time, it’s that we don’t care. We really don’t love our friends, neighbors, and co-workers enough. Sure, there’s fear of rejection and our own egos and images, but at the core if we really loved others like Jesus does, we’d take more risks, engage in more conversations, and at the very least spend more time praying for the spiritual lives of others.

Where do you spend your time? Who do you spend it with? What pre-Christians can you invite to your graduation party? BBQ?
Presence is everything. Be present in the lives of pre-Christians. Chat with them on Facebook. Grab a cup of coffee with them. Be close to them.

“God became a man and entered the world through a birth canal just like the rest of us. He chose to come to us on our turf, rather then expecting us to rise to His. Jesus preached everywhere that the kingdom of God has come near. He came to seek and to save the lost, and He now invites us to join Him.” –Neil Cole
In the words of the great theologian, Winnie the Pooh,
"You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." -­‐Winnie the Pooh

Much of this message was created by E.A.C.H., everyone a chance to hear, www.eachtoday.com

You can listen to the podcast here.

Why Fish, 18 March 2012

Big Idea: Fishing (for men and women) is joining God on His mission to seek and save the lost.

To really understand the idea of spiritual fishing, we need take a look at our mission at Scio Community Church:

We exist to fulfill the Great Commission and follow the Great Commandment by

- serving our communities
- sharing our story
- sending disciples to bless the nations

so that God is glorified.

This is the reason we exist—to follow the Great Commandment (love God and your neighbor) and fulfill the great commission which involves Jesus’ final command in Matthew 28:18-20

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Go..make disciples...of all nations. That’s the command. Put another way...go fish!!!

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Matthew 4:18-19)

Notice the three verbs in that last sentence.


We are to go and be people of action. We are to love God, love our neighbors, and make disciples of all nations.

Today’s question is, “Why Fish?”

For many of you, you’re already bored. You’re thinking, “Been there, done that. Here’s another series on evangelism where we feel guilty for not getting everyone “saved” when I have my own doubts and questions and fears and don’t even know how to, uh, fish.”

Brothers and sisters, fishing is what Scio is about. It’s what Jesus is about. We’re on a mission...from God! If you’re actively engaged in the mission, great! I’d love to hear your stories. We’d all love to hear your stories. If not, let me remind you of THE story, His story. Our story. It’s pretty simple, actually, but we need to go back to the beginning!

It all began in a beautiful garden. He created an amazing planet for us to enjoy. Then He created man and woman. Then sin entered the world, first through a piece of fruit, and later through murder, deceit, and every imaginable sin. Death, violence, separation, and wickedness fill the earth and defile the image of God in man.

The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. (Genesis 6:5)

He establishes a covenant with a man name Abraham (Genesis 12:1-­‐3). He promises to bless all the peoples of the world through the seed of Abraham. We discover that God chooses his people by grace (not by any merit of their own) (Deuteronomy 7:7-­‐9) God rescues His people from slavery/oppression (Exodus 3:7) God gives the law/sacrificial system to show Israel how to live with him as their God (Deuteronomy 30:19) Israel was to be a people who display God’s glory to the nations (Isaiah 49:6).

They rebel again and live in their own ways (the definition of sin)—doing what was right in their own eyes. This cycle continues throughout the Old Testament (Isaiah 53:6; Judges 21:25; Jeremiah 2:12)

To summarize, Hugh Halter said, “Though the majority of the Old Testament focuses on God’s work with the Jewish people, spaced strategically throughout are windows to God’s larger redemptive plan with outsiders.”

The Old Testament is often viewed as more harsh than the New. We see God’s wrath and anger when the people of Israel rebel.

As we’ve been reading, God keeps HIs promises. He said to the Israelites, “Obey Me and be blessed, disobey and be cursed.”

God’s story is all about outreach, second chances, grace, and redemption. It’s also very inclusive. Jesus came not only for the Jews, but He radically loved Gentiles, too, infuriating the Jewish leaders of His day.

After 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testaments, God sends a Savior.

Hugh Halter, again, says, ““Like the first sprout of a beautiful tulip emerging from the dark, cold days of winter, God’s story of blessing pokes out of the ground again.”

John 3:16 famously tells us that “
God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus enters our world.
At just the right time God puts his plan of reconciliation and redemption into action. Jesus is born of a virgin (fully human and fully God) (Matthew 1:22; John 1:1,14). He is baptized (identified with sinful humanity) (Matthew 3:13), led by the Spirit (Matthew 4:1), tempted (Matthew 4:10), lived a perfect life (He did what Adam didn’t do by overcoming the tempter and living a life of faith/trust), became a substitutionary atonement (John 1:29), offers forgiveness of sins (Luke 5:20), was crucified, raised from the dead, and declares Himself to be Lord over all (Matthew 28:18-­‐20).

Halter again writes, “Are you beginning to see how these stories fit together? God’s plan to bless, reach, include, adopt, reclaim, and redeem has not been abandoned or forgotten. It is about to touch down in every neighborhood, village, and town.”

But why fish? It’s all because God invites us to join Him on mission. It’s not a burden, but a privilege.

In a few months, athletes from all over the world will represent their nation in London for the Olympics. They don’t have to. It’s an honor. Jesus passed the baton to His disciples who over the past 2000 years have passed it to us.

Jesus commissions his disciples to join Him on this incredible mission of reconciliation and restoration (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:18-­‐20). His church will be made up of men and women from every tribe, tongue, people, and language (Revelation 5:9). The church has been commissioned to bring the blessing (gospel) of God to all the peoples of the earth in fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 12:1-­‐3). The disciples of Christ wait for the promised Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14), the Holy Spirit is sent to empower the church for the mission (Acts 1:8), the gospel is proclaimed (Acts 2:36), the church multiplies, is scattered, and the gospel message spreads throughout the known world awaiting the return of King Jesus who bring full and final judgment and restoration.

Do you see it? Can you step back and see the greater picture? The beautiful mosaic that is the Word of God in its fullness. Do you see what God is calling us to be as HIS church? Do you see that you are a part of the on going story of God?

We are a church on mission because we serve a God on mission.
God is calling us to join Him on the incredible mission to reconcile all things back to Himself through Christ! Peter made this declaration...

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9)

“The church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, and sermons...are simply a waste of time. God became a Man for no other purpose.” - C.S. Lewis


Much of this message was created by E.A.C.H., everyone a chance to hear, www.eachtoday.com

You can listen to the podcast here.

I'm A Priest! 20 February 2011

Big Idea

God chose the nation of Israel to bless the world. He has also chosen us to join Him in His search and rescue mission. Each of us is a priest, called by God to re-present Him on planet earth.


God lost something, and He wants it back. All through the story, God uses people to help Him in the search and rescue mission.

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” - Genesis 12:1-3

God chose one nation so that He could bless all nations of the Earth.

Abraham - Isaac - Jacob - 12 sons = 12 tribes - Joseph

Joseph was a ‘type’ or ‘foreshadowing’ of Jesus: the rejected brother becomes the savior. Jesus was the ultimate Passover Lamb, giving His blood to rescue us from divine judgment.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. - Romans 8:1-2

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” - Exodus 19:5-6

God chose Israel to be a nation of priests who bring people back to God.

Law: training manual
History: record ups and downs
Prophets: commandment cops

The Old Testament is the story of Israel trying to do E.A.C.H.

Christ-followers are now God’s plan to save the world!

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. - 1 Peter 2:9-10

We are now priests!

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. - 1 Peter 2:11-12

Our obedience to Jesus is intended to make God look good to the world.


You can listen to the podcast here.

In The Beginning, 13 February 2011

Big Idea:

God was the first missionary.  He knew Adam and Eve were lost, hiding. Nevertheless, He came after them.


Then God said, “Let us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” - Genesis 1:26,27

He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” - Genesis 3:1-5

And they (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" - Genesis 3:8-9
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel" - Genesis 3:15

“And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them”
- Genesis 3:21

“Look, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” - John 1:30


God made the world for us. He made us for Himself.

Satan challenged God’s love for Adam and Eve.

Sin is a rupture in the love-relationship between God and us.

The ability to love God well and love others well came undone.

God lost something…and He wants it back!

God was the first to go out searching for lost people.

God made a Good News Promise (the Gospel) that He wants everyone to have a chance to hear.

God made a great sacrifice to win us back to Himself.

“Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” - William Carey

You can listen to the podcast here.