Monday, March 5, 2007

Fishing with Explosives

I could not resist ending this series on “Fishing Tips” without mentioning one more type of fishing, fishing with explosives! It is really quite simple and efficient; all you need is dynamite or grenades. Just throw in the explosives and up float the fish half dead, stunned or partially cooked. It also destroys the ecology, so any other chance of fishing there is ruined.

As a young believer, I used many types of what I would call “explosive evangelism”. This usually meant something like preaching on the street corner while holding a 10 foot wooden cross that we had fabricated the night before. Lots of yelling in King James English and trying to be Elijah or John the Baptist usually went along with this. A lot of people stopped eating for a moment as they gazed through restaurant windows, probably thinking someone was making a movie, pledging for a fraternity or we had lost a bet. There was one backslidden Christian who turned white when he saw us, most likely thinking that God had come to collect what was due, but we saw no other fruit except that we were pretty bold for Jesus. I guess it was also useful in helping me to start this blog.

The problem with using creative methods or just being obnoxious is that we often try to use external force or power to produce an internal transformation. We can end up competing with the world to out-entertain people; however, creative methods can be effective bridges of communication depending on the culture or people group. Still, the method should never become the message.

When we understand what needs to happen before a person can be saved, we can better tailor our methods to enhance that process.

  • A person needs to understand their spiritual condition, and this is all about the Holy Spirit working in their hearts when we are “witnesses”.

  • A person needs to come to a revelation that Jesus – as he is revealed in the Bible – is the only solution for their condition. This requires us to be effective communicators of the truth of God’s Word, but the revelation of Jesus ultimately comes from the Father. (Matt 16:17)

  • Once we have done our part, which includes praying for that person, we need to trust that God actually knows how to do His part.

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
Rom 2:4

We are not the Holy Spirit and no amount of external pressure, arguments or special effects will move on a person’s heart like Him. Knowing our simple role of being witnesses and sharers of this hope will take the stress out of witnessing and make it the adventure that it should be.

(When my wife read this she exclaimed, “I married a man who preached on the street with a giant cross?!”)


Suja said...

Great Post :).

Mike said...

Suja, thanks for the encouraging words. I have friends who have just started a church in Mumbai. Are you near there? There are many Indians studying in Ukrainian where we were missionaries, and some were recently saved in one of our churches. I would love to hear more about your life in India. God bless.

rads said...

Solid is what it is Pastor MIke!Your blogs are really very simple yet all meat,just the way i like it served. If there were landmarks in life, you're one that people would really look back to,look up to and always look forward to meeting and get sharpened with.

your fishing buddy,

Thelma Bowlen said...

i think we've all gone dynamite fishing at one point or other...! :-) it's humbling to know that despite the mess we sometimes may make, God is more than able to reach the fish who need reaching.

Anonymous said...

Great analogy. Windsor, CA

Suja said...

Thanks for your reply Pastor :), I see some comments referring to you as a Pastor, so I hope I'm right :).

Well I'm not from Mumbai, or anywhere close to Mumbai. I'm from Kerala, its way down south. In fact its coastal and pretty well known for its backwaters and a few beaches. I actually grew up in Africa. But my schooling from 9th onwards was in India in a missionary school. And my sister and her husbnad and family are into missions as well :). I work as a language teacher down here and have a very strong passion for God, but still figuring my way around in this world :).

I understand you are in the Philippines. How long have you and your family been there?

Mike Watkins said...

Suja, yes I am a pastor, but please just call me Mike. Your life sounds like an adventure, and I would love to visit your beautiful country one day.

We were missionaries in Ukraine for 11 years from 1993-2004. We then worked with a Russian-speaking congregation in Brooklyn, NY for almost 2 years and then in Manila.

We have been in Manila for 1 ½ years, and we are now planning to return to Kiev, Ukraine for another church plant. I am working on another blog site about our future work in Kiev, and I will link it to this site as soon as it is ready.

Stay on fire for God, and enjoy the journey, the adventure and the person who is the goal, Jesus.