Hello and welcome to this message from Calvary Albuquerque. We're excited to hear from our special guest speaker, pastor Nate Heitzig, who serves as executive creative administrator at Calvary Albuquerque. We pray that God uses this message to strengthen your faith. If he does, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at email@example.com. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online, securely, at calvaryabq.org/giving. As believers, we're called to share the gospel with others, but where do we start? In the message, we're going to need a bigger boat, Nick gives us some practical advice on how to effectively tell others about God's gift of salvation. Now, we invite you to open your Bible to Matthew chapter four, as he begins.
Hey, you know, this month-- I got to celebrate my birthday in the month of May. And I don't know about you, but-- Is anyone here-- You guys like your birthday? You can be honest. It's OK. I know it's the humble thing to be like-- No, birthdays are stupid. But if I'm honest, I really love my birthday. And, as a matter of fact, I'm a big fan of the whole birthday week thing, right now. Like hey, no, no-- Yeah, let's celebrate me for a whole week instead of just a day, right? The whole birthday week thing-- I can move with that, and I know it's fashionable to be humble about your birthday. And if you asked me I'll probably say-- Oh, it's not a big deal, don't worry about it. No, don't get me anything. No, just pshhh-- I-- birthdays-- pfff-- But don't be fooled, it is a big deal. And your closeness to me will be judged by your response to that 24 hour period.
Anyone else feel me on that? It's like when birthday comes, your family better go to the nines and make it a big deal. If you're my friend, I better see an Instagram post before noon. Because everyone knows if it's after noon, then it's just a guilt post, because you saw someone else posting. Oh, I forgot it's their birthday. Oh yeah happy birthday and then think of some really meaningful things to say. If you're invited to my party, and you use the excuse-- I had other plans, then you better take a look what you've done because baby now we got bad blood. Can the high school group feel me over there? P.S. Don't make Taylor mad. You know, birthdays are a big deal, and I love birthday week. As a matter of fact, I love birthday week so much, the only thing that I can think of that I like more than birthday week is Shark Week
Weird segue-way, I know, but hear me out. Shark Week Anyone watched Shark Week? Anyone know what Shark Week is? Shark Week is the best week of television that man has ever created. Shark Week is the most entertaining, exciting part of television that I think I've ever seen. And as a matter of fact, if we have any fans of Shark Week, Shark Week starts next month. And I got to let you know, it's like a holiday in the Heitzig household. Like, we're getting ready-- You know, I've got left shark hanging out at home right now. We are ready for Shark Week. My wife and I are so addicted to shark week, it's like our guilty pleasure. You know, the kids better not get hungry during Shark Week because we are MIA. You know, it is all about those sharks. Sorry kids, stop crying. Seth, get your sister some food.
And I think I've discovered why people like Shark Week so much. Shark Week is a horror movie marathon without having to feel guilty about watching horror movies. You know, as a Christian-- Christian horror movies, they kind of don't go well. But Shark Week is like watching a horror movie without having to feel guilty about watching. Think about it-- You've got stories about people going to exotic places for vacations. Newsflash, that's how every horror movie starts. A group of friends going to some beautiful place on a vacation. Then you have giant seemingly invincible killers who are really sneaky. Again, horror movie. You have lots of blood. You have limbs being eaten off. And then finally, you have Megalodon.
Holy cow. Anyone know about Megalodon? Megalodon is the scariest thing on the face of the earth. It will haunt your dreams. Megalodon makes Sharknado look like My Little Pony. I mean we are talking about some really scary stuff. They're saying that Megalodon is this 60-foot prehistoric shark, and Megalodon is so big that it can literally sink fishing vessels. It can bite a whale in half. It is the most dangerous creature in existence, and a group of guys want to get in an eight by eight cage and poke it with a stick. Oh, come on, this is the stuff horror movies are made of. You know, it's like watching Jaws all over again. No matter how terrifying or gross it gets, I can't stop watching. It's like, oh man, this is incredible.
And the whole time that I was watching this Megalodon special, all I kept thinking was that line from Jaws-- Man, these guys are going to need a bigger boat. Like there's-- What are they doing? They're going to-- If they actually catch this thing, what's their response going to be? It's like a dog chasing a car, he doesn't know what to do when he catches it. You know, these guys, if they finally catch Megalodon-- They're just toast, and they're going to need a bigger boat. You know, the only way I'm getting within a 100 mile perimeter of that thing, is if I'm on the Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas. I mean, get me on the biggest vessel on the planet if you want me to get close to that thing.
Well, this weekend we're going to see a story of some people who needed a bigger boat. There's some people who encounter what God had for them. Some people who encountered what God wanted for their lives, and they looked at it. And their response had to have been-- Man, we're going to need a bigger boat, because there's no way we can catch that. There's no way we can possibly accomplish what God wants us to accomplish, unless we have a bigger boat. Sometimes, in our pursuit of evangelism, especially in our growing the hostile day and age, it feels like we're fishing for sharks, not guppies. They're hostile. They can be bloodthirsty. They're scary.
But the answer isn't to stop fishing but to change our tactics. The answer isn't to turn around and go back to safe harbor. The answer is to get into a bigger boat and chase down that shark. After all, the words of Quint from Jaws, "I'm not talking about pleasure boating. I'm not talking about daily sailing. I'm talking about working for a living. I'm talking about sharking." Well today, we're talking about sharking, and we're going to see that, at times, God calls us to do things that we cannot do on our own, to go into waters that we can't sail through, fishing for sharks that we can't catch. But we're also going to see that, if we listen to him-- If we follow his guidelines, he will bring us a catch that will cause us to say, we're going to need a bigger boat. And so we're going to look at some lessons that I've learned from Shark Week and how they apply to evangelism and your calling.
Turn to Matthew 4:18, as we see our text. Matthew 4:18. "And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting an end to the sea: for they were fishermen. Then he said to them, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they immediately left their nets, and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And immediately they left the bow and their father, and followed him. "
Here, we see our first point. Point number one, it takes a crew to catch a shark. If the popular saying it takes a village to raise a child is true, then it is even more true that it takes a crew to catch a shark. It takes a group of people with the same heart, the same spirit, the same drive, the same capacity, to get together, get in a boat, decide they're going to do it, and catch that shark. Well, this is a story of how Jesus called four of his crew-- how Jesus assembled his crew, Peter, Andrew, James, and John.
Now, these guys were less like the Brady Bunch and more like the Hell's Angels. These guys were not tame dudes. They weren't calm. These four men probably showed less promise and natural ability to be preachers than anyone in history. And yet they became some of the greatest missionary preachers in Church history. These were not the cream of society by any stretch of the imagination. They had hardly any education-- no spiritual training. They weren't exactly your squad goals kind of a group.
And yet, James and John were very tough outdoorsmen. They were salt of the earth types. James and John were less PGA and more UFC. They were less American Idol and more Fear Factor, less like the Kardashians and more like the Robertsons. As a matter of fact, Duck Dynasty is probably a pretty good picture of what these guys looked like. They were not yuppie folk. These guys were hard dudes. And not only that, these disciples could be jerks sometimes, as well. They could be really mean. They could be really hostile and not very loving. When the multitude who had walked a long way around the Sea of Galilee to be with Jesus became hungry, the disciples wanted to send them away to find their own food. Hey, don't look at us. No free handouts here. This isn't the US government. Bernie Sanders isn't president yet. Go find your own food.
On another occasion, when some little children were brought to Jesus to be blessed, those tender hearted disciples rebuked those who brought them. Those aren't my kids. Peter thought he was really going the extra mile when he offered to forgive someone-- get this, seven times-- until Jesus totally schooled him and pulled the original Jesus juke. It was like-- Uh-uh Peter, I'm talking about 70 times seven times. Hashtag, is it too late now to say sorry? Hashtag, believer. You know, these disciples didn't have it all together. These disciples could be calloused, selfish, prideful, insensitive, and unforgiving. In short, just like you and me. You, hey, no, psh-- I don't know about you? But maybe this guy, not me.
You know, isn't it funny how we all think that we have so much to offer God? We think that God would be foolish if he didn't choose us for his mission to reach the world. In reality, we do have a lot to offer God-- a lot of sin, a lot of self-righteousness, a lot of selfishness, a lot of pretense. We have a lot to offer God. But luckily for us, he's willing to take it upon the cross, and he's willing to give us something in exchange and equip us with that which we don't have, to do the work that we can't do, to reach a world that he's called us to reach. We have a lot to offer God, but he's got a whole lot more to offer us.
And as our story begins, remember that this was not Peter's first encounter with Jesus. Peter first encountered Jesus when Jesus said you shall be called Cephas, rock or little stone. That was a call to believe and follow. Jesus is their lord and Savior. And now, he calls them again. But this time, it's a call to service.
Let me ask you-- I'm assuming that most people in here-- probably some who aren't-- but most people in here are believers. Most people have been called to follow God, they have a relationship with God, and they're on the journey of following God. But I'd be willing to bet that a lot of people in here have yet to be enlisted in God's service. They've yet to follow God. It is second call. The call to get up and do something, the call to not just sit-in a chair, but the call to be active within their faith.
Have you been called to service? Has God called you into his work? Has God called you into your place within ministry? What kind of people does God call into his service? You know I often hear people say that they feel a call into full time ministry, and my response is usually-- are you sure about that? You know, it's like you deciding that you're going to go on that mechanical bull and your friend's like-- No bro, that's not a very good idea. And you're like, dude I got this, only to find out that you get thrown off after two seconds and break your clavicle. That might or might not be from personal experience.
You know, ministry is a big call. What qualities does God look for in someone to use them in this capacity? Notice that each of these guys-- Notice what they were doing at the time of their calling. Look at the text. What were they doing when God called them? Well, some were fishing, and some were mending nets. They were active in their area of expertise. They were working. They were doing what God had called them to do at that moment. They were not sitting idly by, waiting for a call. They weren't at home, on the couch, chilling out, maxing relaxing, all cool. They were doing something, they were active, they were working, they were pursuing.
Many people today just sit around and do nothing, because they say they are called. And they get so caught up with where they want God to put them, that they want to make sure they do what they are called to. They don't want a job, they want it to be a calling.
But what happens is they get so caught up with where they want God to put them, that they miss where God has placed them. Look, it's easy to look at where you want God to put you. I want to do this for God. I want God to put me in this place of prominence. And all the while, you're so focused on that shelf where you want God to put you that you're ignoring where God has placed you. And you're missing the opportunities that God has given you, and you're missing the ministry that God wants to use you in right now.
And let me tell you, if you're not faithful with where God has placed you, he's never going to put you where you want to go. Before you think about where you want God to put you, look at where God has placed you. Look at the job that you're in, look at the family that you've been given, look at the friends that you have, look at the microphone and the voice that God has placed upon your life. And start utilizing the place where you're at. And I promise you, if you're faithful with the place that you're at, you're going to be amazed at the place where God will put you.
Too many people never go out and do anything because they're waiting for a supernatural phone call. And maybe the phone call that they're waiting for is going to come to a payphone down a street. But they're never going to answer it because they're waiting next to the phone in their house. If you're looking for your calling and your place in ministry, then get out there and move.
The best place to start is where you are. God is not going to call you to run if you're not willing to walk. God is not going to call you to fly if you're not willing to jump. God is not going to call you to fish if you're not willing to get in the boat. It takes a crew to catch a shark. God has always been about the squad. He could do it on his own, but he doesn't. He uses people, and he wants to use you.
Notice the pattern in scripture, Elisha was plowing in the field when he was called by Elijah, to serve the Lord. David was tending the sheep. Even Saul was doing what he felt God wanted him to do in persecuting the Christians. And then, notice how God utilized their abilities later on in his service.
Elisha would plow spiritual fields as he served God. David would shepherd a nation instead of a small flock of sheep. Saul would channel all that energy into preaching the gospel and impacting the world more than any other man, with the exception of Jesus.
Now look at Peter and John. Notice what Peter was doing when he was called. It says that he was casting his net into the sea. And it's amazing. God used him to do the same thing in ministry. He later did this in the kingdom. He boldly threw the net after preaching, on the day of Pentecost. And as a result, 3,000 people were saved. They were caught within the net.
You know, Luke 5 gives us a parallel story to this text in Matthew 4. And we find out that Jesus, before calling them to be fishers of men, first told them to do something else. He said-- Hey, cast your net on the other side of the boat. I know you haven't caught anything, but try it. And they do, and they have a great catch-- a catch that is so great, so incredible, that their response had to have been-- Man, we're going to need a bigger boat to get these fish back to the shore.
I wonder if-- When Peter cast that call out on the day of Pentecost and 3,000 came in-- I wonder if he didn't think back to that day, when he had that huge catch, when God said-- Hey, what you just did-- Yeah, that was great. But now you're going to be fishers of men-- implying that, you're not going to catch a few men, you're going to catch a boat-load of men. You're going to catch so many men. You're going to catch so many souls that will be caught alive by Jesus Christ, you're not going to know what to do with it.
John, on the other hand, wasn't casting nets. John was mending nets when Jesus called him. And John would later become known as the apostle of love, not to be confused with Steve Miller's gangster of love. John would write Epistles which would mend the Church and mend people, just like he mended nets.
The point is this, God has a way of turning the natural into the supernatural, taking our natural gifts and amplifying them in supernatural ways, taking our lives and miking them up, so they can reverberate throughout eternity. So if you want to know a supernatural thing God wants you to do, then why don't you start by looking at what you're naturally gifted at. Look at where God has naturally gifted and endowed you. Look at what you naturally enjoy doing, because chances are, God's going to use those natural abilities to do supernatural things. So start with where you're at.
Thank God that each one of us has a place to play in the work of God. Every member of the body is important. Everyone has a part to play. What is your part? To catch a shark you need a crew, and every believer is called to be a part of God's crew. If it's true that every member is important within the body, then it's equally true that if there is a member of the body who is not working to be a part of the body, the body will never be 100% effective.
It's easy to come to a big church and say-- Man, the floors look clean, the chairs look straight, the worship team sounded good, the coffee was tasty, the VIP team was nice, my kids are being watched by some great Bible Island volunteers. They don't need me. But what you're doing when you do that, is you're ripping off the people of God and the place of God from effectively using you. You're not only doing that, you're ripping off God. You're ripping off yourself from being used by him effectively, to accomplish something greater.
If you think this place is humming right now, imagine what would happen if each and every one of us found our place in the body, and how God could use us best. Imagine the walls that we could break down in Albuquerque, if each one of us found our place. So what's your place? God wants you to be a part of his crew. What are you doing? Don't feel that because you don't have the giftings of another, that you can't be used. Find the giftings that God has given you and start using them.
And that leads us to point number two. Stop floating and start fishing. It takes a crew to catch a shark. Once you've got your crew, stop floating and start fishing. Look at verse 19. Jesus calls the disciples and says-- follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Stop floating, start fishing. Hey, do you ever share your faith with other people? If not, or if rarely, why? Luke 10:2 says-- The harvest is great, but the laborers are few. Pray that the Lord would send forth laborers into the harvest.
God is looking for and even commanding that you and I be laborers, who are willing to plant and water spiritual seeds in the lives of those who don't know Jesus. And maybe you say-- Well, people just don't want to hear it. I want to be sensitive. I want to be culturally sensitive and relevant. I want to be politically correct. I don't want to make them mad. Look, we're not fishing for a guppies. We're hunting for sharks. They have teeth. They're scary. They're aggressive, and they don't want to be caught. But that doesn't take the onus away from us to try, because although they might be offended by you sharing the gospel with them.
At some point, either in this life or the next, they must be confronted with the fact that they are sinners, separated from a holy God, that there is salvation in no other name than the name of Jesus Christ. At some point, they will be confronted with that truth, either by Jesus Christ on judgement day or by you. Which one is more offensive? Is it more offensive to be told to part from me? I never knew you. Or hey, can I tell you about Jesus Christ who loves you and died for you? Which one's more offensive? Because if you don't do it, who's going to?
Many times, we opt out from our calling to share, and I hate it. I hear people say, all the time, well I'll just live it. And I'll leave the preaching to other people. And we take the same Francis of Assisi quote we totally misquote it, and we misalign it. And we tell people-- Hey, preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words. It is necessary to use words. I'm letting you know that right now. It is necessary to use words.
To illustrate this, I'm going to bring up my buddy, Matt. Let's give Matt a round of applause. Matt and his beautiful wife are going to have a baby soon. It's exciting. Matt, how are you doing? I forgot to tell you, Matt's a mime. That's why he's not talking. Shhh. He's quiet. To illustrate this point, I'm going to tell Matt something in his ear, and he's going to mime it for you. And because it's so effective to just live a certain way and have people get your message, you're going to guess exactly what he's saying. And Hopefully it will be beneficial for you.
OK, Matt. You've got it in your mind. I'm going to give you 15 seconds to act this out. Now, keep in mind, frame yourself. You're in a glass box of emotion. OK? You're ready. All right, go. Shark? Shark. They're guessing a shark. Shark attack. Oh, shark attack. OK, that's good. Thank you Matt. OK, what Matt was trying to tell you is, there is a Barracuda in the baptismal. Don't get baptized today. Don't get baptized today. No, do get baptized today. Thank you Matt.
Now, can you imagine if there was actually a Barracuda in the baptismal? And if the way that I told you is by having Matt mime it to you, instead of just letting you know-- Hey guys, so we had an accident. There's a Barracuda in the baptismal, maybe be careful. If you could actually get harmed-- you could actually get hurt, and the way that I decided to let you know that was by having Matt come up here and mime it out to you. That'd be crazy because you would be at risk of harm. And Christians do the same thing every day.
The world is heading towards judgment, an eternity separated from God. And the way that we decide to tell them is-- by Christian miming-- by trying to live a really good life and hoping that they get the message and hoping that they repent. And we're hoping that they turn and not using words. It is necessary to use words. It is necessary to let the world know what is coming, to let the world know about the love of Jesus Christ, and that if they accept him they don't have to go through that judgement. Our lives can be a testimony, but it has to be paired, not just with showing them, but telling them.
First Corinthians 1:21 says-- It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching. Preaching-- Literally, the preach thing Christ crucified. The emphasis isn't on the person but on the act of preaching, telling them, talking to them, using your words. Not acting it out, not pretending, not charades, but preaching. It means the love of Jesus that you have, the good news that changed you-- Your job is to proclaim it, to share it, to communicate it, and to verbalize it.
Although it's essential that we practice what we preach, it is equally as essential to verbalize it. Though it is true that God has gifted some in the church with the calling of evangelism, it is also true that God has called every single one of you to evangelize. You're called to evangelize.
You know, there are so many so-called seeker sensitive churches today, where the Bible won't be preached from the pulpit. It won't be brought in the pews. The message might allude to it in passing, but there is no emphasis placed on it. There's more of an emphasis placed on entertainment. I had the opportunity, this past winter, of going and speaking at a really big Christian camp in California, and I'm not going to use the name of it because I don't want to malign them. But I had an opportunity to preach in this camp, and I was preaching the gospel. I was sharing on what they called their salvation night, their decision night. And before I went, I thought it was kind of odd because they asked me to not mention hell. And so I said-- OK. Well, the Bible mentions it a lot, but I'll do my best.
And so I was preaching on the gospel, and I was telling people to turn from their sins to repent, to turn to God. And I did a message that I've done here at Calvary. And the camp had what they said was their biggest altar call in history. They had over 100 kids come forward and accept Jesus Christ In one night of camp. And the camp director came, and he was so excited. He was telling about this, and he was so pumped up. He was so excited to see this life change.
And the next night-- Apparently, some of the youth pastors complained and said, we never actually use the word sin from the pulpit. And could you please ask him to stop using the word, sin and stop talking about repentance. And so, this last night of camp, I actually ended up coming home and not giving my last session, because the gospel was too offensive to some people.
You know, the Bible says-- That there is, coming, a day when man will not endure sound doctrine. Man, that day has already come. The world doesn't want to hear sound doctrine. The world doesn't want to hear the truth. The world wants something will make them feel good. They want something that's more like self-help, with no trace of scripture. It's all about having a better tomorrow. It's all about having your best life now, declaring that you can, and you will, that it's your time. And I call this the Joel Syndrome. And a lot of people who suffer from the Joel Syndrome underestimate the raw power of the gospel.
The message of the gospel isn't making you a better you, but realizing that you're no good, and that Jesus Christ is. It's not about having a better tomorrow, it's about having a better day by making Jesus Christ a part of your life-- giving you life and giving your life to Him and letting Christ cover your sins. Let me tell you, if your best life is now that's not a good thing, because that means you've got nothing to look forward to. If your best life is now, that means you're not going to heaven-- because for those of us that have a relationship with Jesus, our best life is ahead of us, and that is the power of the gospel. It's not self-help but spirit help.
Christianity Today conducted a poll, wondering why more believers don't share their faith, and they asked churchgoers some questions. And there was almost a unanimous response on two of them. 89% said that they agreed that faith in Christ was the only way to salvation. 87% agreed that every Christian is responsible for evangelism and yet, 55% of Christians claim to have not shared their faith in Christ with a non-believer in the past 12 months. Over half of Christians don't share their faith in an entire year. 95% of Christians have never led a person to Jesus Christ. 95% of Christians are fishermen who have never caught a fish. 55% are fishermen who have not even gone fishing in the past year. Or in other words, they're unemployed.
Some of the obstacles that believers face is a feeling that-- I'm not able to evangelize as well as the professionals, being too timid, fearing how people will respond. You know what this shows me? The only thing that non-believers and believers have in common is that we're both terrified of evangelism. We don't want to tell them, and they don't want to hear it. Unbelievers and believers are both uptight about evangelism. We might rationalize this away and say that's for others to do, not for me. But the fact of the matter is that every one of us is called to share the gospel with others.
God has called us to go fishing for men. So are you floating or you fishing? Are you floating your way through church? Do you come for an hour every week and float in the chair? And then go float back home and float back in and float in a chair for another hour? Or do you view this as an opportunity to prepare you to go fishing? Do you come in, and then when you leave, you view that as an opportunity to go fishing for men, fishing for souls, letting God use you, prepare you. Are you ready to get into the boat?
We're going to hit our third and final point quickly here. Number one, again, takes a crew to catch a shark. God wants each one of us to be part of his crew. Stop floating and start fishing. Once we're a part of his crew, let's do something. And third and finally, what can we do to maximize the gospel? How can we catch a big one? How do we make sure the catch that we have is just like it was in Luke 5, where we say, man we're going to need a bigger boat? Now we're going to need a bigger boat to pull this catch that God wants to bring in.
Here's five things that I've learned from Shark Week, and how they can apply to evangelism-- Number one, l cast your lines, and learn to be patient. This is like one of the most important things in Shark Week. You know, Shark Week usually starts out pretty boring. It's like two weeks at sea, and they're going around. They're trying to find the shark. They're trying to find some sign of life to hunt, to catch, to tag. And they've got to be patient. Look, it takes time to catch a shark. You have to learn to wait.
In the same way as we go fishing for men, we learn that there is a time to sow and a time to reap. Maybe in your ministry, you're going to do a lot more sowing than reaping. Maybe your friend's going to have the honor of reaping the seed that you sowed. First Corinthians 3:6 says-- I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow. You know that tells me? It tells me that when you and I invite your friend to welcome week, and they come forward accept their lives, accept Jesus Christ, and their lives change and transform-- that you have just as much fruit to that person's account as Pastor Skip, who shared the message. You are just as important to that process as whoever led them to Jesus Christ, because it's God who has the power.
Second Timothy 2:24 says, "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle and to all men and patient." Number two, follow the seals-- Actually, one more thing on that. I encourage you guys to realize that, within evangelism, the importance of patience is everything. Very seldomly do I hear a story of someone who says-- Man, I just asked somebody-- Hey, can I tell you about Jesus? And they said-- No, you know what? I just want to accept him right now. Let's get on my knees right here on the street. Let's just say the prayer. Let's get this done. That happens sometimes, but it's very rare. Usually it requires something that most millennials are terrified of, conversation. It requires a conversation. The willingness to talk to them, the willingness to not be scared of their doubts, the willingness to hear them out, hear what they believe, hear where they came from, be willing to have a conversation with them, because the patience of that relationship will bring forth fruit.
Number two, follow the seals, because where the seals are, the sharks are. The most important thing about hunting a shark is to know where they are. And the one thing that every shark has in common is they're always hungry, they're always looking for lunch. And so in Shark Week, one of the best ways that they know to find sharks is to try to find schools of seals, because chances are there's a shark hiding under there because he's looking for some lunch.
The message here is-- If the fish aren't biting in one place, then go to another. And then go back to the old place again, and then go to another one. Look, if you complained about not finding opportunities to share your faith, but you only spend your time at church and with Christians, what do you expect? Follow the seals. Where the seals are, the sharks are. Maybe try Central on a Saturday night instead of the Chris Tomlin concert? And learn to cast your line at the right moment. Be sensitive to the timing and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Be ready in season and out. Be on duty at all times.
And number three, don't be an idiot. Always come prepared. This is key to catching a shark. You know, if you get in the water, and the sharks coming at you, but you don't have your spear, you're done. If you're in the water, but you don't have time to get in that cage, and that shark's coming, you're done. Always come prepared. In ministry, it's important that we always come prepared, that we prepare ourselves, that we test ourselves, that we show ourselves approved.
Look, don't wait until you're in the middle of that conversation to say-- Man, I should read that book. Man, I should have studied the Bible more. Do it beforehand. Instead of getting on the airplane and avoiding the conversation about Jesus by watching a movie on your iPad. Instead, prepare before the airplane flight that you say-- Man, you know what? There's a good chance I'm going to sit next to somebody who I can share the gospel with. I'm going to prepare myself, I'm going to be ready, I'm going to come prepared. Be able to give to every man an answer. Prepare yourself.
Number four, never dive alone. Cooperation is a key to effectively sharing your faith. Have you ever noticed that Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs? One can preach, one can pray. It's important to never dive alone. When you go out to share the gospel, you go out to evangelize-- Bring some friends with you. There's strength in numbers. Somebody who can answer that question that you don't quite have, or remember that verse that you forgot, or simply pray for you while you're preaching the gospel. Never dive alone. Always bring people.
And number five, this is my favorite. If you chum, they will come. This is the best tool to catching sharks. We live in a culture of a lot of technology, and there are so many sophisticated devices that can detect schools of fish using radar and electronics, even machines that make whale noises. And yet still, after all that, the one thing that always brings the sharks is chum. If you chum, they will come. The same is true in evangelism. The best way to catch an unbeliever is to use a little bit of bait, to chum the waters. We have to be wise and use bait or chum to attract nonbelievers. It's simply a recognition that one person's interests aren't necessarily the other's. We can't share the gospel in a mechanical way. We have to learn the person and try to use what God wants to do within their lives personally.
Jesus spoke to the woman at the well of her inner thirst. He spoke to the religious man Nicodemus of how to change on the inside as opposed to just on the outside, because he was a Pharisee. And often, when seeking to initiate a conversation with a non-believer, it's good to use a little bait. To someone who's lonely, the hope of a friend who will never leave them does the trick. To others who are filled with anguish, it's the hope of personal peace that will be there when the high fades. To some who are disillusioned with a hopeless future, it's the promise of his coming. To some who have only been shown hate, it's the truth that God loves them and wants a relationship with them. All that to hook us into eternity with Jesus.
As we close, I want to remind you again of Luke 5. In Luke 5, again, before Jesus calls him to be fishers of men, he says-- Cast your net on the other side. And they bring in a catch that is so big, a catch that should be so exciting, it causes them to say-- Man, we can't do this. We're going to need a bigger boat. And it's interesting, Jesus' response to them. This is what he says to them-- Do not be afraid. From now on, you will catch men. Don't be afraid by that catch that's so big, you don't know how to pull it in. Don't be afraid by that calling that God has placed on your life, because you can't possibly see how it's going to work out. Don't be afraid because your boat is too small. Just ask God for a bigger boat, because now you're going to go catch men.
The Greek verb catch men is peculiar, because it means-- to catch men alive. And it only occurs in two places in the Bible, only two places this word is used. One, here in Luke 5, where God says you're going to go catch men alive. And two, in second Timothy 2:26. We're speaking of the unbelievers. It says-- that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are caught alive by him, at his will. The world is either caught alive by Jesus Christ using you, or they're caught alive by Satan.
Are you ready to go fishing? God has been so faithful in the history of Calvary Albuquerque, to always bring in catches bigger than we could handle, catches that make us say-- We're going to need a bigger boat. And God has always been faithful to give us bigger boats, bigger buildings, larger altar calls, new resources, more funds. Let me tell you something, we're not done yet. We're not done yet. We're asking God for bigger boats. We're asking God for new opportunities. We're believing that going into the future, we're going to need a bigger boat still.
We filled this campus over capacity on fourth of July, and we said we're going to need a bigger boat. And now we're going to Isotopes. We want to start a campus on the west side and continue reaching this city for Jesus, but we're going to need a bigger boat. We want to expand our children's ministry in our school to reach more kids in their families, but we're going to need a bigger boat. We want to see [INAUDIBLE] build playgrounds in Moscow, China, Greece, Pakistan, Turkey, and Macedonia. But we're going to need a bigger boat. But guess what, when you get a bigger boat, you need a bigger crew to make it run.
So my question for you is, are you ready to go fishing? Are you ready to join the crew? Are you ready to stop floating and start fishing? What is your place? And what is your calling on this boat, with this crew? Have you involved yourself in fulfilling God's desires for this city, country, and world? Will you join us in asking God for a bigger boat? Will you not just pray but will you join us? Will you get in the boat and find a place to serve?
If you're willing to do that as we pray, I'm just going to ask you to stand up and say-- Nate willing to join that call. I'm willing to get in the boat. I'm ready to start fishing for men. If you believe that, if you're ready to do that-- You're ready to join your place on this crew, let's stand up and let's pray this together-- Lord, we thank you for the opportunity to hear your word. We thank you for the way that it changes us and transforms us. God we're ready to stop floating. We're ready to start fishing. We're ready to join the crew. We want to catch a big one, and we ask that you use us to do that. Lord, there is nothing for us to be afraid of because we know that you're with us. You're in the boat. You're leading us to safe shores. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Albuquerque, featuring our guest speaker pastor Nate Heitzig. How will you share the gospel with others? Let us know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/giving. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Albuquerque.