Casting the Nets
Written by Bethany Curee, God’s Daughter – Freckled & Free

As I sit here with my windows open in quiet peace and solitude, my children play peacefully in the background. The summer sounds are on repeat and they are calm to my ears. The temperature is perfect, and I feel fall on the horizon. I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude for life and at the same time awareness. Tears come to my eyes. It is hard to take time to quiet myself amongst the never-ending chores of motherhood, but in this stillness, I hear Him whisper, “It’s ok, be still and enjoy this moment with me. Let me fill your ears to hear and your mouth to speak. He reminds me to be in prayer. We have much to prepare for.”

Despite my fears of the unknown, I feel what He is calling us to step into might not be so hard after all. His whispers comfort and strengthen me that He is with us.

You see, sometimes we work things up to be a big deal, we get in the way, we make things way harder than God intended it to be. His gospel, He made simple enough for a child to understand yet most of us feel terrified on how to share that with others on a daily basis. Dear Jesus help us!

This season has been trying. Just a few weeks ago God began to stir some major things in our hearts. No one easily embraces change. It’s a slow kind of feeling that creeps up on you and pushes you whether you’re ready to or not. I don’t claim to know it all or all the details of what is happening in the chaos of our world, but what I do know is that there is a lion seeking whom he may devour. I know that this enemy, satan himself (and no he is not worthy of a capital letter), is always working for the ruins. COVID-19 has brought so many challenges on multiple levels but one of its biggest threats is fear itself. We have found ourselves in a tricky time as a church and just as God uses all things for the good, there is good in this. He has caused us to reflect, to seek His face, to search to hear from Him during this time. If things are always running smooth…who feels the necessity to leave their comfort? To embrace change? I believe we are being made uncomfortable in an effort to step into what God is preparing us for.

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When this all started, as a church we first went online for a season. When we reopened our attendance for our usual was almost full, weekly after that it began to decline again as the media pronounced a second wind of COVID-19. Fear once again moved. With services almost down to just our family and a select few (besides our online viewers), we were promoted to seek the face of God. It was a challenge to not be discouraged. We went through ups and downs of it. One particular service it was just our family and another 5, two of which were leaving the church, our hearts were working hard to not be dismayed. My husband preached his heart out but I knew he was down. In our human self, it is hard to prepare a Word God has burning in your heart — to not have the people you wish to pour it into. As I sought the Lord that day from my pew and rended my heart, I began to feel hope fill it. God began pouring idea after idea into my spirit, things I knew could only come from God. As discouragement grew around me, I began to overflow with excitement, I knew God’s spirit was pushing us to do a new thing, a HARD thing, something that would make us uncomfortable, something He wanted all along and I whispered back to the Father, “Ok Lord, we can do hard things (insert gulp).”

When we planted Real Church, God spoke to my husband that we were going to be different. He spoke to Tom that He wanted us to be a fluid church. Able to adapt, change and be willing to do different things that don’t look like anything we have seen of church as we know it today. This has been a scary process for me especially, but when we continually look at the mission God gave us and the way Christ went about ministry, we are comforted in knowing we are working to follow His simplistic approach.

“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:18-19

This is the profound place we are in. God is calling us out. Out of the church walls, out into the land. When our churches have been found empty and our attempts to “fill” it have failed. God is saying it is time, time for me to teach you to be fishers of men. And so, he has called us to do a hard thing, to leave the church building as we know it, go cast our nets and HE alone is going to teach us how to be fishers of men. We, the people of God have been too far away from the way God operated. Jesus came to where the people were, He didn’t drag them where He was. He went about into the cities, into the towns and captivated the hearts of the people. He met them where they were at. And, so we will – we will go out and let God fill the church by His doing, where they are at first; and to secondly, strengthen the saints in the church house as they grow. We will do what He has called us to as a body, and that’s to introduce as many people as we can to Jesus.

I feel so strongly, even in my shaky legs, that it is time. God has given me visions of Himself teaching us to be fishers of men. In this vision we are casting the nets and they are being filled. He alone can do this. He alone can teach His children if we would be so willing. Are we willing to be obedient? This is a call for ALL His children. Not just for pastors, teachers, etc. it is for YOU. If you call yourself a Christian, YOU are His child and He is calling you out. He said to open your mouth and He will fill it!

“And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.” John 21:6

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Hallelujah – AMEN! If we, in all our efforts, all our striving, cannot fill the church, then we must go out. We must go out to where the people are. We must go to the dying world. We must meet them where they are at. We will give hope to the needy. We will go to seek the lost sheep and feed them and God will be with us. Teaching our very hands as He taught His disciples years ago.

“Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? Knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. This now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea. Lord: thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thouh me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” John 21:11-17

And feed the sheep we will. This is our heart, to do the will of the Father. To love, love and love some more. To reach the lost. To be fishers of men.

I encourage you to hear directly from our hearts the vision that God has been stirring in us and what I am sharing exactly in this blog post on the Fishers of Men by listening to the full service from Real Church. You can watch it from our Facebook page or listen here on Spotify. I pray it blesses you and encourages your heart at this time, whether you are a pastor, staff or individual, we are all called for this very purpose.

“I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Psalms 81:10

He is with us, He alone can do much when His children walk in obedience and incline their ear to his guiding Holy Spirit.

For even more on what God is stirring in our hearts watch or listen to this message we shared last week. Another glance at how God is showing us to be creative in this season at our first drive-in/fm radio or in person service we had. There are multiple ways God is pushing us to reach people for His kingdom! AMEN!

Written by Bethany Curee, God’s Daughter – Freckled & Free

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