Archive for October, 2014


“Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and join this chariot'” (Acts 8:29 NASB).


“Put up your Book. Put up your tracts. Let’s go fishing!” These were the words I heard from the Lord Jesus. As a young believer, He began to show me that the key to sharing my faith was being attentive and available for the opportunities He placed before me. Please don’t misunderstand me. He was not saying that these “tools” were not helpful. Rather, He was teaching me a truth that I have never forgotten…In everything we do that bares fruit for the Lord He has already preceded us.  He loves the lost and the wayward individual more than we possibly can comprehend. They were made in His image (And albeit marred due to sin and rebellion) are cherished by a loving father longing for their return home. Jesus as the “Good shepherd” goes ahead of us preparing hearts for “divine encounters”. It has been my happy experience to see many put their trust in Jesus for salvation when they welcomed God’s message of love for them personally.


Becoming “fishers of men” is a partnership with the Holy Spirit Who knows our whole life history. He not only knows us (better than we know ourselves!) but He loves us with an everlasting love.  And He will take our unique capacity and prepare us individually to bring others to Christ. This is what we find in the story of Phillip in Book of Acts, Chapter 6.


Phillip was one of the seven men chosen to become one of those who served the new community of Jewish followers of Yeshua/Jesus. Their task was to see that none of the widows were neglected in the distribution of food or supplies. The thing that is astonishing is what qualified him to be selected for this natural and needed task. “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task”(Acts 6:3 NASB). Being “full of the Holy Spirit and full of wisdom” was a requirement to minister in natural things.  God’s ways are higher than our ways.  The “natural precedes the spiritual”. So it was true for Phillip.


We read of God’s enlargement of Philip’s opportunity for ministry. Because of persecution many of the Jerusalem believers left the City. “Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them. The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs that he was performing. For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. So there was much rejoicing in that city”(Acts 8:4-8 NASB).

God tested his servant and used the persecution for his promotion. Such is God’s way. From waiting on tables to becoming one who was a “fisher of men” in Samaria (Not forgetting that in John Chapter 4, Yeshua/Jesus had preceded him into Samaria ).


Samaria was just the first “launch out for a catch” for Phillip.  The former deacon is now known(& honored) as “Phillip the Evangelist”(Acts 21:8).  God was pleased not only to honor Phillip with a willing servant’s heart but He also unlocked a servant’s heart with the gift to win the lost with signs attesting to his words.  God gave him a heart like his Lord, who was willing to “leave the ninety-nine and go after the one” lost sheep.


He left the great Samaritan revival to join himself to an Ethiopian Eunuch’s Chariot (Read Acts 8:26-39). The venue seemed smaller but the eternal consequences were larger. Historians tell us that as a result of the one conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch that the message of the Kingdom of God spread wider and advanced with a greater speed than it had previously in its the spiritual infancy.


This rapid advance did not take place because of a great apostle but because of a humble believer, who got his start by being honored to serve His Lord and the believing Jewish community by “waiting on tables”.  Phillip’s station in life was not a handicap. He proved that “God is no respecter of persons but a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”(Hebrews 11:6).

Jesus’ promise is the same to anyone who will make him or herself available when He calls. They only need to be willing to follow Him as “fishers of men”. He said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NASB).

(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to:



“Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught” (‭John‬ ‭21‬:‭10‬ NIV).

If you have ever read this account (John Chapter 21), You probably have asked this question: “Couldn’t Jesus have performed a miracle like he did when he fed the five thousand with a few loaves and a couple of fish?”  Why didn’t he here? After all, He is the risen Lord; Death did not have the last word over him. But I believe there is a reasonable answer implied in John’s telling of the story.
He discerned that Jesus wanted to announce something new to his disciples.  There was something new in the earth which had begun as a result of His resurrection.
There was to be no longer a distinction between Jesus and His disciple’s ministry (See John 12:23-24;14:12). It would ,from henceforth, be recognized as”One catch”… “One Ministry”.  His resurrection announced the new creation in the earth; “One head and One body” coordinated and functioning together. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it”(‭Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭4-7‬ NIV).
The reconstruction of the setting of the coals,fire and fish was for Simon Peter’s benefit.  Jesus was present to restore a fallen apostle. This fireside chat would mend and heal their broken fellowship. Recall that Peter had denied his Lord three times when Jesus was put on trial by the religious leaders of his day. Peter, who was called to be “a rock”, proved that his courage had been quite brittle in the face of personal identification (& potential death) with Jesus.
Our Lord’s love for Peter was manifest in the question He asked (3 times), “Simon, son of John, Do you love me?”(See John 21:15-17). To which Simon Peter answered, “Yes” to His Lord (3 times).  (John is gracious not to record it, but I cannot help but believe that Peter wept while affirming his love again for Jesus).
Restoration for Peter was not merely to receive forgiveness but to be made fully whole in the presence of the Master. It is God’s way of extending grace and mercy. Our healing from our failures means that we are put back together as whole people. In other words, forgiveness is an entry point for our full recovery.
Jesus recommissioned the apostle Peter saying, “Feed My sheep…Feed My lambs”(John 21:15,17). From that moment on Peter proved to be more effective than before his fall. We read of the effect of his message on the Day of Pentecost in Acts Chapter 2.  “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls”(‭Acts‬ ‭2‬:‭37-41‬ NASB).
Not bad, for one who formerly could not admit to a little maid servant that he knew Jesus. His message brought over three thousand souls into the kingdom of God with the “first throw” of his gospel net!
When Jesus says, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men”, He means it.  Only HE can draw men to God. Only Jesus saves.
But when called by God,like Peter, our failures are no excuse.  With faith and gratitude for His mercy, we must take the same attitude as the apostle Paul (Once a persecuting murderer…Now a converted preacher!) “For I have an obligation to all peoples, to the civilized and to the savage, to the educated and to the ignorant….I have complete confidence in the gospel; it is God’s power to save all who believe, first the Jews and also the Gentiles. For the gospel reveals how God puts people right with himself: it is through faith from beginning to end. As the scripture says, “The person who is put right with God through faith shall live”(‭Romans‬ ‭1‬:‭14, 16-17‬ GNB).

(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to:


“Jesus called to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” He said, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” So they did, and there were so many fish that they couldn’t haul in the net” (John 21:5-6 CEB).



Recently I, along with my wife, had the occasion to join with believers within our citywide region of Dallas for a simple prayer meeting. There were people from various Christian Faith backgrounds, the faces of which represented a variety of ethnic backgrounds coming together as participants (Including the Mayor of the City of Dallas) for a united prayer meeting. We came together to humble ourselves before God as the Church “visible” in light of the attention, the fear, the anguish and grief that Ebola has caused.

Although Ebola has left many within our City with questions and assessments of blame, the Church visible has taken the lead (As She should) to address the issue, first before God. God’s word is clear in this regard, “When I close the sky so that there is no rain or I order the locusts to consume the land or I send a plague against my people, if my people who belong to me will humbly pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14 CEB).

God takes no pleasure in the death or suffering of people. But He will use suffering and pain to arrest our attention from our routine (& sometimes indifference) for a more eternal purpose. Recall the story that Luke highlights in the Gospel of Luke 13: “Some who were present on that occasion told Jesus about the Galileans whom Pilate had killed while they were offering sacrifices. He replied, “Do you think the suffering of these Galileans proves that they were more sinful than all the other Galileans? No, I tell you, but unless you change your hearts and lives, you will die just as they did. What about those eighteen people who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them? Do you think that they were more guilty of wrongdoing than everyone else who lives in Jerusalem? No, I tell you, but unless you change your hearts and lives, you will die just as they did” (Luke 13:1-5 CEB).

Perhaps, some, among the company of Jesus thought in telling him (As if he was unaware) of the cruelty and injustice of their Jewish brethren that it would provoke him to act. Surely they thought, this would get him to move with a decisive “Messianic” reaction against Rome’s oppression and abuse of power (The powerful government over the poor & weak citizen). They had long endured religious persecution for their faith at the hands of Rome’s mighty empire. And yet, what they got from Jesus, in that moment, was not a REACTION but a RESPONSE to the plight of their human suffering and misery. “Unless your hearts and actions change, you will likewise perish”.


Jesus chose, in that moment, to deflect and redirect their focus from the things of time to the things of eternity (He was always attune to heaven’s frequency rather than the events of time; knowing that heaven longs to invade our moments of history). Perhaps, there is an application, found in John’s Gospel, Chapter 21, which will help. We read the account by John of Jesus, now resurrected, standing on the shoreline of Galilee. Simon Peter and his fishing partners were frustrated because they had toiled all night with no catch (Once again). Notice that Jesus did not upbraid them for their carnal response and lack of faith or understanding of the significance of his suffering, death, burial and resurrection.

Rather, Jesus with the tenderness of a parent caring for their child, redirects their focus and energy. “Cast your net on the right side of the boat”. And guess what? The catch that had formerly eluded them in the darkness of night was caught in their net! It was such a load of fish; they had difficulty bringing the catch to shore. The redirecting of their efforts and energy by the creative word of Jesus made the night of difficulty worth the toil.

Beloved, May we not allow our focus to be diverted in this hour. At the same time, may we all join with continual prayer, compassion and sensitivity for those affected by loss, grief, fear and anguish of heart. Let’s ask the Lord God for His mercy and strategy to stop the spread of Ebola. May we arise in faith to believe that God will use that that was meant for evil for ultimate good.   At His command, let us “Cast our net on the right side of our religious vessels” for the greater harvest for which we have so often “labored and caught nothing”.

Jesus wants to make His Church to become once again “Fishers of Men”. In the light of eternity…Let’s go fishing!


(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to:


“When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4 NASB).

Has Jesus ever commandeered your vessel? If you say “No” or “I don’t know”…you have never gone fishing with Jesus.


Jesus’ popularity as a Jewish Rabbi attracted many people who were not accustom to such a ministry. His words were both pungent and interesting. The crowds gathered and increased because when he spoke…He had “something to say”; “He spoke with authority”. He did not need to quote from traditional rabbinic sources nor did he need to claim Moses as his authority. He in fact, was Moses’ authority–The Word made flesh, the pre-incarnate Word before Time (Read Hebrews 1:1-2).  So, when Jesus spoke, people stopped to listen as he “taught them” using stories about the reality of the Kingdom of heaven in their midst.

We each need a fresh contact with the reality of heaven in our midst. Let us understand that Jesus taught, “The kingdom does not come by observation”(See Luke 17:20-21). How does it come you may ask? The kingdom of God comes through the eyes of faith by observing HIS coming.  John received this revelation while on the Isle of Patmos. “”I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who IS and who WAS and who IS TO COME the Almighty [Caps. Mine]”(Revelation 1:8 NASB).

Some only look for His kingdom to appear one day in the future. And yet…John was caught up into a present reality (With more to come!) from heaven’s vantage point.   Jesus attracted the crowds because he had come to bring heaven near.


Seeing the crowds pressing around him, he got into Simon Peter’s boat and taught from there. When he finished, he asked Peter to push away from the shoreline and “Launch out into the deep”(Luke 5:4). No doubt, Peter was a little startled by this command. He had not planned on a little “further out”!

But we must understand that it takes a further “launching out” if we are to grow and attain our full stature in Christ. It will require leaving the “shoreline” of the familiar to explore new horizons of faith.


Nevertheless, we must heed a warning.  If you are going to launch out, it must not be from a human effort. It must come as a command of faith that is authorized by Jesus.  Too many well-meaning individuals have “shipwrecked” their faith by moving out of presumption or untempered religious zeal. Let those “leaps of faith” be conditioned by obedience to the Word. “Faith COMES by hearing a word FROM God[Caps. mine]”(Romans 10:17). This no doubt was Peter’s reasoning (In spite of fatigue, in spite of “thirsty nets”(Having caught nothing!)…Something about Jesus’ command caused him to pushed past the obvious to go into the uncharted waters of faith to “Let down your nets”.


 As the miracle of a net breaking, boat sinking, catch ensued, what started as consternation turned into a celebration!  Peter called out to friends in other boats who were witnesses to the great haul.  Suddenly! They were no longer bystanders but fully engaged in the great miracle of the catch. 

This miracle was primarily for Peter’s benefit.  He was about to be delivered,like a fish caught in a net, and be transferred into Jesus’ boat; for a greater task with more eternal consequences.  He recognized in this miracle Jesus’ otherness and his own sinfulness. “But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8 NASB)

Jesus’ intent was not only to deliver the sinner but to bring Peter (and friends)  “Out of the old life and into the new life”.  And they must realize as someone said, “Once caught No escape”!  “Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him (Mark 1:17-18 NASB).  They understood in that moment…Life would never be the same.


(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to:


“And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”(Matthew 4:19 NASB).

Although our Lord was raised primarily in Nazareth, He chose to begin his ministry in the region of Galilee. Perhaps this was because he understood that it would be easier to get his public ministry going in a less “religiously charged atmosphere” like Jerusalem of his day. After all, there were so many diverse religious sects and leaders during that time. He recognized the need to maximize his time (And his efforts) without entangling himself in Age-old religious controversies.

Again, He would soon prove the saying (Although “MORE Than”) that “A prophet is not without honor saving in his own town”. Its pretty easy to be marginalized when who people “thought you were” is not “Who (And Whose) you are. His true God-identity, as the “beloved Son of God” would not merely cause offense but cause many to want to retaliate at the very thought of God sending His Son in such a humble condition. All of this aside…The Scriptures must be fulfilled. “Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulon and Naphtali. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “THE LAND OF ZEBULON AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE J ORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES – “THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT L IGHT, A ND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.” From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:12-17 NASB).


Like a good Stage drama, Matthew captures the First Scene of Jesus’ public ministry. He immediately, following his message to turn (or Return) to God, calls for his first two sets disciples. Both sets were brothers, James and John, Andrew and Peter (See Matthew 4). Is it a coincidence that both sets of brothers were Fishermen by trade? Not likely.


Jesus no doubt wanted to help we who watch his example in gathering potential leaders to observe at least three things that qualified them. (1) They had a trade. In other words, they were “employed” or busy. God always chooses those who are engaged in life. Busy people are motivated when opportunity arises. Jesus also knew that “He who is faithful in natural things can be taught How to be faithful in spiritual things”. (2) James and John were found “Washing their nets”(Matthew 5:2). This speaks to me of endeavoring to “keep short accounts” in relationships. Perhaps this is the meaning of “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger”(Ephesians 4:26). Be quick to keep relationships clear and clean. (3) Andrew and Peter were found by Jesus “Mending their nets”(Matthew 4:21). The nets would often need repair from the water and load of fishes pulled into the boat and brought ashore with help of partner ships. So it is true that good partnerships in ministry, a network of Kingdom minded friends, help bring in the Harvest. It is interesting that this was true of the apostle Paul. Although he is often held up as the great apostolic, missionary model…he always acknowledged the “Team” of workers who labored with him.

Our Lord Jesus taught, by way of example, that nothing is ever accomplished alone. Today, like never before, effective ministry leaders understand that “THE NETWORK WORKS”.

(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: