St. Paul's United Methodist Church
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Bringing people to Christ by Caring and Serving
News From Pastor Debra


Imagine if you will—a beautiful sunny day at the Lakefront…or in Jesus’ case, the edge of the Sea of Galilee. As Jesus is speaking, more and more people crowded in upon him, trying to hear what he is saying, almost pushing him further and further into the Sea.
            Then imagine a young man, named Peter—who is minding his own business, trying to dry his nets from the previous nights’ fishing expedition—which by the way—was a bust. He’s tired, hungry, frustrated and just wants to get home and put his feet up and relax. Not yet…
            Watching a man who was speaking to the crowds of people—all of a sudden turns and approaches Simon Peter and proceeds to step into his boat and uninvited at that! Then he asks to be pushed out away from the shoreline in order to continue teaching the crowds of people. [The water makes a fine sound system, just like the mountains and hills] you can hear easily.
            Ok, if that wasn’t enough—(We don’t know how long Jesus spoke from the boat—but after he was finished, he said to Peter—“Go, further out into deeper water and let down your nets (again) I might add.” Poor Simon Peter, he says, “Master, Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! (Luke 5:65,5, NLT)
            But, because you say so, I will do it. (Let down the nets) Peter was reluctant but because it was Jesus who made the request, he trusted him.
The Outcome? They caught so many fish that their nets began to break.
Ultimate Outcome?  1. Jesus said, don’t be afraid, from now on you will catch people—
                        2. Peter and the disciples’ response—Pulled up their boats to shore.
                            Left everything. And Followed Jesus.
            Simon Peter’s experience on that day long ago at the Sea of Galilee is an experience we can relate today. We know that Jesus is about spreading the Good News of the Kingdom wherever he finds himself. Jesus also has a habit of interrupting, upsetting, ordinary people’s lives when they least expect it. I think Simon Peter would have initially agreed, but then Peter found himself catching more than just Tilapia, he found himself—catching souls for the Kingdom of God.
            This I believe to be our Story here at St. Paul’s as well. We knew we had to accept half time Pastoral status at least for a season. But perhaps we didn’t anticipate what experiences we might be in for the future. Sometimes, God answers prayers in a way we never expected. In verse 4, Jesus told Peter do it this way… “put out into deep water”. This is where the fish were found. “The Lord did not say how deep. The depth of the water into which we sail depends upon how completely we have cut our ties to the shore, the greatness of our need, and our anxieties about the future. Yet the fish were to be found in the deep, not the shallow water.” “Put into the deep of God’s purposes and His coming kingdom. We must carry on until the Lord’s coming and His reign” (Cowman, Streams in the Desert, p.93)
            Jesus is asking us to trust him. Try it this way—put out into the deep—let loose the lines holding you to the shore and sail into the deep. Sometimes God gives us a push in order to get us out of our comfort zone. And stop playing it safe. If we put out to deeper waters, we trust that God will fill our nets with souls of men and women waiting to hear the good news of the kingdom.
At our last Charge Conference of 2012, the Council had voted to go to Half-time status. We are now beginning our Half-time status at St. Paul’s UMC as of June 30th. We are changing our Worship times to alternate with Diamond UMC in Hazleton. The SPRC has been meeting regularly and praying often to come to these decisions. Because I am serving both churches, it is necessary to alter our worship services in order for me to cover both churches.
Here at St. Paul’s, we will now have 2 Worship Services:
·         Saturday afternoon, 5:00-6:00p
·         Sunday morning, 10:45-11:30a
Both services will be our Traditional services, with the exception that Sunday morning will be 45minutes.  
Please continue to pray that God will bless us as we trust him to lead us out into the deep waters, and let down our Nets!