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casting nets or casting stones

After Christmas I will be preaching a two-part series at Mountainview called “Under New Management.”  The basic premise is this: When you invite Jesus into your life, be careful.  When he takes up residence, he likes to change things around.

The first message will be “Closed for Remodeling,” picking up on this idea that salvation and transformation go hand-in-hand.  God loves us as we are … but has no intention of leaving us there.

The second message will be “Casting Nets or Casting Stones.”  This is the one I’m currently ruminating (!) over.   As Christ-followers, we can choose to be a person who casts stones — like those in John 8:1-11.  To those who felt “holier than thou” Jesus offered this challenge: “”If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Too many Christ-followers are stone throwers.  It’s easy for us to be critical of our culture, mad at our media, and judgmental of those with glaring weaknesses.

That’s not the person I want to be.

Instead, Jesus has called his followers to be “fishers of men” (Mark 1:16-18).  Rather than casting stones, he wants us to cast nets.  We are in the business of helping people find their way back to God.  We are to use our influence to move them closer to God.  Our time and energies are best spent devising ways to build bridges — not erecting walls.

Another way of looking at it is this: we can be a stepping stone that helps a lost person on their journey to God or we can be stumbling block.

What kind of Christ-follower do you want to be?

Wouldn’t it be great if all the empty seats in our churches this next Sunday were filled with people at the end of 2010?  Filled with people who have discovered hope and found forgiveness.  Filled with families who encountered rocky times and survived intact. Overflowing with people with new passions, new purposes, and new paths.

All because you made the decision to be a person who cast a net instead of a stone.