Summary: A message addressing the reality of time catching up to our rural church. This is an initial call to embrace a paradigm shift within church and society. In order to speak to a new generation, we have to be willing to find new methods of communication.

Matthew 4:12-23

Paonia United Methodist Church

January 23, 2005

“When the going gets tough, the tough go fishing”

Can you remember back to when I gave you a message that

Began with the words… Life is complicated?

Well, this morning starts off with a similar statement.

Life is rough.

It is.

The harsh realities of our world are all around us every day.

People we love struggle with their health.

People we love die.

Killer tidal waves, planes flying into buildings,

All kinds of stuff we would just as

Soon not deal with or ignore.

But, ignoring problems seldom make them go away.

Instead, they fester and get worse.

If you do not deal with that ticking sound under the hood of your car,

Or the squealing sound with your brakes when it first begins…

That $100 problem turns into a $500 problem in no time.

It works the same way with our bodies.

That blood pressure problem that can be dealt with diet and exercise

Turns into strokes and heart attacks if not dealt with.

Like I said…

Life is rough.

You either deal with it,

Or it will most certainly deal with you.

Okay, we have heard about bodies, cars, and people,

But what about when the going gets tough and we are talking about the church?

What do we do when we look around and we are seeing the signs?

The engine is starting to tick and the brakes are beginning to squeal.

Do we deal with it or ignore it and hope it goes away?

Well, thankfully we are not left to sit and ponder this one.

We have not been abandoned to figure out our future and how to get there.

We have been given examples in our Bible that show us

How we are to respond.

Matthew 4:12-23

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali– to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,

the way to the sea, along the Jordan,

Galilee of the Gentiles–the people living in darkness

have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death

a light has dawned.”[a]

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

The Calling of the First Disciples

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

This is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What happens when the going gets rough?

When the going gets tough, the tough goes fishing!

Now, you might this that this sounds flip…

I assure you it is not.

There is a principle here that we need to get this morning.

Did you catch that first verse?

Listen to it again.

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee.

Wait a second!

Isn’t this the same guy that we have heard about for the last two months?

Didn’t we hear all about John during Advent and again for the

last two weeks?

Aren’t we talking about this guy again today?

Help me with my math here,

But I think we have heard about John for about 5 of the last 8 weeks.

Jesus called him the greatest prophet of all time.

John showed up to both baptize the messiah, as well as lead

Peter, the founder of Christianity to know him.

That makes him a pretty big player in God’s big plan, doesn’t it?

So, don’t you find it odd that that is all we have here this morning?

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee.


I gave you a sermon a few weeks back on John beginning to have doubts this

Was in fact the messiah.

This is just more of the reason why.

When the going got tough, the tough went fishing.

So, what was going on here?

Where did Jesus go?

Why did he leave?

Well, I believe that something big had happened here.

There was a change, an alteration, a dramatic paradigm shift by God.

Something greater was going on then just the interaction between

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