November 18, 2022 - Page 3

A Dry Hook Doesn ’ t Catch the Fish
November 18 , 2022

The Pilgrims Land at Plymouth Rock 1620

Our American democracy rests on strong religious foundations . The Pilgrims who came to New England were fleeing from religious persecution . James I of England had warned them that , unless they conformed to the Anglican church , he would “ harrie them out of the land or else do worse .”
After being persecuted by the state church of England , they fled to Holland where their children were “ in danger to degenerate and be corrupted ,” to lose their English speech and nationality and become Dutchmen .
Accordingly , some of them de - cided it would be better to go like “ pilgrims ” to America , the new lands across the seas . Here they could be missionaries to the heathen Indians . Here they could establish a government based on their religious ideas . Here they could found a little state for themselves .
We look back now to that mo - mentous time in 1620 when those Bible-toting 102 Pilgrims boarded the Mayflower and set sail for a strange new world . Why ? That they might worship and serve God freely .
After nine weeks — do you know

Ingratitude Clarence E . Macartney

“ Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph , but forgat him .”— Gen . 40:23 .
The miserable ingrate ! When the butler was a criminal in the jail , not knowing what a day would bring to him — liberty or bondage , life or death — he did not forget Joseph .
The chief butler and the chief baker had offended Pharaoh and he had committed them to the dungeon . The captain of the guard gave them into the keeping of the young Hebrew captive , Joseph , who was in prison because of the hatred of a wicked woman whose advances he had scorned .
Everybody down in Egypt seems to have had the habit of dreaming — from the king on his throne to the baker who made his bread . Both the chief butler and the chief baker dreamed during the same night in the prison and their dreams left them filled with sadness and ap - prehension .
Joseph himself was an exile from his home , sold by his brothers into Egypt and now in prison charged with a crime he did not commit . One would think it was he who needed comfort . But he was kind - hearted , this Hebrew exile ; and when he saw the two prisoners looking so sad in the morning , his how long that is to be out on the rolling waves ?— they landed at Plymouth , on the Massachusetts coast .
But before landing in the New World , they committed themselves to God ’ s care . “ Solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and of one another ,” so the May - flower Compact says , they set out to form a Christian community on the bleak New England shore .
They immediately set to work building shelters and preparing themselves for the cold winter , but they had trouble from the start . These people paid a big price for the privilege of worshiping God freely . Forty-four died before spring .
Only fifty-eight survived to plant the spring crops . But not a single Pilgrim returned to England with the Mayflower . ‘ They had put their hand to the plough and did not look back .’
But the Lord gave them courage and that summer He gave them a good harvest . Governor Bradford proclaimed December 13 as a day of thanksgiving and those Pilgrims gathered with about eighty friendly Indians for a celebration .
It was not a one-day event . They
heart went out to them in sympathy
His own problem made him only the more sympathetic with others in their troubles , instead of hardening and souring him and making him look with suspicion upon all mankind .
One of the best ways to cure your own sorrow is to take an interest in the sorrows of others . Joseph “ sat where they sat ”; therefore , he was able to meet them on a common footing and give them what cheer he could . But Joseph , while not boasting that he could tell them what they wished to know , said that with the help of God he would interpret their dreams . “ Do not interpretations belong to God ? tell me them , I pray you .”
First , the chief butler told his dream :
“ In my dream , behold , a vine was before me ;
“ And in the vine were three branches : and it was as though it budded , and her blossoms shot forth ; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes :
“ And Pharaoh ’ s cup was in my hand : and I took the grapes , and pressed them into Pharaoh ’ s cup , and I gave the cup into Pharaoh ’ s hand .
“ And Joseph said unto him , This is the interpretation of it : The three branches are three days :
“ Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head , and restore thee unto thy place : and thou shalt deliver
needed three days to express their thanksgiving . The World Book Encyclopedia says they devoted the time to preaching , praying , singing and then eating .
To them it meant more than a day of feasting and frolic , a meal of stuffed turkey followed by bicar - bonate of soda and a football game . Thanksgiving Day was centered in the Lord , in singing hymns , reading the Scripture and giving thanks to God and enjoying the food God had provided .
Then on a stormy day in the fall of 1620 the Mayflower with its 102 Pilgrims dropped anchor near present Plymouth , Massachusetts .
Our Pilgrim fathers had the spirit of Thanksgiving — and “ thanksliving ”— as they saw the hand of God in all everyday blessings . But nationally they did not set down their Ebenezer of praise until 1633 , when they set apart a day to praise God from whom all blessings flowed .
Later national dates of Thanks - giving have been in 1784 — for declaration of peace and American independence — and when Lincoln declared a national Thanksgiving Day in 1863 . Since then , every U . S . president has declared one .
May it not be an empty custom , but “ in every thing give thanks : for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you ” ( I Thess . 5:18 ). ||
Pharaoh ’ s cup into his hand , after the former manner when thou wast his butler .
“ But think on me when it shall be well with thee , and shew kindness , I pray thee , unto me , and make mention of me unto Pharaoh , and bring me out of this house :
“ For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews : and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon .”— Gen . 40:9 – 15 .
Then the chief baker related his dream :
“ I also was in my dream , and , behold , I had three white baskets on my head :
“ And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh ; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head .
“ And Joseph answered and said , This is the interpretation thereof : The three baskets are three days :
“ Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee , and shall hang thee on a tree ; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee .”— Vss . 16 – 19 .
On the third day the interpre - tation of the dreams came true . Both men were taken out of jail and brought to the court of Pharaoh . There the chief butler was restored to his office and held again the cup of Pharaoh , but the chief baker was hanged .
I fancy I can see Joseph at the

A Dry Hook Doesn ’ t Catch the Fish

“ 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 .
“ And they straightway left their nets , and followed him .”— Matt . 4:18 – 20 .
When Jesus encountered a couple of men fishing in the sea of Galilee , He called upon them to follow Him . In making His ap - peal to them , He told them that He would engage them in a different kind of fishing .
He promised to “ make ” them “ fishers of men .” They knew how to use hooks and nets , but this was something quite different . They made a livelihood out of their fishing for fish , but fishing for men was not on their radar at all .
Let ’ s surge forward to the present time and consider that the ‘ fishing for men ’ is in the Bible for us today . As I look around , I don ’ t see a lot of gospel fishermen today . Even a lot of pastors have not signed up and surrendered themselves to “ follow ” the Lord in this pursuit .
When a church goes week after week , month after month and year after year without converts , it us - ually means that “ fishing ” is not on the agenda . Thus the title of my article . A dry hook doesn ’ t catch the fish . You may have a rod and reel , a trotline or a seine ( net ); but if it doesn ’ t get in the water , you don ’ t catch the fish .
Every church needs multiple hooks in the water . Preaching is a
dungeon door watching those two men go out . He heard the sad farewell of the baker and the effusive gratitude of the butler who vowed that the first thing he would do when he was restored to his place would be to put in a word for the Hebrew lad who had inter preted his dream .
Joseph ’ s heart beat high with hope , for now he was sure that he had a friend at court who would state his case to Pharaoh . But the days and weeks and months passed by , and still no word from the chief butler . He cannot completely have forgotten Joseph . For a few weeks at least he must have thought of him the last thing before he went to sleep and the first thing when he arose in the morning .
But it was difficult to bring the matter before Pharaoh , who might be in a bad humor and commit him again to that dungeon . Then he had fine friends , this butler , and they might wonder at his intimacy with a Hebrew slave . If he did get Joseph out of the dungeon , the youth might be on his hands .
Thus , day by day it became easier for him to postpone that word with Pharaoh in behalf of Joseph , until at length , in the cares and pleasures of his office , Joseph and the promise made to him were completely forgotten . “ Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph , but forgat him .”
Continued on p 6 ▶ hook . Sunday school is a hook . Soul-winning visits are a hook . Bus routes are a hook . Radio and tele - vision are a hook . Special ministries to singles , senior adults , addicts , etc ., are a hook . Revivals , crusades , Sword of the Lord Conferences , etc ., are a hook . You get the idea .
Of course , the fisherman must go where the fish are . If your hooks never reach the water , you are not going to catch anything . A dry hook may look impressive when displayed , but it will not catch a fish .
We must get our preacher , the staff , the deacons , the Sunday school teachers , the bus workers , etc ., out on the streets . We must knock on doors . We must give out literature . We must talk to people and witness to them .
So many of our churches are in a death spiral . It may take another twenty years or more , but they are not going to survive . The reason is not how bad the times are . It is not the fault of the liberal media , the heathen schools and the per - verted entertainment industry . The reason for the church ’ s failure to grow is “ dry hooks .”
This is not the time to be accus - ative or critical . It is the time to reset the agenda , cancel whatever else is taking up space and get things headed right again .
This is the time to train soul winners , run bus routes , canvass neighborhoods and reinvent the church ’ s calendar with Great Com - mission priorities .
The Sword of the Lord Soul Winner ’ s Club is a topnotch soulwinning training program that any church of any size can use . Call our customer service department ( 800-247-9673 ) and let ’ s get you started .
I was sitting at a table eating lunch with a group of preachers one Tuesday morning about fifteen years ago . A well-known preacher sitting directly across the table spoke up and said , “ In the early days of my ministry we evangelized and then we gradually institu - tionalized and we are no longer evangelizing .”
I looked at him and with a smile I said , “ You know the next step , don ’ t you ? It is fossilize .”
He acknowledged the reality of what I had said and told me that he wanted me to come to his church and help him get things reset . I assured him I would be glad to help him . I invited him to call me , but he never did .
Any of us — in fact , all of us — would be wise to do an inventory once in a while . If we have a “ dry hook ” problem , it would be nice to discover it and deal with it .
In all the years I ’ ve never heard of a “ dry hook ” catching a fish . I doubt that I ever will .
What Jesus said to Andrew and Peter still works and He placed it in the Bible for us . If we “ follow ” the Saviour , we will be a ‘ fisher for men .’ If we do not fish , we are obviously not following Him .
God bless you . Let ’ s go “ wet some hooks ” ( as the fishermen say ) and let ’ s do it today . ||