February 10 2019 Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

February 10, 2019 Children's Sermon "Great Catch"

Have you ever seen a great catch? Perhaps it was a baseball player going up onto the outfield wall and snagging the ball in the very end of his glove. Perhaps it was a football player diving off his feet in the end zone, stretching way out cradling the ball in his fingertips for the game winning score. Or maybe you've seen someone catch one of those huge fish, where they can hardly lift it!

Do you know each one of our bible readings tell us about one of God's great catches. It's true. In our first reading we hear about God "catching" Isaiah. Up until this time Isaiah had just been a temple priest, going about his business. But once God catches up with him Isaiah becomes a prophet, one of the most influential prophets of all time. In our second reading Paul talks about how Jesus caught up with him and took him from being a hater of Christians to preacher for

Christians. And in our final reading of the bible today we heard about how Jesus turned Peter and James and John from men who fished to fishers of men, from folks who caught fish to folks who caught Christians.

God made some pretty good catches when he caught people like

Isaiah and Paul and Peter and made them part of his team. You know God's still making some really good catches, not footballs or baseballs or fish but people. You and I are some of God's recent catches. We're his people when we "catch on" to how much God really loves us. You could say God's love is pretty "catchy." God's great love for us grabs our attention, holds our hopes, calms our fears and gives us life. That's a great catch.  I’m glad Christ caught hold of me, I hope Christ’s caught a hold of you too.  Thanks for coming up.

February 10, 2019 5th Sun aft Epiphany “Great Catch”

There's a difference between something being catchy and something being annoying. I remember seeing in the comic strip Baby Blues where the hubby comes running in "Quick, help! I watched Barney with Zoe and now I can't get that tune out of my head." Meanwhile the box begins filling with all these thought balloons "1 love you, you love me…

The wife replies, "1 can help you but you may not like the cure." The hubby answers "ANYTHING!" Here listen to the first song on this CD. He quickly exists to the stereo, thought balloons going the whole time. Next panel you see him running out of the house NOOOoooooo with this music wafting behind him "It's a small world after all."

Now that I've got those two annoying tunes in your head, I'd like to send you some relief with something that's catchy "Jesus loves me this I know..." It's not Beyonce or Maroon Five but it’s still catchy.

What makes a great catch? Its unexpected, it makes a difference, it changes the outcome. I’m sure there were many of us watching the Superbowl last week to see one of those great catches that goes down in the history books like the one David Tyree had for the Giants the year they defeated the Patriots- capturing the ball against his helmet as he went to the turf. It didn’t have to be a name player just a great play, a great catch.  Instead what did we get, something akin to the Super bore.

Our three texts today aren’t boring their boasting.  Boasting some of God's greatest grabs in history- Isaiah, Paul, and Peter. What if God hadn't grabbed these guys? What if Isaiah had never let us know that "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son?" or "He was wounded for our transgressions?" What if Paul had never turned from persecuting the church to promoting the church? What if Peter had turned down the invitation to fish and consequently the invitation to go from unknown fisherman to the very foundation upon which Christ would build his church?

God, make no mistake, is a pretty good fisherman. He uses lures and lines. But God's lure isn't necessarily deception but rather attention grabbing. God gets Isaiah's attention with glory- not something God faked. In fact, God toned it down. God got Peter's attention by besting Peter's best. Then in each story comes "the line":  You probably have heard those catchy lines: “Whom shall I send?” or “Saul, why do you persecute me?” and “Come follow me fisherman and I will make you fish for men.” These are the catchy lines we remember.

Most of us are sitting here today because we're caught by God. Whether it was a lure or the line, God caught our attention and tugged at our hearts. Perhaps some of us, remember how God caught our attention: perhaps it was a Sunday school teacher, a sickness, or a sign in the wilderness. Perhaps it was the caring pastor, the concerned congregation, the inviting neighbor, or the miracle child in our arms.

God's got a lot of tools in his tackle box but most likely whatever way we were caught we stayed because of that great catch that changed the score. Paul states that catch plainly in our second lesson "That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures. " (I Cor. 15) This is not some bait and switch lure. This is more like the aroma is wafting off the grill, mom’s ringing the dinner bell and yell "come and get it!" People notice and follow. Paul’s calling us to join God’s great feast which will have no end.

Yet, having been caught by the love of God we cannot forget that we have been caught to catch. Peter had that great catch, but he couldn't sit on his hind end counting his catch because he had to go fish, fish for people. Isaiah didn't stay in the temple but immediately went out to help people catch God's vision, the vision he'd been caught by.  Paul was sent to catch people with the vision he had caught of God — the resurrected Christ.

Our congregation has a catch phrase we place in our bulletin every week "To Know Christ and Make Christ Known." It's not supposed to be a gimmick but an honest to goodness explanation of who we are as a community. This is who we are as congregation, a people, ,a family: we are the folks in Greenford who want to know Christ and make Christ known.  In other words, we want to say we're caught up in God's love and we want you to be to.

You might acknowledge “yes I’ve been caught up in God’s love and I’m thankful for that but how can I go from that, to being a fisher of people?” First of all, recognize that you're caught in God's love- your one of God's "catches of the day." We wouldn't be here if God hadn't made a difference in our lives. God has gotten our attention, and now we need to get the attention of others because we have a message of hope and life and salvation, and if you don't mind my saying so "Hope, life, salvation" that's not annoying… that's catchy, very catchy.

Jesus loves me this I know… I pray you know Christ and will make Christ known. And remember… you catch’em, God’ll clean em.  Amen.