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Launching Out Into The Deep

By: Linda Harding

As we come to the end of this strange and different year and start to look ahead to 2021, I invite you to take time to reflect on these words of Jesus to Peter:

“Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch”. Luke 5:4.

Jesus is in Peter’s boat teaching the crowds before he says these words. We see in Peter a response of obedience to Jesus word. A willingness to trust.

I believe the Holy Spirit is positioning Simply Mobilizing for greater influence and fruitfulness, calling our movement to a new level. It is a call beyond the shallow water to the deep.  The “deep” represents going beyond the comfortable, the normal, the predictable, the convenient – going further and deeper requires fresh and costly obedience to each do our part, keeping focused on our three-fold vision.

This mission mobilization movement has evolved with perseverance through many seasons, Years of teaching, preparation, insight, review, learning, discovery, tools, strategy – of developments in vision, courses, tools and leadership structures – all for our movement to launch out into the deep.

Where is the deep for you, as a mobiliser? In your role in SM?

I want to encourage each one of us to launch out with renewed faith in Jesus, to remain true to our updated vision, values and distinctives, all of which reflect how our “riverbanks” respond and adapt to the flow and depth of the river –with greater flexibility and freedom. We are a dynamic movement, not stuck in the past or even the present – but willing to go deeper.

There’s a difference between being in shallow water and being out of your depth in deep water! I enjoy sea swimming, and sometimes, I get drawn into deep water, swept by currents and waves, it’s exhilarating but also exhausting, as your feet can’t touch the bottom. Swimming in shallow water is safe, with little risk. Deep water is Uncertain, Uncharted, Unsafe, Unfamiliar – this new season for SM be all those things!  

Launching into deep water requires courage and trust, and surrender. So why launch out into the deep?  –  To “let down your nets for a catch”. Our structures and teams are these nets. Maybe God is calling and positioning you for the deep in 2021? Most of the sea is deep – and that’s where the swarms of fish are – including big ones! 

I think Jesus makes a way for the fish to swim into the net in His time, not ours. Our part is to launch out and let down our nets, then trust God to bring a “great catch of fish,” of mobilisers and missional churches – so that every believer is enabled and empowered to live life on mission with God. Let us move forward together in humble obedience and expectation for this harvest.

I made a point earlier that “deep waters are exhilarating but exhausting”. I encourage you to embrace the God-created, Jesus-modelled principle of rest and self-care, whatever that looks like for you. To launch SM into the deep means taking space and looking after yourselves. Maybe this rather different Christmas season can be a time to pause and reread the story of the birth of Jesus and gain fresh insights into the wonder of the living reality of the Prince of Peace and the Hope for the world.

I share with you the words of Wayne Muller in his book about Sabbath:

Because we do not rest, we lose our way. We miss the compass points that would show us where to go, we bypass the nourishment that would give us succour. We miss the quiet that would give us wisdom. We miss the joy and love born of effortless delight.’

I pray for each of you as mobilisers to learn at the close of 2020 how to live at a pace and rhythm that will not only launch, but also sustain, you and the Simply Mobilizing movement into the deep.

One final point – maybe it’s significant that these words were said to Peter. Peter was initially reluctant, but because He recognized something unique in Jesus he obeyed. He launched into the deep and let down the nets.  The result was a huge catch of fish AND seeing this, Peter fell to his knees in worship and surrender and totally abandoned devotion to Jesus.

And we know, the ensuing story of Peter’s life is a catalyst for all we long for in Simply Mobilizing.

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