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Rigid, stiff, inflexible, unbending, unyielding. These may be words that some use to describe religious people but they don’t describe God’s network of people who make up His church. A net must have the ability to stretch. It must be able to expand and contract without breaking. It must conform to the catch. Each of us who are part of this network must be able to do the same. Each person is different and each situation unique and if we are pliable, God will mold us to fit His purpose. Paul, the apostle, said, "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

There is a great story that I will share this week of Paul using an idol to preach Christ. Unbelievable! Paul was flexible, movable, yielding to God in every situation. He kept the main thing in his sights and all times. "God loves people.” He is not preoccupied with protocol or religious discipline. God loves people! That’s the main thing.

In order to fulfill our calling as Christ’s body, we will be stretched. It’s not comfortable, cushy or warm and fuzzy but it is exciting, adventurous and unparalleled by any other way of life. It’s what we desire in our heart of hearts. It’s what everyone would do if we all knew what we really wanted. It’s in our spiritual DNA to move, to bend, to flex in order to touch our future brothers and sisters in Christ with God’s infinite love. That’s what this week’s message is all about.
I don’t think we really understand how important we are to God’s plan. Jesus said, “follow me and I will send you out to fish for people.” He’s sending us to do the fishing. We are the gatherers of His people. We are the net that pulls them in. Together, we are the instrument that captures. Wait a minute, “capture" doesn’t sound like a very pleasant word. It’s not unless you are sinking or falling or headed for disaster, then the word capture is synonymous with rescue. God has called us to be rescuers.

This new series called “The Net Works” is a play on words. The net does work and we are a network of rescuers. We are God’s system to bring the world to redemption. Chances are at this moment; you are in close proximity or in a relationship with someone who needs to be rescued. How do you do that? That’s what we will be talking about for the next four weeks! This series is for all of us, whether we are rescuing someone else, or we are the one being rescued, or both.

There is something so great that happens when we reach out to help someone else. God is at that very moment reaching in to help us. One act of humility on our part to put another person’s needs ahead of our own triggers God’s grace to spring into action for us! And oh, how we need God’s grace!
Is there anything that you value enough to guard? I am very protective over my family, my friends and a few guitars. It’s my nature to guard. Lynnae always notices the way I unconsciously guard her and the boys when we are in a public situation that I’m not comfortable with. I put myself between them and any threat that I perceive. That’s what a guard does. It’s what our men and women in the armed services do. They stand between us and our enemies. Our first responders shield us from danger. These brave servants save, they rescue, they guard us above their own personal safety. You have to love and respect such honorable people. They inspire me!
 
We are blessed that we have so much worth guarding. What do you guard? What would you sacrifice yourself for? Where do you draw the line? Where are your boundaries that if crossed would send you into full attack mode? It’s something we should think about once in a while. 
 
This week, we are going to have a good time at The Net! We’ll talk about another amazing obscure character and the victory that is ours when we stand the ground that God has given us. We'll see what kind of supernatural power that is at our disposal when we refuse to let the enemy take an inch of what God has given us. 
 
Come spend an hour with us Sunday! It may be the best thing you do all week. Lives are being changed and God’s Kingdom is spreading from heart to heart. It’s a beautiful thing!
Are you religious about anything? I am. I have found that the only way I can know where my car keys, my glasses, my wallet, and my phone are, is to be religious about where I put them. I have habits that keep me on track. It really works? It is a mindless way of making sure I don’t lose my stuff. If I ever find myself deviating from the habits I have worked so hard to develop, I scold myself and make the effort to correct my deviation.

But I’m not religious about God. The only thing I’m religious about when it comes to God is saying yes to Him. I want that to be my cultivated response whenever I feel Him nudge me in a certain direction. I want to say yes to Him when no one is looking because He says yes to me when no one is looking. I’m so glad He says yes to me when no one is looking! I go to Him with sins and temptations that I deserve harsh discipline for and I ask for His mercy. He gives it so freely and quietly without accusation, without judgment. I sure do love Him for that and I want to be like Him in that way.

I don’t want to do mindless religious things that don’t mean anything. I don’t want to come to church, sing songs, or listen to a Bible story unless the powerful everlasting life of Jesus Christ is flowing into every moment. But I do want to religiously say yes to God without a second thought.

I love the feeling I get when I say yes to Him without argument. I did that today. Someone gave me something that I knew was coming and I was looking forward to it! I couldn’t wait to receive it! I was excited. As soon as I received it, God nudged me, “You see that guy over there? He needs this more than you do.” I could have ignored the nudge and no one but God would have known. But I didn’t and I’m so glad I didn’t. I gave it away and got something more wonderful in return. God’s pleasure with me over that simple deed was worth so much more! I felt it in my soul! And nobody would have ever known about it if it wasn’t significant to this week’s message.

Don’t miss our “Surprise Character” this week. It’s going to be great! Come be with us for one hour this Sunday morning! You’ll be glad you came, not because I’ll be there, but because God will be there!
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