Second call

You can’t join the church, you’re joined to the church by the work of the Spirit of God. There are no options to Christian community. When Jesus Christ calls us to Himself, he calls us to each other simultaneously.    Don Williams

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I first met Don Williams when I was a young high school graduate attending a “College Briefing Conference” in the southern California mountains the summer before going off to college. Fifty-four years ago, and yet I can remember it as vividly as if it were yesterday. Don was teaching a seminar on the book of Philippians and I had never met anyone so excited about Jesus and the truth of the gospel. I vowed right then and there that if I ever got a chance to speak or teach in front of a group, I would be like this guy. It wasn’t that he had an exciting, dynamic personality (he was actually a rather quiet, somewhat thoughtful person); it was that he simply became animated over the word of God. He would teach and explosions would go off in your head.

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Why am I telling you all about Don? Because I’m having trouble reaching him and I know he’s pushing 90 if he’s not already there, and I’m not ready for him to leave this earth, so I’d like you all to pray for him. When his voicemail box is full and his emails come back “Addressee unknown,” you can’t help but think the worst.

But I’d also like you to notice the quote of his that I used above. I’ll be the first to admit that though I’m strong on that first call where Jesus calls us to Himself, I am weak on the second one: the call to others in the body of Christ. Christ has called us to Himself and to each other. I have to seriously consider that second call —who is that “each other” — for me? Primarily, my “each other” is you. You are my connection to the body of Christ. That’s why we love to hear from you, so this isn’t all just a one-way street. I’d like to especially thank our MemberPartners, many of whom have realized their roles in our lives as an “each other” for us.

Marti has especially gotten close to many of you through counseling and discipleship. This is just a reminder to deepen that second call. I am committing myself to deepening those ties that I have locally in the body of Christ. Think about who your “each other” is today. Who has God called you to? What are you doing about that? There is no such thing as a Lone Ranger Christian.

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11 Responses to Second call

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    Great & intriguing Catch, mostly because it reminded me of back when I thought God was calling me to be a Missionary – I learned I could be on right where I lived in Garden City, MI

  2. I will probably regret this but I’m going to chastise you slightly, John.

    While you’re correct to be concerned about your mentor whose voicemails and e-mails are the only responses you get, at least you get some form of response. Obviously it’s not the kind you want but it’s still some form of acknowledgement. You’ve received a generic non-explanation as to why you’re unable to get ahold of your friend. It’s something.

    Now, think about the people who attempt to contact or interact with you via replies to the daily Catch or through e-mail or other platforms and receive no response or acknowledgement at all. No “thanks”, no auto-reply, no “go jump in the lake”, no nada, no nothing.

    Going out on a branch here, I would say that a good portion of your readers, listeners, and followers who have been burned by the church, religion, and/or other Christians still feel the sting or hurt of their rejection – just as if it were yesterday.
    Regardless of whether it’s right or wrong, many have chosen to not risk getting burned again,
    and willingly – most likely disobediently (Hebrews 10:25) – have shunned involvement with the church or its congregants.
    Yet, through Divine intervention if you will, many of us were drawn to you and God’s messages through the Catch because He, at least, hadn’t rejected or marginalized us.
    We found a teacher, mentor, brother, and even, perhaps, a friend in John Fischer.

    However, any meaningful relationship has to have at least two people involved.
    “When Jesus Christ calls us to Himself, he calls us to each other simultaneously.”

    It’s somewhat discouraging and a little bit deflating to ones self-esteem – yes, I’m including my own self-centered ego here, too – when one tries to contact their mentor, teacher, pastor, guide, or friend only to hear the sound of crickets.
    And when the conversation, statement, or question that one engages in is met without even the slightest – or even generic – acknowledgement then one tends to possibly feel snubbed or alone or, once again, rejected.
    In the grand scheme of things, it’s probably petty but it still hurts nonetheless.

    John, most of us understand that you’re probably inundated with more requests for your attention than you can possibly realistically handle and that does tend to dilute the possibilities of close personal relationships and/or meaningful dialogue.
    But many of us think of you and Marti as the “each other” in our lives.
    We feel God has called us to you – and vice-versa.
    We’re wary, afraid, and suspicious to engage with the local churches.
    But, we’re still trying to do something about it by interacting with the Catch.
    Unfortunately, many times we hear crickets in response

    I don’t believe many of us desire to be Lone Ranger Christians but even the Lone Ranger had his faithful friend Tonto so he was never really alone.
    Many of us want to be the faithful friend to you, John, our Kemo Sabe.
    But, I confess, it feels like we’re alone when our friend and guide doesn’t even grace us with a silver bullet or small tip of the hat or a “heigh-ho Silver”!

    What can you do about it? Need you do anything about it?
    Is this something the Catch Board can address?
    I don’t know.
    But I believe there may be many in the Catch community who feel this way but may have chosen not to express their thoughts for reasons known only to them.

    So there it is.
    Please forgive me if I’m out of line.

    Shalom, Peace to you and everyone in the Catch Community.

    • Not being one who ever wishes to end a week (or start the weekend on a heavy note) – and while in line with the topic on relationships – here is this weeks episode from CBS Evening News “On the Road with Steve Hartman”:

      “My dad was an accidental humorist. He rarely meant to be funny. But he was deliberate with his love…”
      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/steve-hartman-looks-back-at-his-fathers-legacy/

      Have a GREAT weekend all!
      🙂

    • Mark D Seguin says:

      Like to 2nd brother Bob’s comments and let me please suggest Pastor John to think about & consider setting aside some time every day to look over the Catch replies & if you don’t have the time right there & then to answer – At least acknowledge the comments have been read by you and have you have more free & spare time you’ll respond… Than have enough discipline to do it. LOL I laugh simply because have learned in my Amway Biz what I do & what I say I’ll do ISN’T two different things, but it took me to develop a system for myself to remind me….(For me it was keeping a Monthly planner)

      PS Seriously consider devolving a system – don’t go by your memory – everyone forgets! So maybe consider everyday @ say 10:00 PM you check the Catches…

      God’s speed & much love 4 you & Marti

      • Thank you, Mark, for your input and encouragement.
        You’ve made good suggestions above worthy of serious consideration – not just for John and Marti, but applicable to many of us.

        Shalom, Peace to you my friend, my brother…
        🙂

      • jwfisch says:

        Thank you, Mark for your patience. Let’s see if I can do better. Good suggestion.

    • James says:

      I, for one, have experienced the same treatment Bob mentioned above. I was promised a free download of songs at the beginning of the year for a donation, and that never happened after a donation. Do I want to complain? No. This is something for the LORD. But it will leave a taste in the readers of the Catch as described by Bob.

      Perhaps one should not bite off more than one can chew.

      • Thank you, James, for understanding where I’m coming from.
        I cannot say with certainty that it’s applicable but similar to “biting off more than one can chew” there’s also that old adage which says something to the effect of “not spreading oneself so wide that one ends up becoming too shallow.”

        Thank you for your comments and empathy.

        Shalom, Peace to you my friend, my brother…
        🙂

      • jwfisch says:

        So sorry about this one, James. We are still working on this. The music is done, it’s just that we haven’t had anyone to set up a page for it on the website so it can be d downloaded. Haven’t been able to pay the help we need lately slo have to wait until someone has the time.

    • jwfisch says:

      Rebuke accepted. Thank you, Bob. You are right on. So sorry to have slighted you. You are the body. I can’t be too busy for you. I think I can do better.

      • Hi John,
        I don’t know how “right on” I am and I’m not really feeling that slighted.
        Honestly, I’m not
        I love and respect you, and I am blessed to be able to witness, participate in, and benefit from your deeply thoughtful and encouraging work.
        You and I have had a healthy repartee over the years and I’m honored you consider me one of your friends – even though we’ve never met face-to-face. I may not be one of “The Thirty” but still I’m someone you’ve welcomed into your life, been graciously respectful toward, and have willingly sharpened iron with through correspondence.

        But I am concerned that as the Catch ministry expands – as has happened with many other worthy endeavors by well-meaning individuals and/or God-led people over the millennia – the shepherd(s) will become more distant from the flock and, as such, the core message will spread in such a way that it either devolves into a mere ear-tickler, becomes just plain flaccid, or worse: comes to be synonymous with being lukewarm (“Oh ‘spew thee out of my mouth!’”).
        Once-open lines of personal communication are gradually shunted into a siding like a freight car in deference to the maglev train hurtling down the polarized tracks of superficiality for speeds sake.
        Then slowly comes distance, disillusionment, distrust, and deflation.

        That is why I chose to make my feelings known at this time.
        I pray daily that God will eventually bless billions of people worldwide via The Catch Ministry through the outreach and teaching guided by His Spirit of True Love and welcoming Grace.
        First and foremost, however, I daily pray that John, Marti, and the Catch board stay really truly attentive and super-sensitive to the Lord’s wisdom, counsel, and guidance; being patient in waiting on Him and willing to make tough decisions which may mean going against the majority or ones own comfort-zone; and being decisive in forsaking “proven” business models that serve the world well but may not really be God’s model or plan for the ministry.
        I daily pray that your eyes, ears, hearts, brains, and souls are truly open and receptive to His direction and desire; and that every decision you make is a result of your authentic humble submission to His true and perfect will.
        I pray that the “boots on the ground” are both having and making the impact as reported and anticipated; and that God guides their every step wherever they are.
        I pray that we citizens of the Catch community can be more interactive, forthright with, and supportive of one another; and that while we may disagree on certain issues or topics, that we may never become disagreeable.
        LOVE should rule the day and have the final say.

        May we all be Barnabas’s to John Fischer’s Paul as well as to each other.

        In conclusion to all of this, John, has the board considered soliciting ideas or suggestions from the Catch Community as to how to maybe help with payroll or personnel shortages? It seems to me there is a wealth of valuable knowledge stored in a lot of experienced people and seasoned professionals amongst your readers (who are not board members) who may be able to contribute some worthwhile information toward your dilemma.
        Perhaps you can create a “suggestion box” for people to submit their thoughts?
        One of my first thoughts when I read your response above to James about the web page issue was possibly looking into hiring an unpaid intern from a local school.

        Well, I’ve taken a lot of everyone’s time and thank y’all for your patience.

        As always, my prayers for Shalom, Peace are with each of you…

        🙂

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