The great harvest field in Punggol Northshore and the coming Punggol Point should excite us. We saw Punggol Northshore flats springing up, residents started taking possession of their new flats in 2021. Northshore Plaza finally opened last year with many choices of F&B available.
Thousands of new residents and families including SIT campus students and high-tech digital office workers are being attracted and drawn to the new development here. What do you think Jesus wants us to do? I believe Jesus, our Lord is calling us to go fishing with him.
As God reminded Joshua of the uncompleted tasks, he also speaks to us through these verses that there are still very large areas of land (Northshore and Punggol Point) for ROLC to take over. We need to continue the work that we have started and to complete it.
Luke 5:4-7 4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless, at Your word I will let down the net.” 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
1. Launching into the deep for a catch (Luke 5:4)
The story starts out with a multitude of people standing along the shore listening to Jesus preach. They came from far and wide and fighting the crowds to be there. If you were in this story, where would you rather be standing on the shore like everybody else or in the deep with Jesus?
Launching into deep water requires courage, trust and surrender. It is a call beyond the shallow water of the shore. The “deep” represents going beyond the comfortable, the normal, the predictable, the convenient. Going further and deeper requires fresh and costly obedience.
Unfortunately, many of us choose to live in the mundane of life. After many years as believers, we still function on the shallow water near the shore. It’s easy to stand on the shore, hear the Word being preached, clap for the preacher, sing a nice song and then go home and back to normal life.
But that isn’t what Jesus came for. In fact, Jesus is willing to leave all those multitudes on the shore for the sake of one soul that wants to “go deep” with Him. The highlight of Jesus’ day was going deep with Peter – a deep, personal, intimate experience that cannot be had on the shore.
Peter was never the same again. After that experience with Jesus in the deep, Peter “forsook all and followed Him”. When was the last time you had an experience in the deep with Jesus? No crowd or multitudes around, no distractions, no hurrying…just you and Jesus in the deep. Maybe it’s time for you to launch out?
Similarly, the Lord is calling ROLC to launch out into the deep and let down our nets for a catch! This passage here in Luke 5 is not so much about the physical miracle of catching fish; rather, it’s about the mission of evangelizing souls and sharing the Word of God as we are called to do. When we share the Word, we are casting the nets.
Jesus is asking us to be fisher of men. Your worldly profession may be teacher, IT professional, doctor, or businessman, but that is just something to put food on the table. Your real profession is to be a fisher of men. The good news of Jesus’ love and forgiveness are tasty bait for those who believe.
What will ROLC do in the light of a great harvest? There is no shortage of souls that need Christ here. The sea is wide open and ready. The time is urgent. Jesus is calling you to launch out into the deep, go fishing with Him? Are you willing?
2. Obeying Jesus even when it doesn’t make sense (Luke 5:5)
Simon Peter and his friends were tired and were washing their nets. They had been hard at work whole night, they had cast their nets time and time again, each time, pulling up nothing but disappointing empty nets. They were tired, disappointed and frustrated.
When Jesus has finished with his teaching, he asked Peter to row the boat into deep water, in the middle of the day, and to drop their nets for a catch.
Peter’s professional experience with fishing told him that there is no chance for a successful catch during the middle of the day – out in deep water. It’s a well-known fact that in the Sea of Galilee, you caught fish at night, in shallow water, not in the daytime in deep water!
Simon and his friends were tired and exhausted after a night fishing nothing. They were looking forward to some warm food and sleep back home. Why listens to Jesus? Jesus has never even cast a net in his life!
“Nevertheless, at your word”. Four words that changed the course of Peter’s life. And it could change yours too. Peter chose to follow Jesus’ instruction with results that astonished the fishermen. An unprecedented catch of fish in a location that seemed hopelessly unproductive the night before, caught at the powerful and authoritative word of Jesus.
When we listen to God and act on his word, committing ourselves to his will in a radical and deep way, he will produce an abundant catch of souls. This “catch” will come in an unexpected way at an unexpected time and will clearly be the work of God.
When God tells us to do something, do it, even if it doesn’t make sense. God told Noah to build an ark because a flood was coming when nobody had ever even heard of rain. And Noah did it. God told the people of Israel to march around Jericho for seven days if they wanted the walls to fall down, and they did it. Mary when told by the angel that she would conceive by the Holy Spirit and bring forth a son even though she was not married responded by saying “Let it be to me according to your word.”
We have sowed in Punggol for 20 years. Like Peter and his friends, we may be exhausted, disappointed and frustrated. Like Peter, we may want to give up and go home to sleep. Do you think God do not know how we feel?
But Jesus is saying “Come fish with me. Try again, this time doing it my way.” Will we be too weary or too discouraged to obey? Or will we say “Because you say so”, we will do it?
We can launch into the deep and catch a multitude of fish at his command or we can be contented in shallow water with washing our empty nets?
3. Partnering Others in Kingdom’s work (Luke 5:6-7)
To Peter’s astonishment, their nets began to fill to overflowing when he followed Jesus’s instructions. He and his partner quickly called out to their partners on the shore to come and assist. All night the boats had been out, fishing without any results. Now, it was going to take the two boats together to gather the harvest of fish.
The word “partners” speak of fellowship and also of being fellow labours. To be a lighthouse and reach out to the community in Punggol, ROLC also need partners. Partners complement each other, each providing resources and opportunities that the other does not have, alone. Together partners can accomplish much more than anyone could do alone.
Currently, we have community partners ie. the Residential and Neighbourhood Committees. The church can partner with RC/NCs in various projects eg.. helping the needy at rental flats, Christmas carolling, participate in community carnivals through game stores, etc.
Another community partner is St Luke Eldercare who is setting up a new facility at Northshore. We can support St Luke’s Active Aging Hub for older adults who are 60 years and above in Northshore to stay active and healthy. These are “open doors” for us to connect with the community.
But in this season when God is leading and opening doors of opportunities, I believe prophetic partnership is going to play a significant part in gathering the huge harvest destined for the Kingdom.
A prophetic partnership is an alliance birthed in the heart of the Father to fulfil His present and future purposes. It is a divine appointment set up by the Holy Spirit to accomplish that cannot be done by either one party alone.
Do you know that there are 2 plots of lands in Northshore reserved for church land? When these lands are made available, any churches in Singapore can bid and a new church will be planted here alongside us. Should we be worry or afraid? No! Praise God if a new church is planted here with us to reach out to the community.
We are kingdom people. We must not only think of guarding our tuff. Northshore don’t belong to ROLC alone although we are planted here first. Jesus is the Lord of the Harvest. The Lord can and will bring workers from other places.
As such, ROLC must be prepared to collaborate or work together with any like-minded churches in Northshore Punggol. It is only by divine appointment that two churches can come and walk together. It is not easy to align or share the same vision. Working and walking together take great humility but when partners work together (Luke 5) they bring in a great harvest.
Lord, open our spiritual eyes to see the new work that you are now doing. We will not be distracted by the things of the world; we will not miss the time of your visitation; we will not look back but look forward to fulfilling the calling and purpose that you have for us in this season.
We need also good community partners as well as Kingdom’s partners in Northshore to work together in the harvest field. We need to be discerning and seek out the right partners that can complement and strengthen us.
Tung Weng Him