Luke 15: 3-7
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
In April of 2021, Webster Parish Men of Courage had its first ever event. In 2022, GOD told me to have a Webster Parish Men of Courage Bass tournament. I had never even fished in a bass tournament. I organized a very loose and not normal bass tournament with lots of divisions, a trash fish division, biggest brim for the kids, and even a biggest catfish that had been caught by hand. The world would have given this first annual Webster Parish Men of Courage bass Tournament a failing grade.
At the time of the weigh in, I barely had 10 teams. I was going to spend more in paying winners than I had made by far. I hardly had any people at the weigh in, and I had cooked 300 hamburgers for the crowd that I thought would come, snacks, drinks, door prizes, the works. After the weigh in and before the prizes were given out, I literally took a little walk away from everyone and cussed myself for messing this whole thing up. I felt I had failed our GOD. Maybe I hadn’t prayed enough, maybe I hadn’t listened enough, maybe I was acting too fast and not being still enough, maybe I had just literally gone crazy and GOD had told me nothing! I was a complete failure in my head and I wanted to shrink back to my RV and hide and literally iron my own hands.
I did believe that GOD wanted me to do a Jesus talk, devotional if you will, at the weigh in. Before the prizes were given out, I somehow barely summoned the courage enough to stay in the fight and complete the devotion. I had prepared the story of the thief on the cross. I explained how easy it truly was to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and be saved for all eternity in heaven. The thief on the cross wasn’t baptized, didn’t speak in a tongue, wasn’t a member of a brick and mortar church, wasn’t a member of a church committee, didn’t study his Bible, hardly had any good fruit, other than at that exact moment taking up for our Jesus. He did, however, receive eternal life with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, in heaven that day. Another thing, Jesus did not remove him from that cross. Think about that.
After the devotional was finished I stated if anyone has never asked Jesus into their heart to be Lord and Savior, please come see me and we’ll pray for that. Soon after prizes were given out a young man walked up to me and stated he believed in our living GOD, his son, Jesus Christ, that Jesus had died on a cross for our sins and arose on the third day, that he was a sinner and needed forgiveness of those sins, and that he wanted a personal relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior of his life. I lead him through a prayer for all of that. That young man was saved by our Jesus for all eternity that day.
As soon as that happened, I realized how stupid I had been. I was grading this whole bass tournament on worldly things like money and numbers of contestants, when our Living God only had his sights set on one young man’s life! I was a total idiot. That story changed my whole outlook on this ministry that GOD has given me and my whole outlook on lots of “CHURCHY” things that we just do not get right.
I so apologized for my attitude to our living GOD that day and I have never looked back from that moment in time. I just say “YES” to our living GOD like a true soldier and move on. Like I used to do when I was a soldier in the U. S. Army. Like I used to do as a member of a FBI SWAT team that had a hierarchy and you had to take orders whatever they might be and move forward with a “YES SIR” to your team leader.
A couple Saturdays ago, April 29, 2023, we had our 2nd annual Webster Parish Men of Courage Bass Tournament. We had over 50 teams enter. We had all the prize money and door prizes covered from the start. We had over 125 men and women, some that didn’t even fish come to the weigh in at Camp Courage on the shores of beautiful Lake Bistineau. We gave out 150 hamburgers, and most importantly we talked about Jesus to all of those people between the weigh in and the prizes given out. True seeds were planted in futile ground to men that fish a lot on Sundays and may not actively participate in a brick and mortar church setting. If they will not come to a brick and mortar church then our GOD is telling me to leave the 99 at the brick and mortar church and go get the one, or the ten, or the thousand that are truly outside the walls of the brick and mortar church.
I will say “YES SIR” every single time till GOD calls me home.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Chris Plants is a founding member of Webster Parish Men of Courage. Their mission is to encourage, equip, and empower the Men of God to become spiritual leaders in their home, local church, community, and workplace. Webster Parish is now home to a Women of Courage chapter as well as Families of Courage.)