This happened to me in a way that profoundly changed who I thought I was as a Christian. It happened so quickly, I didn’t even realize it was taking place. I was at the very first Custom Boat Shootout fishing out of Chub Cay. Bluewater Brotherhood was still relatively new to most crews and I was a greenhorn when it came to public speaking and sharing my faith publicly.
Tournament committees can be lumped with state and federal governments as far as separating religion from their own agendas and political correctness. Whenever I was fortunate enough to crew on a boat participating in a tournament, my first move was asking permission from the committee and marina management to share the BWB with the competing boats. They did not want to be associated with that activity what so ever. However, during this Custom Boat Shootout, I was crewing on the tournament director’s boat. He gave me an open door to share, no boundaries! I decided to get the local pastor to come and offer a prayer and give a short message to open up the captain’s meeting. For those of you who are NASCAR fans, you are very familiar with this protocol before every race. Well, the pastor also doubles as the island airport taxi driver and got tied up at the airport. He would not be able to open up the captain’s meeting. So here was my chance to represent Christ and talk about the BWB, but I choked. The voices in my head of doubt and peer criticisms over whelmed me. I chickened out and gave in to fear, pride and ego. No Courage, no prayer and no devotion!
That evening the denial hit me hard. What did I do? I am such a hypocrite! It’s easy to talk the talk when you are amongst fellow believers. But to share your faith publicly is a whole new ball game. The apostle Peter spoke with boldness amongst the other disciples, but when it came time to stand for Jesus he caved in to fear.
Luke 22:31-34 New King James Version
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
33 But he (Peter) said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
Luke 22:54-62 New King James Version
Peter Denies Jesus, and Weeps Bitterly
54 Having arrested Him (Jesus), they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance. 55 Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.”
57 But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”
58 And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.”
But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”
59 Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”
60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!”
Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
I know exactly how Peter felt. I denied Jesus in just a different way, yet we did the same thing. We let Jesus down. I was fearful of what other people would think of me representing Jesus. Jesus went to the cross for me and I can’t even say a few words on His behalf! That is sad.
When fear is present, courage is needed to battle the fear. God knew we would have this war within, even in this present age. The Bible speaks quite often about fear and courage.
Matthew 10:31-33 English Standard Version
31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Joshua 1:9 English Standard Version
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Isaiah 41:10 English Standard Version
10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Deuteronomy 31:6 English Standard Version
6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Proverbs 30:5 New King James Version
5 Every word of God is pure;
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
We need to stay in the Word daily. We need to Trust His Word. Church, Bible study, daily devotions and daily prayer help strengthen our Walk. Just like exercising with weights, the more you work out the stronger you get. As soon as you stop or get lazy you become weak. I can tell you that you do not want to experience the emotions of letting God down in such a public way. But thank God He is forgiving and merciful and full of Grace.
Since the denial, I have shared BWB and prayed before my fellow captains and mates. It wasn’t easy. The conflict continues. Meeting other crews who know Jesus is an encouragement that is priceless.
Life’s Short, Fish Hard, Pray Harder
Tips: The Bible—Don’t leave home or the dock without it!!