Bob and Claire Goodwin





Mailing Address: P. O. Box 568   Livingston, Texas  77351     Phone: 412-735-3539

with a burden for

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By Claire H. Goodwin

Years ago when I was full-time Youth Director at Broadway Assembly in Lorain, Ohio,  Pastor K. A. Smith was emphatic about taking a day off each week.  We had between seven and eight hundred people in church in those days, and we worked very hard. Monday was that big day off. Sometimes I went out on Lake Erie in a little motor boat with Brother and Sister Smith. 

Fishing was a new experience for me, but it was never more exciting than the day we went through a school of fish and I started pulling up four fish at a time.  Slowly dragging two sets of double hooks close to the bottom of the lake, I would feel one bite, then another, and if I was patient and careful, there would be another, and maybe even that fourth bite. Wow! (What other word describes utter amazement for a New York City grown girl?) Imagine pulling up four fish at one time!

 However, those fish were soon scaled, fried and devoured.

What if the fish you caught could last forever? That was the profound strategy of the greatest fisherman of the universe. He revealed his unique plan to His followers: just “follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” The product of this kind of fishing was eternal souls. When was the last time you cast a spiritual hook to catch an eternal soul, or maybe four souls at once?


These kind of fish are everywhere.  You don’t have to get in a boat to find them, or even be near water. 

I once found two on a hillside outside their dilapidated, see-through shack in Medway, Maine.  Airy was working on his falling-apart jalopy as his timid wife, Mildred, stood at his side.  That was when my friend Judy and I showed up on a mission. We planned to cast nets, and hooks, and bait all over that New England town, where my father was pioneering a church.  The Lord had sent us and these were the first people we found after leaving our place of prayer and preparation.  Airy had whiskers that stuck straight out and his unbathed appearance added more intrigue to the fact that every time I ever saw him he was wearing the same clothes.  Airy had a reputation for his drinking and vile mouth. 

 Does Jesus care about people like this? 

We thought so, and even though we were totally inexperienced, we began to speak the soul-winning conversation we had actually memorized from a book.  You can’t understand the shock we felt when both responded positively and wanted to get saved. Jesus came to seek and to save people like Airy and Mildred, and like you.  His spirit demonstrated that the passion of His life was evangelism.  It was His heart-throb. Winning souls was the purpose of His existence as Divinity wrapped in flesh.

Just get up off your chair and walk with this Great Fisher of Men for a little while. 

Listen to Him as he amazes the crowd with His words, heals the sick and casts out many devils. O.K. You can go back to you chair now as he finds a little time to sleep, but get up quickly and follow Him again as he rises very early, a “great while before day.” Follow Him through the dark early morning out to a solitary place, away from everyone. What is He doing here? Look!  He’s kneeling. He’s looking up toward heaven. Shhh! Listen!  He’s praying to his Father.  If He needs this, how much more do we, if we want His kind of burden.  Dawn has broken through the darkness now, and you very quickly catch the thrust of His vision as He says to His disciples: “Let us go into the next towns that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.” (Mark 1:38) There are still multitudes to reach. He can’t stop here. Are you ready to go with Him today?

Everywhere your feet go is your mission field.

Jesus said, “As my father hath sent me, even so send I you.”  You are sent!  You are commissioned. “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) Are you “In commission”, in active service, in usable condition? Or are you “Out-of-Commission,”  not in active service, not in usable condition?  Souls are dying, men are crying. Won’t you lead them to the cross?

 They are everywhere and you can reach them.

They are your neighbors, your cousins, the man at the gas station, the waitress down town. If you don’t reach them, who will – the Mormons, the Jehovah Witnesses, some other cult? Will you commit yourself to a renewed determination to do more to witness, give out tracts, use your phone and letters to tell people about the Lord?

You can do it, in Jesus’ name!