Sermon Study Guide – St. Thomas’ Church, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador


(Date: 22 Jan 2012)   “Go Fish!”                 Jonah 3:1-5,10; Mark 1:14-20


  1. Many of us know the game “Go fish!” A lot of people think evangelism- fishing for people- is like “Go fish”. Whoever gets the most cards (souls) wins! In the card game the objective is to win: to have the most sets of cards. In human fishing, God does want to have more fish but it isn’t in order for Him to win but for us to win. Imagine a card game where the cards are the winners! That’s the way God plays. That’s the way God fishes- not to gobble up the fish but to give the fish greater freedom and fullness of life! Why do we avoid being fished in by God? Why is it hard to imagine being fished for can be a good thing? Why do we have such trouble “fishing for people”?



Leader’s Guide:

Jonah liked his cozy relationship with God. He was a Jew- God’s chosen people. he was in and everybody else was out- Jew good. Gentile bad. Keep them out was his version of the good news. Especially true when they were as awful as the Ninevites- enemies of the Jews. Crushed the people, etc. But God wanted the Ninevites to change their ways because He wanted more for them not just because He wanted more followers. He gave them an ultimatum and they agreed. They turned around and changed their minds. So God also changed His mind about punishing them. God takes no joy in sending us up to our rooms (punishing us). If we amend our behaviour then He wants what we want- He wants us to remain downstairs with the family enjoying the meal together. Do you believe that? Did you ever want to be sent to your room? Why? Any parallels with gospel fishing?



  1. God doesn’t fish for fishers- he fishes for people but then offers to make us like Him and turn us into fishers as well.. God likes to share and he likes to share sharing. He shares His life with us so that we can share it with others- Jesus trains His disciples how to fish so that we can know the joy of fishing. Do you know anyone that likes fishing? Why do they like it? What enjoyment could God have in fishing for souls? What possible enjoyment could we have in evangelism?



Leader’s Guide:

Have you herd the expression “cat herding”? What does it mean to you? Could there be joy in cat-herding? Isn’t it just frustration and head-aches? But what joy when the cat chooses to come! How wonderful when one (totally independent minded) sinner repents. Jesus says there is great joy in heaven when one person, going the wrong way, decides to turn around and go in the right way, instead. Imagine the joy in heaven when the whole city of Nineveh turned around! Imagine if everyone in St. John’s allowed themselves to be drawn to Jesus and then allowed Jesus to use them to draw others to the Father through Him? Is the evident frustration ever worth the possible joy? How does that saying go?…”Enduring beacons drawing all closer to Jesus Christ”?



This is the middle of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Jesus prayed for the unity of the Church so that the world might believe in God (John 17:20,21). Why do we pray with so little obvious effect? Is the work of Christian unity a little like cat-herding? Look at the Annual Work Plan for the parish. Is there anything there that speaks to you, or which God can use to improve your fishing skills?


O GOD the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all enmity and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may henceforth be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.