Why Do I Keep Coming Up Empty?

Young pastors in Ventura preaching about Jesus on a windy day

Why Do I Keep Coming Up Empty?

Ever feel like you’re doing everything you know to do, but it just doesn’t amount to anything? Or what your trying to get never materializes? Sometimes we can find ourselves close to Jesus and still feel like our nets are empty. Listen to this message and build your faith to fill your nets. This is the message “Empty Nets” in our Change Your City series. Follow along here:

Luke 5:1-11

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

1. The Shallows vs The Depths

  • Shallows – Where Jesus speaks to us
  • The depths – Where Jesus calls us to action

James 2:14-17

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 4:17

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Doing Life Together – 

What is your depth with Jesus? What is He calling you to take action on?

Luke 5:1-11

3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

In the shallows and the depths there was Jesus, Peter, and a pile of empty nets.

A continual empty net is an indicator that you need to move from the shallows to the depths

If you feel like you are unproductive, if you are missing something even though you have Jesus. I challenge you to move to the depths like Peter and Jesus; and take action on the word of God. Take action on what the Holy Spirit is speaking to you about.

You might say but I’ve tried before and it didn’t work…in order to change your city…. you gotta try again.

Luke 5:1-11

5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

Your faith-lead actions in changing your city will inspire others to do that same.

2. What does it take to be a successful fisherman?

5 Skills all fishermen need (and we need to change our city):

    1. Navigate the seas – position ourselves to fish where the fish are at.
    2. Catching fish – know what tool to use for the situation. How to communicate with our friends, family, neighbors, co workers….
    3. Prepare the fish – they had to salt and brine the fish to last the journey. Are we equipping and our loved ones to last the journey of life?
    4. Export the fish – are we discipling our fish/family/friends to go change their cities?
    5. Repeat – keep fishing.

Next Steps – Which part of the fisherman’s step are you on? Finish your step and move onto the next one.