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Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

    by Tom Kelley

Old School Fishing in a Modern Lake
Date Posted: March 28, 2024

I play a sport that a lot of people give up due to the frustration of playing it. That would be golf; a sport that has been known to leave strong men muttering to themselves under their breath and women talking like men. However, the sport that leaves me the most frustrated is the one that I stopped "enjoying" when I decided to take up golf. That would be fishing; of the "jerk on one end waiting for the jerk on the other end." I have basically been the jerk on one end.

I don't know what it is that frustrates me so about it now. I guess the memories of the times that my dad and I went out and returned with a stringer full of fish that we cleaned and ate has kind of sullied my thinking toward the more modern concepts of fishing. I was raised throwing a worm laden line into a creek from the bank and seeing all kinds of action. Nice big bluegills (or sunfish as some folks have been known to call them if their coloration is light) and catfish used to be my staples.

Nowadays everyone is charged up about the big bass. They will fish for hours without a strike and call it a great day on the lake. Why if my dad and I didn't bring home supper we felt completely defeated. That must be the difference between sport fishermen and just plain old fishermen. One is fishing for fun while the other actually wants to eat some fish. I wonder how the fishermen of old would get along today? Andrew, Peter, James and John would probably be driven to distraction today.

They fished for the food aspect of it and also for the commercial aspect of it. Whatever they didn't need for food they sold. Can you see them on a boat with Bill Dance? Bill: "Sonar shows a huge school of bass ahead." Pete and the boys: "Wonderful! Let's throw out the net." Bill: "Net? No way. You put a crank bait on the end of that line and you make this a sporting issue." Pete: "Sporting issue. This is a food issue. This is how we make a living." Bill: "So do I." Pete: "Huh? By catching one fish?"

Jesus one time told this same group of men, albeit minus Bill Dance, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19 They took their concept of fishing and used it for evangelism. They chummed the waters and then let down the net of the call of salvation through Jesus Christ. First three thousand then two thousand more. The numbers grew of those whose lives were being caught in the net of salvation. It begs the question. Are we today using the modern method of one line and only looking for our "target group"? Or have we chummed the waters with God's love and then cast the net to catch as many as possible before Jesus returns?

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"Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life" from Tom Kelley

Life's Refreshing Breeze

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Biography Information:
Tom Kelley, pastor, speaker, lived with his wife, Becky, in Georgetown, Kentucky

...He was the Minister of the Minorsville Christian Church located near Stamping Ground, KY.

...Becky and Tom have three children; John, single and in worship ministry in Nicholasville, Kentucky; Sean, married (Jennifer, elementary school teacher) with twins (Grace and Patrick, b.d. 10/31/04) and regional director of Papa John's Pizza in Central KY; Kara, married (Vince Taylor, prison guard) and working with Hospice East in Winchester, KY.

...Tom went to be with the Lord on November 13, 2009 after a lengthy battle with cancer. If you have been touched by Tom's writings please send an email to Tom's son at
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