My name is Chris Wells, but I am known as the Bass Chaplain. What that means is I am a minister to professional anglers. My duties range from teaching Bible studies, praying with anglers and their families, to serving in any way that is needed on the Bassmaster Elite Series. I try to provide opportunities for faith, hope and love to be experienced on the professional tour. During this trying situation in our country, I wanted to share a message with the entire fishing family.
But first, you may be wondering how I became the Bass Chaplain. My fishing life started by walking the banks of the Santee Cooper Reservoir in South Carolina. When I was growing up, all of my heroes were bass pros. I’m a huge fan.
I was called into the ministry while in college and went on to study at Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Later I served as a youth pastor for more than 15 years. In 2004 I started a full-time speaking ministry for fishermen and hunters with the goal of leading sportsmen into authentic relationships with God. I speak in churches all over the country with an emphasis on men’s ministry. I have spoken at more than 1,300 wild game and sportsmen’s banquets in more than 40 states.
The bass fishing world along with everyone else is living through some very uncertain times. However we can all be certain that nothing has taken God by surprise. From the beginning of time He always has a way of taking things that look to be worst-case scenarios and working them for good. The Psalmist in Psalm 46 said it this way: “God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in time of trouble.” This God in the New Testament hangs out with fishermen, heals the sick and runs to those who call His name. I want to encourage you to have hope, spend time with your family, love your neighbors, pray for one another, care for the sick and have faith.
This season B.A.S.S. allowed us to give a Bible to each angler. The Bible has the name of the Elite Series pro printed on the front cover. It’s a significant gift because I believe the Bible speaks to real life. It is unlike any other book that has ever been written and conveys God’s love and concern for the world. It can bring peace and comfort in the heart of the storms of our lives.
In the book of Matthew chapter 14, Jesus has been preaching and teaching near the lake. He sends his disciples, most of whom are professional fishermen in their own right, ahead of him while he prays. As the disciples push off in their boat a storm comes upon them. They are a good distance from land, and the waves are crashing into the boat, then they see an amazing thing. Verse 25 says Jesus comes to them walking on the water. They were terrified and began to cry out in fear. I mean who wouldn’t be right?
However Jesus immediately calls to them “Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.” Peter calls out to the Lord and says, “If it's you, tell me to come to you on the water.” In my mind what Jesus says next, he says with a smile. “Come,” he said. Then Peter gets out of the boat and walks on the water, but when he notices the wind he was afraid and began to sink. At that moment Peter calls out to Jesus, and the Bible says, immediately Jesus reached out his hands and caught him! Peter messed up when he took his eyes off Jesus and began to look at his surroundings. The amazing part is when Peter calls out, Jesus responds! We tend to get down on Peter for falling, but in reality we all tend to let the circumstances take our eyes off Jesus. Christ brought Peter through that crisis, and in the end, Peter was the only disciple that knows what it's like to walk on water. The message for all of us is, if you trust in the Lord, he will bring your through your own trials.
We are currently living in a world where everything we have counted on has been turned upside down. The security, comfort and familiarity of our usual routines have been suspended for an undetermined amount of time. It seems the only constant we have is our relationships. As the Bass Chaplain I want to give you a message of hope. Relationships, ultimately, are what really matter. Our relationships with family and friends, and our relationship with God, are the most important things we have.
It may be that God has given us a moment to think about being a better husband, wife, mom or dad. Or maybe He’s given us a moment to think about our relationship with Him. He went to great lengths to establish that relationship. He sent his son to live a perfect life for imperfect people. He died a death we deserved to die. Then he came back to life enabling us to turn to him and enter into the most important relationship of all. His hope is real. If you would ever like to talk about faith, or if I can help you in any way please contact me at, [email protected].