Sunday, September 2, 2007
A pretty good church
So what makes a pretty good church? Discoveries along the way? 1. We began to understand…evangelism is a process?
If you want a harvest, you must sow many seeds.
See Mark 4:15-16 Jesus said, 'Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.' Later He said, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.' When challenged by His disciples He then added, 'Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?'
He went on to explain the parable. In short, the sowers are men, the seeds are God’s words and the four soils are the hearts of men and women at various degrees of readiness.
Later, He continued to explain the Kingdom of God and described how the seed grew. The seed, when planted, matured and produced grain by the All By Itself Principle.
He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain-- first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come." Mk 4:1-29 NIV
The seeds we sow can be defined by what we do: our actions, and by what we say:our words, and how we relate to the people within our sphere of influence: our attitudes.
We sow seeds by actively serving our way into the heart of our community. We find a need and seek to meet it. We see a hurt and seek to bring some relief the pain. It might be a cold drink on a hot day, to quench someone’s thirst or feeding the homeless helping them be filled, or by praying for the emotionally wounded bringing encouragement and hope.
Sowing is hard work...consistency is the key...day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year.
...Jesus said, 'I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.' John 4:38 NIV
Most of the time the seeds we sow don't spring up in a day, sometimes it takes weeks, months, or years to see the harvest. It is a spiritual principle foundational to outward focus and outflow.
What we sow into our lives will bear fruit someday...That's why it is important to continually sow positive, good things into our into the core of our lives. Positive inflow=positive outflow.
It is also why it is important to sow seeds into the lives of the people in our communities...the principle: no sowing, no harvest.
A few weeks ago we went out to a low income housing area with mainly a bunch of guys, out of the 25 people who showed up only four were women. We delivered groceries and offered prayer. At one door one a single mom with 4 kids opened the door...she burst into tears...she didn't have any food to last that week...When she was prayed for she sobbed. At 5 pm a van drove up in our parking lot. I noticed a lady looking lost so I went and greeted the lady and the 4 kids in the van. It turns out she was the lady. She had been so moved by her experience she felt she just had to come and see who we were. She also said thanks. She cried again as I prayed for her and her kids.
It is moving when something like this happens...it's not the norm.
Most of the time the seed we sow is hidden in the ground of a persons heart. How it grows? Nobody really knows, it is a mystery.
Watering Planted Seeds
I was washing my car yesterday. A guy pulls up in a truck. He then gets out asks me about the house next door. He mentions his parents are returning from Vietnam that night, they are missionaries. I noticed he was a searching, needy guy. After our lengthy conversation about lawn care I asked if I could pray for him. Startled he agreed. I grabbed his hand and prayed blessing prayers over his life, that God would crown him with favor just as God had given favor to his mom and dad and family, that God would provide for him, that God would open doors for him. At the end of the prayer he said, 'You know, you're not the only person who has prayed for me lately.'
My job, your job, is to fling seeds of kindness, by our actions, through our words and by our attitudes and to water the seeds already sown into the hearts of men. God brings the increase.
A pretty good church is a seed sowing church.