Archive for September, 2014

Sowing the Seed

Posted: September 21, 2014 in Uncategorized
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One day Jesus was sitting by the lake, and as people noticed him they started to gather around. Eventually it got to a point he realised there was no room for him, so he called over to one of his disciples and they got into a boat and pulled away from the shore a little. As he sat there in the boat people sat down on the shore of the lake and he began speaking to them in parables.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 2.12.35 pmBeyond the people who were sitting at the side of the lake Jesus could see a farmer on the hillside in the distance. He had a bag of seed hanging by his side and as he walked along he would reach into his bag and grab a handful of seed and scatter it.

So he said to the crowd: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was walking along in his paddock, scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some of the people were nodding their head. They knew what it was like to scatter the seed and to see the wood pigeons flying down behind them and eating them. He went on: Some fell on rocky places, where it didn’t have much soil. It began to grow, but when the sun came up, the plants just withered away. Other seed fell among weeds and they grew up and choked the plants. But some seed fell on good soil, where it produced an amazing crop.

Some time later the disciples came to Jesus to ask him why he spoke in parables. It was almost as if they had missed the point themselves. They were asking him about the process of speaking in parables, rather than asking him about the meaning of the parable itself. So Jesus had to explain what he had been saying to the crowd.

He said to his disciples: You see, when anyone hears the message about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path, he explained. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and initially receives it with joy but they haven’t put down any roots and they last only a short time. When difficulties come they fall away.

The seed falling among the weeds refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it fails to grow. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. And the word of God dwells in them and produces a great result.

Perhaps you’ve heard God’s Word explained in songs, you’ve heard the Bible read, or you’ve been to church, but what was the result of what you heard?

Perhaps the idea of following Jesus just seems too hard. There’s so much else to do, so many pressures that reading the Bible or going to church doesn’t really fit your schedule. Perhaps you’ve been a follower of Jesus in the past, but somehow it doesn’t seem to work for you any more.

I think when Jesus was telling this story he knew that there would be people who were listening to him, who could identify where they fitted into the story. But he was showing that there is still opportunity for seed to fall on good soil and produce amazing results.

I’d encourage you to help that seed to germinate right now. Read the Bible for yourself. Find someone you can talk to. Find a church where you can begin to water that seed and feed it and experience God’s growth in your life.

 

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Here’s another post in my “Amazing Meetings” series. It’s an interview with a woman who  had an amazing meeting with Jesus. Have a read:

Hello, thanks for the opportunity to meet with you. You had an amazing meeting with Jesus. I wonder if you could start at the beginning and tell me why you wanted to catch up with Jesus in the first place.

I had been sick for 12 years – women’s problems, you know. Been to dozens of doctors who charged like wounded bulls. I was broke from spending everything on doctors and alternative medicine and anything I could get my hands on. I was still sick despite all this and I’d really got to the end of my tether.

So what made you think Jesus could do any better than all these doctors?

I really didn’t know if he could. But I’d heard the stories about him, and I was desperate. He was pretty popular at the time, lots of people followed him around, so I thought, if I could sneak through the crowds, touch his clothes, some of the magic might brush off on me.  Nobody would notice me doing that. Nothing lost, nothing gained. Who cared about me anyway?

What do you mean by that?

I’m a woman. All my life I’d been told that women were only for one thing and with the bleeding I was having, no man would be interested in me anyway.  In fact, not even religion was working for me. They had this rule in the temple that anyone who was bleeding was considered unclean. I wasn’t allowed at the temple. I was a nobody and nobody cared.

So you went down to the market to see Jesus and there was a big crowd of people gathered round him.  Did you do what you planned, to sneak up behind him?

Yes, it was easy. There were so many people I could just push through and get real close to him and touch his coat.  I was desperate and probably a bit skeptical as well, but with all I heard about Jesus I was prepared to give it a go.

What happened when you touched Jesus coat?

I got the shock of my life. Here he was busy with all these people and suddenly he turns around and say: Who touched me?  His friends who were there with him kind of laughed. You’ve got all these people crowded around and you want to know who touched you? You’ve got to be joking, they were saying.

Did Jesus say anything else?

Yes, he did say something else. He said someone had touched him and he felt power going out from him.

What did you do?

Well, I was going to get out as quick as possible, but there was something in his eyes. I just knew that he really accepted me as I was. I couldn’t run, so I fell down at his knees and he told me that I could go in peace, my faith had healed me. Then I had this amazing feeling.  I had felt weak all my life, not just because of my sickness, but just that nobody cared for me. Like I said before, I was a nobody.

All of a sudden I felt different. Jesus cared for me even though I was a woman, even though I was sick, even though I was probably the least important person in the crowd. I had never felt anything like this before.

What do you think he meant when he said he felt power had gone out of him?

Well that was what was so amazing. The power had come to me. I felt straight away that I had been healed physically, but having felt like nobody cared for me all my life, there was something else that was even more important. The power that came from Jesus all of a sudden gave me a sense of being loved, of being needed, of being a somebody for the first time in my life.

You were empowered by Jesus to be the person you were meant to be?

Absolutely. For the first time in my life I felt that I had a purpose in life, a reason to live, and somebody cared. I would recommend Jesus to anyone.

Thanks so much for telling your story.

You can read the story in the Bible for yourself at Matthew 9:20-21; Mark 5: 24-37; Luke 8:43-48

I had a birthday this year. I’m not letting on, but it was a big one. One with a zero. Hitting those milestones in life seems to make you want to pause for a moment and consider where you’ve come from. It’s a time to look back on life.

Sometimes when we look back there are regrets and disappointments. But I reckon there’s real value in looking back and asking the question, what have been the building blocks in my life.

legoA new generation of children have been inspired by Lego building blocks with the release early this year of the Lego movie. But surprising as it may seem Lego blocks have been around since 1949. There’s not too many of us who haven’t played with lego blocks at some stage.

When you play with lego blocks you know that as they clip into each other the strength of what you’re building increases. Just putting them side by side isn’t much value. But clipping them together produces something that is creative and strong.

 

As you look back on your life what sort of building blocks have you contributed and how have they clipped together? Relationships are the key building blocks and it’s good to look back and see how you have contributed to the life of someone else, and perhaps helped to establish new relationships.

We’ve all made mistakes in the past, but instead of looking back with regret think about the building blocks that you have contributed to in the past. And give thanks for those people who you have known and the relationships shared.

But don’t stop there. No matter how old you are, there’s still time to put new building blocks together. Here are some people who I’ve heard about who began putting building blocks together late in life. The Earl of Halsburg was 90 when he began preparing a 20-volume revision of English Law. Galileo made his greatest discovery when he was 73. At 69 Hudson Taylor was still vigorously at work as a missionary opening up new territories in IndoChina.

In our youth the building blocks that are important to us are those that help us to grow as individuals. We establish families and careers, we learn new skills, and we travel and explore and add to our knowledge and wisdom.

But late in life it’s possible that people will say, oh I’m too old. There’s not much that I can do now. I’d like to encourage those who are older to think about how they can build into the lives of others and particularly children and young people.

As you share your experiences and wisdom you’re making a contribution to the building blocks of those with whom you have shared.

Getting older can be challenging, but it’s also an opportunity to ask how you can contribute to the lives of others. God wouldn’t have allowed you to stay on this earth if he didn’t have something worthwhile for you to accomplish.

Find it and start building.