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Posts Tagged ‘fruitful’

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Photo by Lukas from Pexels

 

Earlier this with week, I started a YouTube Influence Challenge through Think Media#GrowWithVideo.  Sean Cannell  kicked the 7-day challenge off in Day 1 Session #1 by driving home some hard points that call for self reflection, but he was careful to state that making videos for YouTube also requires a formula. Heather Torres led Day 3 into a challenge to develop our own introductory videos using the “secret formula.” The point of this is real simple: even developing and posting videos to YouTube requires a formula.

Oftentimes, I hear the cake baking analogy to the point of exhaustion when it comes to the right ingredients or mix of items. Whether it be a Sunday sermon or a professional development Zoom meeting with PowerPoint slides shared, cake baking seems to be the way many explain what is needed to reach a point of success.

Jesus used a differed methodology during a different time. He used what people understood to teach a life lesson.  He shared allegorical stories called parables to capture attention and drive home a point. He mastered the teachable moment and made the most of the opportunity to teach a life-changing message on a miniature scale.

The parable of the sower offers a word picture of sowing seeds and the potential outcomes. The parable occurs in Matthew 13:1-9. Jesus shares it and ends it with “Whoever has ears, let them hear” in verse 9 according to the NIV.

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The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”              – Matthew 13:10 (NIV)

At some point His disciples want to know what’s behind the parables.  That is when Jesus opens the spiritual floodgates. He unleashes the formula for fruitful ministry through His explanation of the parable to His disciples in verses 18-23.

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. – Luke 8:11 (KJV)

Jesus broke down the faulty and failing, even fertile, hearts as the soil. The seed is identified as the word of God. The results vary based upon the conditions, the season. Rocky and thorny soil doesn’t allow the seed to take root. Thorny soil leaves folks in a condition where they “bring no fruit to perfection” (Luke 8:14, KJV). The seeds on the pathway are snatched up by the birds quickly, not even reaching the soil. It is the see that finds the “good ground” that is fruitful, “which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15, KJV).

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So, what’s the formula for fruitful ministry?

You need to sow the RIGHT SEED in the RIGHT SOIL in the RIGHT SEASON.

You can sow tirelessly under the wrong conditions and find no fruit. You can sow time and time again with no results due to it being the wrong kind of soil or the wrong season. You cannot force the fruit. Jesus said the right mix will “bring forth fruit with patience, according to the King James Version.

  • RIGHT SEED: Your ministry work must be rooted in the Bible, God’s Word. If your message is about anything else, it won’t take root in the soil of the heart.
  • RIGHT SOIL: You minister to the heart and soul of people. You do not win souls via debate and logic. You win souls based on the Spirit and the Word working on the heart of an unbeliever. Heartache and pain might have prepared the way. Disaster or disease might have readied the person to receive the message. Unemployment or a new normal via COVID-19 might have opened the heart to hear the message, but the soil has to be right and receptive.
  • RIGHT SEASON: You cannot force the fruit. Fruit emerges in its season. Psalm 1 speaks of a believer when it says: “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season” (verse 3, KJV). You do not determine when it’s fruit-bearing season. That’s God’s work. Like Paul one shared to the brothers and sisters of Corinth, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6, ESV). God gives the increase and He does so in the season in which He determines for it. Bringing forth fruit requires that patience Jesus mentioned.

Take this formula into consideration while you are ministering to others. It might not be the right season. Just remain patient. God can turn things around in His own timing. It might not be the right soil. If you do not feel like you are breaking ground and getting anywhere, you can continue to support and allow someone else the opportunity to be used by God in the situation. Imagine if God wanted you praying for the person (like Paul planted) and another was to step in and usher the person into the faith (like Apollos watered) , and then God would give the growth.

Finally, check yourself. You must keep the Word as the message. That is the right seed. Without the right seed, your ministry and its work will fall flat all of the time.  You might see some growth spurts but nothing will remain sustainable.

But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown (Matthew 13:23, NIV).

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For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a person may be weighed down by misery. – Ecclesiastes 8:6

The holidays are rolling in sooner than we may think.  You can believe that for sure.

Retailers will soon pull Halloween costumes and decorations off the shelves in order to replace them with Thanksgiving items and eventually Christmas goodies.  The streets of major metropolitan areas will adorn themselves with seasonal themes and decorations, even lights on palm trees out here in California. 

So what is a Christian to do?

Let us spark good works in one another (Hebrews 10:24).  Keep things going for the good, not just to keep things going or to keep us busy.  Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:1 tell us: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Now is the season to put into practice what can actually help folks beyond photo opportunities, lip service, campaign stunts or public relations.  Paul instructed Titus on how our people should learn to do good works unless they are to be considered “unfruitful” according to the New International Version.

This holiday season can be the time where you can support the work of others such as local charities.  Or, you can make a difference on your own with friends and family.  The key to doing good is that it does some good for someone other than you.  It is about giving of what you have or what you are able to do rather than exchanging gifts and pleasantries.  Beyond dropping a coin or bill into a bucket as you leave a store this holiday season, give someone your time, energy and ability through your availability as you make an impact on someone else’s life.

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