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Posts Tagged ‘patience’

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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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Patience is more than endurance.– Oswald Chambers

Knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience.- James 1:3 (ASV)

Patience can present a problem. Patience becomes a problem when it leads to pitfalls. You have to be careful to exercise patience to the right degree in the right situation.

Do not allow your patience to turn into:

  • Passivity
  • Pessimism
  • Procrastination

Keep your patience in proper perspective.  Do not allow your patience become a pitfall that lets you fall into a problematic trap.

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And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

You’re getting nowhere with your plans.  Yes, God gave you the vision.  You have prayed and sought counsel on the matter.  You have even shared the vision with others. And, alas, nothing has transpired.  You have put forth a lot of effort and energy.  You have exhausted all of your resources and you still appear to be getting nowhere.

The problem may not exist with the action plan and the timeline.  It may not be related to the multimedia presentations of PowerPoint after PowerPoint and message after message. It may simply boil down to fundamental flaw.  There may be an issue of faith.

The Word shares that it is impossible to please God without faith.  Is God pleased? Are you remaining faithful? Is it still on your prayer list? Have you checked back in with God… and heard from Him?

We are to walk by faith.  That is how we are to approach all matters- in, by and with faith.  Yet, discouragement feeds into doubt, and then doubt leads us to becoming dispondent and we eventually start forgetting to hold on with faith.  Don’t let that become your story’s ending.  Remain faithful and stay patient.  There is an unspeakable joy awaiting those who wait upon the Lord.

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.- Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)

  • But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength: Waiting and trusting the Lord will find “new strength.” The lord can strengthen you for what it is to come.  Let your waiting lead to your preparation as the Lord strengthens you.
  • They will soar high on wings like eagles: Let God take you to new heights and expand your horizons.  Perhaps, if you think about it deeply, God wants you to do more than what you initially set out to do.  This may be another phase to what God wants you to do His name and among His people.  Go where He takes you and extend the limits of your imagination above the haters and critics.
  • They will run and not grow weary: Focus on staying the course and picking up the pace, not dropping out of the race.  God’s promise is that you “will run and not grow weary.” Weariness leads to becoming worn out and wiped out.  Keep going in faith.
  • They will walk and not faint: Walk in faith.  Do not get faint, especially faint-hearted.  Step out in faith, taking every step on the promises of God.  When you can’t run, walk.  Just keep progressing towards what God has for you.  Every step, even the smallest and the slightest step, gets you closer to the goal.

Whether it is a building campaign or launching a new ministry or business that can’t seem to get off the ground or pick up momentum, wait on the Lord in faith.  Trust Him today.  Try to recall times when he provided and protected.  Most of all, recall and reclaim His promises.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.- Psalm 27:14 (KJV)

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