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Posts Tagged ‘season’

Fruitful pic

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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25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man wasjust and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. – Luke 2:25-26

36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. – Luke 2:36-38

Several years ago, I was at a conference with some faith-based leaders and clergy, where one of the breakout sessions placed us in small groups.  There some serious big named theologians and pastors in the small group that I ended up with, but I dare not share any names.  As we entered our brainstorming on our given topic, some discussion came up about the Advent.  The term was repeatedly thrown around and discussed by some, but others simply sat and stared in confusion.  Finally, one of the brethren leaned over and whispered in curiosity, “What is this Advent thing?” I smiled and whispered back,”They’re talking upon Christmas and the arrival of Christ on the scene.  That’s what they mean.” He smiled and eventually joined in the brainstorming session with the rest of us.

Christ’s arrival was an anticipated event.  It had been prophesied.  It had been preached.  It had been predicted.  It had been planned.  It had been purposed.

We have given it many names:

  • Advent
  • Birth of the Lord
  • Nativity
  • Christmas

We have come to look for Christmas as a season rather than a fulfillment of God’s plan.  We struggle and fight with the world to put Christ back into Christmas, erasing and eradicating the marketplace of X-Mas.  We have regulated our recognition of Christmas as a time for doing good works for the poor and needy rather than proclaiming the Good News of His arrival and eventual return.

What if we took on the zeal and dedication of a Simeon and Anna?

What if we did as the psalmist instructed and “waited patiently on the Lord?”

How about we change the scenario and flip the script this Christmas season?

Let’s Speak Christ 

We ought to let our words share about Christ.  We should preach and proclaim Him and His redemptive acts over and over again all throughout this season.  Say something about Him and for Him.

Let’s Show Christ

Believers are unique because they act on their belief.  Let’s go there with folks.  Let’s show the world that we are serious about our beliefs and put them into action.  Giving and helping are not seasonal activities for feeling good about what we have done.  We are to practice good works continually.  Let’s be more like Christ like and do more activities like Christ would do while we are on this earth.

Let’s Serve Christ

We do not do good because we are so good.  We do good because we serve a master who has been so good to us that we cannot help but serve Him for our entire lives while covered by the grace of His blood.  He’s been to good to us.  He’s done too much for us.  Serve our Lord with gladness and with fear and trembling.

Everyone wasn’t waiting for the Christ, the Anointed One, or the Messiah, the Anticipated One.  Some folks had just given up hope.  It had been too long to ever happen in their time.  Look at Simeon and Anna.  They held on and held fast.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
– Matthew 5:14-16

Jesus called it as He saw it.  He was straight forward and straight up about many things.

Yeah, He oftentimes used parables to teach the people.  What He was doing was using something that people were familiar with or understood well to share a life lesson in a subtle manner.

But He was usually straight out about things.

Ye are the light of the world. . .

The light of the world is a twofold metaphor.

The Light is Seen by Others

If we are the light of the world, then we should be shining as the light.  That’s the nature of light.  Light shines.  Jesus shared for us to live as the light and not hide our light under a bushel.

The Light Helps Others to See

. . . it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Others can see when you act as the light.  Others can see when you live as the light.  Others can see when you let your light so shine.

When you living as the light of the world, you can shine brightly and help others see the Truth and the Way.

 

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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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Your Season

1There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under heaven:

2a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

4a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

-Ecc. 3:1-8 (NIV)

… a time to every purpose under the heaven –Ecc. 3:1 (KJV)

Everything has its season.  In its season it flourishes and becomes fruitful.  God determines every season.  It’s not Mother Nature or Mother Earth.  God, the Creator, determines what is the purpose for each season.  He determines the timing of each season.  It is up to God, not up to us.

Solomon was the wisest man ever.  He prayed for wisdom to lead God’s people and God bestowed a blessing of wisdom upon him.  Ecclesiastes is a book of wisdom penned by Solomon after he observed the ways of  men and the way of life.  He wrote his observations and shared about wisdom and folly, even vanity.  He discovered that wisdom outweighs folly.  He shared God’s way as a way of life.

Stay the course with God.  He is way is perfect.  He will lead and guide you in the right direction.  In due season, it will be revealed.  God will speak through His Word.  He will provide us confirmation through His own special way.

We must recall that this fact is about everything.  Everything has a season.  For every activity under the sun, there is a God-given season.  For every purpose, God shares that there is a season.  It all must fit into God’s plan.  It all must serve God’s purpose.  It must fall into God’s perfect timing.  God controls it all.  Wait on the Lord for your season.

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