Move On!

9/26/2006 7:39 AM

Title: WHEN TO MOVE ON

S: Luke 9:5 NIV  If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.”

O: Jesus said there were definite times to move on.  You don’t have to linger after people and beg them to accept the Lord.  You don’t have to force them, manipulate them, etc.  Just preach and move on.

That seems to be where Jesus was with it all.  It seems to be where he was in regards to making things happen.  People would come to him, but he never forced them.  He never made them.

A: This is like our seminar going on right now.  There are always some REALLY INTERESTED and yet drop out anyway.  Are these, in regards to the parable of the soils, like the ones getting choked out (yesterday’s readings)?  But Jesus is saying, move on.  In other words, there are a lot of people we could chase down, but there are also a lot of people to still work with.  Spend you time in the most productive manner and let’s move on from those that aren’t going to be productive.  In other words, it’s time to move on and really listen to those who want to be worked with and spend time with them.

This is a good reminder for me today.  It’s a good reminder for me not to stress about those that aren’t coming along.  I stress about them and I grieve them.  I’m not sure Jesus didn’t grieve those too, but he moved on with a resoluteness that simply said I have enough to do as it is.  I’m sorry they aren’t coming along, but I have plenty to do to work with those who want to be worked with.

P: Lord, I pray for those that are continually coming.  I pray for those that are listening.  I pray for those that need to follow you and need to work with you.  I pray you will be with me and you will guide me.  I pray you will be with them and you will guide them.  I pray you will continue to reach out to them and give them an open mind and an open heart.

Please, Lord, fill them with the Holy Spirit.  Please guide them to listen to you.  Please make them able to hear your words above the din, above the storm, and above the fray of life.

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Soils and Growth

9/25/2006 7:13 AM

Title: SEED PLANTING

S: Luke 8:11-15 NIV   “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.   (12)  Those  along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.   (13)  Those  on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.   (14)  The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.   (15)  But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

O: Some people accept the word of God.  Some people don’t.  Some people want to, but the cares of life take it away from them.  Some people don’t have good soil to plant the seeds in.  Others do have good soil.

The job of the farmer is to plant everywhere and harvest what he can.

A: It’s interesting to read this at this time – right in the middle of the this reaping series with Byron Corbett.  Our numbers are down right now.  We only had 70 people on Saturday evening and 80 last night (Sunday).  But we had 50 adults at church this week and we had 33 decisions about the Sabbath last night, plus 30 decisions for baptism. 

I know enough, and have been around enough that some of those won’t come through, but it’s a great start.

But in this season of the church, this parable is exactly what is going on.  Some of the seed is falling on a hard path – people who really don’t absorb the message at all.  Other seed has fallen on the rocky ground – people who want it, but the thorns and thistles of life have overtaken them.  This is always sad to see.  But there is some falling on fertile ground.  There are a number of people who are really listening and really coming along.  This is always exciting.

P: Lord, I commit this seminar to you.  I’m leaving in a week and it’s hard to think about leaving at the end of the series.  But at the same time, it’s really good to think that things are being handled exceptionally well.  It’s really good to see that things are going along and people are coming along. 

Lord, I commit the people to you.  I ask you send the devil away from anyone that the cares of life may be trying to overtake right now.  I ask that you take the people and hold them close, Lord.  I pray you will fill them and fill Byron with the Holy Spirit to guide them and to lift them.  I pray, Lord, for the Holy Spirit to fill them with your power.

Keeping Our Eyes on Heaven

9/21/2006 4:46 AM

Title: STANDING FIRM IN HARD TIMES

S: Psalms 137:4 NKJV  How shall we sing the LORD’s song In a foreign land?

O: This is a Psalm that I may never have seen before.  But it’s of the people in Babylon and the children asking the older ones to sing them songs of what it was like in Jerusalem.  The elders ask, how can you sing, in a foreign land?  But they go on to answer their own question with the words that pretty much say, it would be awful if we ever forgot.

In other words, they are saying, remember them long and loud.  Don’t forget. 

There is hope in those words.  There is a longing to return in those words.  There is a waiting and not forgetting to move forward in those words.  Another way of saying it is, if we ever forget, we will become extinct as a people group, we will no longer want to return, and we will no longer need to return – we will have lost our distinctiveness and just become one of these people.

But it also reminds them continually that there is a land that is coming that is better than Babylon – it’s Jerusalem.

A: I believe the same is true of us.  How then can we sing a praise song in a land of sin?  We have to, to stay firm in our commitment to “return” to the land of God.  We have to sing those songs to stay committed, to stay distinct, to stay hopeful and to stay in tune with God.

Music, worship, scripture, prayer, preaching are all ways of telling the story of the way things are supposed to be.  They keep us filled with hope.  They keep us committed.  They keep us on task.

P: Lord, I believe you are coming soon.  I believe that I have a part to play in being ready for that.  It means telling the story, sharing with others, and in doing so, I maintain my own faith in the future.  I know a land is coming that is better than where I live today – it’s the New Jerusalem.