“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. (Mark 4:3-4)

When Jesus commands us to listen, our ears should tune in! Here, Jesus was addressing a crowd on the shore from a boat, speaking to a crowd that normally wouldn’t be seen in the synagogue. This begins a famous parable known as, “The Parable of the Sower”. The Prime Sower is God, who dispenses “the word” (Mark 4:14) through the faithful (2 Corinthians 9:10). Who are the sowers? All of us are; not simply our Christian pastors, authors and speakers.

In that day, sowing like this was a common method of farming. What would happen, is a sower would take seed and go “out to sow”, preparing various types of soil to receive the seed. What is so profound in this parable is the assumption that seed will indeed be sown, no matter the condition of the ground. Only after we see how it prospers can we, as the sowers, determine what kind of soil we have sowed upon. No matter the soil, our delight is to sow the word. For as Ecclesiastes reads:

“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both will be good.” (Ecclesiastes 11:6 ESV)

In short, our duty is not to leave the sharing of the Gospel, the word, to the “professionals”, or to neglect sowing on soil we don’t deem profitable. No! Our duty is to scatter on every heart and mind that we come into contact with, never withholding our hand. The joy of sowing, of participating in God’s work, is given to each of us.

Remember, we may scatter seed and water it, but God alone gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6).

I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (1 Corinthians 4:14-15 ESV)

Reaching Out to Help Someone in Despair

I was recently listening to sports talk radio and they were discussing the athletes who are gifted and talented that get into college/professional sports and do stupid things outside of the sport. They might get into fights, do drugs, or get in trouble with the wrong crowd. The sports talk host said that the one thing that the majority have in common is that they don’t have a father figure or authority figure over them to sit rebuke them.  There was nobody to sit them down and say, “You are embarrassing us and yourself. Stop this and start acting like the person you should be.”.

Just as those athletes need a father in their lives, so do we as Christians. Paul told the church in Corinth that he was their spiritual father. He was there to admonish them and help them to be the people God wanted them to be. Do you have someone in your life who can speak truth to you when you mess up? We aren’t talking about a pastor standing behind a pulpit preaching to you. We are talking about a person who knows what is really going on in your life. It can be difficult to open up to a person about your failures, and even more difficult to give them permission to correct you. Ask God to show you who you can give permission to do this for you in your life and humbly come before them asking for their guidance.

Everywhere I look these days, Pastors like Joel Osteen are preaching more about the me theology  over the more Biblically Correct Others’s Theology. Jesus never mentioned the words, “What’s in it for me,” and either should we. So what does the Bible say about serving and focusing on others over ourselves (Spoiler alert…Jesus thought about us to the point that He gave His life for us).

healing

The Bible has a great deal to say about servanthood because the central theme of the Bible is the Servant of all—Jesus Christ. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). When we give Jesus Christ His rightful place as Lord of our lives, His lordship will be expressed in the way we serve others (Mark 9:35;1 Peter 4:10;John 15:12-13). How can we demonstrate love for God? Our love for God will be expressed in our love for others. “For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5).

True leadership is servanthood, and the greatest leader of all time is Jesus Christ. Servanthood is an attitude exemplified by Christ “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:6-7). The five words in the New Testament translated “ministry” generally refer to servanthood or service given in love. Serving others is the very essence of ministry. All believers are called to ministry (Matthew 28:18-20), and, therefore, we are all called to be servants for the glory of God. Living is giving; all else is selfishness and boredom.

It has been rightly stated, “Rank is given you to enable you to better serve those above and below you. It is not given for you to practice your idiosyncrasies” (General Bruce C. Clarke, USA, Ret). Let’s serve others by serving Christ (Colossians 3:23-24). God the Father has served us by sacrificing Christ on the cross for our sins, and we should serve others by giving the gospel and our lives to them (1 Thessalonians 1:5-6). Those who desire to be great in God’s kingdom must be the servant of all (Matthew 20:26).

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Aplogize

God saves people, people cannot save themselves. This is beautiful Gospel truth. But what else does God do with us? What is the Christian’s purpose in life? Often when we try to answer these questions we look inside of ourselves and envision working the perfect career or achieving our childhood dream of climbing Mount Everest. But something is desperately wrong with this method of finding purpose as a Christian.

If we properly understand the Gospel than we know that it all starts and ends with Jesus. As believers we should understand that the entire universe is about Jesus. However, many of us then leave it at that. We say, “Thank you Jesus for saving me!”, sing him some songs and maybe even attend small group on Tuesday nights. All the while we’re looking somewhere other than Jesus for our purpose and fulfillment in life. It’s like our lives are transformed into a children’s picture with a horse riding on a man, asking, “What in this picture doesn’t belong?”

Our life with Jesus starts “by grace…through faith”, but it shouldn’t end there. How do we know that? Paul tells us, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Because Jesus saved us as “not a result of works, so that no one may boast”, does not mean that we will therefore not walk in any works. It’s just the opposite, we are saved to good works. So then how does a Christian find calling and purpose in salvation? Go back to the place where it all started, and where it all will end: Jesus.

Where in your life are good works prepared that you can pursue and fulfill?

Heavenly Father I come before you tonight asking for your healing hand to be upon those suffering afflictions, tormented in mind and spirit. You are the Great I AM and nothing is too difficult for YOU. I claim new strength for your children Lord, new hope, be near those who are grieving the loss of loved ones, broken relationships, loss of jobs and health.

Comfort those who mourn, lift up those who are bowed down. Remove all discouragement from the Body of Christ, lift up the weary hands Oh Lord. You are a Present help in time of need, the Holy One Of Israel, the Bright and Morning Star. You are present to meet our needs, your grace is sufficient.

Father I ask for special help for those enduring these blizzards and such heavy snow fall, Lord help those who are feeble, without shelter, power, food. Lord grant them your peace in these storms. Provide what is needed Lord, keep them safe from harm. Calm and quiet the spirits of those who are elderly and sick at this time, those not able to leave their homes, Lord grant their desires, bring peace to this situation.

I thank and praise you Abba Father for all that You are, all you do for your children.

Let your peace cover us this night, let us turn all our trials over to You and your safe keeping. Deliver us from evil Oh our Soon Coming King, restore our Joy, lift the burdens from the hearts. Lord I sense a heaviness in your children tonight, many are weary from fighting the battles Lord, they need a fresh touch from You Oh Lord. Surround them with peace, love and joy. Speak courage to their hearts, bind up the broken hearted, set the captives free. Speak to Your children Oh God, bless them and bring restoration, healing and deliverance, in Jesus name I pray.

Out of the French Revolution came a story of a mother who wandered through the woods for three days with her two children, trying to survive on roots and leaves. On the third day, she heard some soldiers approaching and quickly hid herself and the children behind some bushes. The sergeant in charge noticed the movement, so he prodded the bushes to see what was stirring behind them. When he saw the starving woman and children, he had compassion on them, and immediately gave them a loaf of brown bread.

The mother took the bread eagerly, broke it into two pieces and gave one piece to each of the two children. The sergeant noted, “She has kept none for herself.” A soldier asked, “Is it because she is not hungry?” “No,” the sergeant answered. “It is because she is a mother.”

An old Spanish proverb says, “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.”

What can we say to all the moms?

Eight-year-old Mary wrote her mother a note for Mother’s Day. “Dear Mother, here is the box of candy I bought you for Mother’s Day. IT IS VERY GOOD CANDY. I KNOW, BECAUSE I ALREADY AT 3 PIECES.”  A four-year-old and a six-year-old presented their Mom with a house plant. They had used their own money and she was thrilled. The older of them said with a sad face, There was a bouquet that we wanted to give you at the flower shop. It was real pretty, but it was too expensive. It had a ribbon on it that said, ‘Rest In Peace’, and we thought it would be just perfect since you are always asking for a little peace so that you can rest.

A boy got his first job. As he was boasting about the amount of work he did, he said, “I get up at 5 a.m. and have my breakfast.” He was asked, “Does anyone else get up too?” He replied, “Oh yes, mother gets up and fixes my breakfast and then fixes Dad’s breakfast.”  “And what about your dinner?” The boy said, “Oh, mother, fixes that too.”  “Does your mother have the afternoon to herself?” The boy replied, “No, mama cleans the house, looks after the other children, and then gets supper for me and dad when we come home. Then we watch TV before we go to bed.”  “What about your mother? What does she do?” The boy replied, “Mama washes some clothes and irons the rest of the evening.”  “Do you get paid?” “Of course, Dad and I get paid.”  “And what about your mother, does she get paid too?”  The boy replied, “MOTHER, GET PAID?! MOTHER DON’T GET PAID. SHE DON’T DO NO WORK.”

If anyone here today believes that moms don’t work, I would suggest that you’d better keep your mouth CLOSED!

I want to speak to you on the subject-MOTHERS SCHOOL OF PREACHING

Preacher G. Campbell Morgan had four sons and they all became ministers of the gospel. At a family reunion, a friend asked one of the sons, “Which Morgan is the greatest preacher?” While that son looked at his father, he replied, “MOTHER.”

Mother was the greatest preacher. Many mothers have done a lot of preaching to their children, whether they considered it preaching or not.

There was a women in a local church that had a son that was quite unruly. They had a visiting missionary come and he was trying to stir up interest to get people to go to a foreign country to preach the gospel. The missionary noticed that the young boy was quite a pistol. At the end of the service a woman dragging a little boy behind her, told the missionary, “I just feel like God is calling me to be a missionary.” “He is, indeed” and pointing to the little boy, “And there’s the little heathen he wants you to preach to.”

HOW THE SCHOOL OF PREACHING STARTED!

• The woman’s name was Eunice. She was raised in a religious home and was greatly impacted by her mother Lois.

• Lois the grandmother made it her job to train and teach her daughter the ways of God from a youth. Lois loved to read the Old Testament scriptures and she grew to be a godly young women.

• Eunice he became attracted to a young man who was not as spiritual as she was. Not sure really how her mother Lois felt about this relationship and probably with a heart felt emotional tug at her conscience, She married this man.

• After a couple years of marriage, Eunice and her husband had a baby boy who they named Timothy. Little Tim was a bundle of joy. . Lois and Eunice both would tell little Tambo the stories from the Old Testament, Both mother and grandmother would pray for Timmy and would train him every since he was just a little child in the spiritual ways of God.

• There was a preacher that came to town. His name was Paul. His message was all about Jesus Both Lois and Eunice listened intently as Paul preached about how Jesus was the fulfillment of all the promises in the Old Testament and he encouraged everyone to put their trust not in the old Law but in Jesus. With Timothy being taught by his mother and grandmother and now getting the message that Preacher Paul is sharing, Timothy had a good keen understanding of who Jesus was and Tim obeyed the Lord.

• Paul grew to love Timothy along with Timothy’s grandmother and mother. Paul spent time further training and molding Timothy and encouraging him along with Eunice and Lois.

Timothy is just a very young man but he grows under all this good teaching and begins to work with Paul preaching and teaching the Gospel. Many years later, Paul ends up in prison. and is going to be killed for preaching

• Paul writes two letters to young Timothy. In These books we have Paul instructing young Tim on how to be a great preacher in Ephesus

• As Paul writes first and second Timothy to this young man. Among many things. Paul reflects how it all began with the Godly mother of Eunice and Grand mother.

• In Philippians 2:20, the Apostle Paul makes the following statement about

Timothy, he says, There is no one like Timothy. But where did Timothy’s training begin”

I The Mothers school of preaching was established by a grandmother and mother: 1 Tim 1:5, The apostle Paul tells us who sharpened the spiritual blade that Timothy had churning in his life: I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in you grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

Lois and Eunice, not only COMMUNICATED the TRUTH, but they DEMONSTRATED it!

If your Christianity doesn’t work at home, it doesn’t work!

Four scholars were arguing over Bible translations. One said he preferred the King James Version because of its beauty, eloquent old English.  Another said he preferred the American Standard Bible for its literalism, the way it moves the reader from passage to passage with confident feelings of accuracy from the original text. A third man preferred Moffatt because of its quaint, penetrating use of words, the turn of a phrase that captures the attention of the reader. After giving the issue further thought, the fourth scholar admitted, ‘I have personally preferred my mother’s translation.’ When the other scholars chuckled and asked, “Your mother translated the Bible? He responded, ‘Yes, she translated it. She translated each page of the Bible into her own life. It is the most convincing translation I ever saw.’

A woman once wrote Gipsy Smith after an evangelistic campaign to tell him she had been converted as a result of one of his messages. She said “I believe the Lord wants me to preach the Gospel, Brother Smith, but the trouble is that I have 12 children to raise! What shall I do?” She received this letter in reply: “My dear lady, I am happy to hear that you have been saved and feel called to preach, but I am even more delighted to know that God has already provided you with a congregation of 12! The new convert got the point!

II. THEY TAUGHT THE NEW PREACHER BY WORD AND EXAMPLE HOW TO DEVELOP A SINCERE FAITH.

2 Timothy 1:5: I have been reminded of your sincere faith , which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also Someone has said, Mothers write on the hearts of their children what the rough hand of the world cannot erase.

Abraham Lincoln said, “All that I am or hope to be, I own to my angel mother.”

Dwight Moody said, “All that I have ever accomplished in life, I owe to my mother.”

Proverbs 6:20; My Son keep your Father’s commands and do not forsake your Mother’s teaching.

Note that Paul says, “I am reminded of your sincere faith.” The word, “sincere” related to faith means that his faith “unhypocritical.”

• It was real, without any pretense, it was not fake or a façade. Timothy witnessed a genuine Faith in his mother’s heart and in his grandmother’s heart and was now well alive in his own life.

• These two mothers were completely sold out to Christ. They were drop-dead serious about their faith. They were fully devoted and completely committed. And Timothy knew it. No one knows better than a child whether a parent’s faith is genuine. If you want to instill authentic faith in your children then you better take your own faith seriously

• That is what Tim learned in the Mothers school of preaching!

Susannah Wesley, mother of John Wesley spent one hour each day praying for her 17 children. In addition, she took each child aside for a full hour every week to discuss spiritual matters. No wonder two of her sons, Charles and John, were used of God to bring blessing to all of England and much of America.

III. THE MOTHER”S SCHOOL OF PREACHING TAUGHT TIM TO

RESPECT THE WORD OF GOD

2 Timothy 3:15 shows us what this truth was:  “And how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ Lois and Eunice were team teachers. They taught young timothy when he was just an infant about Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Sarah and the Israelites.

I am sure they said, ok Tim, How many books of the Bible are in the Old Testament? Timothy, who was swallowed by a big fish? I wander if he got to go to Dairy Queen for getting the answers right?

Paul could say to Timothy, you know how your momma and grandmother taught you. Tim, you remember that the Bible is Gods inspired Truth.

Tim, you go to Ephesus and you stand behind the blood stain bannered cross and you preach the word of God.

Tim, you remember what I said in 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness

Timothy you know how your mom taught you…remember how your grandmother sat you on her lap and would get the word of God out and read it to you. Timothy when you go to Ephesus, you do what I told you Meditate on these things, give yourself wholly to them that your profiting will appear to all.

2 Tim 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

• Remember Tim, what your mother taught you…

Don’t you cut corners with the truth.  When they will not listen you keep preaching the Gospel  Tim, you endure like a good soldier. You work night and day with tears. Timothy, 1  I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Conclusion:

Tim it wont be long before your mother and your grandmother and I have crossed the river of Jordan to enter that city four square.

When you get discouraged, don’t forget what you learned on our mother’s knee and how you excelled at your mothers school of preaching.  TIM, MY MINISTRY WILL SOON BE OVER. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

OH AND BY THE WAY…YOUR MOM AND GRANDMOTHER SURE DID MAKE MY WORK WITH YOU SO MUCH EASIER!

Taken from the website, The Ranch. I highly recommend it.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:1-5 ESV)

thief

In today’s world, many voices compete for our attention:

  • the opinions of others
  • the values of our culture
  • our personal insecurities
  • spiritual warfare & temptations
  • even our own competing desires

All of these voices and more compete with Jesus’ voice for our attention.  In John’s gospel we’re reminded that we relate to Jesus just as the sheep respond to the shepherd…

“he calls his own sheep by name”

Jesus knows us each personally and intimately, and is calling out to us.

“he leads them out… he goes before them, and the sheep follow him…”

Jesus goes before us and asks us to simply follow where He is leading.

“for they know his voice.  A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

We should recognize and respond to the voice of Jesus to the exclusion of other voices in our lives.

Every day we make decisions concerning whose voice we will listen to.

Who’s voice are you listening to? Are you tuning into Jesus’ voice or other voices? How can you better recognize and respond to the voice of Christ?