Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sowing and Harvesting Right

Where God's Spirit leads you, His grace will keep and empower you for ministry. Where He guides, He provides. Some of my friends who live in other parts of the United States or who move away from here, sometimes call me to complain about how they wish they could simply return to Texas. No lie; they miss the people and the fellowship around the Word of God. People can get malnourished spiritually and weak and even begin to feel that way. Perhaps you are poor but have lots of money. Maybe you are famished, living in a famine-stricken region surrounded by huge grocery stores that have countless well-stocked shelves. Do the people there get it? Hey, that dull blue glow of light emanating from your TV set for hours on end won't satisfy or replace His pure Light!

Anyway, these friends of mine explain how they can drive a long distance from their homes only to find the somber frowns of the "frozen chosen" and some lame choir songs or an organ that is about to croak—a loveless non-exciting group of people who love pointless rules, their old building, the status quo, and their own denomination more than they love people sinners--people who are stuck in a time-warp-rut that have set up a faulty pecking order and that are stuck in the mire of some ice-cold dead, gossipy and plucked up has-been-congregation.

It's sad. They might live in the beautiful mountains of the northwest or in some other scenic spot, but they miss all that they can not seem to find in their new vacation area. I feel for them. They tell me how it's suddenly hard to get motivated to read God's Love Letter (the Bible), or to witness to their neighbors. It's frustrating to them.

I live in an area of the country where it's not that way. Well, at least it doesn't have to be that way. We are stoked to have some excellent sheep-sheds (and I don't mean the temporal buildings, I mean flocks that rock in more than just a musical way. We have churches with warm-hearted non-stodgy people in them—fresh thinkers, positive change agents—and many sound under shepherds (pastors on-fire and in Christ …when not all of em are) to learn from—guys that are doing the job right without the cheap hype, false teaching, manipulation or pressure. I know this isn't the only area with thousands of praying sincere believers and churches that are making a difference (I experienced authentic biblical awakening in the OC of SO Cal as well) and I know that this town has unfortunately had more than it's share of religious wackos filled with gospel-greed (which has nothing at all to do with the real Gospel) like many cities have had… but do I sound like I'm kind of pleased with what the Lord is doing in so many families and in different circles of people around here? I am, but I'm also hungry to learn and reach more. We can all do this!

Resist Hurrying the Harvest

"...Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain." —James 5:7

Does it ever seem to you like the things that we count the most important, often seem to take the longest to wait for or to reach? Does it ever seem like your most important prayers are being ignored when so much is at stake? Like me, do you ever feel impatient to the point of feeling like you need to take matters into your own hands? Hey, just give God some time to work.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts. —Ecclesiastes 3:11

Give them God's Word in the right Way, for "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant…" (Eccl. 3:1-2). Don't give up! In due season, you shall reap if you faint not!

Jesus never asked you or me to evangelize the whole world all by ourselves ..or in our time and our way. We aren't even able to. He never asked us to use words only. We need to use whatever we can short of sinning. But He did ask you and me to pray, to obey, to abide, and to go …and to bear much fruit—"By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit" (Jn. 15:8).

One way to bear fruit is to lead someone to Christ when they are ready. One way not to bear fruit is to force the issue when they are not because we are impatient or just being weird. Remember that any person, who complies too quickly ..or is apparently convinced against their will, is of the same opinion still. If they can be talked into "it"… and that's all, then they can also be talked out of "it" just as easily. Why have that happen?

We're waiting for You, Lord, to convict and to save ..and then come catch us all away to stay.

We want to fully obey, intelligently pray and to all our friends boldly say;

all Your promises are true and better than OK!

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. —Isaiah 40:31

Question: Have you been patiently waiting for God to intervene? You can't really join the rescuing effort until you have first been rescued yourself. No beach patrol puts a dead person in a tower to watch those surfing on the waves of the sea.

Do you think you came out of your mother's womb Christian? Believe me; you haven't done that, but God can make you into one right now! The bottom-line is this: Jesus Christ is the Person you really need. What do you have to lose? Zilch, nada, null.. nothing but a moldy old way of life that does even let you experience real LIFE!

Have you shared your story with a lost individual… your personal experience, your testimony …or some verses regarding the Gospel in a gracious and non-pushy way? You can today. Receive encouragement by prayerfully reading Isaiah 55:11 and Romans 10:13.

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