Wednesday, April 14, 2021

More on sowing/gardening/ being a laborer.....

 April 14, 2021


This is a continuation blog about being a person who sows the gospel with others.  Today's thoughts are from the book Finding Common Ground  - How to Communicate with Those Outside the Christian Community While we Still Can by Tim Downs.  

This book said we are in the middle of a cultural earthquake that may become more violent with time.  It is a difficult time for Christians and it may get worse.  The way Christians are able to share Christ with others is changing.  We need to change with the times and seek ways to share with others.  We must know that bringing people to Christ will not come about only with those in harvesting positions - church and parachurch workers - but it will come because of the laborers, or those who are sowing the seeds, or gardening the patch. 

"In short, we must revalue the role of the sower.  We must encourage a new generation of Christian sowers that their work matters to God, that we are true partners in ministry, and that the fate of future harvests depends on their efforts." (page 32)

One idea emphasized in the book was that we must work at sowing wherever God has planted us.  People working in jobs may have a greater opportunity to witness to many more people than those in the ministry.  So be a sower everywhere you are and to all you come into contact with.  Build relationships where you are and look for ways to share Christ and His love and Truth.  Nehemiah and Esther (both from the Bible), and William Wilberforce (who was in the British parliament and worked to abolish slavery) were mentioned as people who worked from the inside out in that they worked from within their jobs to making a lasting impact for Christ. 

A sower focuses on....preparing the way, persuasion, gradual change, team impact, common ground, questions, and using love, wisdom, and shrewdness.  

The times are different today in that what worked for evangelism in the 1960's and 1970's doesn't work now. At that time spiritual tracts were used as a way of bringing people to Christ.  Today the ground work needs to be laid differently.  The ground is not as ready for harvest as it was in in prior years.  That is why it is all the more important that we begin sowing now and preparing the ground for harvest to come later.  

We may not be able to say things in terms of evangelism that we used to say before but we can say something to everyone we meet. That is what sowing is.  The sower looks around him and sees his neighborhood, his office and sees that there is fruit there.  Some of the fruit is almost ripe and some is very immature to bear fruit yet.  As a sower he knows that he can tend to the fruit in different ways and can encourage the growth in every plant and that none of his efforts will be in vain.  He may not see the fruit of his efforts and someone else may.  That is ok.  The important thing is to cultivate, plant, and nurture where you are! These need not be long drawn-out conversations with a few people but think of this lifestyle as something you do every day, with everyone you meet.  It may be a conversation here, a chat there, listening to someone's problem and showing you care,  or asking a question of someone else. Some times it is just sharing Christ's love with others  without words as the Holy Spirit leads.  

May we see the importance of sowing/gardening/ being a laborer for Christ in all we do!

AND OF COURSE the Holy Spirit MUST be working and leading in all of this!

1 Corinthians 3:5-9

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.



It takes a lot of sowers or gardeners and fewer harvesters.....

 April 14, 2021



I am so excited to get around to writing this blog that is from notes I took when listening to a video study called TACTICS by Gregory Koukl.  The study was about how to effectively discuss your Christian convictions with others.  

1. I was very relieved when he said most of us are gardeners in terms of sharing the gospel.  It takes lots of gardeners sharing the word of Christ in many different ways before it is time to harvest ( when a person makes a decision to follow Christ). Koukl said most people are not harvesters.  So don't pressure yourself to present the gospel to everyone and then expect a decision. Just be a gardener.  Scatter some seed, feed some seed that someone else has sowed, water the seed, maybe weed a little but keep continuing to garden and let the harvesters harvest your sowing.  

2.  It is good to be able to converse with those who don't believe in Christ.  One good way is to gather information about that person.  

    - I remember learning many years ago to do this with the acrostic FIRE - Family, Interests, Religion.  Ask the person you are visiting with questions.  Examples: Family -  Are you a native of this area? How long have you lived in this community? Are you married?  Have children?  Interests - Do you have any hobbies? Do you like to sports? Reading?  What kind of books?  Religion - Do you have a church background? Do you have any religious influence in your life?

- this Tactics study said that it is great to get to know a little about the person.  When you find out about them and something they believe in then ask the questions: "What do you mean by that?" or "Why do you believe that?"  Be engaging with the person.  Don't tell them your thoughts or beliefs but get them to think about what they do believe. Keep asking questions. 

 - this process was said to 'put a stone in their shoe' - in that questioning them may make them start to question what they do believe.  It may get them to see what they believe might not be right and it is done without ever telling them what they need to believe or what you believe.  It is just the tip of the iceberg to get them to examine their beliefs and perhaps seek the real Truth.  

I think we must keep trying to serve our Savior in all we do.  This is an encouraging way to try to do just that.  And it takes the pressure off of us to bring everyone to Christ in every encounter.  

More to come on this issue of communicating with those outside the Christian community from the book FINDING COMMON GROUND. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Life without the Lord

 April 6, 2021

Not long ago I made a batch of banana bread.  I was excited to make it and use my grandmother's recipe.  Wellllll - it was not good! It was my fault and not my grandmother's.



I made a mistake in reading the directions and omitted the soda.  

In baking, always follow the directions.  Look the recipe over and double check to make sure you included all the ingredients.  In this case leaving out the soda was disasterous to the end product. It tasted as bad as it looked!!

Spiritually I was able to draw a few conclusions from this mistake. If we want to be all He has intended us to be:
- we must follow God's directions and do things His way in our lives
- we must have a relationship with Jesus in our lives for us to look and be what we need to be. When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives and He is our fragrance.  He gives us a pleasant aroma, we look and become different from the world.  We become pleasing to HIM!

Have you accepted Christ as your savior?  His benefits are out of this world and the work He does in our lives is so exciting and wonderful! 

Let Him give you direction!
Taste and see that HE is good!



Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.


Seeing God work this morning!

 April 6, 2021


This morning we had an interesting incident that reminded us of God's love for us, and how important it is we trust in Him.

Gail was headed to town to run an errand.  He needed to take the mail which had his roping entry in it that had to be postmarked today.  So it was a twofold trip to town.  He hadn't been gone long when he called to say he had forgotten the mail. 

My response? (Well....maybe I am learning.)  I wasn't negative but said, "Guess we'll make another trip in later.  It happens.... we all forget things." (It is twenty miles to town.)

On the way home one of his partners for the roping called to say he wasn't going to be able to go rope with Gail or go to the roping!!

Wow!  God had it all worked out.  IF Gail had remembered the mail and mailed the entry form, he would have been out several hundred dollars for their roping entry.   

  Proverbs 3:5-6 

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.[a]


Couple of lessons here:

1.  When things don't go as you planned, TRUST God. He is in control.

2.  When things don't go as you planned, do the right thing and respond in the right way and your path will be straight not stained with sin.  


We can be so thankful for God's Word to guide and teach us how we are to live our lives.  We are truly blessed by Him!



Have a good day!






Saturday, April 3, 2021

Fun Easter pastry - an empty tomb......

Saturday -  April 3, 2021


 Tomorrow is EASTER!  Today we are waiting.....tomorrow Jesus will be risen!  

I am slow getting this recipe to you but it comes from my oldest daughter, Rynea.  She has really enjoyed making this treat for her large family.  It is called a breakfast puff, in that it is made in muffin pans but puffs up into the air and has an empty cavity inside of it.  The pastries can be made the day ahead.  Then when you are ready to eat them they may be filled with cooked sausage or bacon and cheese; or it can be something sweet like jam and cream cheese; or more easily use a little honey.   


The recipe is as follows:

Pastry puffs

Grease muffin tins and heat in over 

Mix:

3 T. butter melted

6 eggs

3 cups milk

3 cups flour

3/4 t. salt

Fill tins - Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, then 325 degrees for 15 minutes.

This makes a big batch.


They are a fun way to use food to reinforce the Easter gospel message that Christ has risen.

 He has risen indeed!! 


Happy Resurrection Day!!




 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Suggestions for reading.... part 2.

 March 22, 2022


This is part two in the blog of learning to read.

I think there are two very good ways to teach reading so that the kids can pick it up quickly.

1.  The first thing I really liked was the book How to Teach your Children to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. This is a very easy book that doesn't take a lot of preparation time for the teacher. The teacher however does need to sit down with their children everyday(so the child doesn't forget what he has learned) to teach through this book.  The lessons don't take very long to do.  I actually started Missy on this book before we ever started school officially.  I think it gave us a jump start. 

2.  The other thing I think really helps is to use flash cards.  On these flash cards I would put the simple words that are often used in reading.  Words such as: then, where, what, this, those, and, but, for, etc. In using these words as flash words the children become very familiar with them and they 'know' a few words  when they come to them and don't have to sound them out.  It makes reading much easier for the student thus encouraging them in their reading. (See part one of this blog for teaching/learning flash cards.)

Then..... I think it is important to teach phonics in some form.  There are many books available out there.  The reason for this is it teaches them how to sound out harder words and it teaches them also spelling if they know the phonics rules.  

We want our children to be successful in the learning and these are a couple of my ideas!  Hope they help!