Sunday, January 4, 2009

Newness. . .in my year, life and gardens

Jesus breaks from the norm to share Truth in the form of parables in Matthew 13. His first parable starts as a gardening parable. The new year seems to be perfect timing to speak of gardening and newness of life. While most of you live somewhere in the middle of winter and couldn't consider planting a new flower bed. . .this is exactly what we did today. My sweet husband went straight from lunch (with his awesome friend Cory! Thanks Cory) to Home Depot to redo our front flowerbed. We both hate the work. . but man we love the outcome! It will serve as a reminder this year of the parable of the seed, soil and sower that was discussed today in church.

Pastor Jon did a great job dissecting this little nugget of scripture and challenging us to review the soil of our lives. Why don't you join me in asking the Lord this week what the soil of your life looks like. . .and how He may want to make all things new this year?

There are 4 types of soil mentioned and Pastor Jon described them as 4 types of people:
1. Hard Soil: having a determined heart that nothing will penetrate or change it. . .this could be your entire life (i.e. refusing to give Him control) or various areas where you refuse to change or even don't believe that He can change things.

2. Rocky Soil: Truth comes. . .but because of the rocky soil. . i.e. the hardships of life, the worries and cares of this world that are so focused on. . .it never gets the chance to sink in.

3. Shallow Soil: This person receives truth quickly and joyfully. . .however, (don't you just hate that word sometimes!) the lack of a root system and regular application of truth, the truth quickly fades away and gets choked out. This person thinks truth is a great idea, but when the rubber meets the road and hard times come, the shallow root system is revealed.

4. Fertile Soil: Hearing the word of Truth and being changed by it. . simple as that!

What kind of soil do you have? Are there areas of your life, like mine, that have different soil composition? Areas where the life of God, the newness of His presence doesn't find root and bloom?

Pastor Jon didn't stop there. . .he also gave us ideas on how to cultivate the soil of your life.

1. Plow up new ground through questions and dialogue. Basically, live out the very real truth that you do NOT have it all figured out. Allow yourself and others to probe into deep places. Look for opportunities to ask God to "search my heart and know me, test me and know my anxious thoughts; see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. " (Psalm 139:23-24)

2. Fertilize with Faith. Is my life lived out in an arena of faith? Am I doing things and asking things and involved in things that REQUIRE the presence of God? Or, do I try to live a life that I can control?

3. Nurture Growth with Application. Live OUT the word being taught. The rocky, hard and shallow soils are living out the verses in James 1:22-24 but the Fertile Soil person lives out vs 25
"2But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing."

4. Keep Spreading the Seed: Our soil is kept and made fertile for growth through the spreading of the kingdom! We get to be a part of HIS work in others' lives and are changed in the process.

Isn't that challenging? I hope that every time I pass my beautiful new flowers that I might stop and ask the Lord to speak to my heart. Where is there rocky soil that I am allowing the worries of this life to quench the Spirit of Truth? Where is the shallow soil where I look like I'm taking in truth but I'm not actually applying it and deepening the roots system of truth in my life. I pray that this new year will bring newness in many areas of my life. That the Lord will reveal dead growth, remove it and replace it with newness of Life. That He will bring me to deeper levels of trust with Him and will take out more of Brandi and replace it with more of Jesus. I pray the same for you.


Anonymous said...

Great, thought-provoking post! And the new flowerbeds are beautiful! Have a wonderful week, and thanks again for taking the time to call me with info and advice this weekend.

Andrea said...

Didn't see you in church today...thought maybe you were away...Miss you!!!Love, Andrea

Angela said...

This was Great!! I really like the thought of "am I living a life that requires GOD to be incontrol or Me?"

Thanks for sharing your "Garden" with us--