Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not -- the works of God who maketh -- all. In the morning sow -- thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.
Sowers vs. Reapers A critical part of church planting that is often over-looked by church planting gurus or never addressed in seminars is SOWING and all that has to happen before sowing begins. The new testament talks about 2 types of church planters: reapers and sowers. Much is spoken about the reaping in mega-churches but little about the latter. This therefore impacts leaders, their teams and the result of the new fledging church plant, leading to discouragement or an improper assessment of the field and call no matter how well funded the work is or populated with laborers.
By the Grace of God I've been a part of 7 church plants over the past 25 years; whether by leading, overseeing or participation on the church plant team - goye4th.org. Presently we are planting 2 churches in Philadelphia - ggcphila.org. Over these years it's apparent to me that people; gifted men & women, quit early in the work calling it "not a fruitful area" because of the lack of understanding of sowing & pre-sowing.
There is nothing glorious, exciting, rah-rah, or rewarding in sowing. It is hard work motivated by a passionate love and discipline with little to no results. Psalm 126.5-6 gives us the perspective in sowing: there are tears. How often have we church planters driven home with a heavy heart after a day of rejection or no-shows? How awkward have we felt when we have been asked "how many ya'll got coming out?" At that point we must lean on what God told us personally when he sent us out to this particular field and gain support on the church Body that sent us. That's when we are tested on our personal conviction about what we are doing as a team or as the leader. That's when the conviction of God speaking to us at a point of time about the mission and the target shines forth and lights the way. If there has been no "RHEMA" from God about the work to the team individuals or the leader, this is where the work fizzles out with excuses or "leadings" to other works.
The "Pre-Sow" I've never heard anyone teach on this principle of pre-sow yet it is so vital. Without the proper pre-sow any sowing that happens falls largely on unprepared ground thus the seed never taking root. Any builder of homes or properties will tell you that once they have TARGETED an area to build in there is the long process of SURVEYING and PLANNING. We are the same, there are drawings on napkins, maps, meetings, coffee (or tea), donuts and pizza at late night prayer meetings in people's homes. Once that has taken place and a TARGET has been determined in prayer and seeking the Lord's will & good counsel, we must LOCATE. I understand Psalms 107:37 meaning to chose the fields and vineyards carefully and prayerfully that "may yield fruits to increase", the old rule says, "location, location, location is everything". The target may be right but the location of the church plant or neighborhood may be wrong. Don't be afraid to move around a bit.
Then the tedious mundane work of pre-sow begins. Pre-sow is all about prayer, attitude, faith, and love motivation. Like the example of the construction company, there needs to be trees, and large boulders removed, mounds need to be leveled all blockades to the work. We see such blockades of fear, doubt, distraction, discouragement, people's and government's accusations or threatenings, with Nehemiah and Zerrubabel in the work of rebuilding when the Jews returned from Babylon. This pre-sow happens by prayer and much creativity in the community (which much could be said about but I won't address in this article.).
In any pre-sow the soil must be worked, turned, dug into, turned again, and worked. This happens with much prayer, patience in preparation with our hands getting dirty and much footwork. At times when a church is being re-planted or revived the pre-sow takes place in the hearts of the congregation, and the little team of people that rally around you in the work. This may take some time. Be patient. Be kind. Be prayerful. Lead.
What seed are we sowing? Before sowing it must be clear what type of seed we are sowing. there is only one seed in the Bible that we are sowing and that is the incorruptible seed of 1 Pt 1.23 and the good seed of Matthew 13.37. The supernatural seed of the Gospel of Grace. there is no other seed that grows than that of the seed of the Finished Work of Jesus Christ and His Grace. Deuteronomy 22:9 commands us that we are not to sow different seeds, different messages "lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled." It must be clear what our message is and any deviation from the message of Grace defiles the fruit of the work.
"Sow, Sow, Sow - then Sow some more" - Eccl 11.1 In 1978 my family came into a deeper relationship with God and his heartbeat for the world and individuals. The pastor, Carl Stevens, that led us into that relationship was a pastor from Maine that when he first got saved had a bread delivery route in rural Maine. As he began to read the Bible as a young man he began to share the Gospel at each home on his bread route - often being rejected but returned and returned pleading with them to know God and be converted. It is said one home he went back to 42 times when finally the family got on their knees together and received Christ as their savior. In a message preached years ago called "Just Sow!" he explained that he loved sowing because he enjoyed the work. He had a spiritual work ethic that emanated from his passion for the Lord and His ministry. He has been a role model for many of us how to sow.
First Sow to Yourself God's Love Seeds Sowing first begins with us sowing to ourselves in righteousness - Hosea 10.12. Christ's passion for the lost is the compelling momentum in our sowing beside all types of waters and sending out the feet of the laborer and the burden bearers - Isaiah 32:20. When we lose the fellowship of Christ's love toward us we lose our compassion for the lost and our mission becomes burdensome and tiring ending in quitting. God's thoughts towards us fills up our soil with his compassion leading to passion for the lost. When we struggle in the sowing of the seed with little results and much rejection we must not compensate with more scheduling or programs but first sow in the soil of their hearts God's love seeds. Many have quit moments before the harvest was to come. This law is a law that depends on the purposes passion in our hearts. If our passion is purposed it will cause us relatively to sow. The key here is to guard our passion and keep ourselves in the love of God.
The Law of Sowing & Reaping There is a law we discover in 2 Cor 9.6-8 that is called the law of sowing and reaping. This law is a constant as the law of gravity is a constant. If you drop an object it will ALWAYS drop downward never upward. The same goes with sowing. If we sow rarely, sparingly, or hesitate, the law or sowing and reaping comes into affect - we reap sparingly, rarely, and hesitantly. The question is not IF we will reap but IF we will quit. If we don't quit and receive grace's sufficiency of love then we will reap. Have fun in sowing - have fun with your team because sowing is always a part of our lives and not something we do strictly for reaping. If we only sow only that we would reap then we stop sowing when results do come. We are" lifers" in sowing because his compassions fail not - Lam 3.22. Don't quit, or wimp out. Press forward building yourself up - "seeing we have this ministry (of mercy towards us) we faint not - 2 Cor 4.1.
The Inherent Power in The Seed When we think our sowing of the "good seed" is in vain and we need to depend on programs, secular insight, & presentation; then we are depending on something other than the inherent power of The Seed. The power of the message in sowing is not the program or even the presentation but rather the power that lies inherently in The Seed we sow itself! There is the spiritual DNA of God in the Seed of the Gospel of Grace. The Seed does not need to be modified, manipulated or enhanced, any tampering with The Seed will actually hurt it. When The Seed is faithfully sown it goes into the ground for a period of time - a time of death and incubation. When the conditions are right The Seed will sprout and we may not even remember sowing it. Eccl 11:4-6 describes the secret hidden process of the growth of The Seed so the charge by Solomon is to sow in the morning when you want to sleep in and sow in the evening when you want to kick back and relax. Our job is just to sow - not grow the Seed.
So when we as the faithful sower go forth to sow weeping we WILL return rejoicing with our sheaves with us! This is because when The Seed is sown in the right field it will grow and bear fruit. Be encouraged fellow laborer!
Evan Pekarek - one of our awesome MBC&S students spoke today in Sunday on Joseph. Here are some great points he made:
1. He was a man who spoke his mind -boldness (Genesis 37:5-11; 40:12-15; 41:16-36) A. Negative effects B. positive effects
2. He was a man who did not act tritely A. Fled evil (39:7-13) B. tested his brothers before revealing himself (42-45)
3. He was a man who was gracious in nature A. When the time came to reveal himself, he did so with unrestrained love toward his brothers B. He gave what he could despite how his brothers felt about his treatment I. It is in our nature to not want to receive grace from someone we have wronged. C. His gracious attitude reunited a broken, troubled home.
4. God used Joseph as an example of grace, a champion of faith. "God is waiting to be gracious"
Here are some notes on a subject that must be foundational in ministry. Today we use "servant" in place of the Biblical word "slave" because we are afraid to offend.
1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2 Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 -- Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.
1. A Servant is a disciple and his life is not his own.
To be a disciple means we follow in His footsteps - we lose out lives.
He is the ultimate example in servant hood
It is much more exciting to forsake family, houses, lands, and possessions for the Gospel's sake even to martyrdom - than to die the many little deaths that we must die daily of going to the cross and being sentenced to the servant hood in the ordinary, regular, and trivial.
The flesh desires the glorious mission of being noticed but it cringes at the hidden service where there are no accolades or sounds of applause.
Having the discipline of serving and no choosing our service but letting God chose our service is very freeing from the world's ambitious program of recognition and accomplishment.
Oswald Chambers: "It is one thing to go on the lonely way with dignified heroism, but quite another thing if the line mapped out for you by God means being a door-mat under other people's feet."
2. A servant is not in control. 1 Cor 6.19-20
A servant relinquishes control because he is bought with a price.
A bond-slave that has presented himself a living sacrifice doesn't see himself with the same rights as other people do. Paul a voluntary bond-slave Phil 2.17 counted it a joy to serve the Philippian church
A servant's joy is not based on his control of the grounds of service or the results of the service. He rejoices in the privilege to serve.
The flesh wants to be in control, to determine what it does and doesn't do.
The servant has not chosen to serve (that is being in control) but has chosen to be a servant (his nature)
Mother Teresa: "I belong to Jesus. He must have the right to use me without consulting me."
3. A Servant doesn't get hurt or offended. He serves out of love. Acts 20:24 ...I consider my life worth nothing to me...
How can a servant get hurt when he has chosen to be a door-mat?
Jesus endured the contradiction of sinners for the joy set before him. Kempis instructed his students "to be so subject that all men may go over thee and tread upon thee as upon mire of the street."
A servant doesn't get hurt by people's response as he does it unto the Lord who has called him. Therefore his service in ministry is independent of response and criticism. He is the Lord's freeman - free to serve all in bondage to none.
The greatest enemy to servant-hood is self love. When we complain how hard it is to serve we are already a casualty in service.
4. Where the rubber meets the road: the flesh: If we allow a daily leading into the mundane to serve secretly unnoticed, uncrucified flesh will be severely challenged:
The flesh complains or murmurs
Secretly manipulates for attention
Hesitates in the call to service
Gets hurt and sulks
Doesn't see the benefit of serving
Always asks "what's in it for me" or "when is it my turn"
Availability is our only acceptable act in servanthood. We present ourselves a living sacrifice.
5. Servanthood is the way to true satisfaction
He is blessed by allowing the Master to be the greatest - John 13:12-13
Is an example - John 13:14-17
Is great - Mat 20:27-28
Is always there where Christ is - John 12:25-26
Is always content and not in competition - Phil 2:3-4
How faithful are we to the service the Lord has mapped out for us - do we need thanks or recognition or do we get angry and withdraw
How content are we in ministry when God chooses for us?
How often do we get offended when people take advantage of us and our service. Do I require soulish payment for my service?
2 Timothy 3:14
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been
assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.
Hello friends and co-laborers!
I'm excited to announce that the Annual Ukrainian Leadership Conference will be taking place Oct 30-Nov 3 in L'viv with the privilege to have p. Schaller with us those dates as our special guest speaker
P. Misha and Yura Petriv will be the organizers of this conference and will be sending out soon a brochure of all the details.