Posts tagged ‘teach’

May 1, 2012

Sowing and Reaping

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7726011@N07/5263126267/

Galatians 6:8 …If you plant in the soil of your corrupt nature, you will harvest destruction. But if you plant in the soil of your spiritual nature, you will harvest everlasting life.
Sowing and reaping are words that we don’t use a lot anymore except in church. But when the Apostle Paul was talking to the church in first century, everyone understood those terms. Sowing has to do with the method of planting seed, especially grain, which meant that you took a hand full of seed and threw it out in a sweeping motion in order to cover as much of the plowed ground as possible in as even a pattern as possible. Reaping was the method of harvesting the grain after it was fully developed. It was the point of the harvest where you realized how much of the seeds really developed into usable crop. There were weeds that commonly grew in wheat called tares, that looked like wheat until it was harvested and then you saw the seed-head.
Paul used this to teach about spreading the word of God. Unlike today where we can buy seed that is 99.9% pure seed and plant rows that are identical and harvest almost pure wheat, they could not do that then. They had to rely on spreading lots of seed over as much of the ground as possible in order to get the biggest harvest. That was the idea of spreading the gospel too. Not to be picky about who heard it, but to let as many as would listen hear it and let God produce the fruit. In 1 Corinthians 3:6-9, Paul uses this analogy to teach about how the seed of the word of God is what we spread to the hearts of people and God is the one who ensures the growth.
As usual, humans mess up what God intends to be good. We have taken the sowing and reaping and turned it into a name it and claim it mentality (Sow $20 and you will reap 10 fold). As much as I believe that God honors our giving and will bless it, there is no promise to make us rich. God could care less about our money if we care less about lost souls. Jesus died to save us from our sin and not to make our financial messes go away. Paul continually reminded churches of the need to stay focused on preaching the message of Christ crucified and not getting caught up in worldly things. Paul was concerned with sowing spiritual things and reaping spiritual things.
I know that right now many are typing their rebuttal to this telling me how wrong I am about the name it claim it statement. I have come to appreciate the chance to ruffle a few feathers for the sake of getting you to focus on what God sent Jesus to do and not what you think He will do for you because you sow your money. That is the focus of some, not all. There are ministry need that include money, but we must never forget that God can do it without our money if we are willing to sow the spiritual seeds that He has intrusted us with. Paul was a rich man before he became a Christian. He gave up most of his riches for heavenly rewards that are eternal. He worked hard to sustain his daily needs and God blessed him and met his needs. But Paul’s number one concern was for the spreading of the word not the spreading of the wealth.
There is nothing wrong with having money. God can bless us with earthly things. Some, I believe, have a special call to give financially to help other do ministry. But if you never had a dime to your name and you sow to the things of God, you are rich. No dollar amount can be placed on the forgiveness of sin and salvation given to us by what Jesus did on the cross. The reaping of souls, grown by the sowing of the seed, called the word of God, is a harvest that the modern church has for too often replaced with the reaping of a dollar because they sow their money far more than they sow God’s word.
Love ya. Mean it.

April 18, 2012

What’s Next

by pastortimfowler

I asked my church last Sunday night what they would like to study in the next few weeks. We are finishing up a study on anger and I like to see if they have any ideas that I can turn into a good couple of weeks of teaching. One of the suggestions was the men of the Bible. My wife teaches a women’s group on Wednesdays and they recently studied the women of the Bible. I am sure it was a great study, but I don’t do those kind of studies very well. It would be a great study, but I think I will leave it to my wife and her Wednesday night crowd to handle that. I am not sure what I will teach next.
Maybe I will start a basket weaving class. That way we keep our hands occupied and can take something home with us after we are finished. Everyone likes baskets and few folks nowadays know how to make one from scratch. If we get enough participation we can fill them with Easter eggs next year and sell them to the Easter Bunny.
Whatever I teach next I want it to be something that we can walk away from with an idea of how to do what we were studying. So many Bible studies just give us head knowledge. We walk out knowing something in our minds but have no idea how to put into our lives in a way that others see a difference. I really think that Jesus wants people to see how much we know by the way we act instead of how much we talk. Talking is the easy part.
I wonder what kind of Bible study it would be if we studied how Jesus and His teaching changed the way we act? Would it be a quick, one night study where we all agreed that we are doing fine? Would it be a boring night that is so boring no one will come back? Will it be weeks of talk about how messed up he or she is? Would it be a continual story of all the great things we think that we have done?
The Apostle Paul was an amazing fellow. He often had to talk about his self. When he did it was usually a defense of his calling into the ministry, because he was a very bad dude before he met Jesus or a reminder of the fact that before he met Jesus that he was a very bad dude. Paul said of himself that he was the worst of all sinners. He told people that he was nothing without Jesus and rarely talked about how good he was and never compared himself to others. He never bragged about his church or his group that he hung out with, but rather he bragged about God’s mercy and grace and calling in his life to preach the gospel.
The reason Paul talked like this is not because he spent time studying the deep secrets of the Bible. He knew them and for the longest time, before he met Jesus, went around quoting the Bible to people. He was a very religious man. Once he met Jesus, he got away from religion and started having a relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. He began to recognize that the less he talked about Paul, the more people would see Jesus. He showed people through his actions what he knew from the word of God. He lived each day as if it were his last and did not focus only on Sunday gatherings. One of his greatest teachings was to the church in Corinth when he taught about love. He said that even if he could do all things spiritual but did not have love, then it was all worthless. Love is the overwhelming factor that changes someone from a religious person to a person in a relationship with God. It changed Paul’s life.
Sounds like I may have found a good next topic for my Sunday evening Bible study.