The Patience of growing seeds.

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Gardens are amazing things. I have the real privilege to be writing this, sat outside on a warm sunny day in my own garden. As we move deeper into the summer months where things are getting warmer, the gardens are in full bloom, BBQ’s, paddling pools and World Cup Parties are in full swing – we can forget that hidden from our very eyes, the Kingdom of God is growing.

The Sunday gospel reading from a few weeks ago was the Parable of the Mustard seed and the parable of growing seeds (Mark 4:26-34). In these two parables, Jesus gives us great illustrations of how God’s Kingdom; the Church grows.

“It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.” (Mk 4:31-32)

A Mustard seed is tiny. It looks weak, vulnerable and useless on the outside. If you eat it, can’t sustain you and it can be easily lost. Yet Jesus reminds us that the power of that tiny seed is on the inside. Even though it looks tiny, it produces the largest tree. How can something so tiny produce something so large? That is how the Kingdom grows. It begins very small, so small that we feel that nothing is happening. When we look at our churches we might look and feel like Mustard seeds. With small congregations we might feel weak, vulnerable, like nothing is happening, but hidden from our eyes, in the very heart of all that we do, God is at work, in every person we engage with. God doesn’t look at us on the outside, but from the inside. He looks at and works from our hearts therefore, we should be patiently waiting for these small seeds to grow. They can only grow, like any seed, if the soil is ready and prepared. The soil is solid Bible teaching and focused prayer.

The other parable tells us what we can do to encourage the growth of God’s Kingdom:

“A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” (Mk 4:26-27) 

What is important to the farmer is not how the seed produces the crop for him to harvest but that he actually scatters the seed. The Farmer trusts the seed, he has faith and patience in God and in that seed and believes that it will bear fruit. God in his great sovereignty nurtures, encourages and maintains the seeds we scatter. This seed is telling people about Jesus, from loving our neighbours to inviting them to events but unless we are scattering the seed then we will not see growth.

In the heat of the summer, continue to scatter seeds and be patient for their growth. Even through the most rough and tough times we are to keep hold of the hope and joy that deep down, God is still at work in all that we do, even if we feel like mustards seeds. There is a great future! We are to look forward in joy that all these seeds that have been scattered is forming and becoming a great tree.

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Gospel Leaflets, Preaching, and Mc Donalds in West Bromwich?

This week in West Bromwich, I have been very encouraged by people’s responses to the gospel! I have been out today with a mission group, and with one of my dear friends giving out leaflets and gospels to the very busy square in West Bromwich. I’m not a great evangelist on the street, but I can give out things and greet people. After an opening prayer, we dived straight in and were giving them out left, right, and centre. I must have personally given out 30+ leaflets in about an hour and half alone, plus the other 5 of us were giving out similar numbers. I’ve been doing this since October last year, and this is the most encouraging day of outreach so far. I had learned that people will ignore leaflets that have the words of “God” or “Jesus” on the front because they are off-putting. Now don’t get me wrong, of course that is the whole point of doing evangelism, to share the grace of God through Jesus Christ, but people want things that apply to themselves. The most popular leaflet is the one that says on the front

What is your greatest need?

People today are in need! They are in need of answers, money, food, wealth, satisfaction, joy, peace, family, friends etc. We are in need of things, just like third world countries (on a different scale). We need the love of Jesus. we need our friends and families to talk openly about the love of Jesus. That God sent his one and only son that whoever believes in him may not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16. Imagine if we said that daily to someone we don’t know today. We are not all evangelists but to share the gospel with other people is the commission of Jesus Christ.

There was also street preaching; and it does work. There is a difference between street preaching and street pestering. We don’t need to shout at the top of our voices, or be in people’s faces, we need to be presence and fit in with the area, but stand out in a different way. We offer people on the street something that is free, but at a cost of their lives. The McDonald’s we had for lunch was tasty, but let us be confident in the Lord this day, and tell everyone we know John 3:16!!