Tuesday, July 21, 2009

VBS 09 Day 3- God 's Word grows in you and in me


  1. I have found (it): believed to have been uttered by Archimedes when he discovered a way to determine the purity of gold by applying the principle of specific gravity
  2. I've got it; yes; that's it: used to express triumphant achievement, success, or discovery

We've been shouting "Eureka!" as part of our program whenever the leader (Bethany) announces the key idea for each night. I explained to the 5/6 graders how in African American churches there is often a call-and-response interaction between the preacher and the congregation. When he wan't to know that they understand what he is teaching, he asks them to shout "Amen." Amen, is a Hebrew word which means "may it be so, so it is, let it be so, or, this is true." (Lutherans read "this is most certainly true" a lot in the chatechism.)

Both Eureka and Amen might be great ways to say "I GET it!" when you understand what's being talked about. That fit with the night's lesson because it was about whether you "get it" or not.

The Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:1-15) is the one parable that Jesus told which He went so far as to spell out and explain to His diciples peice by peice, which is ironic because the whole point of the story is that a lot of people miss the point.

Steven Corbert is actually a fairly liberal comedian, but he's become famous by satirizing ultra conservative pundits who take themselves too seriously. Ironically, there are tons of far right-wing Republicans and Libertarians who think he's for real. They love him and believe much of what he says... they don't seem to realize that he's making fun of them.

Similarly, British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen has had two movies (Borat and Bruno) in which he pretends to be hopelessly clueless stereotypes of characters making a serious as a heart attack doccumentary. He's then able to record ordinary people responding to his characters either with ridicule and intolerance, or by revealing themselves to be just as clueless as his characters are. Some people just don't get it.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus is warning us that sometimes we just don't get it. And sure enough, the original 12 disciples didn't get it so He had to spell it out for them.

The seed is God's Word.

Some of us are trampled down paths (verse 5). We've been walked on and worked over, so no sooner do we hear God's Word than the devil snaches it away and it's as if we never heard it.

Some of us are shallow, rocky dirt (verse 6) (more like the deserts of Phoenix where I grew up than the deep, dark, nutrient rich top soil here in Iowa). We get all excited and seem enthusiastic about this great new thing; "Jesus" or "Faith" or "Christianity" and it sprouts up fast- how exciting, the latest Christian book, some newtrend or self-improvement fad, a TV evangelist, or a great Christian rock band or concert--- woo hoo, aint this great? But, once life get's tough (and it always does) then we abandon the faith, we feel like Jesus must've been just another religion, and it comes to nothing.

Some of us are a wild weed patch, full of buffalo burrs or thisles or maybe, lush banks of kudzu or why not- gorgeous rose bushes--- whichever way you dice it, the seed comes and it make grow, but it's choked by what's already growing in us. We may believe and even try to be like Jesus, but life gets in the way. There are just too many things we don't want to give up. Maybe they're actual things (material posessions) maybe they're bad habits, selfish attitudes, patterns of behavior, sins- maybe they're people, toxic relationships, bad influences- somehow or other, the worries and/or pleasures of this world just don't allow our faith to get the sunlight or nutrients it needs to grow.

Ah, but some of us, are decent worm poop. Soft, turned over, cleared off, composted, damp and ready to recieve the seed. And if we do, God can get a great yield out of His seed. 100 times, Jesus says.

And so what? What yield? Sunflower seeds? Corn kernels? Soybeans? Apple trees? Wheat?

Fruit, Spiritual Fruit. John 15:1-3 says that Jesus is the vine, we are the branches and God the Father is the gardener. Remember yesterday he turned us from water to wine, maybe we're wine grapes. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us the kind of fruit we are to produce, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. THAT is some good fruit.

It almost makes you wonder if in Genesis 1:28, when God told us to "be fruitful and multiply," He wasn't really talking about having babies, at least He wasn't JUST talking about having babies.

It certainly seems to me that having the Holy Spirit produce this kind of fruit in us would lead to doing a lot of good works and following good paths that God prepared for us in advance (Ephesians 2:10).

But, you have to have ears to hear. Amen? You can't just half listen or treat God's Word like it's just more background noise. That's the difference between just hearing and actually listening and paying attention. The only way to be good soil, is to till up the trampled path, to pick out the rocks and pull out the weeds. The only way to produce good fruit is to commit to seting aside time to spend with God, reading His Bible, praying to him, worshiping and listening. If we refuse the seed, how can we expect to produce any fruit? He who has ears, let him hear. Amen?

In light of that important lesson- would you please consider making time to get into God's Word? Plan on coming to HS Bible Study this fall. Our theme's going to be "you, like living stones, are being built into God's house" 1 Peter 2:5

We'll use Room 101 off the Church Lobby instead of the kitchen in the basement. Let's really try to get into Gods Word in a major way before you all go to New Orleans for the National Youth Gathering next summer.

And since it's still a month and a half away, why don't you start praying that all the kids in our congregation will start coming to HS Bible Study on Sundays this Fall too. Nobody wants to be alone. Jesus tells us, where two or more are gathered in His name He is there with them (Matthew 18:20)!

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