Playing Your Part

This week we finally wrap up our series, Tell Someone. For six weeks we have been talking about how to share our faith with another person. This last part offers a reminder: Although our work is vital, when it comes to the saving of souls, our work is not the only work that is happening. Jesus reminds us in the parable of the sower that there is someone else involved in the process and His work is pretty important too. Rather than worrying about doing the whole thing ourselves, if we will learn to play our part, things will go entirely more smoothly for us. Thanks for reading.

Playing Your Part

Have you ever watched a rowing competition? On occasion during a Summer Olympics event, I’ll manage to tune in just in time to see the rowing event. I don’t necessarily look to be able to watch it, but when it happens to be on, it’s not one of the events I’ll flip past to watch something else. While it’s not exactly one of the more popular sports in the world, rowing is one of those sports that requires both high skill and high strength. It doesn’t seem like it at a glance, but if you want to win big, they are a must. The most successful teams train rigorously until every single part of the team not only knows their part, but executes their part in perfect harmony with the rest of the team members. Every motion is coordinated. Every stroke is timed. One person who is even slightly out of sync with the squad will immediately become a drag on the rest. Oh yeah, and because they row with their backs to their destination, they are all completely dependent on the one person who can see where they are going. It’s almost like there’s a parable in there.

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Live Like It’s True

Have you ever had someone be really unkind to you and then expect you to listen to what they had to say? I suspect you weren’t quite as interested at that point as they wanted you to be. There’s a lesson here when it comes to sharing our faith. As we continue in our series, Tell Someone, instead of turning to tips and tricks for effective evangelism, we’re taking a pause to talk about something we have to have in place before we start doing it (and I’m not talking about prayer). What is this thing? Read on to find out.

Live Like It’s True

In a headline that grabbed not a little attention a couple of weeks ago, the Gallup polling organization released a survey on religious participation in the United States. They found that for the first time since the organization began tracking this particular bit of data in 1937, church membership had fallen below 50% of the population. In other words, for the first time…perhaps in our entire history…less than half of the country reports being a member of a church. The problem runs deeper than just that, though. These folks who are leaving behind their church membership are overwhelmingly not just leaving that behind, they are abandoning the Christian faith entirely.

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Morning Musing: Mark 6:7

“He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs and gave them authority over unclean spirits.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the classic characters from American television history is the Lone Ranger. This hero of western lore was a symbol for justice in the untamed American West. He fought villains and protected weak wherever he went. Since his original introduction in a radio series in 1933, the Lone Ranger has been an American icon. He is what we should all aspire to be: brave, just, honest, kind, gentle, fair, and true. There are other elements of his persona that reflect the American spirit as well. Perhaps the most notable of these is the fact that he is the Lone Ranger. He’s on a solo quest against injustice. He can do it all by himself. That sounds so rugged, so adventurous, so noble, and so likely to fail spectacularly. In real life, Lone Ranger-type quests rarely make a splash. Jesus understood this. And so while He was actually the one person in human history who could have done it all Himself, He refused to take that path.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 4:26-27

“‘The kingdom of God is like this,’ he said. ‘A man scatters seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day; the seed sprouts and grows, although he doesn’t know how.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What role do we play in the process of salvation? How do we actually contribute to the growth of the kingdom? If you would claim the name of Jesus as your Lord and savior, those are perhaps questions that have at least occurred to you. We often hear about evangelism and are chided over its lack in our lives and in our churches. What Jesus says here helps to frame out a bit what evangelism actually entails and what should be our focus in it in a way that may help give us more confidence in doing it. Pay close attention.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 4:13

“Then he said to them, ‘Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand all of the parables?'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I said on Tuesday that the parable of the sower isn’t about you. It’s not about me. Can we take things in just a little different of a direction this morning? It’s still not about you and me, but as Jesus explains the different soils and what they each represent, we can’t help but find ourselves in the story. We can’t help it because while this isn’t about calling us to evaluate what kind of soil we are now, we were once the soil in which someone else was trying to plant a Gospel seed. If we can better understand the perspective and experience of each different soil, we’ll be better able to sow seeds in a way they will be more likely to take root. So, let’s talk about dirt this morning.

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