A debt of gratitude

November 3, 2019

Tell Me the Stories of Jesus: A Debt of Gratitude

The wicked tenants in this parable had three problems, all of which could have been easily overcome. After all, the tenants Jesus was talking about were the Jews, particularly the religious leaders of the Jews and they were God’s chosen. But they chose to ignore their problems. First, they refused to believe that the owner (God) was the real authority in their lives…they thought they were. Second, they refused to give to the owner (God) what was agreed upon in rents (prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness). Finally, they refused to obey the reminders the owner (God) had given them to be faithful. Can we apply these failures to our own lives and learn how to live our lives as God’s faithful followers?

Matthew 21:33-34

The Parable of the Tenants
33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

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From Nurture to Refuge

October 27, 2019

Tell Me the Stories of Jesus: From Nurture to Refuge

There is more to being a Christ follower than going to church and reading a few random passages of scripture. To truly be a disciple of Jesus, we have to be moving towards a goal, growing deeper in our relationship to Him through intentional study, thoughtful prayer, vibrant worship and loving outreach. The parable of the mustard seed as an image of the Kingdom of God is about how that Kingdom grows in us and what happens when it does. In the beginning, the tender, vulnerable shoots coming out of that tiniest of seeds needs to be cared for and nurtured. But when it is mature, it becomes a refuge, offering protection and nurture to others. That is our goal…to grow beyond needing to be nurtured into agents of Christ who care for and love others fully.

Matthew 13:31-32
The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

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The Home gardner

October 20, 2019

Tell Me the Stories of Jesus: The Home Gardner

In hearing the parable of the sower, we often focus first on the types of soil in the story and work from there. I think it is more meaningful for us to start with the end of the story and work back…to goal of the believer is to yield fruit. How do we do it? We make sure that our spiritual soil is ready for growth. We loosen the hard-packed mess in our lives, make sure there is room in our hearts for God to grow, and take care to avoid the distractions that keep us from trusting God with our lives. Then we can properly grow in the Word of God so that our yield in serving Him will be great.

Matthew 13:1-23
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]
16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

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