Sowing and Reaping... Still True

i was awake much of the night last night thinking about bearing fruit. Many years ago I remember speaking at our church plant in Inverness Scotland. During the message I held up a small pot that had a plant planted. I mentioned how important it is to get the seed planted, then to patiently allow the seed to grow. It's the principal of Sowing and Reaping.

Note: The principal of sowing and reaping is the foundational Kingdom principle. What you sow, is what you will reap.

In one passage, much mis-directed and taught, Jesus talks about forgiveness, love and grace... if we sow forgiveness, love and grace guess what we will receive pressed down, shaken, and running over?

Proverbs states, a person who shows him or her self friendly will have... guess what?

If you sow to righteousness(focus on the right things, ever notice you can't focus in two directions at once for any length of time?) you will reap a harvest of?

If you sow to your base nature you will reap?

Sowing and reaping is a faith exercise. Some sowing and reaping is lifestyle choice. If you don't like your life, nor what you are reaping, you might want to stop,  and think about what you are sowing into your body, your heart, your mind and your soul. If you begin to sow positive life seeds, in a few months you'll begin to reap some good things.

My son has decided to sow some good things into his life. To make a lifestyle change. He decided to eat better and to exercise. Guess what? He's gained a needed 10lbs and feels better. It's simple, what you sow you will reap.

Sowing for a Harvest....

Jesus said, 'Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 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. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.' Later He said, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.' When challenged by His disciples He then added, 'Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?'

He went on to explain what the parable meant. In short, the sowers are people, the seeds are Gods words spoken, and the four soils are the hearts of men and women at various degrees of readiness.

Later, He continued to explain the Kingdom of God and described how the seed grew. The seed, when planted, matured and produced grain by the All By Itself Principle.

He said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. 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. All by itself the soil produces grain-- first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come." Mk 4:1-29 NIV

Jesus knew the disciples needed to understand the kingdom principle of sowing and reaping. It is foundational. Jesus knew they needed to understand this parable or they would not be able to understand any other principle governing the Kingdom of God. He was pleading, "Fellas, you really have to get this one!" Like the disciples we also need to understand.

The principle: What is sown will grow and bear fruit. How? We don't really know. It just happens. It’s a mystery. When the seed is sown it is unseen as a seed buried in the hearts and minds of men and women. Our job is believe the All By Itself principle, and to sow good seeds in simple faith.

Could you imagine a farmer after all the hours of ploughing, discing, sowing the seed, watering and fertilizing to go out day by day, dig up the ground to see if the seed was beginning to grow?

A good farmer sows the seed in faith, believing that all that has gone before in the preparation of the soil will bring forth a harvest. He trusts the intrinsic nature of the seed. He knows that his job is to get the seed into the past tense and then wait patiently. He waters the ground and allows the seeds to grow. How does the seed grow? ... all by itself. The seed has power within itself to grow.

This is how saving faith touches the life of an individual. Someone speaks the truth, prays for a person or serves a person in a practical way, the seed enters into their heart, and in time, faith springs up. It is important to note that someone has to sow the seed before a harvest can be realized. Often, this is an overlooked reality.

It is said that the great evangelist D.L. Moody never led anyone to Jesus who had not heard the gospel before. The seed had been sown before he was able to reap. This encourages me. My job is to be a sower. I am not to worry if the harvest isn’t forthcoming instantly, but to sow the seed in faith with the view that growth will come in time.

A friend of mine often asks the question, ‘How long does it take for a person to come to Christ?’ He pauses then answers…’A unique amount of time.’

The principle of process cuts across our instant access computer chips and fast paced living mindset. Our generation yearns for instant answers and instant success. We want to plant the seed one day... and enjoy the fruit the next. We don’t want to wait patiently during the process.

We often become impatient and throw up our hands and declare, ’It doesn’t work!’ Where is the fruit?’ When we respond in such a manner we are like an unwise farmer who keeps digging up the field to see if the seed is growing. The reality: hidden seed may be growing within the hearts of the people we encounter.

A girl suddenly burst into tears when one of our staff handed her a small gift bag during an outreach. She exclaimed, "I know I need to go to church. I've been thinking about it for days!"

Really, a simple act of kindness brought such a huge response? What was going on in this girls heart? Someone, from somewhere, somehow planted a seed that had been incubating in her heart. The act of kindness, by a friend, simply watered the germinating seed and produced an emotional  / spiritual response.

James 57 NAS Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near,

Often in a group setting, I’ll ask the question, ‘How many of you came to know Jesus the first time you heard the gospel?’ Most of the time no one raises a hand. Of all the people I’ve had the privilege to bring to the Lord over the past 30 years only one person had not heard before. The first time they heard the truth, faith entered their heart as the person believed. This is not the norm in the Western world. It often takes many encounters before a harvest can occur. Some writers say that at the present time in the USA that at least seven to twelve positive encounters with the gospel must take place before a person comes to saving faith. That is a lot of patient planting and a lot of watering the seed!

Consider your own life. Did you meet Jesus the first time your heard the gospel? Or did you hear in many ways over a period of time before making a decision? Did you need time to count the cost and to weigh up the facts? Can you remember who sowed the seed into your life? Did another person water it? How did it happen for you? How did it happen for your friends? More than likely discovering faith was a timely process.

Here is a processed life equation…
Seeds sown
+ Questions answered
+ Adequate time for God to work
='s A new believer.

This is why it is important to become a person who seeks to sow and water the seed consistently. If no one does the hard work of sowing and then watering the seed, and it takes more than one positive personal contact for a person to be connected with the good news before making a decision, what will happen if no one sows and no one waters? Will there be a harvest? I don’t think so.

John 4:37-39 (NIV) 
Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true.  I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

The problem: If there are no seeds sown, how can people expect a large harvest?

Also, notice in the parable the sower was not condemned or corrected for his sowing method. Some seed fell on rocky places, hard places and weedy places. However, the principle of sowing the seed was and is the main point of the parable. In the parable it is mentioned that the sower scatters the seed. This means many seeds are scattered. It is implied the sower was not all that worried where the seed was scattered. Some of the seed even fell in ground that would not produce fruit.

The rule of the parable, sow the seed and sow it in abundance.

On a trip from the USA to Scotland I noticed two men in a field sowing seed. They had huge baskets tied to their waists. With each step they were putting their hands into the basket and scattering the seed before them as they walked. As I was watching the men sow the seed I thought to myself, ‘This is what Jesus wants His people to do, sow many seeds!’

This is how the harvest will come — when the seed has been sown, not before. Therefore, if we want to see a harvest there needs to be many sowers and a multitude of seeds sown before a great harvest can be realized and enjoyed.

Besides, what should believers be doing in the *mean time? *The time between the promise and the actuality of the promise. I think we should be active, living in the now of life loving our communities into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

By the way, the field in Scotland, where the men were sowing, was soon fully covered with barleycorn. The harvesters then came and reaped the harvest. The seed grew and produce a crop. Jesus wanted His disciples to get this one. He wants us to get it too.

Whew! 12 Days of Christmas! Success!

What a season! We have had a great Christmas Season of outreach. The stats are amazing, and the feedback has been awesome. Most of us who have served have had the opportunity to hear many thanks yous and the stories of people who have been touched by our kindness. Personally it's been a season where I've seen the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit most days. I've noticed I've shown up at just the right time for the right person, or sensing I need to be somewhere, then arrive and discover why I needed to be there. It's been interesting.

Here are some stats and notes...

5 Elementary schools were served: Kettering Greenmont Elementary, Kettering JFK Elementary, Fairborn Wright Kindergarten, Fairborn Elementary and Beavercreek Parkwood Elementary.

The school counselors of each school submitted the names of the children who were in need. They filled out a form giving sizes, ages, and their wish list for Christmas presents. 120 families were then adopted by the people of the Vineyard from the 5 schools. Once adopted, the families shopped, then delivered the gifts to our main locations for sorting and putting into large gift bags with family names and codes. Each school then received the different color and coded bags of clothing and gifts.

4 Elementary schools also received non-decrectionatory gift of $500 to help the counselors to help kids in need, thanks to James Capital INC..

Every school also received tickets to give the the next layer of children in need, to visit out Making Christmas Dreams Come True Free Store. From Wednesday to Friday we opened the store in the evenings and during the day on Saturday. Each gender / age group had tables with age appropriate presents. The parents / guardians then chose 2 gifts per child and a few items of clothing. Each parent / guardian was greeted by a guide who helped carry the presents, listened and prayed for the family. The presents given were purchased donated and by the people of the Vineyard.

The kids had fun in a separate Kidzone space with bouncy castle, and crafts.

Wrap It up!
12 days at the mall flew by. Several great conversations and people telling stories how they or a family member had been touched by our kindness over the months and years.

One man, "Your turkey that you gave to my daughter on Thanksgiving week was more then kind, It was significant and awesome. It made such a difference for her and all the other people in the apartment complex." 

Our location was fantastic. 40 feet of window space and a bathroom located in the store.

Small things done with great love can change the world. 
Steve Sjogren

Good deeds create goodwill that opens hearts to the good news. 
Rusaw and Swanson

God space is created when we serve someone with genuine love and kindness. 
It's within this context God things happen.
Steve Bowen

Making Christmas Dreams Come True.

How you can help 
Make Christmas Dreams Come True this year.

  • Become a ministry partner at The Making Christmas Dreams Come True Store
Wednesday - Friday December 18-21, 6 to 8:30pm. Saturday December 21, 10am to 3:30pm. The Free Store is located in the Family Life Center you can help set up,  welcome our guests, wrap presents, serve coffee, help people find gifts for their kids, or offer prayer for their needs. You can also, help kids have fun and create a craft in our new improved Kidz Zone. Sign up by contacting or by phoning 937.427.1912

  • Purchase Christmas Presents (As always, this is the greatest need.)
Purchase kid-friendly presents for our Making Christmas Dreams Come True Store. Parents will come to our shop located in the Family Life Center and choose presents for their kids. We’ll need hundreds of presents, all shapes and sizes

Bring the presents when you come to services, 
or drop off at the Vineyard 
Monday-Friday 9am - 4:30pm before December 16th.

  • Adopt a Family  
Pick up a card from one of our white trees and help a family in need. Every family has been selected by the school counselors or principals as the most at risk and most in need.
Please return gifts in large black bags labeled with family name
 and family code by December 16th or as soon as you can.

  • Wrap presents at the Fairfield Commons Mall Entrance F by Elder B. Mens.
Beginning Thursday December 12th through December 23rd we will be serving our community by wrapping presents for free. Monday - Thursday 12pm - 2pm and 6pm - 9pm. Friday - Sunday 12pm - 9pm. Sign up for a time slot at the Wrap It Up! tables located in the Main Room and in the Family life center.

 We always need more wrappers.