Sowing More than Seeds

Posted on February 21, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Get alone in a quiet location and kneel. Ask God to teach you more about Himself today so you can better follow Him and tell others about His love.

Read Matthew 13:1-9 In your Bible. Using the headings below, record in your journal the four different places the seed fell and their results.

Where the seed fell:

 

Results:

 

Now, read Jesus’ explanation of the parable in Matthew 13:18-23.

“But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the word, who does bear fruit and yields: some 100, some 60, some 30 times what was sown.”

—Matthew 13:23

According to Jesus’ explanation, whom or what does the seed represent? Whom does the sower represent? Why is that important?
The four types of soil describe responses to the gospel: hardened hearts; joyful acceptance with no actual commitment; interest in Jesus that wanes in the face of the world’s pleasures or anxieties; and those who receive God’s Word, understand it, and seek to fulfill it. Which best describes your response to the gospel? Why?

Consider verse 22. What are some “worries of this age” that might entice someone away from the truth of the gospel? Explain.

Respond

Placing your faith in Jesus is a decision you make in a moment, but is proven by your commitment, perseverance, avoidance of idolatry and anxiety, and the presence of spiritual fruit in your life.

If God has used this passage to convict you of your need for Jesus, place your faith in Him today.

Commitment, perseverance, and avoiding idolatry and anxiety is a daily struggle. Think about the circumstances in your life in which it seems easier to give up on God and follow after the world. Ask God to focus your heart and mind on Him and remind you of His truth, even when trusting Him seems too difficult.

For further study of spiritual fruit, read Galatians 5:22-23.

Behind the Story

Taken in context, the parable of the sower has much to do with Jesus’ discussion of those who hear and choose to believe His teaching (Matt. 13:10-17). Each of the “soils” heard the gospel; but only one, “the good soil,” chose to accept and receive it. The gospel has the power to change our lives and hearts, but we must accept it and place our faith in Christ for it to do so.

The Point

Many will reject the truth of the gospel, but those who accept it will bear spiritual fruit.


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“I have come to give you life, and life to the FULL.” John 10:10

Posted on February 17, 2017 by Amanda Rymer

I go to a church in Swannanoa, Valley Hope, and am a part of a small group there. Right now we are going through Ephesians, and every time we meet, we study the chapter for that week and ask ourselves, “What does this say about God? What does this say about me? And what does this say about our community/church?” Last week, we were studying Ephesians 3 and particularly looked at verses 17-19, “…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to KNOW THE LOVE OF CHRIST THAT SURPASSES KNOWLEDGE, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

We then discussed the three main questions I mentioned and the woman leading discussion followed up by asking us, “When is the last time you were so overwhelmed by God’s love for you, you just couldn’t believe it?” For the past week I have been thinking about this question. When was that time for me? I mean, if I open my eyes I can see the works of his love all around me constantly – in the good and the tough times. But when was the last time I was overwhelmed by His love for me

I’ve reflected back on times in middle school, high school, and college where the Lord’s love overwhelmed me. I’ve thought of times even in the past 6 months where I can identify His overwhelming love for me. But every time, I keep coming back to my summers at Crestridge. When I was a Cheyenne and found my life-long best friend. When I was a Choctaw going through an identity crisis, my counselor revealed the truth of Christ’s identity and love for me. When I was a Cherokee and was humbled greatly when my fire didn’t light in the Belle Test (Read Luke 10:38-42). When I was a SALT and learne
d how to worship and lead through service… But most of all, being on staff for 3 summers and getting to look girls in the eye who are in the very place I once was and tell them, “You are loved, you are beautiful, and you are worth knowing by your Creator.” I got to atch my amazing staff of 12 counselors love their girls. In all their brokenness, Christ made himself complete and loved their campers through them.

It’s crazy to me that the Creator of the Universe chooses to know us and love us. His love is not based on our works or His need for us. He simply loves us because we are His. Dive into His arms today, and know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. Christ has come to give you life to the full. It’s time for a beautiful adventure

 


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The Greatest Treasure

Posted on February 14, 2017 by Karah

dsc_5248Pause

Meditate on this quote from John Piper:

“Fight for us, O God, that we not drift numb and blind and foolish into vain and empty excitements.”

Personalize that prayer and pray it today to begin your quiet time.

Think about the most important things in your life, from relationships to actual items. List the top three things you treasure. Be honest.

1.

2.

3.

Now, read Matthew 13:44-45 in your Bible.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure, buried in a field, that a man found and reburied. Then in his joy he goes and sells everything he has and buys that field.”

—Matthew 13:44

Reread Matthew 13:44-45 and answer these questions:

-How did the men respond when they found the treasure and the pearl? Why are those reactions important? Explain.

-A parable points to a greater truth, and this parable has to do with the value of God’s kingdom. What does it teach you about how valuable knowing Jesus is?

-Jesus used the words “treasure” and “pearl”—both denoting precious, invaluable resources—to describe what it meant to know Him and be a part of His kingdom. Would you use the same kinds of words to describe your attitude toward your relationship with Him? Why or why not?

Respond

A relationship with Jesus is so valuable that it reorients believers’ lives and becomes their focus. Can you truly say He is the most important Person in your life today?

If you are a believer and God has used this devotion to help you see other relationships or things you’ve allowed to take His place in your life, confess those things today. Ask God to center your heart on Jesus.

Look over the list of things you treasure most. Can you follow God and still treasure those things? If not, what steps will you take to get those things out of your life and make Jesus your focus? List two in the margin.

For further study of the all-surpassing value of knowing Jesus, read Philippians 3:7-11.

Behind the Story

The man in the field stumbled on the buried treasure by accident whereas the merchant had been searching for pearls as a career. This shows that God reaches out to every person on this earth whether or not they actively reach out to Him. The world searches for meaning and purpose in many things—wealth, fame, power, to name a few—but true meaning and purpose can only be found in Jesus Christ.

The Point

When we realize the value of knowing Jesus, He becomes the focus of our lives.


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The Parent Trap Handshake

Posted on February 10, 2017 by Grace Arant

Want a cool way to say goodbye to your parents on Opening Day? Impress all of your cabin mates by knowing this handshake!

 

THE PARENT TRAP HANDSHAKE:

 

Step 1: Face partner, stand an arms-length distance apart.

Step 2: Shake hands twice.

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Step 3: Change grasp to that which you would use to arm wrestle. Shake twice. Throw hands back dramatically.

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Step 4: With palms facing down, stack hands one at a time (1,2,3,4) and lift, then “drop.”

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Step 5: With each of your own set of hands pressed together, bat hands together- stop on the 3rd time hands touch. (all hands will be in the center.)

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(Left hands will be back to back, right hands will be on the outside.)

Step 6: With left hands still together, reach right hands up and “clap” above the hands in center.

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Step 6.5: Clap the left hands in the center, and then clap your partner’s right hand below. Now keep the left hands together.

Step 7: Clap the right hands together under the hands in the center. Then clap below.

Step 8: While still holding hands, sassily place your right hand on your right hip.

Step 9:  Both jump and turn to out (to the right.)

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Step 10: Bump hips.

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Step 11: Repeat on other side.

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Step 12: Face each other. Gently squat and place hands under chin. (so cute!)

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Step 13: Lunge forward and slide (trading places) then quickly face one another.

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Step 14: Firmly shake hands in a large, stiff movement (one time.)

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TA- DAAAAAAAHHH!

(Fun Fact: It took Lindsay Lohan an hour to learn this routine.)


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Small but Significant

Posted on February 7, 2017 by Karah

bubble-partyPause

Take a few minutes to look out the window or walk outside. Gaze at the trees and plants. Thank God for the ways creation points you to Him.

Read Matthew 13:31-33 in your Bible.

“He presented another parable to them: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It’s the smallest of all the seeds, but when grown, it’s taller than the vegetables and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and nest in its branches.’”

Matthew 13:31-32

Ask yourself:

-What two items does Jesus compare the kingdom of God to in these verses? What does that help you to understand about the kingdom of God? Explain.

-How much of the flour did the yeast spread through? Why is that important to note?

-The intention of a parable is to use a story to teach one main truth. Knowing that, what truth does the mustard seed and the yeast teach you? Write it in your own words.

-What do these verses help you understand about God’s kingdom? Explain.

Respond

Though His message seemed unimportant and His group of followers was small, Jesus declared that His kingdom would spread throughout the world. In baking, the work of the yeast can seem insignificant, slow, and small; yet, the tiniest amount of yeast causes entire loaves of bread to rise. How do you see Jesus at work in your heart, even in small ways? How is He changing the way you think or act? Praise God for the ways He is at work in your life, even those no one else might notice.

Mull over recent headlines or events in the news. It’s easy to think that the gospel has no power in today’s world, but God is still at work. Ask Him to open your eyes to how He is working to advance His kingdom. Pray that He would guide you to ways you can join Him in that work.

For further study about how God’s kingdom grows, read 1 Corinthians 3:6-7.

Behind the Story

By itself, a mustard seed seems insignificant. Throughout the ancient world, mustard seeds were known for their miniscule size. But when God grows them, He creates magnificent trees that provide shelter for other creatures. This parable shows how God can take the smallest of items and produce great results for His kingdom. Just like yeast permeates the entire dough of bread and affects it, God’s work is not confined by fences, state borders, or human laws. His reign knows no boundaries.

The Point

The kingdom of God will have an incredible impact and its message will pervade the entire world.


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