Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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The parable of the sower part one – critiquing your leader/pastor/teacher – Mark 4:1-9

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The parable of the sower part one – critiquing your leader/pastor/teacher – Mark 4:1-9 – 07/14/2016

Lord willing this will be a three part article on this vital part of scripture and until recently I would have tried to squeeze this into one article but I have had some feedback that my articles are a little long so I am trying to pack a punch with less words. I plan to start with this text in the book of Mark…

Mark 4:1 (ESV) Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Here we have the greatest teacher of the bible that the world has ever known, the co-author of the heart behind the message is telling the story in the context it was intended and he teaches on what could only be described as a self-fulfilling parable. I say self-fulfilling because even although we had that teacher who could explain the hermeneutics, the theology behind what was said and also the heart behind the text, the ability to cut through the popular interpretations that have bent the scripture beyond how it was intended and allowed the people to twist it to their own ends and own interpretations. I know that even although it was Jesus who was teaching there would have been some who would not have lost their hardness of heart, some who would stubbornly not change and some who allowed the devil to snatch the freshly sown word from their hearts.

If this happened when Jesus taught how much more will it happen when your pastors and leaders teach? These guys are not superman and from experience in ministry people can have unrealistic expectations of who you are and what you do. I would urge you to examine what your pastors say, make sure it lines up with the scripture and is free of heresy but avoid stylistic comments that are not said with the purest of hearts, I have heard some crackers in my time, some examples would be…

  • Pastor, you labored the point there
  • I was not touched by that message, I just did not feel it
  • Pastor, your lecture (note the wording) made me feel bad, why must you beat the flock?

Of course if there is a pattern then by all means address it as you would with any brother, however in many cases it is just idle opinion and pastors leave these conversations deflated and hurt. There is more devil in these conversations than exhortations and that includes when pastors are always “over congratulated” for a great message. (I am always suspicious of inflation of ego personally when I am given kudos)

The idea of splitting it into three articles is to look at the different ways the seed was received so let is look at the first one in relation to how your pastor sows his particular seed. You have to understand that often times and we would hope that this is always the case but when the pastor prepares the sermon it is done based on what he is being directed to say by the Holy Spirit. I don’t know many pastors that will change a sermons application because “someone will be there”.

I say this not as a pastor but as one who has prepared messages for people to hear and I have been blessed with having a real mixed bag of people as far as maturity levels, biblical understanding and different levels as far as thirst for the scriptures. The truth remains however when we toss out the seed we do not always see the path, the thorns or the difficult ground. We certainly are hoping that the seed takes hold and blossoms and takes on a fuller level, however many folks who listen to sermons are very internal with their difficult soil.

If you find yourself consistently critical of your pastor or leadership, the issue maybe the ground that you have prepared. Has the seed fallen on the pathway, not allowed to be taken root? Is there a pride issue involved? Have you been hurt in the past and are not allowing yourself to go all in? Do you view yourself higher than you should be and have designs on the pulpit? Take it from one in ministry; it is not all Sunday sermons and looking good on the stage! I would remove any sin from your own life first and then if your pastor is still not a good fit then talk to him. It may be able to be resolved.

I beg you…Do not allow your seed to be snatched from you and stunt your growth as a valuable member of the Christian community, the Devil does not want you to grow and you are much easier to pick off if you do not have the support of a loving church family.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

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Genesis One – Day Five – God makes the birds, the sea creatures and every living creature that moves – Genesis 1:20-23

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Genesis One – Day Five – God makes the birds, the sea creatures and every living creature that moves – Genesis 1:20-23 – 01/26/2016

Genesis 1:20 (ESV) And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

This article is designed to be a slightly more in depth article than I did in the “creation series” elsewhere on this website, Lord willing I hope to look at the full creation week and examine the case for a Biblical creation from the mindset that the bible is accurate and a honest and truthful source of history in how we came to be here. I am not here to attack other mindsets as I appreciate that not everyone shares my view of a biblical history and I do welcome lively debate on the subject regardless of your thoughts or beliefs on how the earth was made.

In order to look at this from a biblical context we must first look at the text in question starting in verse twenty…

V20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”

I love the rich wording here when it says “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures” which shows the fullness that was created with just a few words. Think of the rich diversity you have when you go underwater, fish are in all shapes, all sizes all colors and the variety is tremendous. It shows a creator God who had limitless possibilities and just as a small demonstration of who he is as God he created such richness that has been summed up in eight small words.

God’s word is at odds with an evolutionary belief that creatures evolved from a single cell organism and evolved into the animals in the sea, the ones on land, the ones in the air and then at the pinnacle of evolution you have the “homo erectus” the human. God’s word states that was not the case, it does agree that humans came after the animals but it states quite clearly that God did it and they were created so that they could survive, so these were fully grown animals and not eggs or tadpoles.

V21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Again God created them “according to their kinds” and there was plenty of variation within fish and water dwelling mammals, you just have to go into your local pet store to have a small sampling of just how much variety there is. If I was to walk into my local PetSmart and say “can I have a fish please?” I could want a guppy but be handed a goldfish because the understanding would be different.

They are all according to their kinds, the fish don’t transform into birds and the birds don’t turn into dogs, the birds were created according to the bird kind, the eagle, the raven, the dove are exactly that all birds but all different. Another example is in my front room where I have a Labrador and a Queensland dog, they are two dogs and if the male Labrador was to mate with the Queensland then they would make …(wait for it)… A DOG! That would be a process known as macro evolution or a variation within kinds which has a solid scientific footing, but if you were to suggest that if they mated generation upon generation and suddenly they made another animal say a horse then that would be preposterous, however that is what you are asking me to swallow when you are saying that a fish landed on the land, sprouted legs and became a land dweller and through series of changes became a monkey and then a human. That process where two mate and it forms an intermediate species is called “macro-evolution” and that does not come from “micro-evolution”.

If this was the case then the fossil record would be littered with intermediate species bones and fragments that would blow the case for creation completely out of the water it is not there and if anything we have more fossils that show a worldwide flood where animals have been enveloped while eating others, not exactly millions of years there?

We have to come to one of three conclusions…

• Evolution happened slowly, creating billions of years of changes that the scientific evidence does not support
• The changes came in huge steps such as a lion mated or an elephant mated and created say a Rhino
• It was exactly as the bible said it happened and the earth is in fact younger than they think it is.

Obviously I have issues with the first two as to believe in either of those outcomes would require faith that I do not have. God continues his population control plan in verse twenty two…

V22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”

God commands them to be fruitful and multiply, the earth was created to be populated and again the bible flies in the face of man’s logic that complains that there are too many people on earth. God created the earth to be inhabited and even with today’s numbers there is still plenty of room to be inhabited. Even in the USA there are vast lands that have no-one living on them for literally miles, and many other countries are like that also. Even in densely populated cities in the UK like Glasgow or London if you drive 20-30 miles out you see rural countryside, so we are hardly living on top of one another.

You have to remember, the land animals are not here yet! We just have the water borne and airborne animals thus far! There is no land dwelling creatures or man as of yet. Perhaps that is where evolution and the bible stop agreeing that man arrived last.

V23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And if we needed more confirmation, God names the day a day and calls it the fifth day, a literal day that was not to be interpreted any other way. LORD willing, next time we look at Genesis we will look at day six where God creates the land animals and makes man in their own image, I pray that you can make the next article and please check out Epistles page for our collection of bible studies on this and other books.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG