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 Four – God makes the Sun, the Moon and stars – Genesis 1:14-19

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Genesis One – Day Four – God makes the Sun, the Moon and stars – Genesis 1:14-19 – 01/12/2016

Genesis 1:14 (ESV) And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth 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 fourteen…

V14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.

God again showed what he was doing in creation by noting that the creation on this day would mark three different timespans…

  • signs and for seasons
  • for days
  • for years

And that is even true today, you could ask my child who is in first grade “ is it light or dark when you wake up?” and she could give you an answer that can be traced all the way back to that scripture.

We are all familiar with the idea of “day”, “night”, “months”,  “years” and “spring”, “summer”, “autumn (fall)” or “winter” because we have based our very time, day, dates and years around evidence that we can see on a daily basis, we can see the sky getting darker, we can see the sky getting lighter, only a fool would try to deny that there is a planet that somewhat illuminates the night called the Moon and a planet that gives a greater light in the day called the Sun, we also see our temperature get hotter, colder, wetter and dryer at different intervals in the year, scientists would call that good observational science and I would tend to agree with them.

We also see other lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth; again my first grade daughter would easily tell you that we call them stars. (Which is confirmed by name in the next verse if you don’t wish to trust the wisdom of a six year old.) We again can observe them so it does not take a great deal of faith to believe in something that you can see plainly and interpret what it is.

V16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.

Once we have had the recipe, we then get the execution and this is where theology and evolutionary scientists depart from each other, one believes that God placed the sun and the moon in exactly the correct place in order to sustain life and another believes in no deity and it is there because it is there.

I prefer the idea of a design that was created by an architect to plan who placed all of the pieces exactly where they were supposed to be, here is my evidence this far…

  • Day one – he created the universe, made it light and dark creating the first day
  • Day two – he separated the waters from the waters creating the correct climate
  • Day three – dry land, vegetation and everything created fully bloomed and ready for man
  • Day four – where we are today he placed the sun exactly where it needed to be to be the light sustainer.

If you don’t understand why he did this then it is confirmed in the next few verses…

V17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

Not content with creating them, he placed them exactly where they were meant to go and science continues to show what an expanse that was! They keep finding more and more beautiful stars as our technology catches up to God in so many ways. I see this as a proof of the largeness of God as opposed to being problematic to showing that God created it. For me it humbles me and gives such a perception shift when we realize the size of God that we serve and the fact that if we were to realize this then we would not approach God in the way that we do.

God is a god who deserves all the honor, glory and majesty and once I fully understood this first chapter of genesis that shows the biblical creation account, it truly changed my life and I am truly grateful to my old pastor at Calvary Glasgow who took me to see a man called Ken Ham in a small church in Glasgow back in 2007 on a night that would be not even remembered by anyone who worked that tour, but I was a brand new believer and was still reconciling things in my heart as to what the bible said on many things and that night was really a game changer because that man had so many answers that led me to investigate fully based on the foundational knowledge that I now had. I am truly grateful to the Answers in Genesis organization for organizing that tour.

People ask if there is any life on other planets and I would doubt that because of how this text is finished “And God saw that it was good” and as I stated above, we have so many factors that would have to pre-exist in order to have a sustainable environment for living creatures to survive let alone live, so much so that even the most ardent science fiction person or person who wishes extra-terrestrial life to be the case would even concede that it has very problematic probability of chance based on mathematics alone. I find it to be as the name suggests “science fiction”. It would also call into question why God chose this planet to send his Son Jesus Christ to die and not any others.

God also stated that it was “good” as a reminder that nothing had interrupted creation thus far and everything so far had been from Gods hand, God is a perfect God who does not make mistakes and this is a reminder that everything was going to plan.

V19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

And as if we needed a reminder, God called this the fourth day, a literal day that was not to be interpreted any other way.

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