Hearing with the Heart: The Parable of the Sower

mark chapter four mark chapter four

we're going to be talking about a

parable today the gut I just felt God

put this on my heart and wanted to share

it it's the parable of the sower it's a

parable about a farmer sowing seed but

it's not so much about the sewing as

much about the soils that receive the

seed and how people hear the word of God

that is shared with them how we hear how

we listen how many of us know that it is

possible and not just possible but

common to be hearing without listening

right how many of us know that that is

possible amen we have one person

listening in the back any of us who have

children or work with children know that

this is possible but of course none of

all the children know when you're like

husband's know when you're you're

listening right you're making eye

contact your you're thinking you're

listening right you're not just hearing

a men will often hey men with the lord

as god's word is spoken to us how does

it connect you see what we're going to

talk about today is not just hearing up

here but listening hearing with the

heart hearing deeply and letting this

word be transformative in our lives and

that's what i want to talk about that i

want to start before we read the parable

itself by sharing a beautiful story from

the Old Testament when one of the boys

today is named Josiah right Josiah

that's beautiful well Josiah is nay is

the name of a king from the Old

Testament some of us might know the

story it's an unusual story because he

became king at the age of 8 years old

how old is Josiah he's eight no

way oh my gosh how did I miss that well

anyway so that kid that age Josiah

Josiah became king it was a very dark

time in the history of Israel it was a

time where they had been worshiping they

left off worshiping God and were

worshiping idols they were worshiping

idols in the very temple of God

sometimes they got so depraved that they

would participate in cultic prostitution

right there in the temple as part of

worshipping pagan gods they came to the

point of in a certain Valley offering

their children in the fire so the people

of Israel had fallen way away from the

teaching of God and were just rebellious

in that time and God put this little

eight-year-old boy named Josiah becomes

king and he was a god-fearing little boy

and he grew up loving the Lord and when

he was in his teens and reaching 20 he

decided it's time to clean out the

temple and start using it again to

worship Yahweh worship the real God

right so they're cleaning out the temple

anyway cleaned out an old garage before

well that's what they were doing there

cleaning out the old junk and as they

were cleaning they discovered a book

that had not been read in many many

years it was called the book of the law

it was the Old Testament Bible and so

they took this Bible the priest he'll

kaya took it to a guy and said we found

this book and it's got some things in it

that I think maybe we should listen to

because in that book it said that if the

people of Israel worshipped idols that

they would eventually be defeated by

their enemies punished by God and exiled

into another land and so the the Chief

Secretary brings this book to King

Josiah who by now as a young man 19 20

years old and he's reading from the book

of the law and as he was reading King

Josiah started crying and he was

listening to the words and he was crying

and he and and then when he heard about

the punishment that God would bring for

idolatry he ripped his royal robe just

ripped it and he got down on his knees

and God forgive us because we have

sinned and so they went and consulted

with a prophetess who answered with this

message she said this is what the Lord

the God of Israel says concerning the

words you heard King Josiah because your

heart was responsive and you humbled

yourself before the Lord when you heard

what I have spoken against this place

and its people and because you tore your

robes and wept in my presence I have

also heard you declares the Lord do you

hear how it starts and ends when you

heard your heart was responsive and so I

have also heard you God realized that

Josiah was a man who had not just ears

to hear but a heart to understand a

responsive heart a heart that was soft

to the words of God and that's what I

want to be like when I grow up to be 20

like Josiah I want to have a responsive

heart you see that's why we say here in

this church it doesn't matter who you

are necessarily doesn't matter if you're

elderly it doesn't matter if you're in

grammar school or middle school or high

school it doesn't matter if you're a

successful professional work you're

right off the streets and struggling

with addictions if you have a responsive

heart then you're someone that God

listens to also your prayer is precious

and valuable

to him and that's what we want to be

here amen so let's look at this parable

about not just hearing but listening how

we hear how we understand mark chapter 4

it's no accident that this story is told

to a large crowd of people because Jesus

understands there's many people here

Jesus is saying but you're not all

hearing me in the same way mark chapter

4 verse 1 says again Jesus began to

teach by the lake the crowd that

gathered around him was so large that he

got into a boat and sat in it out on the

lake while all the people were along the

shore at the water's edge he taught the

many things by parables and in his

teaching he said listen a farmer went

out to sow his seed and 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 but when

the Sun came up the plants were scorched

and they withered because they had no

root other seed fell among the 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 some multiplying 30

some 60 some a hundred times then jesus

said whoever has ears to hear let them

hear verse 10 when he was alone the 12

and the others around him asked him

about the parables and he told them the

secret of the kingdom of God has been

given to you but to those on the outside

everything is set in parables so that

they may be ever seeing but never

perceiving and ever hearing but never

understanding otherwise they might turn

and be forgiven then jesus said to them

don't you understand this parable how

then will you understand any parable the

farmer sews the word some people are

like seed along the path when the word

is sown as soon as they hear it Satan

comes and takes away the word that was

sown in them others like seed sown on

rocky places hear the word and at once

receive it with joy 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 still

others like seed sown among the thorns

hear the word but the worries of this

life the deceitfulness of wealth and the

desires for other things come in and

choke the word making it unfruitful

others like seed sown on good soil hear

the word accept it and produce a crop

some thirty some sixty and some a

hundred times what was sown and father I

thank you Lord that you are the God who

is like a farmer with our hearts who can

help treat our rocks and dig up our

rocks soften the hard places and prune

out the thorns so that we can be

fruitful soil god I want to be good soil

I want my friends my people this church

to be good soil so lord I pray God that

we wouldn't just talk about this parable

and listen to hear it but that we would

listen to it with responsive hearts that

you would speak to us I pray in Jesus

name Amen a variety of soils now this

pair

able can be a little scary right because

we can wonder am I good soil now some of

us as you hear this parable may identify

with one of the soils that maybe isn't

the good soil at the end right you might

say oh well I'm kind of like the forney

soil sometimes where I'm kind of like

the shallow soils sometimes if you're

thinking that that means it's more

likely actually that you might actually

be the good soil very eloquent way of

saying that all I'm saying is that if

we're aware of the problems then God

like a good farmer can come in and he

can treat the soil and I believe good

soil is not automatically good a good

heart usually isn't automatically that

way a good heart is a good heart because

God has worked in that heart to make it

a receptive heart and we have let God

work in us so that we be receptive to

the word of God and that's what we're

talking about here now I'm talking about

something more than simple concentration

right how many of us know that it can be

hard to concentrate sometimes even in

church can it be hard to you might even

have your mind wander in church

sometimes does that ever happen yep I

don't want any I don't see any hands you

know you're sitting there you're

thinking about maybe you're trying to

remember I had one professor who

reminded of this dr. Stuart according

how he's like you know a lot of the

people out there they're trying to

remember did I turn off the iron or did

I leave it on I turn off the coffee

maker did I leave it on should I turn

off and then that's what they're

thinking about for a half hour right

someone else might be sitting there

thinking about what am I gonna do with

this kid you know I know what I gotta do

yeah some of us might be that kid

thinking about video games or something

I know I sound upset you know some of us

might be tired and just be sitting there

thinking I'm tired there might be

physical discomfort or pain that's

distracting to you right some of us

might be thinking about things we wish

we had in our life that I was thinking

the spouse do you wish you had or the

spouse you wish you didn't have you know

whatever the conflicts going on in your

life some of you might even be thinking

of a certain sporting event happening

that afternoon right might be some might

be thinking about lunch like you know

those empanadas when they're cooking

downstairs i'm convinced they do it just

to distract us right so the wafting

empanadas come up here and half of the

group is thinking about lunch all of a

sudden right I'm not saying that a

receptive heart always can concentrate

perfectly alright we are human and

sometimes we're going to get distracted

and that's okay we're talking about

something much more profound than that

we're talking about my attitude towards

the word is an attitude of receptivity

okay now I want to go through these

soils and look at them okay the variety

of ways that people receive the word

that is preached to them number one is

the hard soil that falls on the path

right verse 15 mark 4 verse 15 some

people are like seed along the path

where the word is sown the soil is

packed down and hard so the seed stays

on the top and as soon as they hear it

Satan comes and takes away the word that

was sown in them the birds come and

snatch it up hard hearts hard hearts now

the element of there is resistance and

pride I don't want to hear it I don't

need to hear it now most people who have

hearts that are that hard you

don't make it to church on Sunday but

there might be some hardened hearts

around we all can be hard sometimes but

there's this attitude of I don't want to

hear it I don't need to hear it the

fundamental problem is pride usually

it's self sufficiency I'm good No thank

you I'm good that's why Jesus said it's

hard for sometimes it's hard for the

rich to enter the kingdom of heaven

because sometimes if a person feels like

they got at all well they might think I

don't need anything else in life right

so sometimes there can that can be a

reason for hardness but it's not

automatic sometimes a person who doesn't

have very much can also have a very hard

heart because sometimes have we've been

hurt and we've been beaten we develop a

certain callous around our heart and we

say nobody's going to hurt me again

right and we develop these calluses and

these guards and these protectiveness

and say I'm not gonna let anyone hurt me

again and so we harden up as a survival

mechanism the Bible says for the seed to

go down the soil has to soften up our

hearts need to soften again we need to

be willing maybe if we've been hurt

we've learned to be hard and cynical

well we need to become like a child

again and children are very sensitive

right children are not innocent right

anyone who works with children has

children know that children are not

innocent right they lie a lot they're

just not very good at it usually

hopefully right but to become like a

child means we return to that

sensitivity again our hearts are

softened up again because this is a real

issue because there is a spiritual

battle going on the birds that come

along Satan himself jesus said Satan

comes and snatches the word when we're

out there and you're sharing with

someone and you're talking about your

faith and they're like yeah I would

ever and there's hardness it's not just

you talking to a person I do believe the

devil himself is there to snatch away

what's being said and we have to fight

against that by seeing to it the

people's hearts can soften up now we can

do this ourselves or we can have it done

for us right we can do it ourselves in

the Book of Jeremiah it says this is

what the Lord says break up your

unplowed ground circumcise your hearts

do we have any farmers in the house any

gardeners okay one the rest of us are

city kids here okay we got something

over there they've got chickens in their

garage so they know though they have a

chicken house sorry good but thank God

they got chickens they got eggs they got

the real thing very few of us have done

farming and gardening right but my

understanding is that you can take hard

soil and you can dig it up you can pound

it dig it you know you get a hole you

cut into it and you soften it up you

turn it up so that the seed can find a

place to be underneath the soil and

won't get eaten up by the birds right

now we can do that to our own hard

hearts buy something buy something

called repentance and confession we can

say God I know that I have pride and I

need to humble myself I need to give up

my own way of doing things and my own

rebellious pneus and my own defenses and

let you soften up this hard heart so we

can do that now sometimes it happens for

us right life comes along and pounds

that hard ground but suffering isn't

necessarily going to produce a soft

heart like I said suffering can produce

a hard heart if you're not careful but

sometimes even our failures and our

mistakes can make us more able to

receive the Word of God King David

committed some of the worst sins a

person can do and after that he said he

talked about how the sacrifices of God

are a broken spirit a broken and

contrite heart O God you will not

despise some of us come here with broken

hearts we have broken hearts now that

can lead you one of two ways that can

lead you towards a type of sinica

cynicism of trying to fix your heart in

your own way or it can lead you in a

brokenness to let God put your heart

back together again the brokenness can

be a good thing if we will let God

humble us and produce sensitivity rather

than calloused unfeeling pneus you know

sensitivity is a good thing even pain

can be a good thing a hand that doesn't

hurt at all no sensitivity that is a

dysfunction that could kill you right

because you're not going to feel when

something's burning right and many of us

the Bible says have seared our

consciences our consciences have been so

overexposed to sin I think I talked

about this last week where we don't even

feel it anymore right sometimes the

first time you do something wrong you

feel guilty about it it's hard to do it

the second time you do the same thing

well it still bothers you but not as

much it's really a problem when you

don't even feel any compunction anymore

it's just like nothing that means our

conscience has become seared and our

heart is becoming hard God is saying

break up your unplowed ground let's pray

for soft hearts sensitive hearts that

I'd become like a child right now don't

get me wrong I'm not saying that we're

so sensitive you get angry at everybody

who looks at you funny that's not the

kind of sensitivity I'm talking about

I'm talking about sensitivity to God

sensitivity to his work so that's the

first soil the soil by the path second

soil and we're in mark chapter four

looking at the parable or the story

about the farmer sowing seeds the second

one are the seeds that fall on rocky

soil that is shallow right that doesn't

have much depth to it want to talk about

that verse 16 and 17 mark for 16 and 17

says others like seed sown on rocky

places hear the word and it once receive

it with joy 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 you know some

people come to church and within a week

they are they're running the show

they're like yes I'll there's so much

joy so much excitement and that's great

I love to see that I love to see the

enthusiasm I love to see the joy of the

first love but then the next week

they're gone and you never see him again

right because that joy was shallow the

joy wasn't deep and so this is a soil

where the route instead of going down

deep into the soil to hit water these

roots go out along the surface like a

type of grass almost right so that when

it rains the the plant is green and pops

right up you know how quickly those

weeds pop up right pops right up because

it's drinking in the rain but when the

Sun shines dries up like that now the

Sun and the Sun will come in the parable

it says the Sun is trouble or

persecution now the problem the reason I

believe for this impermanence of people

who are temporary and the things of God

is that people have unrealistic or I

wouldn't say unrealistic but incorrect

expectations from life in

general and incorrect expectations

especially from God and from the

Christian life does God promised when I

become a Christian that my life will be

great does God promise that well yeah in

a way right Jesus says the enemy comes

to steal to kill and destroy but she

says I have come that you would have

life and have it abundantly there is no

better life than knowing God I have seen

people who were so miserable become so

joyful when they meet God I've seen

addictions break poverty broken new

freedom new happiness physical healing

relationships restored I've seen amazing

things happen and I like to talk about

God's power but do you hear where the

pitfall could come you see sometimes we

make the mistake of talking about

Christianity like if you become a

Christian you won't have any more

problems all your problems will

automatically go away you'll never

experience pain again nothing will ever

go wrong if you want something you'll

get it and that is not a promise made in

the Bible No jesus said that in fact

becoming a Christian may actually

complicate your life in fact in some

ways it inevitably will complicate your

life listen to what Jesus said about

persecution he said if the world hates

you know that it hated me before it

hated you a servant is not greater than

his master if they persecuted me they'll

persecute you to persecution some people

are not going to like you because you're

a Christian there's going to be

persecution potentially there's going to

be some friends you might lose now let

that be for the right reason right

but it happens there is sometimes by

standing for Christ I know some people

who've lost jobs because they wouldn't

go along with certain types of

corruption sometimes there's persecution

and where there's not persecution

sometimes there is trouble and not even

normal trouble now jesus never promises

us freedom from the normal problems of

life Christians do struggle with some

normal problems cars do break down right

they still do but God I thought you

loved me how can how can this be cars

will break down bodies will get a key

things happen we live in a fallen world

tragedies even happen in the book of

Joel we read all about that but

sometimes we even have problems that we

have specifically because we're

Christians and so we serve the Lord in

ways that complicate our lives right we

have less money the way my friend Peter

said the missionary in the Middle East

we may have less money than we otherwise

would have had because we give some away

right give a lot of way and so in some

ways our life may be our time some of

our time there may be sacrifices being a

Christian is like being a soldier of the

Lord and sometimes he may say go here

and it means sacrificing time of leisure

arrest or family time now don't get me

wrong I'm not saying that Christians

never get to rest or never get to be

with their families but we're soldiers

of the Lord and sometimes by serving God

you have complicated your life if you're

a real Christian and you've had to

suffer in some ways jesus said he said

in this world you will have trouble but

take heart I have overcome the world see

the problem isn't the suffering and it's

not the persecution it's the

discouragement that comes with it

discouragement can be deadly

discouragement comes when my

for the way I thought my life should go

doesn't work out and I blame God for it

but God I thought you loved me and so

we're tempted to give up and say well I

may as well just go back to the world

may as well just go back you know I was

happy back to Kristin we start thinking

and imagining that our life was perfect

before we were Christians right you ever

done that the the people of Israel did

this when they were delivered from

slavery in Egypt you know the story

they're delivered from slavery then God

leads them into the desert and when

they're in the desert they don't have

any food and they say Moses why did you

bring us out here to die in the desert

we were happy back in Egypt as slaves

life was good we ate garlic and onions

oh it was good in Egypt as slaves but

here in desert oh we got is this gringo

man of food that doesn't have any sob

water no we're dying out here and so

they there's this mind game that happens

where the devil starts getting you

thinking that your life was great in

your slavery and so they're tempted to

fall away when the hard times comes when

the Sun shines the plant dries up now

I'm not saying that we shouldn't have

any joy I believe the cure for

discouragement is being encouraged for

the right reasons right it's being

encouraged not based on my circumstances

but based on the God who is with me in

the midst of it you see back to the

analogy it starts by talking about roots

that are shallow that go out on the

surface but there's a different kind of

route that goes down deep and it taps

into deep waters maybe especially if

it's planted by a river and it

plants in it taps into that rich waters

in the soil near a river well a

Christian who has come through this

phase knows how to have roots that go

down deep through the rocky down down

down so they tap into a water source

that is not dependent on the weather

amen so that there's a joy and an

encouragement that is part of an eternal

source and is not based on the

circumstances of the day alright jesus

said or in Psalm 1 it says blessed is

the man who does not walk in the counsel

of the wicked or stand in the way of

sinners are sit in the seat of Mah Curt

but his delight is in the law of the

Lord and on the law of the Lord he

meditates day and night he will be like

a tree planted by streams of water who

bears his fruit in season his leaf does

not wither everything he or she does

will prosper see a Christian who has

deep roots is green and has green leaves

even during the droughts of life can

anyone say amen to that right

there are some of us who lives through

some pretty dry times have lived through

some pretty scorching hot times of life

but you know that it's possible to feel

even closer to God during those times if

our hope is in him and not in our

circumstances we know that even though I

walk through the valley of the shadow of

death I will fear no evil for you are

with me your rod and your staff they

comfort me you prepare a table before me

when in the good times no even in the

presence of my enemies on em presencia

de mis angustiado raised a veces más

adelante they me there is a presence of

God there is a comfort of God that

doesn't have any comparison that comes

from the deep roots in the deep soil

when we know how to trust in God the

Apostle Paul said the afflictions of

Christ overflow into our lives but so

also the comfort of Christ there's

nothing like having God comfort you when

you need it there's nothing like that

that's the best comfort there is there's

no hug like a hug from the Holy Spirit

amen but to experience that we've got

have roots that go down and that takes

time it means digging into the word it

means having true expectations now have

you ever heard the phrase that says it's

all for the best all things work

together for good you ever heard that

phrase which is a Bible verse right all

things work together for good so some of

us can interpret that meaning

everything's going to be good

everything's going to be okay which is

sort of true but you've got to read the

whole verse it says for those who love

God and were called according to his

purpose this is romans 8 28 for those

who love god and were called by god

all things work together for good and

then listen to what it says I'll just

read it to you it's a powerful verse in

Romans 8 it says all things work

together for good let me see if I can

find it sorry about that says for those

whom God foreknew he also predestined to

be conformed to the image of his son in

order that he might be the firstborn

among many brothers you see God has a

plan for you he wants you and me to

become more like Jesus now doesn't mean

I'm gonna grow a beer to wear a tunic

right and I'm not gonna fool anyone get

Greg it's just you you're not really

Jesus okay but it means through who you

are Jesus is gonna shine and God is able

to take everything even our failures and

work them together into our formation so

that we will shine like Jesus and be the

people he's called us to be and I can

take that to the bank I can know that

there is nothing that can happen that

will go against God's purpose in my life

he's forming you to be like Jesus and He

will complete the good work he's begun

in You amen but we need to trust that

and we need to stick with it and go deep

into him and learn to rejoice in hope

listen to this verse in Romans 5 chapter

3 it says we rejoice in the hope of the

glory of God we even rejoice in our

sufferings knowing that suffering

produces endurance endurance produces

character and character produces hope

instead of superficial joy I have the

hope that God is at work and everything

is going to work out because he is with

me and he's working in me to make me

more like Jesus we rejoice in hope that

is a deep Christian the song we sang

today is just what God wants us to hear

blessed be your name you know when the

world is just as it should be when the

sun is shining down on me blessed be

your name but also in times of dryness

in times of difficulty in times of pain

blessed be your name and we when we

learn to bless

the Lord in that way that's when we

begin to bear fruit okay another soil

mark for 18 if you go with me there it

says still others are like seed that is

sown among thorns they hear the word but

the worries of this life the

deceitfulness of wealth and the desires

for other things come in and choke the

word making it unfruitful now I think

all of us can connect to this one right

this is the seed that starts to grow but

there's thorns that are growing up with

it there's worries of this life anyone

worried about anything in this life

right I have a little testimony

yesterday my phone wouldn't turn on

right my phone you know that the iphones

i wouldn't turn on plug in the charger

and there was no sign of life they

called it over the phone a dead unit

it's a very scary phrase and I was like

it's amazing it's like has the world

just come to an end it's just a phone

the guy on the phone said something very

interesting I called from Kenneth phone

he said well how you doing today and I

said well I'm all right my phone isn't

he said well I guess that's that's the

preferable way for things to be at least

you're okay that's like well that's a

nice way of looking at it now can we try

to fix this it's amazing how wrapped up

we are in stuff right when things don't

go well when something breaks the

worries of this life the things we're

worried about its natural we all deal

with this we all have forms that around

us the deceitfulness of wealth the

deceitfulness of wealth does that mean

that wealth is bad

in and of itself no course not I pray

that everyone become millionaires right

and give it you know give generously and

serve the Lord with its the

deceitfulness that's the issue you see

wealth can trick us it promises what it

can't deliver just look at the

millionaire is out of Hollywood are

their lives good are they are they happy

right and some of you like wow what's

you know what is it the tebya said in

Fiddler on the Roof I know it's no shame

to be poor but it's no great honor

either you know except of God but you

look at the people out of Hollywood and

you look at the broken homes and the

broken marriages and the suicides the

wealth can't make us happy it says the

desires for other things can choke the

word of god in our life desiring other

things thinking this thing whatever it

is will make me happy this rule and it's

not that these things are wrong we

desire who doesn't desire good healthy

relationships a healthy family a stable

life and I pray that for everybody the

Shalom of God the peace of God I pray

that everybody in our church and

everybody experienced is able to enjoy

decent housing and and a healthy work

and job and a normal income so that you

can have something to share with others

and pay your bills I pray for that I

pray that everybody enjoy the blessing

of a healthy family good marriages or

good acquaintances or friends or

siblings and good kids I pray for that I

pray that our sing singles will be

blessed in however God guides their life

that God provide for these things I pray

for these things and I believe that God

does provide but I also know that those

things are not the answer all right

right once a person gets what they're

waiting for doesn't mean that

everything's going to be okay no because

it can be deceitful right

the desire for other things can replace

the desire for the thirst that I really

have I'm thirsty for God there's a

beautiful line by st. Agustin that says

our hearts are restless until they find

rest Envy oh God Blaise Pascal said

there's a god-shaped vacuum in every

heart here only God can fill that now

sometimes it's not so significant

sometimes we're just distracted you know

distracted driving is a big problem

right I've been noticing on the highway

not that I've been distracted by this

but just look in the cars and see how

many people are texting as you're on the

roads terrifying right please don't do

that it can wait okay if you're doing

that but the distracted driving means

their eyes are off the road and they're

on the phone right well many of us live

distractedly our eyes are off the

kingdom of God and they're on something

else now I'm not saying we can't enjoy

something in this world or get wrapped

up in something and enjoy it but if it

begins to consume my attention I know

that my spirit is going to be dulled

right you know this is confession time I

already confessed about my phone now

it's time to come around to sports my

other big you know the other big Idol in

my life how many people noticed a

certain team that won the Super Bowl is

here right right now I'm not saying you

can't jump around like a lunatic when

that happens and enjoy it i hope you did

right and

enjoyed every minute of it yes and watch

it over again on NFL Network hey that's

great you know I did we all did but you

know this happens to me sometimes

afterwards I'm like man I just need a

break now I'm getting too into this you

know some I've tried this and i would

recommend it have you ever heard of

fasting not just from food but from

media you know I've tried this where I

take a month and say I'm gonna fast from

a particular type of media whether it be

TV or the news i'll find after election

season when i've gotten all wrapped up

in what's going on and father I'm like

you know I just need a break no news for

a month you know I'm just gonna listen

to the Bible or listen to music or just

something else and just sort of wash my

brain kind of wean off of being overly

engrossed in to something now I'm not

saying we need to be separate ists we

don't believe that here I believe that

we should be involved in the world and

involved in society but if something

begins to consume me too much then it

begins to choke out my spiritual

fruitfulness here's a confession the

playoff game where they were playing it

was the Patriots against the ravens

remember that one some of you the

Edelman game yeah I know I had you guys

acted out for us the it was a it was a

football game that was particularly

exciting for some of you who don't

follow it okay I was watching it and it

was on a Saturday afternoon and kennis

will tell you I'm sitting it and I'm

getting way too emotionally involved I'm

like and I've got to preach the next day

right on Ananias and Sapphira you know

I've gotta preach a tough sermon the

next day I'm really prepared but I know

you know when this game is over win or

lose I'm gonna be in no condition to

prepare sir and I'm going to be so

distracted so I figure I just I just

gotta walk away and I gotta so I got in

the car I said honey I gotta go

I just I drove to a panera I was the

only one there right of course you know

this is down near Foxborough Tim so I

I'm the only one there i'm alone i got

my headphones on and i'm working on my

sermon and I'm like I'm not gonna check

the internet I'm not gonna check the

score you know and and I start it was

amazing to relief Oh like I'm so glad

now watching that game yeah I just was

too involved in it and so I'm writing

the sermon I'm and I'm feeling good

again I'm feeling I love being in the

word that's my happy place right so I'm

doing that and then and then certain

members of this church start sending me

texts about what a game I'm like duh

stop texting me Sheldon no I'm not gonna

look I dragon alone and you know and so

finally I I figured okay I got enough

done i'll check and of course they won

so that's all good but but the whole

thing of sometimes you know for me it's

that for some of you it might be

something else right some of you or hate

the Patriots and your average they lost

but we need to sometimes we now rum

things that's why fasting from food can

help sometimes I recommend everybody try

this if your health permits anyone with

any kind of health issues diabetes don't

fast but if your health permits try

taking a day or half a day and abstain

from food just drink a lot of water and

just just pray and just sort of break

out of the normal routine to plug into

the spiritual dimension of things and

remember that even though I live in this

world this world is not my home

made for another world and to be more

otherworldly now I don't believe we

should be otherworldly in the sense that

we neglect to be involved in the society

around us I believe Christians should

vote I believe Christians can be

involved in politics be involved in

society we should be and got engaged but

fundamentally I want to live for another

world I'm not my real destiny is not

here my real destiny is in the kingdom

of heaven when when all things are made

new right when when God evaluates my

life and says well done good and

faithful servant I hope come into the

joy of your master when we have a new

heaven and a new earth that's why a

funeral can be such good medicine

sometimes sometimes going to a funeral

at some of short of like Olga you know

it's so painful and especially for

people who are grieving but there's

something about remembering that this

life is passing and focusing our eyes on

heavenly things there's a beautiful

verse that says in Colossians since you

have been raised with Christ set your

hearts on things above where Christ is

seated at the right hand of God say your

minds on things above not on earthly

things for you have already died and

your life is now hidden with Christ in

God and when Christ who is your life

appears then you also will appear with

him in glory my life is there my life is

in him now we live here and I live this

day in light of that one

I live in this world in light of that

one but to the otherworldly even as a

young person means i want my life here

to be shaped by my view of the next life

that's coming I want God to be pleased

with what I do and God is with us in the

midst of it the forms can be pruned out

of our lives and our goal is to be good

soil amen to be soil that is responsive

to the Lord and another part of it we

talked about the fasting and the weaning

but that's also the importance of

worshiping God and being full of the

Holy Spirit because when we come near

God and we worship and you experience

that joy that only God can give Wow

thinking like this is the best show in

town you know on New Year's Eve and

especially in the Spanish service and we

make them bilingual now though on New

Year's Eve they have a worship service

don't they didn't la casa por La Ventana

they throw the house out the window

right and it is a celebration before God

and for a lot of people coming out of

the the club's they're like you know

what this is way better I mean it's a

happier more joyful God's kingdom is

where the action is this is the main

show God's joy changed lives God's

kingdom coming it outshines the greatest

pleasure or glory in any other setting

and that's why worshiping and being full

of the Holy Spirit is so important so

that those thorns can get pruned away

and you don't even miss them amen and we

become if we dig down deep and dig those

rocks out and if we are willing to prune

away the thorns and soften the soil we

can be good soil that is productive that

bears fruit where our lives multiply

and have an influence on others another

reason why i often find the funerals so

meaningful is because it's a chance to

stop and reflect on the impact a life

has had even very young people can in

Christ have an impact in so many ways

and I want my life to count what do you

want people to say about you at your

service no what do you do you want to be

there how do you want them to reflect on

the impact you've had in their life now

it's not always easy but I want my life

to have an impact to touch lives that

touch other lives that have a meaning

beyond just me that multiplies beyond

who i am and there will be surprises

because there are some people you don't

even know who are going to be rock stars

in heaven sometimes it's that quiet

person who's serving God in quiet ways

who's good soil who loves the Lord who

loves people who's never going to be

upfront who's never going to be on the

stage or on TV but their life is

impacted and such a deep way that there

will be celebration in heaven your life

can count then all of life what I do at

work Monday to Friday the people I

interact with what I do at church what I

do with my family is invested with

meaning as I let God's Word go deep into

me and my life counts because I'm

touching the people around me I want to

be good soil I want us to be good soil i

invite you to embrace this vision of

saying god my heart is like a garden and

this garden must be cared for the hard

places need to be softened the shallow

places need to be deepened the thorny

places need to be pruned but I want this

heart to be the best garden possible and

I'm not going to just hope it happens

actively cooperate with the gardener and

let him do the work he needs to do in me

because I want to bear fruit for his

kingdom and fruit of multiplying our

impacts but you know what I believe is

the greatest fruit that we bear it's the

joy that we bring to the heart of God by

living our life for him when we appear

before God on that day and he evaluates

our life and he says well done good and

faithful servant enter into the joy of

your master we see that God is smiling

and in spite of all our mistakes in

front of all our weaknesses our life has

made him smile and we enter into his joy

there is nothing like that and that's

what I want to live for some day amen so

i invite you to stand with me and let's

let's invite the gardener to give us

hearts that hear the word hearts that

internalize the message and father I

thank you Lord that this hearing and

understanding can have a snowball effect

that the one who has will be given more

and we'll have an abundance god I thank

you that your word and the joy of the

Holy Spirit can become the stuff of our

life I thank you God for the promise

that we can change and become like

little children I thank you Jesus that

you are able to open our ears to really

hear in a deep way you can open our eyes

to see spiritual things

I thank you God that you're able to do

that for us Lord God we can't just make

ourselves see you've got to open our

eyes even if it's messy

God you've got to help us but we want to

be helped Lord God we want our hearts to

be good soil and lord I pray for this

this group before me here today and

those that can't be here but a part of

this community I pray for myself God let

us be

good soil for you and father we are

willing to be treated Lord God we're

willing to have you soften up our hard

places we're willing God to have you

help dig deep so our roots can tap into

those waters underground we are willing

more to to have some fornes pruned away

so that we can live for the next world

and not be so wrapped up in this one god

I pray for fruit I pray for joy I pray

for an abundant harvest Lord God not

just numerically but also in terms of

who we are as people our lives let them

count for you we pray in Jesus name Amen