When I grow up, I want to be…?
When we were young and innocent, most of us had dreams of what our lives would be. Our parents had dreams for what we could be, our teachers affirmed those dreams. Today if I asked you ‘Are you living your dream? Have you realized your dream, What would you say?
As we go about our lives, the dream becomes hazier, distant and somewhat un-achievable. We realize the other side of our dreams? The costs are too high, the work is too much, the commitment is too high, the energy is fading, and when you think you are almost there- The goal post shifts, The environment is unstable, today you have it, tomorrow you don’t. It’s somewhat frustrating. Because we are not in control, someone else is. We lose our dreams, and accept the circumstances and the situation and we give up altogether with a somewhat win some loose some attitude. We are just content to be alive, and staying alive becomes our preoccupation.
God has a dream. And What can be more grand than God’s dream? What is the Dream of an all powerful, all knowing, all sufficient- unlimited, unchanging God, eternal (all time in His hands)? In other words what is the Dream of the God who is in control of all things?
That Dream encompasses all of creation, you and me and all the world. This dream begun even before the creation, All Creation including you and me were fashioned for this dream. It’s folly to think that God would created us without a reason or dream? or he left us alone to discover that dream? Because He is Eternal, that dream is also eternal and We are part of God’s dream?
Now what is more fulfilling than the awareness of the my part in God’s dream. To know where do i fit in and how do i fit in? Because It’s God’s dream- It’s God’s resources he will use to accomplish his dream. You can be sure the Dream will never die, unlike our dreams that die, change and fade.
In the Prayer Jesus taught us- in Mathew 6:10- May your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. God’s dream is His Kingdom where His Will is Supreme. In this Dream – He is the King, and creation is His dominion or realm.
At the core of that Dream is God’s heart- His LIFE shaping everything and everyone in that dominion. God is committed to His dream- The father is the source of the dream, Jesus the son delivered the dream – Made the dream toungible and God the Holy Spirit defends that dream- He is the power behind the dream.
John the baptist preached the same message, Jesus preached, the same message that had been preached by the prophets- and we must this same message today- Repent and turn to God for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. In other words turn away from your ways and small dreams and plans and turn to God’s dream and plan.
The Lord Jesus goes on to assure us in Mathew 6- That when we seek First the Kingdom of God- all this things shall be added unto us- We only find fulfillment for our lives when we make His Dream a Priority.
Today, then we ask
Am I living God’s dream or mine? is God’s dream a priority and If I am, Am I living the full dream?
My thesis is simply: Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near.
Turn then with me to our Key text: Mathew 13
Mathew wrote the gospel to a Jewish audience- The Jews or people of Israel – who were waiting for the King or messiah. He writes to prove that Jesus is the awaited King and that He has brought an agenda for His Kingdom. A blue print or theme of the book can be seen under the following themes
Mat 1-4: The birth and preparation, inauguration of the King
Mat 4-25: The message and Ministry of the King
Mat 26-28: The death and resurrection of the King
Mathew 13, is part of a set of Jesus teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven, that will form our study this month.
Jesus used parables (Stories) when speaking to crowds. Parables compare something familiar to that which is unfamiliar, to help us understand spiritual truths using everyday physical objects and relationships. Jesus parables compels listeners to discover Truth, while at the same time Concealing or Hiding Truth from those who are too stubborn or lazy to see it.
In the same way today, God’s Truth is Open to all but not Plain to see, Like a treasure map- it must be discerned with a heart that seeks to find the Treasure.
A farmer scatters seed in his field- The seed here represents the message about the Kingdom of Heaven. God is the farmer who expects a good yield from every acreage of this farm. Lets work with the imagination that–this was an acre and these soils represented a 1/4 acre each. God’s dream like the farmer is to get the full potential of the acreage not just 1/4 or a portion.
Today as we reflect on this passage personally, it also important for ask to reflect on this passage as a church and ask our selves what Kind of Soil are we as a church? In light of God’s dream for his field what kind of soil do we reflect, with the seed he has entrusted us with? What is our harvest in proportion to what He expects?
First the seed that fell on the path and were eaten by birds- Those who hear the message but do not understand it- then loose it altogether.
The Key thing to understand here is the lack of Understanding- To understand is an effort to inquire, and seek God’s own revelation of himself. Understanding is not just reading things or listening things on the surface but deeply engaging and interrogating what you interact with. Allowing our hearts to be softened by God’s truth. The result of a Spirit led inquiry is the Revelation of God himself not Human Interpretations.
Sadly, many Christians and churches fear to think? A lot of what we are about are religious routines that we have refused to think and inquire deeply about. Doing things the same old way. You know what happens when you walk on soil over and over- it becomes a path. hardened path. It was dead for along time until the reformation when Luther said that the priesthood as taught by scripture is not just for the clergy but for all believers. All can read the bible? all can find God’s truth?
Like the Bereans, We are to engage actively with God’s word- The discipline to read, study, and reflect on God’s word cannot be replaced by devotionals, sermons or literature. Only God’s word is Inspired by the Holy spirit- God breathed, preachings, devotionals are not. The result is religion which is based human interpretations and authorities rather than faith based on God’s revelation from his word.
How are we fairing as a church in developing a discerning heart and understanding into God’s word. Scripture must be central.
We will never realize God’s dream, any other way. He has chosen to reveal that dream in Christ Jesus through the Scriptures- any other way leads us to human dreams.
How is God’s word a priority to you and for us- Churches can be about programs, buildings and many things-God’s word looses it’s place, we can be shallow and loose the seed entrusted to us? Repent for the Kingdom is near
Second the Seed that fell on the Rocky places-where the soil was shallow. The seed sprouted quickly but then was scorched when the sun came out because they had no root. Jesus likens this soil to those who hear and receive the word with Joy, but when trouble and hardship comes they quickly fall away?
Another Sad reality is that we can be a church that is seemingly deep with root but are very shallow. Just as the fear of thinking and understanding, shallow roots represent shallow surface discipleship. Until our following of Jesus, brings us to the place of Not my will but your will be done, we may not yield much.
Churches can be about being comfortable and feeling nice. We are afraid to confront behaviors, to question motives, we are happy with the surface achievements, while character is weak and consistency is lacking. These Kinds of Christians get excited about church and hearing the message, especially the kind that prophecies success and victory but have not developed root through appreciation of God’s grace during trials and difficulties. So what happens when trouble comes- they give up, they fall away.
God’s dream for us, is an authentic faith, that reflects His LIFE that is consistent and Stable through all seasons.
How is our discipleship- Our follower-ship of Jesus- Are we lacking root in our walk with God. Are we practicing daily obedience of scripture, are we die-ing daily to self, are we sharing our faith? are we going counter cultural or do we just fit in? Repent for the Kingdom is near
Thirdly- The seed that fell among the thorns. Referring to those who receive the word but the worries of this world and deceitfulness of the wealth choke the word.
As a church we will be confronted with the choice to run the church with the standards of the world or the standards of God. The standards of the world take many business shapes- marketing, branding, publicity, right people for the right job= Numbers, profits, charts and success.
But God’s standards are different- faithfulness, obedience, sacrifice, patience, ordinary and celebrating the little = Multiplication and reproduction. I am convinced that God will not and does not draw our numbers because of good strategies, but because of the quality of soil we are.
We can become a church that is concerned about survival in a very harsh time, or we can trust God’s resources to be sufficient for sustaining his dream. We can limit our growth, loose God’s dream by constantly worrying about where will we get this or that.
Scriptures teach that Pagans run after these things and your heavenly father knows that you need them- But seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you. Repent for the Kingdom is near.
Lastly- The Seed that fell on the good soil- Those who hear and understand the word. The word understand here is not just good interpretation but assimilation eating- chews the word and swallows, they will bear good fruit.
Note the portion of the harvest- Some 30, some 60 fold and some 100 fold. A fold here refers to percent. Some 30 percent, some 60 percent and 100 percent. This is the soil the farmer entrusts with more seed.
When Lifespring Chapel was planted, God gave the founding pastor a dream, a well spring flowing and quenching many in a dry land. That’s how God gave us the Name Lifespring Chapel. We believe God gave us picture of His Dream- His LIFE flowing from us to quench not just a few but the Nations. We have been called for 100 percent of the dream.
God is committed to building His kingdom, through us and His LIFE is our resource, we must repent from hardness of heart, shallowness of faith, distractions of the world and bring forth fruit that will feed the Nations.
Unfortunately Many of us Arise but we do not shine, Churches Arise but they dont shine- Why because Churches can be about their own dreams. Not God’s dream. In light of God’s kingdom Plan for Us as Lifespring Chapel Syokimau , are we too comfortable within our territories? Have we settled for what is less than the plan? Are we limited and too focused on our own small plans? Are we lost in our church urgencies and priorities and lost sight of the Urgency and priority of God’s Kingdom.
Jesus preached- Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near.
When I grow up, I want to be…?