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Good Soil

August 17, 2014 | Pastor Bruce Plummer

Good soil is essential to great gardens and crops. Jesus taught a parable or two regarding the importance of “soil” in the lives of people. So what makes the soil of your life good soil? Are there some essential elements you can add to the quality of your soil? In this message there are seven different characteristics of great soil, ones you’ll want to add to your life, your family, your business and your church.

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Sermon Notes

Good Soil from Mark 4:26-29

 

So if you know me you know that I love to garden.  Not that I get to, that much, but I love beautiful plants in a well kept garden.  Sure, there’s those pesky deer to deal with and the woodchucks, but I still love it.  I have a perennial garden right behind our house, but I also have a vegetable garden next to the garage.  This past Spring, once it turned warm, guess what I was thinking?  Garden time!  So on my next trip to Lowes I stopped by their seed collection and picked out some snow pea seeds and some squash seeds.  Would I get a good crop?  It remained to be seen.  But there was one thing only that was on my mind before planting the seeds, what do you think it was?  The condition of the soil.  So I got out my trusty tiller, fired that baby up and started turning over the soil. Pretty soon it was all weed free and fluffy.  I made some mounds for the squash and rows for the peas and I started planting.  Among all the factors that govern the success of crops of any kind, the most important factor is the condition of the soil.  It has to have moisture, nutrients and oxygen in the right amounts, along with the organic matter needed to hold those nutrients and moisture and oxygen.  My seeds had a great start.  And right now I’m enjoying the squash we’re getting.  Because the soil was good.  The peas; well, this is for another sermon, but the deer demons came by one night and ate the tops off the pea plants. And my roses. And my hostas. And anything else they could find.  But I’m not bitter.  Just an advocate of a bait and shoot program in my backyard. But dealing with the enemy, that’s for another day. It’s the soil we’re talking about today.

 

Mark 4:26-29 is a parable of Jesus

And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.  For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

 

The earth yields crops “by itself.” In other words, it’s the healthy soil that grows healthy crops. And if the great soil factors are present, things grow automatically. “Automatos” is the Greek word for “by itself.”

 

So is your life currently growing in good soil? (Don’t answer!!!)

Today God’s going to improve the soil of your life, your family, your business or our church by helping you understand and put into place the seven elements of great life soil.

 

You know I had a college class just in soils. Soil scientists are unusual guys. They get a thrill out of digging holes, examining soil layers, then mapping soils. The first day of class the professor said that what you find in the ground is called soil.  What’s in your shoes is dirt.  He was a soils fanatic.

 

Let’s become eternal soils fanatics.

Here’s the first characteristic of great soil in a person, a family, a business and especially a church.

 

1. A passionate love for Jesus and His church. If a genuine love for Jesus is there, everything else will follow.  What is the greatest commandment, someone asked Jesus.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  These will be some of the signs that a great love for Jesus is present:

  • I won’t be able to stop talking about Him and what He’s done.
  • I’ll be a self feeder.  As in, I’ll have my own relationship with God through prayer and the Bible and the thirst to know Him better will drive me to learn how to feed myself.
  • I’ll celebrate changed lives and invite others to know Him.
  • My thoughts and intentions will drift to Him.

2. What I, we do is built around my, our God given gifts.

  • If I know what my design is, I’ll have an idea of my destiny.
  • Track down your gifts by using God given tools.  Like 301.
  • Don’t be a volunteer; be a good fit in what you’re doing.
  • Equip others to see their gifts and help them find a way to serve according to their gifts.  When you do, everyone around you will begin to seem happier and more fulfilled.

3. Empowerment

  • Encourage creative thinking, the value of the free market.
  • Allow people to challenge the process of how things are done without having to pay a price.
  • Create an atmosphere of encouragement.

4. Focus on systems that work

  • Clarify your real goals, what a “win” is for you.
  • Measure your effectiveness.
  • Get better by learning from others who are farther down the road than you are.

5. Have fun

  • Laugh
  • Generosity
  • Excellence and simplicity.  Do you like Wegmans?

6. Love people

  • Create a high touch atmosphere by actually interacting with others and asking them questions.  Ask people to your house for dinner, coffee or hangouts.
  • Make forgiving those who have hurt you in life, a daily practice.  Guard your heart.

7. Be more concerned with reaching people than keeping people.

  • Go beyond your circle of friends
  • adopt a set of “points of passion” and reach into other lives according to those.
  • Learn how to tell your story and tell it, so that others become believers too.

So what, of those seven, could you bring into the mix of your soil?

 

Growing up, our family had a Garden store and behind the house I grew up in were 8 commercial greenhouses.  Our family raised the kind of flowers you see at Kirby’s or Sarah’s from seed.  You want to know what was a critical part of the process of growing our own plants for sale?  Yes, the soil prep.  The year before, topsoil was purchased and went through a thorough sterilization process to kill all the weeds.  And then, when it was time, that soil base was mixed with a secret formula that included sand and organic matter.  It was critical to get that part right.

Whatever you walk away with today, let it be the answer to this question: how can I improve the soil.  And then great things will grow from the godly seeds you plant, automatically, on their own.