Friday, July 31, 2015

The Humor of Jesus

The Spirit of the LORD has anointed Jesus:
“To preach good news to the poor.
To bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

                                 Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)

Does Jesus make you laugh? 

 Have you ever thought about what is at the root of laughter?  At least with the laughter I’m talking about, I think it springs up from joy.  Joy is hard to beat—and joy is hardly more prevalent than when we laugh.  Jesus is The Joy Giver.  I love it when he gives me joy.  I very much enjoy sharing his joy with others.  And I find they like it when I do.  Joy is contagious, often accompanied by this thing called laughter.  Sometimes joy is reflected in a slight grin.  Sometimes it’s a chuckle.  And sometimes it’s a gut-busting belly laugh that we can’t even contain.  Jesus gives us laughter.

I experience joy when I watch Jesus in action.  I experience it when I listen to Jesus.  And I particularly experience joy when I pass along to others the joy he’s given me.  What a privilege it is to make others laugh.
I find it humorous when Jesus intervenes in an awful situation and overrules the grief he encounters.  

One of my favorites is in Luke 7.  Jesus is headed into town with his disciples and a big bunch of people.  At the same time, a funeral procession with another bunch of people is headed out to the graveyard on the edge of town.  A mother limps alongside the casket of her beloved son.  Her heart is shredded to pieces as she carries the hellish grief of her unimaginable loss.  Enter Jesus.  He stops the procession and chooses to reverse the irreversible.  Young man, get up!  What?  Get up?  You have got to be kidding.  No, he’s not.  The dead boy gets up.  Jesus smiles a smile of love to the woman and gives the boy back to her.  At first there was shock.  Then there was comfort.  Then there was joy—overwhelming joy provided by The Joy Giver.  

That story has often made me laugh.  Stopping a funeral procession and raising the deceased.  It had to be fun for Jesus to trade the ashes of grief for the oil of gladness.  It’s philanthropy from another solar system.  Forget the brand-new gift car.  Forget the gift house.  We’re talking dreaming the unimaginable, getting back our dead.  A resurrection.  Replacing grief with joy.  And this is just the beginning for those of us who believe.  Go Jesus!

He makes me laugh.  Lots of times.  He’s a towering giant chasing away the spiritual bullies all around.

I hate it when the bully Pharisees push people around, tie them up with legalistic chains, and arrogantly tower over them in the misery they have caused.  I love it when Jesus shows up and comes between the oppressor and the oppressed.  He’s mad at The Joy Robbers.  Really mad.  Just read the stories.  He’s sick and tired of the liars who pretend that they’re hot stuff when they are stinky in their souls.  That’s what he says about them.  He calls them white-washed tombs.  Tombs are really smelly.  Just ask Martha and Lazarus.  And Jesus is sick of the stench that the Pharisees spread around the neighborhood.  He kicks some tail and leaves them scattered as the crowds cheer him on.  Go Jesus!  Get rid of those scoundrels!  The people laugh as Jesus manhandles their oppressors, confounds them, and tells them their daddy is the devil. 

No wonder they wanted to kill him.  No wonder they did.  Small wonder.  God raised him from the dead.  The Kill-Joys killed him.  The Joy Giver comes back and terrorizes the killers.  Actually, he forgives them.  But they can hardly believe it.  They find it exceedingly hard to receive joy because they are so reluctant for anyone else to have it.  Not Jesus.  He’s determined to dispense joy.

I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of Jesus’ humor.  He had a way of wielding a sword that sliced into the hearts of oppressors—and at the same time hit the funny bone of the oppressed.  He said the Pharisees were swallowing camels even as they carefully avoided slurping down the mosquitoes.  That’s funny imagery.  Even a big glass of milk won’t help get a camel that down the shoot.  Jesus said the bullies had big logs sticking out of their eyes while they walked around poking at the dust in the eyes of others.  What a humorous image.  Jesus was pretty picturesque.  With his words he drew funny cartoons that told sharp truths.  He smashed social strongholds with his humor, much to the joy of the underdogs.  To the top dogs, Jesus’ humor wasn’t funny.  It was devastating.  

Look at some of the pointed things he said to illustrate a truth:

  • The blind leading the blind.
  • Giving snakes to kids instead of bread.
  • Giving your underwear away after they take your outerwear.
  • Being born a second time.
  • Chopping off your hand.
  • Plucking out your eye.
His humor was rather serious.

And for the rich guys that scoffed at the starving people all around them, he had really bad news.  Before they were going to get into heaven they were going to have to squish a camel through a needle’s eye. 

 And, no, it’s not a Jerusalem gate so short that camels were forced to scrunch down in order to get through.  That wouldn’t be impossible.  And Jesus was talking about the impossible.

They asked, “Jesus, you don’t think you are greater than Abraham, do you?”
“Yes, I do.  Actually, I think I’m God.” Go Jesus!  Thanks for confounding the rude, the proud and the hateful.  Thanks for chasing away our oppressors and turning our mourning into laughter.

Do you dispense joy in your ministry?  Do you let The Joy Giver use your smile and your words and your hands to pass along his joy?

  • A knowing twinkle in the eye when someone wonders if anything is bigger than their problem.
  • A confident word of faith to the one crushed by despair.
  • A comforting touch or tickle that finds the spot that brings a smile and laughter. 
Dispensing joy is fun!  Sure, we can’t do it all the time—but we ought to do it as often as we can.  Jesus is in the joy business, and he invites us to be distributors of this hot commodity.  He wants us to feed the five thousand and enjoy that chatter and wonder as the crowd rejoices in the abundance of mysterious food.

Do you spread joy in your preaching?  Do you follow up your confrontations of sin with the unbridled grace of joyous forgiveness?  I’m not talking feigned joy conjured up by a misplaced joke at the beginning of a sermon (though a well-placed one can have quite an effect).  I’m talking about the “second” fruit of the Spirit flowing from a heart filled with God himself.  In his presence there is joy!  He insists on it.  He provides it.  We enjoy it.  Don’t you like to pass it along, too?

We are gospel preachers.  The gospel is about laughter.  Good news, remember?  It’s about shattering chains.  It’s about pardoning the condemned.  It’s about feasting on the generosity of God.  All to his glory and for his pleasure—and ours.  The gospel is about pointing a finger straight into the chest of death and declaring, “You are going to die!”  Now that’s worth laughing about.   

Originally published on Used by permission.

Ron Forseth is Editor-at-Large for and He studied for two years with Wycliffe Bible Translators and has a passion to share Christ and see all people groups of the world reached with the Gospel. He served for several years as a college pastor in Colorado and in Christian service for most of the 1990s in China and Mongolia. He is Vice President of Outreach, Inc, an organization dedicated to inviting and connecting every person in America to a Bible-believing church so that they might have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Ron lives with his wife Carol in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fears the Frequently attack Pastor

If you are human, you have secret fears. I don’t mean ones like fear of snakes or fear of heights, but deeper ones. 
You may have never verbalized them to anyone. 
Perhaps they have burrowed themselves deep into your subconscious. Perhaps they’ve become like a shadow that dogs your every step. 

Perhaps they’re no big deal. However you’d classify yours, I believe we all carry them. And pastors deal with them as well. Although I’ve not based my list below on science or surveys, I believe they capture several fears pastors often face.

A pastor’s five greatest fears (not in any special order):

1. What if my ministry is insignificant? 

In writing my second book (Five Ministry Killers and How to Defeat Them, IVP, 2010), I included a quote by David Goetz that captures this fear well.

I often sat in the studies of both small-church pastors and megachurch pastors, listening to their stories, their hopes, their plans for significance. I deduced, albeit unscientifically, that often clergymen in midlife had worse crises of limits than did other professionals. Religious professionals went into the ministry for the significance, to make an impact, called by God to make a difference with their lives. But when you’re 53 and serving a congregation of 250, you know, finally, you’ll never achieve the large-church immortality symbol, the glory that was promised to you. That can be a dark moment—or a dark couple of years. (Kindle e-book loc 1919)

2. What if I really mess up?

One of the rising stars in the Baptist world in the ’80s and ’90s in the U.S., Joel Gregory, rose to what was then the pinnacle of the Baptist world to pastor First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, and succeed W.A. Criswell. However, two years later, he resigned, his marriage failed and he sold cemetery plots to make a living. His remarkable journey (nicely chronicled here), however, led him to a place of redemption and he is now a respected preaching professor at Baylor.

3. What if people leave my church because they are upset?

I know of no pastor who has ever led a church where 100 percent of the people stayed. Some leave for good reasons. Some don’t. And often the pastor is the last one to hear they left. When that happens, it hurts, notwithstanding the good feelings that come from ‘blessed subtractions.’

4. What if I can’t make the people happy?

In my third book (People Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Approval Motivated Leadership), I surveyed over 2,000 pastors and discovered that from 79-91 percent of pastors self-admitted that people pleasing affected their ministry to some extent. This common temptation is even wired into our brains. Social rejection lights up the same regions of the brain that physical pain does, so when we know someone is not pleased with our performance, it actually hurts.

5. What if the people really knew my deepest struggles?

Acceptable struggles like overwork or eating too much usually don’t affect the church people see you. But what about pastors who struggle with secret jealousies of more successful pastors, lust or feeling that they often ‘fake it’ on Sundays. If the people knew their deepest struggles, what would they think? What would their boards think? What would those who hold them in high regard think?

The Bible says we are broken people. That’s what makes grace so good. God extends his unmerited love and mercy to us to restore, remake and remold us. Salvation freed us from the penalty of sin. His Spirit is freeing us from the power of sin. Yet, it won’t be until heaven until we are freed from the very presence of sins, including our deepest fears.

Perhaps we should admit our deepest fears to the Lord and to a close, safe friend who can help us face them and conquer them with the Spirit’s power. In this post you can learn what to look for in a safe friend.

What would you add to this list?  

Dr. Charles Stone is Lead Pastor at West Park Church in London, Ontario, Canada, and the founder of StoneWell Ministries, a pastor coaching and church consulting ministry. He is the author of four books including, "People Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Approval Motivated Leadership" (IVP 2014), and his forthcoming book, “Brain-Savvy Leaders: The Science of Significant Ministry” (Abingdon, May 2015).

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Power of Prayer

Over 25 years ago I took a month to read through the book of Jeremiah. 

Two verses stood out to me then that have continued to produce spiritual growth in my life.

The two verses are:

Jeremiah 24:7

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

I realized that God had promised the people they could have a heart to know Him. Therefore, the God who never changes has also promised me I can have a heart to know Him, not just know about Him, but really get to know Him personally. I began praying that God would give me that kind of heart.

A few days later, I read this verse:

Jeremiah 32:39

I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them.

God also promised His people that not only could they know Him intimately, but also He would help them carry out that heart in the things they did. They wouldn’t simply believe a truth; they would actually begin to live truth. Again, I realized God would do the same for me. I began praying that God would give me “singleness of heart and action.”

Praying the truths of these two verses became a pattern for my life over the next year. Looking back, I can see how God did just as He promised. I continue to make mistakes and I consistently need to go back to these principles, but God truly has given me a heart that desires to know him and more and more I am beginning to see myself live out the truth I believe.

What verses have worked that way in your heart?

Do you need to pray God would work these verses for truth in your life?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

7 reasons to exercise - from a person who hates to run!

I am NOT a runner!    When I was in my 20’s I used to meet a good friend who attended the church where I served as Minister of Youth and Music.  He was also a local Air Force Recruiter.  He was in great shape and was an avid runner.  He invited me to join him three days a week in the early morning for a mile run at a local track around the football field at a nearby school.  

I was faithful for 6 months to this endeavor but grew tired of coming home and being sick on my stomach each morning we ran. I thought I would leave that behind – but never did. I hate to run!  Sometimes now my knees “crunch” when I walk up stairs. 

But I have become an avid walker and work to meet my Fitbit goals each week.       

I have come to the conclusion that it’s a necessary discipline for a healthy leader. If you aren’t currently an active exerciser, I have even more practical, firsthand experience to encourage you to begin.

Here are 7 reasons I need to exercise:

Forced down time – I discovered that when I exercise — is one of the few times each day where I am not answering emails, taking phone calls, or doing something that requires mental power. Exercise forces me to be still — or — well, you know what I mean. My mind is cleared to pray more — to think more.

Physical health – I am better able to maintain my weight when I walk.  I feel better. I sleep better. My blood pressure tests lower. The doctor’s office loves taking my vitals when I am in a regular exercise routine. 

Mental stimulation – My best ideas come while I am walking. I suppose because my body is energized and I’m free from other distractions, I’m so creative while I exercise.

Longevity – Long days are nothing for me when I am in a healthy discipline. It seems counter-intuitive, but I have more energy in the day — not less — when I’m exercising regularly.

Maximum effectiveness – Exercise — while it seems to take time out of my day — actually ends up being the most effective use of my time. It increases my productivity and gives me a better overall attitude towards my work (and life). It’s powerful enough — I’ve learned from experience — that on my busiest days I try to break away and exercise in the middle of the day. The fastest way for me to get out of a productivity slump is to step away from the “work” and go for a short (or long) walk around the church.

Eat with less worry – I enjoy food. A lot. People will often make a comment I must not enjoy food as much as they do because I seem to maintain my weight. The reality is they’ve never seen me eat. I don’t think you can totally ignore your diet regardless of how much you exercise. I try to be healthier in most of my choices, and I do discipline what I eat (wish I was better at how much), but I pretty much eat what I want. I’m certainly never hungry long. Walking  affords me less guilt in my diet and the occasional splurges I enjoy.

Stress reduction – I find if I’m especially stressed a good sweat gives me a calmer perspective. It’s an excellent way to decompress.

I’m not an avid runner or exercise “nut”.  I sometimes wonder if I will ever take part in a Marathon – right now I think not.  But each month I feel stronger and work hard toward my weight goal and walking routine. By the way – My wife Sharron is a true role model for me.  She is very consistent in her walking and often puts me to shame.

Do you have a regular routine of exercise? 

It doesn’t have to be running, or even walking, but it should be something. Of course, you should always check with your doctor before you start something extreme, but I’ve never had a doctor who didn’t value some form of exercise.

If you are not regularly exercising — especially if you’re a leader — answer this question:

Considering the stress in your life, and how productive you hope to be with your life, could beginning the discipline of exercise be one of the missing ingredients?

Let me be a voice of encouragement to you. Find the exercise routine which works best for you, discipline yourself for 30-40 days, and then enjoy the lifetime of benefits.

Inspiration and portion of this post from a mentor - Ron Edmondson.

Monday, July 27, 2015

New Series - Review from Sunday!

Yesterday, I began a new Teaching series on the Ten Commandments.

Why is the Law so important for us today?

I need to be very clear on this truth, Jesus paid every debt of the law.

  Read Romans, Galatians, and even Jesus own words in Matthew 5:17.  Jesus didn’t come to do away with the law, He came to meet its righteous demands, which we could never meet on our own. Still, the law today has value in showing us the things God values, how we don’t measure up, and our desperate need for His grace. The law is a good reminder of the things that matter most to God.  As I share this series, I’m thanking God for His grace.

Commandment One:

You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3 NIV

Is there anything in your life that has come between you and your relationship with God? I apologize if I am stepping on some toes, but this is a fair question. No, I’m not asking if you use an Ouija board to predict and plan your life. I’m not wondering if you worship your car or bow down to your TV.

I’m asking if there is anything or anyone you put in front of your personal, intimate relationship with the only one and true God of the Bible. Still looking at me with a puzzled look? Let me share a few examples:

Would you rather be late for work or late to church?

 Are you more likely to skip your favorite TV show or your morning devotion? 

Have you ever given up a meal to spend urgently needed time in prayer?

 Who do you say “good morning” to first each day?

 What does your checkbook say about your devotion to God? 

Is the first thing you grab with your coffee a newspaper or a copy of the precious word of God? 

To whom would your children (or your spouse) say you are the most devoted?

 Are you insulted more by the use of the Lord’s name in vain, or an insult of your alma mater?

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

 I hope you have some steel-toed shoes on today! Mine are going to need a good soaking tonight! Remember, Jesus took the Ten Commandments to a higher level. Anything between you and God, anything that keeps you from your fervent, passionate, constant devotion to Him, is breaking that first commandment.

You can rejoice with me that He offers forgiveness, but let’s start today to obey His perfect word! Let’s put Him first! Let’s let Him be supreme in our life! 

Let us begin, right now, making sure there is NO god, BUT GOD!

And I’ll pray for your toes!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Message today at NRN - The Ten Commandments - Pt 1 No other gods...

Series: The Ten Commandments
           Set Free to Live Free

Part 1:  No Other gods....

            Exodus 20:1-3

INTRO:  Today, we begin an exciting new teaching series.  Beginning today and planning to conclude on October 4th we will examine the message and meanings of the Ten Commandments.  We begin with some background:

We’ll begin in Exodus 14 – The children of God have been in slavery for over 400 years.  God delivers them and Moses leads them out of Egypt and we read in the last verse of

Exodus 14:31 The people were in reverent awe before God and trusted in God and his servant Moses.”

3 DAYS LATER - They are complaining:

Moses led Israel from the Red Sea on to the Wilderness of Shur. They traveled for three days through the wilderness without finding any water. They got to Marah, but they couldn’t drink the water at Marah; it was bitter. That’s why they called the place Marah (Bitter). And the people complained to Moses, “So what are we supposed to drink?”                                                          Exodus 15:22

6 WEEKS LATER – They are complaining:

The whole company of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron there in the wilderness.                                                                               Exodus 16:1

I am stunned every time I read the story of the Exodus. How can the people of Israel complain like they do? How could they be so ignorant, so stupid, so forgetful?

The God of the universe had just tossed around the most powerful man on the face of the earth like a toddler with a rag doll. God didn’t just humble Pharaoh; he broke his spirit and revealed Pharaoh’s impotence.

A slave people and their God left him and his nation in shambles. This display of power sent vibrations throughout the world, inspiring fear and awe.

Yet Israel’s response to this spectacular deliverance from Egypt is not mainly praise, worship, and whole-hearted trust. Instead, Israel responds with grumbling— complaining, murmuring, quarreling. “No water, Moses! Where’s the beef, Moses? I have blisters on my feet, Moses. Who died and made you boss? Are we there yet, Moses?” Spiritual amnesia set in quickly and covered the eyes of Israel’s hearts. So soon had they forgotten God’s gracious and miraculous deliverance!

This spiritual amnesia — forgetting God’s deliverance and provision — is a deadly disease. The people of Israel, on the heels of unthinkable miracles, with their pockets full of Egyptian jewelry, grumble at their less-than-five-star accommodations in the desert. This wasn’t just headache-induced grumbling or low-blood-sugar complaining. This was faithlessness. It is the heart that says, “I know better than God. If only he would follow my plan.”

Another name for this teaching series could be:


But the title is more than THE 10 COMMANDMENTS - includes – SET FREE TO LIVE FREE!


How do people today respond to the 10 Commandments?  
                   (4 ways)

1. REBEL against God
You brag about the law. But when you break it, you rob God of his honor!                                                                                                                                   Romans 2:23

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.      
                                                                                        Romans 8:1-2 (NKJV)

The written law was made weak by the power of sin. But God did what the written law could not do. He made his Son to be like those who live under the power of sin. God sent him to be an offering for sin. Jesus suffered God’s judgment against our sin.                   Romans 8:3

Jesus does for us everything the holy law requires. The power of sin should no longer control the way we live. The Holy Spirit should control the way we live.                                                                                                  Romans 8:4

  Mt. Sinai – Our need for a Savior       
Mt. Calvary – The need fulfilled.

 “Law-keeping is that life for which we were fitted by nature, unfitted by sin, and refitted by grace, the life God loves to see and reward; and for that life liberty is the proper name.”                                                                                         J. I. Packer

For its growth, a fish is limited to water, its proper element. Similarly, people are free- like a fish in water and a bird in the air- only when they listen (and keep) to God’s law.”                                                                                   J Dumna

This of course is impossible apart from God's grace, but that is no fault of the Law. The Law promises us freedom--the kind of freedom that God enjoys in His holy Self; the kind of freedom that a fish enjoys darting through water, and a bird enjoys soaring through the air--but it cannot but condemn us in our sinful nature and acts!

Is the law, then, against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.”                                                                                                Galatians 3:21

The Law is righteous, and in our sinful weakness it leads us to the soul-satisfying emancipator of our souls, Jesus Christ, and through Him we find the will, desire, and ability to keep the Law in the power of the Holy Spirit! Through the Grace of God, the Law of God opens for us a field of freedom for the joy and gladness of our souls!

Bill Hybels writes: “The Lord tells us specifically that His commands are never burdensome. By this, He doesn’t necessarily mean they’re easy to keep. Rather, He’s telling us that they’re never foolish. They are never unnecessary or purely arbitrary. He doesn’t force us to observe meaningless formalities, nor does He impose rules that have no value. On the contrary, every guideline, every law, every imperative in the Bible was crafted in infinite wisdom. They were given not only to honor God, but to benefit us as well.” 

In Jeremiah 29:11 God says to you and me, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

When Moses climbed Mt. Sinai

The First Command: 

 And God spoke all these words, saying:
 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.   “You shall have no other gods before Me.             
                                                                                    Exodus 20:1-3 (NKJV)

Our response:

“You are worthy, our Lord and God!
    You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power.
You are worthy because you created all things.
    They were created and they exist.
    This is the way you planned it.”             Revelation 4:11

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Preparing for worship tomorrow at NRN! Pt.1 The Ten Commandments

I am truly looking forward to this coming Sunday at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene.  I anticipate several families who have been away to return this Sunday and that our church family will take advantage of the opportunity to invite friends and neighbors this Sunday as we begin a new Teaching Series:  The 10 Commandments – Set Free to Live Free. 

Here is the order of worship we have prepared for tomorrow.  As you sing these songs in preparation for worship - I pray yo sense the moving of the Holy Spirit!

We begin our time together by focusing our attention upon the Creator God of the Universe who deserves our praise and worship this day. We leave the cares of the world behind and focus upon the Presence of God!

Last week we gathered around the altars to pray for a much beloved charter member of our church - Harold Wetzel.  Today we celebrate answers to prayer and call upon God for the needs we present to Him today!  

Over the past 4 consecutive Sundays our offerings have been below the need to meet our current budget.  On this final Sunday of July - I hope several will prepare a special gift for the church to help bring our deficit to an end.  God is faithful if we simply follow the creed we place upon our money:   "In God We Trust!  

We honor the Lord in song as we present His tithe and our offering to Him!

Hear the Word of the Lord:

Friday, July 24, 2015

The yoke is easy - and the burden is light

“Only the one who follows the command of Jesus single-mindedly, and unresistingly lets his yoke rest upon him, finds his burden easy, and under its gentle pressure receives the power to persevere in the right way. The command of Jesus is hard, unutterably hard, for those who try to resist it. But for those who willingly submit, the yoke is easy, and the burden is light.”  

      -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sowing and Reaping

Here are a few basic principles concerning sowing and reaping

1. We reap what we sow.
You can’t sow hatred and reap love.
You can’t sow unbelief and reap faith.
You can’t sow bitterness and reap forgiveness.
You can’t sow selfishness and reap friendship.

2. Sometimes, we reap what others have sown.
Somebody paid the price for the things we enjoy and often take for granted.
We have electric lights because Thomas Edison worked through the night.  

Our family values and traditions were passed along from our parents and grandparents.

Every building was constructed at a price. Somebody was willing to pay it.

3. Occasionally, we reap the painful consequences from what others have sown.

A choice to drive drunk can shatter a stranger’s family.
A dishonest employee can bring great dishonor to the business owner.
An abusive parent can damage and harm the child for life.
A thief can leave the victim penniless.

4. We reap more than we sow.
The mighty oak is just a little nut that held his ground.
Small, daily investments bring a tremendous harvest in the end.
One seed, planted in good soil, produces a thousand seeds.
One good deed planted in God’s love, produces a thousand deeds.

5. It usually takes a while between the sowing and the reaping.

There is no such thing as instant success. It takes a lifetime.
Patience is virtue. Do not be weary in well doing.
Sooner or later, what you do will catch up to you – both good and bad.
If at first you don’t see results, remember that the first growth is underground.

6. The more we sow, the more we grow.
Don’t just sow a little bit and quit.
Keep on sowing and you’ll keep on reaping!
Sow in the unexpected places, and you will discover unexpected results.
It’s never too early or too late to start sowing.

From my friend: Mark Wilson at Revitalize Your Church