Explaining Evangelism

more than a few years ago i penned a book that sold 10,000 copies and was printed in 3 languages…it is out of print but a few copies are still kicking around…i didn’t have a copy so purchased on on amazon.com…(at one time you could have purchased a copy for $142)it was basic…and had more than a few typos, the language ‘sowing seed’ etc. not the language of our present writings.. but had some good content for the time…and reflects some timeless principles. i learned a lot about writing and it was a good exercise…i also learned not to use illustrations that can date a book…like i used ‘new kids on the block’ as an illustration…that dates the book…

I did like the first chapter…and still think it is important…

here’s a note from the seller of my recent purchase…

Oh my goodness, I totally didn’t even recognize the fact that you were the author of the book. I ship so many books on a given day that I don’t even notice things like that. I just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed the book and found it quite interesting. Another friend of mine, got a great deal out of the book and is about to leave on a mission to the Middle East.
Hope you have a great weekend!

encouraging to say the least…you never know who you’ll touch…

Chapter One
Get This One Fellas’

Jesus said, ‘Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 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. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among 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, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.’ Later He said, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’ When challenged by His disciples He then added, ‘Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?’

He went on to explain what the parable meant. In short, the sowers are men, the seeds are Gods words spoken by men and the four soils are the hearts of men and women at various degrees of readiness.

Later, He continued to explain the Kingdom of God and described how the seed grew. The seed, when planted, matured and produced grain by the All By Itself Principle.
He said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain– first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Mk 4:1-29 NIV
It was imperative for the disciples to understand the kingdom principle of sowing and reaping. Jesus knew they needed to understand the parable or they would not be able to understand other important principles concerning Kingdom of God. He was pleading, “Fellas, you really have to get this one!” Like the disciples we also need to understand.

The principle: What is sown will grow and bear fruit. How? We don’t really know. It just happens. It’s a mystery. When the seed is sown it is unseen as a seed buried in the hearts and minds of men and women. Our job is to apply the All By Itself principle and to sow good seeds in simple faith.

Could you imagine a farmer after all the hours of ploughing, discing, fertilizing and sowing the seed, to go out day by day, dig up the ground to see if the seed was beginning to grow? He thinks, ‘I planted it yesterday. I wonder if it is growing. Hey! I’ll dig the field up and see.’ He wouldn’t reap his desired harvest if he continued to fret and mess with the field checking to see if the seed was growing that’s for sure.

A good farmer sows the seed in faith, believing that all that has gone before in the preparation of the soil will bring forth a harvest. He trusts the intrinsic nature of the seed. He knows his job is to get the seed into the past tense and then wait patiently. He waters the ground and allows the seeds to grow. How does the seed grow? … all by itself. The seed has power within itself to grow. The soil then produces the harvest.

This is how saving faith touches the life of an individual. Someone speaks the turth, or serves a person in a practical way, the seed enters into their heart, and in time, faith springs up. It is important to note that someone has to sow the seed into the soil of a heart before a harvest can be realized. Often, this is an overlooked reality.

It is said that the great evangelist D.L. Moody never led anyone to Jesus who had not heard the gospel before. The seed had been sown before he was able to reap. This encourages me. My job is to be a sower. I am not to worry if the harvest isn’t forthcoming instantly, but to sow the seed in faith with the view that growth will come in time. A friend of mine often asks the question, ‘How long does it take for a person to come to Christ?’ He pauses then answers…’A Unique amount of time.’
The principle of process cuts across our instant access computer chips and fast paced living. Our generation yearns for instant answers and instant success. We want to plant the seed one day… and enjoy the fruit the next. We don’t want to wait patiently during the process. We often become impatient and throw up our hands and declare, ’It doesn’t work!’ Forget this evangelism deal! Where is the fruit?’ When we respond in such a manner we are like an unwise farmer who keeps digging up the field to see if the seed is growing. The reality: hidden seed may be growing within the hearts of the people we encounter. A girl suddenly burst into tears when one of our staff handed her a small gift bag during an outreach. She exclaimed, “I know I need to go to church. I’ve been thinking about it for days!”

Often in a group setting, I’ll ask the question, ‘How many of you came to know Jesus the first time you heard the gospel?’ Most of the time no one raises a hand. Of all the people I’ve had the privilege to bring to the Lord over the past 25 years only one person had not heard before. The first time she heard the truth, faith entered her heart as she believed. This is not the norm in the Western world. It takes many encounters before a harvest can occur. Some writers say that at the present time in the USA that at least seven to twelve positive encounters with the gospel must take place before a person comes to saving faith. That is a lot of patient planting and a lot of watering the seed!
Consider your own life. Did you meet Jesus the first time your heard the gospel? Or did you hear in many ways over a period of time before making a decision? Did you need time to count the cost and to weigh up the facts? Can you remember who sowed the seed into your life? Did another person water it? Who reaped the harvest? How did it happen for you? How did it happen for your friends? More than likely discovering faith was a timely process.

Here is a processed life equation…
Seeds sown
+ Questions answered
+ Adequate time for God to work
=’s A new believer.

This is why it is important to become a person who seeks to sow and water the seed consistently. If no one does the hard work of sowing and then watering the seed, and it takes more than one personal contact for a person to be connected with the good news before making a decision, what will happen if no one sows and no one waters? Will there be a harvest? I don’t think so.

It amazes me that many people think ‘revival’ is the answer for every community in every nation of the world. The problem: If there is no sowing of seeds pre-revival why do people expect a sudden harvest when and if the rains of revival begin to fall? Is God going to violate His GO command? Again, I don’t think so. He said, ‘Go into all the world …the imperative—sow the seed.

Notice in the parable the sower was not condemned or corrected for his sowing method. Some seed fell on rocky places, hard places and weedy places. It seems to me he should have been more careful. However, the principle of sowing the seed is the main point of the parable. In the parable it is mentioned that the sower scatters the seed. This means many seeds are scattered. It is implied the sower was not all that worried where the seed was scattered. Some of the seed even fell in ground that would not produce fruit.
The rule of the parable, sow the seed and sow it in abundance.

On a trip from the USA to Scotland I noticed two men in a field sowing seed. They had huge baskets tied to their waists. With each step they were putting their hands into the basket and scattering the seed before them as they walked. As I was watching the men sow the seed I thought to myself, ‘This is what Jesus wants His people to do, sow many seeds!’

This is how the harvest will come — when the seed has been sown, not before. Therefore, there needs to be many sowers and a multitude of seeds sown before a great harvest can be realized and enjoyed. There are no short cuts. Again many people sincerely believe when ‘revival’ arrives suddenly there will be thousands of people ushered into the Kingdom of God. I wonder? Besides, what should believers be doing in the mean time? Should we be waiting for revival before we begin to actively share our faith? We may be waiting for quite some time. Personally, I believe we should be doing what Jesus told us to do, now at this present moment. We should be going into all the world and scattering life changing seeds into the lives we encounter.

By the way, the field in Scotland, where the men were sowing, was soon fully covered with barleycorn. The harvesters then came and reaped. The soil allowed the seed to grow and produce a crop. Jesus wanted His disciples to get this one. He wants us to get it too.

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