10 Dec, 2015 The Four Fields – Part III
After introducing ‘The Four Fields’ to me and after sharing and explaining field one, the young man moved to the rectangle on the top right (second) part of the page and wrote the word ‘Gospel’. He then drew seeds in the field and wrote in the middle of the field the word ‘Sow’. He then pointed back at the first rectangle and said “As we engage the unchurched world we create opportunities to…” he then swept his hand to the second rectangle and continued…” “…sow seeds of the gospel.”
Jesus taught in Luke Chapter 8 verse 4 “A sower went out to sow his seeds…” For the rest of this time with you today I wish to reflect on the first part of this scripture and that is ‘Sow’.
How do we sow in the fields around us? Using the word sow as an acronym I would like to share the following three ideas.
S – Share your story
- As followers of Christ we all have personal stories to tell of God’s love, grace, forgiveness, strength and help. Looking for ways just to naturally share what God has done or is doing in your life is something which is hard to reject, argue and mock. Share about recent answers to prayer. Open up about your personal and real relationship with God. Talk about your trials and the overcoming of trials. Talk about how God has healed you, provided for you and has poured his love into you. Over the years I have found my testimony a powerful key to opening doors in people’s hearts. I have found that as I have reflected on the present needs of the person I am with, God can direct me to an appropriate personal story to illustrate God’s reality in that point of need. Feeling lonely, depressed, discouraged, lost, confused or defeated? I can share a personal story of how God has been my salvation through that issue. Be Spirit led through this process. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you through the conversation.
O – Offer to pray
- Whilst some people can find heaven open up to them in the context of an appropriate testimony, others find God rushing into their world in answer to prayer. Some years ago four young people strolled into the church I was serving in and wanted to talk with me about God. They knew nothing. They had been talking together and had decided that they would drum up the courage and together visit the church to talk to someone about God. They were respectful but also sceptical. As I shared they picked up on my comment that God is real and that he wants to reveal himself to each of the boys. One challenged my statement by saying “Prove it!”. I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to take up the challenge. I said “Ok, I want one of you four to volunteer to allow me to pray for him. As I do so I want you boys to watch.” One volunteered. I explained that I was going to simply put my hand on his shoulder and pray and I asked for his permission to lay hands on him. He gave his approval. I asked him to close his eyes and then I started to pray. I asked the others to keep their eyes open and to watch carefully. As I started to pray the tangible presence of God began to be felt by the young man and his friends. His eyes began to flutter. His body began to sway. His smile fell off his face immediately as he began to experience something unexpected. God’s love and peace began to sweep over him. It was visible. The three friend’s mouths dropped wide open as they leaned forward in stunned amazement. All four boys testified that day to having encountered God at that moment… no debate was necessary. I have seen casual interest escalate to keen desire within seconds of praying for someone. When God, turns up, heart open up.
W – Witness enthusiastically
- The Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 1675 was acquainted with Mr. Butterton the [actor]. One day the Archbishop . . . said to Butterton . . . ‘pray inform me Mr. Butterton, what is the reason you actors on stage can affect your congregations with speaking of things imaginary, as if they were real, while we in church speak of things real, which our congregations only receive as if they were imaginary?’ ‘Why my Lord,’ says Butterton, ‘the reason is very plain. We actors on stage speak of things imaginary, as if they were real and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.’” Dynamic evangelist and revivalist, George Whitfield once heard this and decided that he would not be a “velvet mouthed preacher”. He was going to share with passion and full of meaning, and as a result brought many to Christ.
In sowing, look for opportunities to share the stories of God in you; unleash the power of God through prayer; and manifest the reality of God through an animated life.
Bringing it home
In preparing your people to be sowers, help them to understand the value and power of their personal stories to draw people to Christ. Give regular opportunities for testimonies in church services and use elements of your own walk to illustrate the power of a now-story. Encourage your people to look for open doors for prayer and give them opportunity to tell their stories of God ‘turning up’ while they are praying for people. Model the animated, Holy Spirit inspired life. Powerful testimonies supported by powerful God encounters through powerful people are powerful tools in the hands of a missionary God.