Tag Archives: sow

2018 Theme(s)

I can’t believe that is almost February 2018 already. I also can’t believe I haven’t written since November. Usually in January I write about my theme for the year. In 2017 the theme was “review.” In 2016 the theme was “bravery” and in 2015 it was “doubt.”

Looking back on those themes, the themes from 2015 and 2016 really did define my year. In 2015, I went through a period where God worked in my heart to redefine my calling. Looking back at my blogs from 2015, I find a process of working through hurt, confusion, and doubt about what God was trying to do in my life.

In 2016, the theme of bravery led me to do some things that are not naturally characteristic of me. I wrote about humility, I stepped out and did some teaching, and (most importantly) I sent a resume to a church in a town I’d never heard of, in a part of Texas I’d never really visited. Then I watched how God worked and put me and my family together with the perfect church to pastor and lead. All because sometimes faith takes some bravery.

Last year my theme was “review.” I wrote that I wanted to reexamine, relearn, reengage with some authors I have in library and with some of the ideas that I spent time writing about on this blog. Ideas of how we should structure church and work in ministry today. Last year, however, was a hard year on bloggers. The news and the world was consumed with politics and that’s not a world that I want to enter as a blogger. So, many of my posts last year were reviews, just book reviews. I wrote about eight different books over 2017. Maybe last year’s theme didn’t turn out the way that I envisioned.

But what about this year? What about 2018?

To be honest I haven’t settled on a theme yet. But I do have some concepts that have been churring in my heart and mind. Perhaps this year I won’t have one theme but several.

Sow. One of Jesus’ most famous stories is about sowing. You can read it in Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23. In the story the farmer scatters seeds far and wide- all the way from the road to the field. The farmer knows that nothing will grow if he doesn’t sow, and while we might see him as wasteful (letting seeds fall on the road, the rocky soil, and among the thorns) the principle is that we sow far and wide. One of my themes for the year is to sow far and wide and lead the church to sow far and wide. And in doing we will trust God for the fruit.

Productivity. On a more personal level, I’m realizing more and more the speed of life. It’s easy to let days turn to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years (the fact that I haven’t written since November is exhibit number 1). There are things I want to get done (personally, professionally, with my family, spiritually) that I know can be accomplished if I spend time wisely and productively.

Contemplation. This is the balance to productivity. There is a danger in measuring oneself simply on production. There has to be balance in working and resting, giving and  refilling, production and contemplation.

Those are the ideas in my mind as we begin a new year. I’m excited to see how the year unfolds and how these themes play into the journey.

Football and the Fruits of the Spirit

What does a football player and a prisoner have to do with the fruits of the Spirit? Let me tell a quick story.

If you happen to watch the Denver Broncos- Pittsburgh Steelers games then you may already know what story I’m talking about.

imagesIn what was already a high stakes game, one Denver Broncos player had a little more reason to be nervous. For the first time ever, his mom would watch him play football. For the first time, Broncos wide receiver Damaryius Thomas, had his mom, Katina Smith, cheering in the crowd.

Katina Smith didn’t miss games because she was estranged from her son. She wasn’t sick and unable to travel or against the dangers of playing football. She was unable to see her son play because she was in prison.

When Damaryius was 11 years old, his mother was sentenced to twenty years in prison for distribution of crack cocaine. His grandmother was sentence to life in prison. During the next seventeen years, Damaryius went on t0 play football, basketball and run track in high school. He continued to play football at Georgia Tech and was drafted with the 22nd pick by the Denver Broncos. In the 2013 season, he set the record for number of catches in a Super Bowl in his team’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

All this while his mother sat in prison.

Now we can all agree that Katina Smith made a bad choice- choosing t0 distribute crack is a bad choice. And what she gave up as a result of that choice was huge.

It makes me wonder what things I have unintentionally given up because of choices I have made. In a positive way, I’ve given up or avoided negative things by making good choices. But I may have also unintentionally given up or passed on good things because of bad or unwise choices. We all have those “what if” scenarios in our lives and while dwelling on them may be harmful not acknowledging them may be just has harmful because we can begin to believe that our choices don’t have consequences- whether good or bad.

The Apostle Paul says it this way in Galatians: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8).

Sowing and reaping are agricultural terms and earlier in Paul’s letter he tells us what fruit we will reap if we sow in the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control.

How does this idea of sowing, reaping and reaping the fruits of the Spirit influence our choices and the “what if”s” in life? I’ll attempt to look at that next time.