WHAT KIND OF SOIL ARE YOU?

The question above is intriguing. Considering we typically zero our focus on the Sower. After all, the Matthew account even calls it the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:18). The account penned by Luke shows us some of the key elements of the sower and the soil.  He recorded in Luke 8:4 and following that some of the seed fell among: the wayside, the rocks, among thorns and finally some fell on good ground. Let us ponder the question together of what kind of soil we are.

WAYSIDE SOIL

The very first thing to note about this particular soil is that it is a hard surface. The seed does not even have an ability to get down into the dirt to begin the process of growth. Luke 8:12 states that the devil comes and takes the word away from them. Keeping them from believing, they do not obey the Gospel. They are followers of the devil over the Almighty God.

ROCK SOIL

Those that are on the rock soil begin to grow (Luke 8:13) but upon difficulty (a time of temptation) they are fallen away. Essentially they leave when the going gets tough. Many in the brotherhood today leave as soon as things get difficult. The apostle Paul state countless times that things would be difficult!

THORN SOIL

These are those that are consumed with the world. They allow the world to control them (Luke 8:14). We have at times allowed our things to keep us from God. Is this the soil that we would be?

GOOD GROUND

Those that qualify for the good ground hear the word with an honest and good heart. They keep the word and bring forth fruit with patience (Luke 8:15). These are the true members of the Lord’s body.

Where do you and I fall? Are we more of a follower of the devil like those of the wayside soil? Or are we the type of soil like the rocky soil that leave when things get tough? Do we allow the things of this world to control us? Or are we doing what we can to bring forth fruit with patience? May we all be like the soil on good ground rejoicing at the opportunity to serve God!

-Michael Clarke

clarkemichael55@gmail.com

Somerville Church of Christ

WHAT WILL YOU DO?

In 2nd Timothy 4:2, Paul writes to Timothy, “Preach the Word, be ready in season and out of season.” I am sure many of you know the names Michael Jordan and LeBron James. One of the reasons you know these names are because they are a few of the best to ever play basketball. The reason they were the best was because when the season was over they worked just as hard as they did during the season. It may have been months before the next season started, yet they treated it like the playoffs. Their attitude was to be ready for anything. They took the attitude of being ready no matter what to heart. God wants us to have that same tenacious desire to be ready in the Scriptures. If we are not expecting it, and someone asks us a biblical question, we should be ready and willing to answer it.

When we study hard and we know the word of God, we can be steadfast and immovable (1 Cor. 15:58).  There were those in the NBA that were scared to try to score on certain players. These athletes were so good at their position that they could keep anyone from scoring. Some of them even prided themselves in the fact that no one could score on them. You and I need to have that same type of attitude for the defense of the church. We should know the Word so well that we will never compromise on the Truth. We should keep others from compromising the Truth. It should be the case that when it comes to defending the gospel, the Devil can never get past us. Christ proved that it was possible, in Matthew 4 and Luke 4. There may have been times in your life before where he (the devil) has gotten past your defense and has brought you down. However, we must develop the faithful Christian attitude that says, “You will not get past me again.” You may be saying, “I’m only a young person, I can’t fight against an enemy that strong.”

When Paul wrote to Timothy, he was writing to a young person. One of the things Paul did not want Timothy to miss was that age does not matter. Paul told Timothy to not let anyone “despise your youth” 1 Timothy 4:12. He told him to be an example in “word, conduct, love, spirit, faith, and purity.” Since we know according to 2 Timothy 3:16 that all scripture is inspired, we can take what Paul said in 1 Timothy 4:12 and apply it to our own lives.

You may be thinking. “I can’t teach my friends the gospel, I’m not strong enough yet.” “I don’t have a good defense of the gospel yet.” “At my age, what could I do?” Most people have these excuses running through their minds, yet it is just the Devil trying to keep you from stepping up. When you are struggling with a new school or a new environment, think of Daniel—he was in another country, surrounded by people who did not believe in the God that he did. Yet, Daniel was still victorious. When you are dealing with people who are smarter than you are, think of Jesus, even at the age of 12, He was able to answer and ask questions to men who had been studying the Law their entire lives. That is the only way you can truly be immovable. Your age is truly just a number. The Gospel is the power that gives the impact. 

 

-Michael Clarke

clarkemichael55@gmail.com

Somerville Church of Christ

 

 

            

LESSONS FROM MY FATHER

E.H.I.P.

Everything Has Its Place. This became quite popular one day when dad came home and said to my siblings and me: “It is getting old seeing messy rooms, so I am starting something new. EHIP.” We looked around shocked and confused as we had not heard of this concept. We thought it was a typical “dad thing” and we truly learned to dislike this new practice. How it would work is as follows: 1. A coat is laying on the couch. 2. Dad sees the coat. 3. Waits for the owner to walk by. 4. Playfully shout EHIP! Pointing at the coat. Looking back now I know that he was not just trying to get us to pick up our stuff so we could be a “pristine family” but that we would understand things have a place. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 teaches this “Everything Has Its Place” mentality. My father may have known (as many times the lessons we were taught were not just meant to deal with the physical but also focus on the spiritual) that he was trying to teach us this Godly principle. I can tell you it stuck.

FAMILY IS IMPORTANT

This is a big one I want to make sure everyone reading understands. My father was like Superman to me growing up. Even after a long day preaching and shaking hands with the brethren he spent time with his family. We would get home, eat dinner and then play a game called “diving” (mom did not love this game). The concept of this game is to take a junior sized football and throw it at different parts of the living room and us children would dive to catch it (again Mom did not approve). We loved this game. It was a time for us to laugh and play with our daddy. Now that I am preaching, I truly understand from a physical standpoint how much that took out of him. I have no children, yet when I get home from a long Sunday I am spent. This superhero would preach all day and still take time for his own family. Yes, he traveled and was gone from time to time, but I don’t remember the week(s) he spent away. I remember how he would break his back to make sure we knew that he loved us. I will truly have no problem practicing what Paul wrote to Timothy (1 Timothy 5:4).  My father would be the first to tell you that no parent is perfect, but I will wholeheartedly disagree with anyone that tries to convince me that preachers (or even working men) cannot spend time with their families. I know better. I can remember coming out late at night because I needed something to drink or could not sleep, and there would be dad furiously typing and working hard. Working late because he wanted to spend time with us. That makes me feel so loved. Then he would get up the next day and go to the office and keep working. Such a hard-working man. Such a Godly father (Yes, I am biased about who the best dad in the world is).

WORRY ABOUT YOU

This final lesson for this article is huge for me. I have always had a difficulty letting things go. If I would see someone doing something wrong, I would want it to be fixed. This as you can imagine did not make me popular at times among my brother and sister, as I would tattle in a heartbeat. I remember one particular conversation with dad, though, where I was truly frustrated with something someone else had done. Dad calmly asked me if it affected me. The answer was no, it did not directly affect me. Dad was right, I need not worry about things that don’t affect me. I am reminded of what Paul said in Philippians 1:15-18.

Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

My father is one of the greatest men I know. The most important thing he did in my life though, was teach me how to be a man. I am still learning, but I know if I listen he will help me get there with God’s help.

 

-Michael Clarke

Somerville Church of Christ

clarkemichael55@gmail.com