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Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from: ~The Parable of the Sower
MARK 4:1 Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. There was such a large crowd along the shore that he got into a boat and sat down and spoke from there. 2 He began to teach the people by telling many stories such as this one: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. 4 As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. 5 Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The plant sprang up quickly, 6 but it soon wilted beneath the hot sun and died because the roots had no nourishment in the shallow soil. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that shot up and choked out the tender blades so that it produced no grain. 8 Still other seed fell on fertile soil and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted.” Then he said, 9 “Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!”
Work was being done recently by the The Methodist Publishing House on a video project they are producing in connection with a book, Yes, Lord, I Have Sinned, But I Have Several Excellent Excuses” by James W. Moore.
He said, we made twelve video lessons to coincide with the twelve chapters of the book… so Sunday School Classes can see and hear my thoughts about the material in the book.
Now, I have been doing television for over 30 years and in all that time. I had never ever used any kind of make-up… until last week!
They brought in a make-up artist who had done Sharon Stone’s make-up for a movie she shot in Nashville… and she put so much make-up on me that when I looked in the mirror… I thought I looked like I should be in a horror movie called “The Curse of the Walking Corpse!” My face was so made up, so chalky… that I looked like a member of the Munster family!
Now, on the video my face looked O.K. (considering what they had to work with),… but in real life, I felt like I had on more make-up than Michael Jackson!!
On the final afternoon of the filming, at 4:00 p.m. and I thought this would be a good time to return a couple of sport coats to my brother, Bob. Bob and his wife live in Nashville.
The crew wanted me to look different in each of these twelve video lessons. So, after each session I would change shirts and ties and jackets. I had borrowed two sport coats from my brother… and I was anxious to return them safely to him before flying back to Houston the next day.
My brother said, “Let’s meet in the circle drive at Brentwood United Methodist Church in ten minutes.” When I arrived, Bob was already there. I returned the sport coats and then we stood there and visited for a while.
Just then, a handsome young man came walking across the church’s front lawn and my brother said: “Do you know who that is?” No, I didn’t. “Well, that’s Deech Kirk. He is Cecil Kirk’s son. He is the youth minister here.”
Cecil Kirk and I had gone through college together and through seminary together and he had been a good friend over the years. So, Bob called Deech over so we could meet.
I told Deech how much I respected his dad, ,etc.
Now, Deech was listening to me intently, but he was looking at me in a very strange way. He just kept staring at me, studying me with a perplexed expression.
Just as we concluded our visit and Deech turned to walk away, it suddenly hit me! I realized why Deech had stared at me so strangely. “It was the make-up!!”
I ran after him and said: “Deech, let me explain why I have all this make-up on. It’s because I just came from making some video tapes for The Methodist Publishing House… and they put this make-up on me for the filming.”
Deech said: “I am so glad you told me because I was drawing my own conclusions… and that was not one of them!!”
Well, the point is clear… it is so easy to draw wrong conclusions if we don’t have the truth.
– the truth of Christ,
– the truth of the Bible,
– the truth of Church History,
– and, the truth of my own personal experience.
That is exactly what I want us to think about together this morning : God is speaking to us… but we need a hearing aid to help us hear His voice… and this is the role of the church. In fact, that is the title of today’s message “God Speaks and the Church is Our Hearing Aid.” I for one can understand this as I wear hearing aids, and when my batteries run low I have problems hearing truths spoken to me by my loving wife; and don’t you know I get confused with wrong conclusions.
In Mark 4, Jesus says: “Those who have ears to hear let them hear!” However, sometimes our natural ears are not enough. We have to have help. We need a Hearing Aid and this is where…..
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