Wednesday, April 26, 2017


1. The Parable of the Sower or The Parable of the Soil

In this series I am writing about two parables. I don’t mean to infer from my title that this parable is actually two, just that it is known by two names. First I will discuss the parable of the sower, then in future posts I will discuss this parable in relation to the parable of the hidden treasure.

The parable of the sower is told in three gospels, commonly called the synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The parable of the hidden treasure is found only in Matthew. As we look at the parables I would like to demonstrate a principle of biblical interpretation (hermeneutics) that I call Scripture Best Interprets Scripture. “Use the Bible to help interpret itself. Interpret difficult passages with clear ones. This is sometimes called the law of non-contradiction. Because the Bible is God’s word, and God is true, the Bible will not contradict itself.” i

So let us begin. For sake of space I will leave you to read the parable for yourself. I suggest you read it from all three of the gospels. It is the same parable but each gospel author tells it with some slight differences. It is my thinking that these differences clarify rather than confuse, more views give us a wider perspective. I will highlight some of these along the way.

All three gospels begin “a sower went out to sow”.

The first condition is that the seeds fell along the path and then the birds devoured them. Not unusual; birds like seed. I remember feeding pigeons as a young boy. I was fascinated by the power I held in my hand. These birds would normally never come near me but as I began to scatter seed they came from everywhere and some were even so bold as to land on my head and arm. So is the intended meaning that a farmer should take care not to waste the seed or is it to show how to attract birds? Hmmmm? Lets keep reading.

The second condition we are told is rocky ground without much soil. Luke tells us that the soil “had no moisture” So what happens to seeds under these conditions? They spring up but have no depth so when the sun is hot they wither away. Again as a young boy at my school’s science fair, I had to present a science project. Mine was radish seeds/sprouts, my experiment was something like this. I learned the basics of germination. In order for seeds to grow, they need moisture and light (but not too much). The moral? A lack of moisture plus a hot sun kills the seedlings. So wouldn't a farmer avoid this situation? You bet, farmers clear the rocks from their fields.

Third condition is some seeds fell among thorns and “the thorns grew up and choked them.” Have you noticed anything yet? Perhaps a progression? First birds eat the seeds, this is rapid they don’t even get to germinate. Then the rocky ground prevents the seedlings from developing after germination but at least they sprouted. Here the thorns are choking the plants. This takes a little more time. I planted strawberries about five years ago. Overall they are doing good. I made one small mistake though. I thought I was doing the right thing. I used my lawnmower clippings as mulch. It worked great the first couple of years. I thought I was keeping the weeds down and it did for a time. But slowly the Bermuda grass clippings I was placing in my strawberries for mulch took root. Now it is a yearly battle to pull the Bermuda grass out. The grass is choking my strawberries! I am not a very good farmer.

The fourth condition is what every farmer wants, the seeds fell on good soil and produced crops. So what does all this mean? Jesus’ disciples had the same question. Mark’s version of the disciples asking Jesus about this is informative for interpreting parables “How then will you understand all the parables?” Luke and Matthew record for us that Jesus intends for the disciples “know the secrets of the Kingdom” so shouldn't we pay attention to what Jesus is about to tell them?

i Lesson 6: Principles of Biblical Interpretation,, last accessed 4/26/2017

Monday, April 24, 2017

Review: REFLECT, Becoming Yourself by Mirroring the Greatest Person in History by Thaddeus J. Williams

How would I describe this book? Is it theology, spiritual-formation, Christian living? Yes, yes and yes. I once read that the fruit of the Spirit is singular in Galatians 5:22 because they are not fruits but fruit; one fruit with multiple facets. To have one is to have them all. REFLECT, Becoming Yourself by Mirroring the Greatest Person in History by Thaddeus J. Williams is very helpful towards that end. Integrating the characteristics of Christ in an authentic way to bring Him glory, the author shows, is God’s design for our lives and God’s means to bring it about.

Each chapter; Reason, Emote (passion), Flip (holiness), Love, Elevate (grace), Create, Transform could stand on their own. The author provides many notes and challenged my thinking and preconceptions in an engaging and stimulating manner. Like a good friend speaking to my doubts and intimidations he leads me to the place where I can see for myself. There is much food for thought in each progressive chapter.

There are many quotes that I could give but my favorite came from the last chapter Transform, “Jesus is not a sum; he is a fully integrated Person. Every one of his attributes can be used as an adjective or adverb to describe any other attribute.” The author also kindly provides a REFLECT log you can copy from his book or download from his webpage. It is a suggested tool that he has used for 10 years and it is sort of a check list or inventory to help you to reflect on the status of your journey.

If purchase this book I would recommend buying two. You will get part way through and think of others you would love to share this journey with. If you lead a small study or prayer group this would make an excellent addition to your times together.

I love to meditate on scripture; this book would, in my mind, fall under Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God”

I am very grateful to The Weaver Book Company for providing me a copy of the book for an unbiased review. I am hopeful for the books success and looking forward to a study guide. I will be using this in my small group.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Meditation for Easter

Meditation for Easter

Psalm 2 verse 6

✠I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill. ✠

Psalm 3 verse 2

✠Many are saying of my soul, 
‘There is no salvation for him in God.’ (cf. Mk 15:26-32)

Psalm 3 verse 4

✠I cried aloud to the LORD, 
and he answered me from his holy hill. (cf. Mk 15:34)
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani

Psalm 3 verse 5

✠I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me. (cf. Mk 16:6)