In Between Sundays

New Year. New You.

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There is a story about a farmer who was throwing out some seed. The farmer noticed that some of the seeds were immediately eaten up by the birds. Other seeds sprang up and blossomed rather quickly, but also died just as fast. It was clear to the farmer that the seeds didn’t have a root system deep enough to last when the drought came. Thorns grew up where some seeds landed. He was disappointed to see them choked and overrun by the thorns. Finally, some of the seeds were sprouting up from splendid soil. He began to notice that not only were the plants producing, but they were producing above and beyond anything he imagined - thirty, sixty, even one hundred times over.

Where do you find yourself in this parable? You might hear God’s word and reject it or see the same happen in the lives of family, friends, or coworkers.

Some people have a high school summer camp high, or even a new year’s resolution ambition. You are spiritually on fire, but when the proverbial fires of life comes (or the month of February) you are taxed and wither away.

You may find yourself being the seed among the thorns. You want to grow your relationship with the Lord, but there’s an awesome new show on Netflix. You have kids that have “umpteen” sporting events and activities. You have to file your taxes soon. You are trying to save a little bit more for that vacation this summer. Your job is hectic and life just doesn’t seem to slow down at all! The business of life and the cares of this world get to you and you find yourself drifting from God.  

Finally, there are seeds that fall on good soil. Now this is where it gets good. When we read, understand, and obey God’s word we bear fruit. Jesus says, “He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty” (Matthew 13:23).

Let that be you in this new year. Let God transform your heart and give you an ear to hear His words and eyes to see Him in the everyday. Be a light in a dark world. Watch God work in your life as he produces spiritual fruit, thirty, sixty, and even a hundred fold.

Posted by Clayton Havelka with

Sharing My Faith, Part 1

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As Christians, we have surely been around the people who we want to share our faith with. It can be scary, right? We start this long list of reasons why they would never listen to us. After that list, we start to contemplate the thought of, “do I know enough about the Bible to answer their questions?” After a short adrenaline burst of almost doing it, we move on. We think it would be too awkward to bring that topic of “religion” up again. No way. Then discouragement comes. If you are a believer in Jesus, you have probably felt all of these things at some point. I am going to begin a series of blog posts about my victories and failures of sharing my faith. I will start with a total fail.

It was my freshman year of college. I was playing football and getting acclimated to the newfound freedom and life that comes with moving out of your parents’ house for the first time. This is where my faith truly deepened. With that much freedom and lack of accountability, I had to make a decision as to whether I was going to follow Jesus or not. Along with the decision to truly follow Jesus and make my faith my own came the natural progression of needing to share my faith. I was around too many people on a daily basis for me not to share my faith. If Jesus truly is everything that I say He is, and the number one thing in my life, then it should naturally come up in conversation. People talk about what they are passionate about.

I decided to simply take baby steps. I had a sticker on the outside of my computer, which said “Reject Religion, Embrace Jesus”. I thought this quote would not only be a good reminder, but if anyone was curious to ask, it would be a great conversation starter. I definitely had an answered prayer that I still haven’t forgotten to this day. I was talking with some friends in my dorm room. One guy sees my computer and asks, “What does your sticker mean? I don’t understand.” Wow, what an easy opportunity to begin to talk about Jesus. This is the perfect pitch in slow pitch softball. This is the wide open pass in the end zone and all I had to do was throw the ball in the general area. I didn’t even have to hit the wide receiver.

I totally failed. I just stared at him until another person started talking about something else and we joined in. I didn’t even say anything. I should have said something to the effect that Jesus is different because, out of all of the other religions, He is the only one that came down from the mountain to be with the people He loves. Religion and other deities would have each person climb a perilous mountain just to get to god. Jesus wants your heart, not the rules that you live by. Jesus wants glad submission because He is good, not rules that merely say, “do this and don’t do this.” I wish I would have said something like that to start off the conversation. Instead, I just stared at him.

My fear of man paralyzed me. I was far more worried about what he or the group was going to think rather than being faithful to Jesus - who was supposed to be more important to me than others’ opinions. You may be thinking to yourself that I will soon tell of redemption where I later talked with him about Jesus and he gave his life to Christ. Nope, not even close. To be honest, I don’t even remember his name! What I do remember is that I needed to know Jesus much more. My devotion needed to be richer. I also experienced the grace of God in that moment. I found myself relating to the apostle Peter. Peter also became paralyzed with the fear of man and rejected Jesus.

I learned in that moment that God is calling me to be faithful far more than He is calling me to be successful.

Posted by Clayton Havelka with