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Lorna Johnston /Wednesday, January 18, 2023

 

Anybody who has visited my house knows I like to garden. A few years ago, my husband and daughter built me a greenhouse so I can start my plants from seed. Each precious seed is carefully placed in prepared soil and carefully nurtured to grow strong before being transplanted into the garden to grow up and produce a harvest. 

Recently I’ve been rereading the Parable of the Sower (or maybe better called the Parable of the Soils) from Matthew 13. 

"That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”  

(I encourage you to finish reading the rest of the parable on your own.) 

What is startling to me in this parable is the complete disregard of the sower for all the seed that is wasted. No gardener deliberately throws seed on the path, or amongst weeds, or on rocky ground. Seed is reserved for fertile soil.  

So why is this sower apparently happy to waste so much seed?

Perhaps it's because, while the seed is indeed precious, it's not in short supply. Instead, for this sower planting seeds in all the good soil, wherever it might be, is what is truly important.  

The mystery of this parable is that the nature of the soil is ‘discovered’ by whether it is fruitful AFTER the seed is sown. Scattering seeds around, apparently without any hindrance, is the best way to discover good soil. Think about that.  

Can I encourage you to ‘waste seed’ as you interact with lost people around you? Don’t try to assess the fertility of the soil before you sow.

Just toss gospel seed out there and see what grows.   

May we all be blessed with an abundant harvest. 


*This article was originally published in the Loving Muslims Together monthly digest newsletter and has been republished with permission. 


Lorna Johnston is the Diaspora Ministries Leader at Outreach Canada. She leads two national teams--Loving Muslims Together (LMT) and Simply Mobilizing Canada (SMC). She works with teams of diverse and experienced leaders and ministries across Canada to alert and activate the church in Canada to the changing opportunities to engage God's mission right here in Canada.



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Living and Active

On an isolated hillside surrounded by miles of forest and mountains, Murat found a large rock to sit down and take a break. He’d been trekking though the uneven terrain all day keeping a protective eye on his sheep and goats. Although there were no established roads, he and other members of his community had worn many paths throughout the area over the years. 

Murat reached into his coat pocket, pulled out his phone and raised it up in the air as high as he could looking for a service signal. Most of the other shepherds that Murat worked with were relatives: brothers, cousins, uncles, and other connections. Despite being separated for most of the days, they were a very close family. They regularly checked in with one another when they could get reception on their cell phones. In the late evenings, when all the livestock was safely returned to the stalls, they would all gather again on the homestead.

Over the past few months, though, something had changed. Murat had been doing some soul-searching and came across a website that offered access to the Bible. He signed up and began getting text messages every few days of a Bible verse from the New Testament, followed by four simple questions: What does this tell me about God? What does this tell me about mankind? How can I obey this scripture? Who can I share this scripture with?

Most of the scriptures had to do with Jesus, of whom Murat had heard of before ... but never in this way!


Why I love doing Discovery Bible Studies with my Muslim friends

We were gathered around a picnic table in a park, my friend and I, and our five hijab-wearing friends. This was their first time to ever explore the Bible and they were all enthusiastic. A few weeks later, when the weather began to grow cooler, we moved our study online (this was during Covid) – and over the course of the year these ladies kept inviting their friends!

No one in this group is a believer yet, but it’s been a wonderful doorway to some amazing heart conversations. There has been no debating – just a genuine exploration of what these Bible stories were teaching each of us personally. 

I remember the pressure I used to feel when talking to Muslim friends, and hoping I could convince them to follow Jesus. I even taught others how to engage in apologetics with Muslims. The trouble was, I found myself forgetting some of the most compelling arguments, and to be honest, I’m just not that good at it. Not only that, but I was also finding that many believers totally discounted themselves when it came to befriending Muslims. They didn’t feel qualified to engage in that arena – so they didn’t...


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Once upon a time, a seemingly uninterested man participated in a Discovery Bible Study in a cafe around the world, and then everything changed...


Wasting Seed

Anybody who has visited my house knows I like to garden. A few years ago, my husband and daughter built me a greenhouse so I can start my plants from seed. Each precious seed is carefully placed in prepared soil and carefully nurtured to grow strong before being transplanted into the garden to grow up and produce a harvest. 

Recently I’ve been rereading the Parable of the Sower (or maybe better called the Parable of the Soils) from Matthew 13. 

What is startling to me in this parable is the complete disregard of the sower for all the seed that is wasted. No gardener deliberately throws seed on the path, or amongst weeds, or on rocky ground. Seed is reserved for fertile soil.  

So why is this sower apparently happy to waste so much seed?


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Join us in praying for our Buddhist neighbours. 


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When I have a bit of extra time, I enjoy cooking. I especially enjoy cooking for other people, and I particularly love trying new recipes. It’s a bit risky trying new recipes out on guests, but I do it all the time!

Some recipes are complex and take a long time—sometimes the reward is worth the effort, sometimes not. I have a recipe for Petit Fours (a fancy little dessert cake) that takes most of a day to make but is a favorite of some of my family—so worth the investment.

But some recipes surprise me with how simple and delicious they are. Try this one – watermelon chunks, lime juice, chopped fresh mint. For a summer side salad, it’s amazing.

Sometimes when we talk about disciple-making we tend to think ‘Petit Four recipe’ complexity rather than ‘Watermelon Salad recipe’ simplicity. And then we let the thought of the complexity put us off even trying to be involved in disciple-making.

What if we could simplify our ‘disciple-making recipe’ down to just a few ingredients? 

Here’s a ‘simple recipe’ for you to try out...


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An Open Door.

In 1 Corinthians 16:9 Paul writes, ‘a great door for effective work has opened to me’ referring to his plans to stay in Ephesus to respond to the opportunity there. This 12-minute 'made in Canada' video is a reminder of the opportunity that is right outside our doors amongst the growing Muslims diaspora community. Shared with permission this video offers a range of practical advice from some who are experienced in engaging this community.

Be encouraged as you watch that God is at work drawing people to himself.

And hear the challenge of this video:

Sometimes we wait for God to move—but perhaps God is waiting for us to move. 

There is an open door waiting for you. Walk through…