Small Groups Ministries at LNC

All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training

 

in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
 
2 Timothy 3:16-17

 

Small Groups
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Bible Study Groups

-Sunday morning Adult & Teen classes at 9:00 am

-Thursday Prayer time at 6:30 pm

 

 

 

 

 

Mid-Week Devotional

Patience and Pumpkins

 

            What does the season of Advent bring to mind?  Probably, most people would answer, “Christmas.”  I think that’s a good answer and I love preparing for Christmas.  But, if that’s our only focus, we miss part of the Church’s seasonal emphasis.  Advent is also a time to focus on our Lord’s return.  It is a time to prepare for it.  It is a time to renew our hope that He is coming.  It is a time to recommit to sharing His peace and presence in this broken world.

            Many Bible passages associated with Advent seem to point to our Lord’s second coming rather than His first.  An example is James 5:7-10:

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.  See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.  You also, be patient.  Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.  Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.  As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord (ESV).

 

Clearly, those verses look to our Lord’s second coming rather than His first.  And, they encourage us to be patient like the farmer waiting for his crop.

            I’m not a farmer.  But, I know that waiting for the “precious fruit of the earth” involves more than simply hoping it will grow.  Farmers are very involved in the process.  Depending on the crop, they spend hours, preparing the ground, planting seeds, pruning vines, removing weeds, and attempting to protect their crops from pests.  And, of course there is waiting, there is hoping, and, I’m sure that for many farmers, there is praying.  Then, when all of that is done, there is harvest!

            Many of us have experienced that process.  Some in small ways and some through actual farming.  I started learning about it when I was around five years old.  One day, my Mother took me out to the garden and showed me how to plant pumpkin seeds.  I was thrilled with the idea of putting seeds in the ground and growing something.  I planted a piece of hope with every one of those seeds.  Then, daily, I helped with watering.  Every morning I would go out to the garden to see if the seeds had sprouted.  It seemed to take forever.  Yet, one morning, they were there; tiny seedlings poking from the earth.

            Next, I watched them grow.  They seemed slow at first.  But, I remember one night it rained.  The next morning, before even venturing outside, I looked out the window and I was amazed at how much the plants grew over night.  I continued doing what I could to make my pumpkins grow.  But the truth is, God did most of the work.  My Mother and I simply helped Him as the seedlings became vines, then bloomed, and little pumpkins began to grow.  They got bigger and eventually turned orange.  What a process!  I had to be patient.  But, more than that, it was amazing.

            Finally, it was time to harvest my crop.  The hope I planted was realized.  There was a pumpkin for me, some for my sisters, and some for other kids in the neighborhood.  The whole thing was wonderful!

            As Christians, we are God’s helpers.  We are part of His process to bring history to a fruitful climax!  The Apostle Paul wrote:

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.  He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.  For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building (1 Corinthians 3:6–9, ESV).

 

            The process can get hard and discouraging.  As the world seems to spin out of control we might be tempted, like the martyrs in Revelation, to cry out, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long…?” (see Revelation 6:10, ESV).  Nevertheless, we need to be patient like a farmer.  Our God will bring the harvest!

            So, during this Advent season, go ahead and prepare for Christmas.  But, remember the other part of Advent as well.  Let’s look forward to the day when our hope is realized and our faith becomes sight!  Let’s recommit to doing all we can to reveal Jesus and share His peace and presence in this broken world.  He will come.  There will be a harvest.  It will be wonderful!

 

Dean Claus

NDI Director, Longmont Nazarene Church