By Pastor Nathan Richardson  Heartland Community Church, La Porte City

Ways to grow – Part 2

When I was growing up I had a go to person to ask for advice or to request prayer. His name was Dave. He was my youth pastor. I look back at him and say he was also a mentor. Throughout life we will have mentors whether it in an official capacity or not. I believe we all need someone to mentor us. It helps as an act of encouragement or one who challenges us to take the next step. This person can pray for and stand up for you. I once read a mentor is “one who walks with the student part of the way, then stops and points out the rest of the journey.” I like the simplicity of this defining quality. The mentor shows us the way but is only there when we invite him back on the path.

In Luke 8, Jesus shares a Parable about different types of soil, and how the soil reacts to the seed being planted. The first is a beaten down path so the seed is eaten by birds before it takes root. The seed is the Word of God and the path is an example of someone who hears the gospel but it goes in one ear and out the other and never really rests in the heart of the individual.

The second is planted amongst the rocky soil. The seed grows but eventually withers because of the lack of moisture. The seed was never able to take root. This shows an example who believed the gospel but eventually fall away. Maybe the person did not take faith as their own and lived it through the experiences of others, or during a time of testing the fall away because their faith had never taken root.

The third seeds are planted among the thorns. The plants grew up but were choked by the thorns. They may have accepted the gospel but life’s worries or distractions of the world destroyed their faith.

The last seeds were planted in a good soil and yielded a crop 100x more than was sown. This is an example of someone who has read and trusted the gospel of Jesus, they live and embody the life of a disciple. Even when they face struggle they persevere by allowing God’s strength to cover their weaknesses.

Do you ever wonder why faith sticks with some and not others? I have seen many friends walk away from faith. Why them and not me? I believe the answer lies in who and what we surround ourselves with. It is in what we spend our time doing by reading and watching therefore impacting us on a deeper level. Jesus set an example of community which allows us to see how it could be done.

Jesus spent the majority of his time during his ministry with twelve people. He gave them a call to Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. For the next three years they were together a lot. When Jesus taught, they were there. When Jesus healed, they were by his side. When Jesus walked on water, calmed the storm, fed the 5000 and predicted his death, they were witnessing the miracles.

The disciples had a group to grow with. We all need a group. Having a group of Christians helps us to live life together. A group encourages and challenges one another to take the next steps of faith. If you look in the sky later you are bound to eventually see geese flying south. They will be in a flying v formation. The v helps the geese save a lot of energy similar to a race car saving gas by driving behind another car. The geese are able to fly longer distances at one time; I have read up to 70% more. The v also helps them keep visual contact with one another. This keeps them from wandering off and becoming lost. Just like the geese we are stronger and better together. We all need a group.

We also need a few to be accountable to. Sometimes it is hard to open up to a larger group, but it is easier to be real with 1-3 others. Jesus set this example with three of the disciple; Peter, James, and John. He was vulnerable with them during the transfiguration revealing to them more who he was and the voice of the Father declared in Matthew 17:5, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

When Jesus eventually left the disciples so he could send his Holy Spirit, he gave them the words to “Go and make disciples.” This commission is for us just as much it was for the eleven disciples. We were meant to pass on our faith through encouragement and equipping others for ministry. We all need one to mentor. So as we close today ask yourself these three questions.

Who is your group?
Who are your few?
Who is your one?

Now is the time.