Judd Drake

March 14, 2010

      “LUKE 8:4-15 and JAMES 1:19-25"

We are in the final week of this series, “How to hear God Speak”

Cultivate an open mind (hard path represents a closed mind) and allocate time to listen (shallow soil represents superficial mind; hear word of God and get excited but it doesn’t last because the word of God doesn’t take root).   Farmer-God; Seed- God’s Word; and Soil- our Minds

The final step in learning to hear God speak is …


A lot of times we miss hearing God because our minds are crowded with other thoughts.  Our minds are filled with concerns of daily living, worries, plans, goals, ambitions, bills, all these different kinds of things.  When our mind is full and always thinking and never give God a chance in silence to talk to us, He can't get through. 

Many of you did what I did this last Mother's Day.  You pick up the phone and dial your mom to say "Happy Mother's Day" and as you were doing it you get the same little message, "Sorry, but all the circuits are busy."  Everybody else in America was calling their mother. 

Many times God has wanted to talk to you and He's got a busy signal.  Many times God has wanted to talk to you in your life but the line was off the hook and you don't want to do Call Waiting with God.  You've got to make time.  When you're too busy -- and there are many things that are good but they can distract you -- you're too busy to listen to God.

v. 7 He says, "Other seen fell among the thorns [weeds] which grew up with it and choked the plants. v. 14  This seed that fell among the thorns stands or represents those who hear the word but as they go on their way they're choked by life's worries, riches, and pleasures." 

The soil with weeds, this third kind of soil that the farmer is throwing seed on, it represents a preoccupied mind.  We're distracted.  The seed sprouts and grows but it's choked by the weeds before it can bear fruit. 

Why is it that so many people live unproductive lives?  I talk to people in their 30's, 40's, 50's and even 60's who say, "I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing with my life."  That tells me one thing:  You're not spending much time with God.  God had no intention for you blowing and wasting your life.  If you'd spend as much time with God talking about your life as you do worrying about it, you'd have a whole lot less to worry about. 

God is not playing games with you.  He has a plan and purpose for every life.  But you're not going to get it watching soap operas or listening to the radio.  You've got to get time with God.  We get distracted and we allow everything and anything to push God out of our lives.  I used to have a sign in my office that said, "Beware of the barrenness of a busy life."  Don't ever confuse activity with productivity.  There are a lot of you who are on the go all the time.  But you're going in circles is what you're doing.  There's no focus to your life.  There's no rhyme or reason or general purpose.  You haven't discovered why God put you here.  Why?  Because you're not talking to Him and you're not letting him talk to you.  You've got to eliminate the distractions.

Jesus says that distractions are kind of like weeds.  He gives us three examples. 

First, worries can distract you from hearing God speak.  You can't pray and worry at the same time.  Worries are the problems and the pressures of daily life.  The Greek word is the word that means to be pulled in different directions.  Have you ever felt that?  Pulled in different directions.  That's the Bible definition of worry.  When you're worrying you can't hear what God wants to say to you.  You're preoccupied, distracted. 

Second, riches can be a weed in your life.  We can be so busy making money we don't have time for God.  So busy making a living, we don't really live.  We don't really enjoy life.  We just get up in the morning and go to work.  We work hard to pay the bills and catch up and get even and keep up with the Jones' and we flop into bed at night, get up the next morning and do the same thing. God gets crowded out.  God gets the leftovers in your life.  In the desire to make money you can forget God. 

Third, another weed can be pleasures.  There's nothing wrong with pleasures.  Who do you think gave you the ability to enjoy pleasure?  God did.  God thought up the fun in the world.  God gave you the senses and the abilities and the tactile senses you have in order to enjoy pleasure.  God wants you to enjoy pleasure.  But He's saying you can be so busy having fun that you forget God.  When recreation replaces worship -- "It's summertime!  I don't think I'll go to church this week end.. . . I'll cut that Bible study....  We're on vacation so I won't have a quiet time."  Who are you having a vacation from?  God?  You can be so busy having fun (and God wants you to have fun) but when it becomes number one in your life, guess who's getting crowded out? 

There are a lot of different kinds of weeds.  You can make your own list of the things that tend to crowd out God.  It could be a relationship, a responsibility, anything.  A weed is anything that distracts me from making time to be with God.  To set down, be quiet and pray and say, "God, is there anything You want to say to me today?"  Some days He will and some days He won't.  But you've got to have the line ready, so He can talk to you. 

A very theological question:  How much effort does it take to grow weeds?  No effort at all.  My backyard where I'm growing stuff, I'm starting a weed farm and seeing how many known weeds I can grow.  The difference between a plant and a weed -- a flower is something you cultivate, you fertilize, you trim, you water it and it doesn't grow.  A weed you do nothing to and it explodes. That's the difference.  You don't have to water weeds.  They grow!  Weeds are a sign of neglect.  When I start neglecting time with God on a daily basis, when I start neglecting a small group, when I start neglecting getting together with other Christians in worship, going to a Bible study -- any of those things -- the weeds are going to grow up in my life and the Bible said they're going to choke the spiritual life out of me. 

I'm going to lose my joy, my peace, my purpose, my sense of calmness, my ability to handle stress, etc.  The weeds will choke the life out of you. And they all come just by neglecting spending time with God. 


God talks to people who decide in advance that they are going to do whatever He tells them to do when He tells them.  Most of us want God to talk to us and then we'll decide if we're going to do it or not and God says, "No, no.  We don't play that game."  God talks to people who are going to do what He tells them to do once He tells them. 

I know of a church who had a choir special "Yes, Lord, Yes!" That was basically the whole song.  When they finished it, the choir director turned around and said, "OK, God, You've already heard our attitude.  Now tell us what to do." 

That's what God wants you to do.  If you want God to speak to you, you need to say, "OK God, I'm going to do what You tell me to do whether I understand it or not, whether it makes sense or not, whether I'd think I'd like to do it or not, because I know it's the right thing and I know You know what would make me happy more than I do."  It's a matter of trust. 

The fourth soil represents a willing heart.  Willing to do whatever God tells you to do, before He even tells you.  v. 15 "The seed on the good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart who hear the word of God and retain it and by persevering produce a good crop."  Circle "retain".  They not only hear God's word but they retain it.  They write it down, they listen to it, they think about it and go over it.  The result is a productive life. 

Would you like to make your life count?  Would like to have a productive, fulfilling, satisfying life?  Then do what James 1:22 tells us, "Don't merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourself.  You kid yourself if you think you're growing just by going to church.  Do what it says."

“Rethink Church”— Begin introducing “Helping Hands”

If I was able to hook up a machine to your brain right now and show the contents on one of these visual screens, some of you would be embarrassed.  Some might have a blank screen.  What kind of spiritual brain scan would show up?  Would you have a closed mind?  Would you have a superficial mind that gets excited about the service and then walk out and forget it all?  Would you have a distracted mind that wants to do the right thing but you're just too busy right now?  Or would you have a willing mind?

People we need “Willing Minds”--- 

Last week, I ended with this question:  What are you going to do as a result of today's message?  The Bible says "be doers of the word, not hearers only."  Do something.  The moment you walk out the door, there's a little bird that's going to try to steal the seed of what we talked about today -- the devil. 

If you want to make this count, otherwise this morning was a waste, I want to give you a homework project.  Do one thing as a result of today's message.  It may be join a Bible study, start memorizing a Bible verse a week, start having a quiet time every day -- 5, 10, 15 minutes.  Do something!  Don't waste it.


Irwinton Toomsboro Salem United Methodist Charge
104 Brookwood Dr. . PO. Box 364 Irwinton, GA 30142
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