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Today Katie Harding gave us a Mother's Day message from I Thessalonians 2.

She showed us some letters her mother gave her that she has always treasured.  Paul wrote this letter to people he loved.

We looked at the What, Why & How of Sowing.

Sowing can mean scattering seed.  It can also be used to mean strengthening or giving of myself to others.

What do we sow?

We want to sow Jesus, not just one aspect of Jesus.

The gospel, the good news, in one word, is Jesus.  (I Thess. 2:8)

Do our actions show that Jesus lives in us?  The indwelling presence of Jesus allows us to sow Jesus in other people's lives.  Paul sowed Jesus, and then his own life.

Remember to also offer Jesus to your children and coworkers and neighbors.  Circumstances change, but always sow Jesus.

Why do we sow?

"... because we loved you so much."  "...for your sake."

Jesus offers abundant life.  Paul didn't preach for money, but to benefit his listeners.

How do we sow?

verse 7 - "Instead" - they weren't looking for praise or exercising authority.  They were like young children - humble, gentle, and kind.  That's how Jesus is.

"Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you."

1)  Take time.

Nursing mothers are at the baby's mercy and give the nourishment they need.  Lean in to people's lives.  Wherever God has placed you, you're the presence of Christ in that place.

2)  Listen for the need.

Babies let the nursing mother know what they need!  We serve the need they have instead of giving what we think they need.

Listen to what they say they need.

3)  Fill up to empty.

We fill up when our baby is hungry and empty out.

So empty into others' lives.

But the key is in filling up again.  Fill up by focusing on Jesus.  Empty so you can fill up again.

Does it make a difference?  Yes.

Posted by Sondy Eklund with

The Art of Neighboring

Today, Pastor Ed Allen began a new sermon series on "The Art of Neighboring."  We began by reading the passages Luke 9:23-25 and Philemon 6.

If we're going to grow, there are 4 key relationships:

1)  We must be healthily engaged to ourselves - but the emphasis on this relationship must decrease.

We spend an enormous amount of time on this one, but Jesus instructs us plainly:  Our relationship with ourselves must decrease in importance.  (Luke 9:23-25)

2)  We must be healthily and dynamically engaged in a relationship with God.

Matthew 22:37.  It's not easy, but vitally important.  We gather because we need all the encouragement we can get.  There also needs to be individual time for reading the Bible and prayer.

3)  We must be healthily and dynamically engaged in a relationship with outhers who have a relationship with God.

This is vitally important, and is not a casual thing for us.  The New Testament is full of the phrase "one another."  You can't "love one another" when you're alone.

This won't fall into our laps - we need to work at it.  Things in our culture work against community.

4)  We must be healthily and dynamically engaged with those who do not have a relationship with God.

Matthew 22:37-40.  Growing OUT toward the world in service and evangelism.

Jesus is saying, "Just tell them about me.  If they know me, tell them more.  If they don't know me, introduce them."

We don't separate those relationships from a sense of superiority or to exclude them.

Philemon 6 -- "And I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ."

We can't fully know all we have in Christ without sharing.

Our Assignment:  Begin praying for your neighbors!

Pastor Ed told the story of one of the men in our church who now leads a wide ministry - and his relationship with God began when Ed's wife prayed for him for years.

Two concerns:  

"I think religion is a private thing.  I don't want to share mine."

"I don't know enough."

Neither of those objections is true.  Be authentic and talk about your life.

But we'll begin by praying for our neighbors!

Look at for a devotional guide this week.

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