Miles opened with a story about landscaping the yard of his house. He said when they bought the house the outside space was only dirt.
Miles wanted to transform the yard into a place with stone and grass and plants. To do this he needed to use special tools like a pick, jackhammer, and a motorized backhoe for digging trenches. Without these tools the dirt yard could not become a place where it could transform and grow.
This is true for us too, in our own transformation. We need tools to cultivate a heart that is going to bear fruit.
The Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-20 explains four conditions of the heart. Teaching from this parable, Miles shows us four transforming tools we will need to utilize for personal growth and to maximize the spiritual fruit in our lives.
Pray for a desire to bear the spiritual fruit in your life.
God wants and expects us to bear fruit. God wants our lives to affect other lives. He doesn't want us to cruise through life, keeping comfortable. That is sin. Miles explains that the mission of our church is to release the gifts and firepower in each of us. We must be driven to reach people. We have hope to give to others.
2. The Eternal Truth of God's Word
Use God's Word to expose Satan's lies and provide a rock foundation of truth in your life.
In Mark 4:14-15, the seeds are sown by the wayside. The seed being the Word of God is planted in your heart, but then the devil snatches it away.
How does the devil snatch it away when it is already in your heart? He nullifies it with a lie. He tells you a form of the lie that living by faith will never work. Don't buy into his lies. Remember that it is "impossible to please God without faith."
Pray everyday. God wants to tell you GREAT and MIGHTY things that you do not know. Are there problem areas in your life that could use the benefit of God telling you something that you do not know? God says, "I have given you everything. You have a problem? I have an answer."
3. The Promises of God in Your Life
Trust in God's promises as you face criticism from the world.
In Mark 4:16-17 the seeds are sown on stony ground, and they have no root. If you plant a seed and the roots hit rock, it cannot grow. If the Word hits your heart and it is hard, you will not grow. You will not have a foundation to draw from. This will cause you to rely on yourself, rather than drawing from the strength that comes from the Word being planted solidly in your heart.
Pray to God to remove any hardness in your heart. Always remember your history with God. When problems arise, you can stand strong in the knowledge of His past faithfulness to you. When David went up against Goliath, he had the memory and history with God of killing the lion and the bear. David didn't waiver in His trust in God when he faced Goliath.
4. Freedom in Christ
Exercise your freedom to walk away from the "cares of the world" that can choke you to death.
In Mark 4:18-19 the seeds are sown among the thorns. The cares of the world, the enticements of the world are always going to be around us, tempting us. They aren't going to go away. But the Bible tell us that we can walk away. Have the determination and the perseverance to let go of the cares of the world.
Materially, you can never be satisfied. There will always be something more that you want, something more that you don't have. The truth is that God has already given you EVERYTHING. Let God bless you with what He wants you to have, rather than chasing after what you don't have.
Do you have problems? Then you probably aren't following God's plan. Use the right tools. Miles challenges us to pray to use the tools. To ask God to use us and to cultivate us. And pray that we will not remain comfortable, but will bear much fruit for Him.