Isaiah 12:5, “Because of your wonderful deeds we will sing your praises everywhere on earth.” (CEV)
We continued for another 10 yards through a rather rough and rugged area…piles of gravel on one side, mounds of dirt and ditches on the other, ducking here and there to avoid ropes that were holding the tarps to giant eight foot high bamboo poles. The church was already gathered and singing praises together.
Psalm 66:4, “Everyone on earth worships you; they sing praises to you, they sing praises to your name.” (GNT)
The church had no walls, an uneven dirt floor, and a weather torn tarp that allowed sunlight to illuminate the smiling faces of those singing praises. We were met by a row of greeters who were very gracious and warm, hands were shaken and more smiles were exchanged.
The coco palm benches were full, so we were seated along side a half built cinderblock wall; their future church in the making. A young woman in her early twenties led worship, as we sang along to the words written on the back of recycled posters. A beloved chipped guitar strummed the music that filed the air as we joined together to sing.
Psalm 33:3, “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” (NIV)
Testimonies of the love and care that God had shown this little church were given.
“Is anyone among you in trouble?
Let them pray.
Is anyone happy?
Let them sing songs of praise.” (NIV)
The children came and sang more songs of gratitude for God sending us to help.
What an amazing way to spend a Sunday in joyful song with this tiny church with out walls.
John 4:24, “God is Spirit, and only by the power of his Spirit can people worship him as he really is.” (GNT
a story these rice farmers could relate to. Jack had us all go out to the road by the rice fields
as the parable came to life in the eyes of those there.
The Parable of the Sower
Luke 8:4-8, “A large crowd came together. People came to Jesus from every town, and he told them this story:
“A farmer went out to sow seed. While he was scattering the seed, some of it fell beside the road. People walked on the seed, and the birds ate it all. Other seed fell on rock. It began to grow but then died because it had no water. Some other seed fell among thorny weeds. This seed grew, but later the weeds stopped the plants from growing. The rest of the seed fell on good ground. This seed grew and made 100 times more grain.” (ERV)
You see these rice and coconut farmers knew…they understood the parable because of experience...they have worked the different type of soils.
Jesus Explains the Story About Seed
Luke 8:11-15, “This story is about some of those people. The seed is the Word of God. The seeds on the road are those who hear the Word, but no sooner do they hear it than the Devil snatches it from them so they won’t believe and be saved.
“The seeds in the gravel are those who hear with enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm doesn’t go very deep. It’s only another fad, and the moment there’s trouble it’s gone.
“And the seed that fell in the weeds—well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun.
“But the seed in the good earth—these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there’s a harvest.” (MSG)
This community of believers have the good-hearts that believe
God is who he says he is and
will do what he says he will…
He will care for you…
He loves you…
He believes in you…why else would he have given us Jesus?
Won’t you believe in him?
Then with thankful hearts, back we went into the church and the offerings were taken.
One was for the building project...one coin at a time for one brick at a time. They had the faith that God would finish their house of worship with a confidence that ran deep. The new walls and roof would come with sacrifice, time, labor and effort…who else but this community of believers who knew God provided what it would take to build out of the rumble.
1 Chronicles 16:29,”He is wonderful! Praise him and bring an offering into his temple.
Worship the Lord, majestic and holy.” (CEV)
And then another offering was taken, on the outside this hand craved wooden offering box was rather old and worn, but on the inside it was hopeful and full of promise as the offering tinkled into the box. A young adult…her dream of attending college one day and to become a math teacher was being provided.
Angels listen as I sing my thanks. I kneel in worship facing your holy temple and say it again:
“Thank you!” Thank you for your love,
Thank you for your faithfulness;
Most holy is your name,
Most holy is your Word.
The moment I called out, you stepped in;
You made my life large with strength.” (MSG)
Is your life large with the strength of the Lord?
If not, why not bring the song back?
Take a quite moment and just ask…it doesn’t hurt to just ask.
Give God the question…
“God are you there? And do you really love me and care?
Please help me to trust and believe!”
I promise you will never regret it