Planting Seeds of Hope

August 6, 2017
Stetson Memorial UMC
Sermon Series: This Living Hope
(Adapted from Marcia McPhee’s
A Future With Hope”)
“Planting Seeds of Hope”
Psalm 145:7-8; 14-21
Jerimiah 17:7-8 NLT
Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV
Mark 4:1-8 HCSB
Colossians 2:6-8 NLT

Planting Seeds of Hope…

The Lord be with you…let us pray… (prayer for the Spirit’s indwelling as bring God’s words of hope this morning…)

Please stand for the reading of the Gospel according to St. Mark, chapter 4, verses 1-8. Listen to the love sonnet of God for the people of God…(This may sound a little familiar…Ray read it from the Gospel of Matthew last week…must be pretty important since it is in more than 1 of the Gospels)

She sat in the back of the church, trying to go unnoticed. She wasn’t sure why she was there. All she knew was that there was something missing. She had been through a lot in life and now she just felt dull and numb. Why was she even here? What was it she was looking for?

As the choir began to sing she listened for a message, something that would stop the hurt and loneliness inside. As the choir began the chorus something began to stir within her…
“No matter the bumps,
No matter the bruises
No matter the pain
Still the truth is the cross has made
The cross has made you flawless”
Could this be what she was looking for? Could there be a message there that she never realized how much really needed? It was almost as if something or someone was plowing the soil of her heart for something…but what?
Again, the choir began to sing the chorus but this time she really listened…
“No matter the bumps,
No matter the bruises
No matter the pain
Still the truth is the cross has made
The cross has made you flawless”
All of the sudden there seemed to be flicker of something she hadn’t felt for a long time…hope…

Good morning. Over the past weeks we have looked at hope. We have decided that we are going to “let our guard down” and allow hope in. We have also decided that Hope doesn’t happen overnight and it is a process. Now, I have proposed that we look at the process of a growing of hope. As we look at each step in the process we will be encouraged. Think about it for a moment. We have been praying and praying for someone and we don’t see the hope there. We may have “given up hope” that it would ever happen. What if…and I am going out on a ledge here, what if as we are looking at the process we suddenly realize that the person we have been praying for is somewhere “in the process” and we never realized it? What would you do with your own renewed hope?

So the process of Hope, last week, Ray talked about the germination of hope. How Hope is like a seed it begins to germinate and grow. It begins to sprout and take root. What do you think should be the next part of the process? Give time to answer. It needs to be planted.

The girls and I decided that we wanted to plant sunflower seeds this year. So, we went out and got some of those giant sunflower seeds. We also got one of those little green houses where you plant the seeds and after they are grown so much…after they have germinated and started to grow…we had to plant them in the ground outside. Well ll went well until it came planting time. I had put them out on the porch and they never got planted in the ground. They ended up dying because the roots couldn’t go anywhere (kind of like the seeds in the rocky ground). They needed to be planted in the ground so that the roots could go down deep into the soil.

Why do you think it is so important that hope…faith…is planted? Give time to answer. If it is not planted it is a lot like those poor sunflowers. There is no grounding…no growth. It is shallow and when trials of life some scorching in it is dried up and withers…

Jeremiah 17:7-8 tells us about when hope is grounded and planted in good soil…
Jeremiah 17:7-8New Living Translation (NLT)
7 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.

It withstands the pressures of life because it has rooted itself in good soil by the River bank where it receives water…Living Water. When this hope…our hope is grounded in the good soil of God’s Word and in our Hearts, we are filled with Joy, Love and Faith. It is in the tilling of the soil…the preparation before planting that the seeds of love and hope begin to grow and sprout new hope within us and within those who Go calls us to plant within.

What do you think happens when we plant Hope? What happens when we are rooted and grounded in God’s word? Give time to answer. Paul prays a wonderful prayer in Ephesians about growth in the Lord…what happens when we are planted…rooted and grounded in Christ…

Ephesians 3:16-19New International Version (NIV)
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
We are filled to the full measure of God. We get it. We become more like Christ. Our hope is founded and grounded within Him.

Beloved Child of God, we call ourselves “A Hope Giving Church”, and as such, we can’t give up and lose hope on the very ones that are needing us to give them hope…to help them cultivate the hope inside. We are not here for our own glory but for God’s glory. Think about it…if no one ever shared their hope with you, would you be who and where you are now with your walk with God? If those seeds that were germinating were never planted in good soil what do you think your walk with God be like? If someone never planted hope with your life where would the dance of life lead you?

Colossians 2:6-8New Living Translation (NLT)
Freedom from Rules and New Life in Christ
6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers[a] of this world, rather than from Christ.
Let us pray…pray for the Spirit of Hope to be evident in our lives as we go forth in Jesus’ name.
Amen!

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