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Who is in your garden?



“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirt has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria,

and to the end of the earth.”

‭‭Acts 1:8 ESV

 


Do you look for people to influence in your life? 

I remember being challenged in my own MD5 cohort that disciples of Jesus make disciples.  Your cohort may have watched the dated video where the man sat in his fishing boat in the parking lot and talked about fishing. He was dressed to fish but never actually got in the water to fish. How many of us “talk” about Christianity to fellow believers but never make disciples? We practice free throws but never take any shots in the game.  

 

A Challenging Read

In 2020 and 2021, I asked my cohorts to read Greg Koukl’s “Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions” (10th Anniversary Edition) during the Faith segment of MD5. In this book, Koukl uses a garden analogy to communicate his point.  He challenges believers to look for opportunities to “till the soil, plant a seed, water the soil, and pull weeds.” 

 

In his book, he teaches you to look for opportunities to pose faith-based questions to “leave a pebble” in someone’s shoe to make them think more critically about what they believe and why they believe it. You may not be gifted at evangelism, but you can ask faith-based questions of those in your network. Koukl argues that if every believer at least “gardened,” the harvest would be plentiful.  

 

Who Is In Your Garden? 

I challenge you to look for others to lead to faith in Christ and for other believers you can influence to grow in their faith. You can plant a "seed" or water “the soil” with non-believers and pray for them daily. For those believers you can influence, invite them into your life by inviting them to breakfast, a hobby, watch a live game, run, hunt, etc. I constantly look for men in my garden. 

 

A Personal Experience

A couple of years ago, I met a man my age at the gym. I struck up conversations with him to see if he was a believer, which he was. Fast-forward two years, we now go to the same church, and he goes through MD5 each Thursday. I am grateful to call him a friend and love hearing how MD5 impacts his spiritual life, marriage, and parenting each week. His passion and growth as a follower of Jesus sharpens me!  We would not be friends today nor would I have recommended MD5 had I not intentionally talked with him and built a relationship with him. 

 

Another MD5 brother and I recently had breakfast with a small group guy from church who is a new believer. We both want to see him grow in his faith; this guy is hungry. He is in both of our gardens. If you pray for God to bring men into your garden, He will answer that prayer if you faithfully follow him as a disciple. 

 

Be Intentional

You must also intentionally be looking for others in your garden. They can be your children or grandchildren (the first place you make disciples), neighbors, coworkers, parents of kids on your child’s team, men at the gym, family members, friends of your children, random people you meet, etc. Be intentional in looking! 

 

I once got connected with a guy, who later participated in MD5, who shared the gospel with me in my backyard when he came to appraise our house for property taxes. This man was intentional in sharing his faith and took the Great Commission seriously!


Final Thought

My pastor, who happens to be facilitating our MD5 group at church, recently preached on the Great Commission and the importance of making disciples. He explained the cultural context of how the Jews and Samaritans hated each other in Jesus’ time and why. The cultural conflict of Jesus’ time was not pretty. Basically, when Jesus calls us to go forth and make disciples in Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, He is telling us to make disciples even among those we may hate, dislike, or find annoying. 

 

Who in your network do you dislike due to their personality, annoying traits, different political parties, different sports teams, different faiths, different cultures and ethnicities, and poor life decisions? 

 

In I Corinthians 6: 9-11, the Apostle Paul lists unrighteous groups such as idolaters, adulterers, sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, drunkards, revilers, swindlers, etc.  He then tells the Corinthians,

 

“And such were some of you, But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 

 

Romans 3:22b-23 states:

 

“...For there is no distinction:  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

 

No one is without sin and need of salvation, including us.  Jesus rebuked the Pharisees more than any other group. This hits between the eyes of all of us. Christ paid the ultimate penalty for your sins just like he did for the “Samaritans” in your life. 

 

Pray for God to bring people into your Garden and see what happens! 


John Gore

MD5 Facilitator

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