Chapel – Pastor Duane Henry

Thank you so much. It's been a beautiful service so far. And it's good to be with you guys today. And I trust that you're enjoying our abnormal winter. I've been well, I was born in Canada, and I can't remember a winter like this ever. So not that I should be complaining, I should be very happy. But it's quite an abnormal winter. So to faculty and to students, and to this wonderful worship band, thank you so much for having me. And I'm just going to share for a few minutes. In regards to the some of the seeds.

I'm under the impression that I've been told that you guys are doing a theme in regards to planting, cultivating and harvesting. So I thought that I would talk about seeds of thought I would talk about what it means to be the sum of our seeds and what that all means. So for me, part of that means that I came to Christ when I was 16 years old. And I came to Christ because God planted a seed in my mother's heart, and a seed in my sister's heart. And then when I was 23, I graduated from Bible college, I graduated from the competition, so forgive me or one of your competitors. Anyway, I graduated from Masters College, when I was 23 years old. That was quite a while ago. And then after that, I found myself working at various jobs before I got into full time ministry. In two weeks before I started full time ministry, I got married to my wife, Charlene who's sitting right there, in case you're wondering. And then I became a parent for the first time when I was 31 years old, and we gave birth to my wonderful daughter, Abigail. And then around five and a half years later, we gave birth to my wonderful son, Nathaniel. And I realized during this time, and as God was allowing me opportunity to minister that I would be making a living talking to people who are smarter than me. So it's fun to be here today with you. But I say that seriously, as a minister, as someone or whatever discipline you're going to be in, you will always be in the room with someone who is smarter than you. And that's okay. Because God has called us to be people who study His Word, to be people who are educated, we know what we're talking about, but also to be people who know him, and especially to be people who occupy the space that He alone has given us. And I want to remind you today that each and every one of you, you have been given a space that only you can occupy. And you need to occupy that space to the best of your ability. Just recently, I have to add this, I have the pleasure of supervising the best worship intern in all of Canada. He was here on the stage, I won't share who he was. So as I said to you, I'm talking about the some of the seeds today and and when we look at the some of the seeds of our lives, I want to look at three stages that I believe we all walk through in our lives. So you're going to notice on the screen there, the three words planting, cultivating and harvest are all there. And when I think of those three words, I also think of the terms underneath those words, when you're planting, that is the initial idea that you have, or the initial plan that you have, when you're cultivating, you're working or you're implementing to see the seed that you've planted, grow. And then when you're harvesting, that's the reward and that's the result. That's the wonderful thing.

How many of you are gardeners or have a green thumb? Okay, so the most of you are like me, I have no green thumb. My wife and I we are trial and error people. My mom has a green thumb and it's been my mom who has encouraged me to say Dwayne, when you have a plant, just try and put it over there and see what happens. Try and put it over here, remember to water and remember, do these things. So we for the most part, we start off with the plan because our plan is well we want to plant the seed and we want a great big garden that looks wonderful and beautiful. And the result obviously is the beautiful garden. But the implementation the cultivation is where the work takes place because you've got to care for that seed even though you can't see it. You know, when I think of my life, as I've said, there's been several seeds that have been dropped into my life, through my family, through my friendships, through my experiences, through my wins. And even through my losses, there's been seeds that have been deposited in every area of my life, and I believe in your life, the same has happened, seeds have been deposited all along the way. I want you to remember something about seeds, that seeds are essential to growth. The things that have been dropped into your life and the things that have been dropped into my life are essential to growth. And all seeds grow. Have you noticed that all seeds grow, even if they're bad. One of the wonderful things about being a homeowner is every summer, I get to go outside and spend several hours picking weeds. It's so much fun. It draws me closer to God in many ways. But I want you to understand that, that there are different seeds that God drops into our lives. And in particular, he drops people into our lives, who also serve as seeds. And some of them are good seeds. And some of them are bad seeds. And when these people when they come into our lives, as we are doing the work of planting, cultivating and harvesting, as God has placed things into our hearts for us to do. God allows these seeds into our lives. And it produces something quite interesting if you allow it to. If you have your Bibles, or if you've got a Bible on app, or if you want to just follow on the screen, you feel free to do whatever you'd like to do. But Matthew 13, I want you to consider this chapter. Now the majority of us are familiar with a parable of the sowers.

But I want to share with you in just a few minutes. So just for a few minutes, about the parable of the weeds. This is going to be up on the screen. And reading beginning at verse 24 to verse 29. Then I'm going to go to verses 36 to 43. Jesus gives this parable after he shared the parable of the sower. And if you'll remember the parable of the sower, it's very interesting, because Jesus says the sower goes out. And basically, he has 25% success rate. Because 25% of those seeds fall on good ground, the other 75% You can read or seeing how this is a seminary, you probably already know what happened to the other 75%. But after that Jesus comes to this story. And one of the sources I was reading, was saying that the reason why this scripture is included in the Word of God is to show us that as the kingdom is going forward, the Kingdom does not go forward without opposition. So the scripture says Jesus told them, another parable of the kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. And he went away when the wheat sprouted and formed, heads and and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner servants came to him and said, Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? When or where then? Did the weeds come from the response? An enemy did this? And the service asked him, Do you want us to go and pull them up? No, he answered, because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let them grow together until the harvest at that time, I will tell the harvesters first collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned. Then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn. So we're talking about good seed and bad weeds here. And thankfully, when I talked about the bad weeds, nobody looked around in the room and said I knew there was something wrong with you.

Now it's interesting that Jesus here when he uses this parable he uses he uses objects where the people would have a clearer understanding of what he was saying. Because when he talks about the the weeds being sown amongst the wheat He purposely uses this picture because his audience would have known that if you went down to pick up the weeds in that day, they would have been so wrapped up with the weed that you would have taken everything up, and it would have caused a disaster. going on in verse 36. The Bible tells us that when the crowd left, he spoke to His disciples, right? The disciples asked Him and they said, explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field. And this is Jesus answer. The one who sowed the good seed as a son of man, the field is the world and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one. And the enemy who sews them is the devil, the harvest at the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. So I'm just gonna stop there for a moment. Because understand this, let me just move this on a little bit here. Understand this at this time, I believe the disciples probably in their minds, they might have been thinking, wow, if the seeds of the good seed or the good people in the weeds are the evil people, then then God, Jesus, why would why would this sewing be allowed? I mean, when you're in a group of people, why should we let bad people through the door? When you're when you're in a group and you're trying to do something, why should you let someone who's a bad seed in? One of the commentators that I was reading, said that the reason why in this parable that Jesus used the seed and the wheat and the weeds and all of that stuff, because of the delay in the in the uprooting of the wheat, and that could be left to someone else, and not left to us left to the angels, and not left to us is because God in His mercy wants to give those who are far from him time to repent. And he didn't want such a cataclysm, where it's just like, Okay, let's let's rip these people out. Because it causes such a disruption. Scripture goes on to say this. As it says, On the screen, the Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom, everything that causes sin, and all who do evil, they will throw them into the burning or the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun into the kingdom of their Father, and Whoever has ears, let them hear.

Now, as I said earlier, we all have seeds in our life. We all have people who have come, and they've been good seeds to us. As I said to you, my mother and my sister have been good seeds. My wife is a good seed. I better say that because I'm married to her. But seriously, being married to my wife, I can say that God has worked through her in an incredible way to make me a better person. And I mean that sincerely. And the thing is, God places these people in our lives, as good seed, to help us but God also allows bad seed into our lives. And sometimes we'd say, God, why don't you just remove them? Well, I want to submit to you today that God doesn't remove the bad seeds. He doesn't remove the people that really get on your case, because he's trying to teach you and I something he's trying to help us to mature in our lives. Because the interesting thing is what I find when I'm with people who are what I would term as bad seeds, and how dare I judge anyone else because we know what the Bible says about judging. But when I look at people who I would judge or say, or my impression of them as Oh, they're just a bad Seed, they're just far from who God is. I see a reflection of myself, if I am honest. And that's why the prayer that we were letting earlier was so important because we always have to come to the Lord and say, Lord, have mercy upon me because I am a sinner. Yes, I've been made a saint, but I have sinful tendencies that I struggle with all the time. I have things within me that I deal with. And listen, I want to say to you, if you if you find being a good seed, or if you find serving God, a hard thing to do, that's normal. That's okay. If you find it a struggle to be faithful to God That's all right, because at least you're struggling and not surrendering. And that makes all of the difference. So I have these three reflections to leave with you. So again, consider what or in this case who the good seed is that God has given you, who has God planted in your life to help you. Maybe it's a fellow student, maybe it's your parents, maybe it's an uncle, maybe it's a pastor, maybe it's a teacher from your high school that you still keep in contact with, maybe it's someone who you're going to marry, but whoever it is, thank God for them. And thank God, especially that he's giving us or he's given us, His Son, Jesus, He's given us His Holy Spirit. And he's giving us his church, the people that we worship with, all of these people are in our lives to help us. But the next question, obviously, is who are the bad seeds that are testing you, I worked with a lady who was a really bad seed, I worked with her. And I mean, she tested me on a lot of levels, on a lot of levels. But what she also forced me to do was to confront the reality in my life of having to forgive someone when they've been unkind to me. And a lot of times, these things are easy to talk about. But it's another thing to do it, what this bad seed did in my life, is they allowed me the opportunity to truly express my Christianity, and to walk it out. So think about the people that you think are bad seeds in your life. And just consider that God has placed them in your life on purpose, to test you and to refine you.

One thing I haven't talked about, but this is the third reflection, as I close is this Are your eyes, as we talked about seeds, as we talked about planting, cultivating, and harvest or your eyes on the harvest? Now there's a harvest that we all have. The harvest for the majority of us here is that we want to graduate from this wonderful institution. And somewhere down the line, you want to get into your career, and you see great big things that God wants to do in your life. And that's awesome. But I want to remind you, whatever career whatever calling you have, biblically, the harvest is and always will be to seek and save the last to have God work through us to do that. And wherever God leads us, that has to be the bottom line, so So whatever I want to do in my life, and whatever you want to do in your life today, it always has to be at the end, there are people who are lost. There are people who we deem bad seeds, but there are people who God loves nevertheless, and he says, Keep your eyes on me, but keep your eyes on them. Because it's for them that I sent my son. And as we accepted, and as we have received, he wants them to receive as well. I want to close in prayer. And thank you so much for listening so intently. But I trust that it's been an encouragement in some way, shape or form. Let's pray.

Father, I thank You today God, Lord, Your Word tells us that our Christianity is not simply because one day we decided to say yes, but your Holy Spirit was and continues to work in our lives. And Lord, when I think about planting, and cultivating and harvesting, I think about the dreams that you have planted in all of our hearts, as faculty, as students, as siblings as brothers and sisters, God, all of these things that you put into our hearts. And God, we know that you've also given us a picture of what the harvest will look like, when these things come to fruition. But Lord, it's the cultivating it's the it's the it's the it's the implementation and the work that's required to see those seeds come and break through. That's where we really need you. And we need you for most Lord because it's during those times where we have people in our lives that just test us but God today we are so cognizant of how many times even as your children we test you and that how merciful you are of us. So God as you have us in our individual garden, so to speak and you Lord, will you help us? Well, you help us to be people today that grant grace to others who need to find you that grant grace to those who call on your name. And sometimes we even rub each other the wrong way. But when you grant us, Lord God, that empowerment, to release one another, to encourage one another, to forgive one another. And Lord, through that, to see your will done, to see your spirit work, and to see many drawn to you. Father, it's our prayer. And it's our plea today. I pray your blessing on this faculty and on the student body. God as you have called them to yourself for at such a time as today, in such a time is this Lord, may You send them forward to bless this world that so badly needs until your kingdom come. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

Chapel – Pastor Duane Henry
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