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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Seed of an Organic Kingdom Movement

The organic nature of any movement is found within the seed of life. Every seed contains the life of the tree within, remaining dormant and waiting to be released. You cannot substitute that seed for anything else and expect real results. A lemon seed will never produce an apple tree. The genetic code within can only produce the results it has been designed by God to grow into. We reproduce after our own kind and can do no other. We must plant the true seed, not a seed substitute.

Peter tells us that the seed within is not capable of dying and will result in a transformed life when planted in soil prepared for it:

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. (1 Peter 1:22-23)

All living things are created to procreate. The church is a living thing that is also to reproduce after its own kind. But we must recognize that the life is found in the seed, not in a program, a curriculum, a charming personality or dynamic resources. There is no substitute for the word of truth in a heart purified by confession of sin and ready to act in simple obedience.

Inorganic things can produce but not reproduce. As Christian Schwartz once said: "A coffee maker can make coffee (praise the Lord) but cannot produce new coffee makers." Those who follow Jesus are the fruit of God's Kingdom, as such we carry within the seed of life for the next generation. To not reproduce is to deny our very internal nature and is counter to God's design.

The growth occurs when the seed meets soil that is pure and cleansed and ready to obey. The growth can only come from within and not be produced from the outside in by any sort of teaching, programming or coercing. The growth occurs "all by itself" (Mark 4:28). You cannot make someone or something living grow. Paul said he planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but only God causes the growth. (1 Cor. 3:6-8)

As my mentor George Patterson once pointed out:

Every time we eat, we eat the fruit of God's tremendous reproduction power given to plants and animals. Look around out of doors; it's everywhere—grass, trees, birds, bees, babies and flowers. All creation is shouting it! This is the way God works!... We ourselves don't make the church grow or reproduce, any more than pulling on a stalk of corn would make it grow.

9 comments:

marion said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Lucy

http://businesseshome.net

jeff said...

Hey Cole. Really agreed with you. But even more organically (and Biblically) you should explore the "Pastor" terminology that you uses. That is, you have the same fundamental mindset of nearly all Christians that the focus of the discussion is "The Pastor" (an unbiblical term). You should explore the leadership model that is employed by virtually EVERY church in the New Testament- a multiplicity of elders. The issue of paying someone or not, which even Paul raised ("you shall not muzzle the ox who treads the grain") didn't necessarily apply simply to pastors (shepherds is the better translation), but perhaps to a teaching elder (or non-elder teacher, for that matter) or perhaps someone who served as an administrator (one of the gifts mentioned by Paul in 2 Cor 14). Who knows? Modern Western Church models automatically assume it is/was the pastor at the focus of a "paid or not" discussion, because we have elevated that church role to a height that the New Testament church never did.

oikos said...

I need your help in organic church. I read your book "organic church".

David said...

What a wonderful blog post! =)
Many blessings to you Neil!

Jose Nunez said...

I read your book "organic church" I need to talk with you seriously.

my mail is josedomingonunez@arnet.com.ar

anewcreation said...

Hi Neil,

Thank you yet again for an insightful post.

I agree that we cannot make the church grow, for only the Holy Spirit can do that, but we are called indeed to water the seeds planted, to edify and encourage, to nurture and rebuke when needed, to love and to forgive, to accompany into maturity, and above all to model what we preach in everything we do and say.

I believe church attendance may be in decline, at least here in the UK, because church leadership has become obsessed about making converts and not disciples. We obssess about numbers and church sizes, but we abandon those in our care to the lions when half way through the process of sanctification, we go off to collect more twigs(to use the terminology of Zac Poonen in his sermon "Making whole-hearted disciples")instead of investing in enhancing and re-fueling the existing bushes on fire, so that these can in turn go and reach more of the lost.

I believe less and less people are drawn towards Christianity in Western society, because too many Christians run before they can walk, too many people aspire to great things before they have been pruned in the fire of affliction, and when the world outside looks at us, they see a farce, a hollow body of people, a bubble that when you prick it, it bursts out and within it there is nothing worth looking at. There is no consistency between what we claim to be in Christ and the lives we lead. The world mocks and laughs at the church because its members do not stand out as the light of the world, but as part of the same darkness they are buried in. Isaiah 58, 1-7

Somebody's blog I was reading the other day put it very simply as: when the movement becomes the monument. We have busied ourselves in the wrong thing.

If you wish to hear more of Zack Poonen's sermon which I feel is very timely and very much needed at this time in the life of the church, please go to this link: http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/singlefile.php?lid=19181&commentView=itemComments

Thank you for letting me leave such lengthy comment in your blog.

Blessings to you.

832 Ministries, Inc. said...

Didn't get a chance to shake your hand...but, thanks for the talk today at ccc. Loved the q and a. Keep planting my brother.

Jed

Travis Miller said...

The harvest is such a glorious thing! What a amazing thing for us to have our hand in. The important thing though is who is directing our hand. We have our part in the harvest, that much is sure. But we must make sure that the Lord is direction our actions according to his will...not ours.

Always enjoy reading anything that you have to say. Just started my blog. You may get some interest out of it. Your teaching has had a lot of influence on my evangelical mission. check it out and subscribe if you like: http://www.thegraceletters.blogspot.com

travmiller said...

The harvest is such a glorious thing! What a amazing thing for us to have our hand in. The important thing though is who is directing our hand. We have our part in the harvest, that much is sure. But we must make sure that the Lord is direction our actions according to his will...not ours.

Always enjoy reading anything that you have to say. Just started my blog. You may get some interest out of it. Your teaching has had a lot of influence on my evangelical mission. check it out and subscribe if you like: http://www.thegraceletters.blogspot.com