About Rooted in Good Soil
A few years ago while teaching chapter by chapter through the gospel of Luke I came to the parable of the sower in chapter eight. During my time of sermon preparation I felt a strong prompting from the Lord to look at the passage much differently than I had before.
The parable of the sower is found in all three synoptic Gospels and is familiar to anyone who has invested much time in the Bible. Like most who have taught this particular passage I had previously gravitated towards the negative; that is to say mainly focusing on the three poor soils which emphasize those that never get their roots deeply established in faith, even to the point of falling away. As I read it this time in preparation for my message, the Lord illuminated something new and fresh – the value of the good soil and a need to understand why it produced a great harvest. This new focus became a seven week teaching series I entitled “The Good Soil.”
Through this fresh look at the parable I was so taken by the discovery of the parallel between a seed’s maturation process in fertile soil with the authentic Christian journey that it inspired me to write the book three years later.
Rooted in Good Soil interweaves three different themes. The first, of course, is the parable itself. In the parable Jesus speaks of four different soil conditions. He tells us that the seed (God’s truth) didn’t take root in the first three types of soil (hard path, rocky soil and thorn-infested soil.)
In each of these cases the seed never matured and was eventually lost altogether. It was only in the good soil that it took deep root and matured to a place of fruitfulness, producing a great harvest. The conclusion of this theme is that if we desire to come to a place of authenticity and maturity in Christ, we need to understand the miracle that can only take place in the richness of good soil. This then leads to the next theme.
The second theme incorporates my personal love for the land. I not only love to farm and garden, but I also taught biology for twelve years before entering fulltime ministry. Part of my educational background had been in ecology and I have been fascinated in organic agriculture for years. As I began to study the parable I was compelled to dig out old text books in an attempt to rediscover what miraculous things take place in rich organic soil that cause seeds to flourish. In my discovery, both through research and prayer, I felt inspired to take poetic or prophetic license in an effort to discover what Jesus meant when he said, “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (Luke 8:15)
The third theme is my own story of Christian development. Much of the story I share concerning Nancy’s and my discipleship journey took place growing up as a young Christian couple at the Desert Vineyard in Lancaster, California. In reality the whole point of the book is about moving towards mature and authentic Christianity. It is about true discipleship and how it is more of an organic process than a structured program. And, with my passion to see others come into this deep meaningful relationship, it is my hope that Rooted in Good Soil will motivate all who read it to go deeper with God for the purpose of reaching greater maturity and participating in a rich and productive harvest.