Shallowford Free Will Baptist
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
For the Glory of Christ Alone
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What Is the Most Important Part of Our Church Vision?

Pastor's Page

                                                                                                                                                                                     March 20, 2018


And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: "A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold." When He had said these things He cried, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"

~Luke 8:4-8


                Before we continue our theme of sowing and reaping, I want to get a few basic conclusions out of the way. “Oh great, some theological treatise…” No, not that. These are conclusions that I hope are abundantly clear about the men who serves as your pastor. First, I genuinely love this church as if you were my own family. Second, I feel deeply about the Gospel ministry, even if I don’t do it as well as it could be done. Hurts hurt worse and joys are so much fuller because of the depth of my feelings for what we do here. Third, I don’t have all of the answers. I wish that I did, but I don’t. I stumble along in life like the rest of you. I have THE answer, but I don’t have all of the answers to specific needs. Lastly, I’m not normal. I know – it goes without saying. I don’t think about things the way others do. I don’t always do the things that others do. All of that is said because it bears considering as you read this entry about your “not quite right in the head” pastor!

                Last week I reminded you of Paul’s words from Galatians 6:7 – “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” I encouraged you to sow some seeds for the Lord. It will be much the same thing this week as we continue with that same these of sowing and reaping. It is so important that we are indiscriminately sowing the seeds of the Gospel of Jesus Christ all around us. The parable above identifies 4 different type of soils (metaphors for the condition of people’s hearts) and what kind of produce is yielded from the seeds sown into them. There is some degree of failure in 3 out of the 4, a 75% failure rate in actually getting fruit to grow in these grounds. That could preach all by itself. We need to prepare ourselves for failing a great majority of the time. But then there are those times when the seeds find their way into the good, fertile ground. Then the seed doesn’t just yield one fruit for each seed planted; it yields a crop a hundrefold! The results are exponential compared to the rate of failure that many soils create. So, drawing principles from these verses, the yield from the 25% “good ground” plantings far exceeds the level of failure of the 75% of “bad ground” planting. We need to be prepared for failure in the Gospel ministry, but we also much be ready to see how just one seed can produce a harvest that NONE of us could ever imagine.

                But what cannot fail in this parable is the sowing of the seed of the Gospel. This sower is casting his seed all around him, hoping that just some of it will make its way into the ground and bring forth a bountiful crop. It might be easy for this farmer to say, “Well, last year I only got a 25% yield from this field, so I’ll just not sow the seeds this year.” It might even be tempting for him to expend his time and energy looking for only the 25% of the good ground that would be compatible with his seed. Neither of the two options is reasonable. The sower has neither the time nor the talent to be able to make those decisions. Only the Lord of the Harvest truly knows what type of soil and what type of harvest there will be. All the farmer can do is sow the seeds. He casts his hand back and forth, letting those delicate, precious seeds slip through his hands and lay there on the ground. What happens next is simply beyond his control. All he was capable of, all he was required to do was to sow the seeds.

                So how about you? Do you believe this? Do you believe that the 25% reception of the Gospel into good ground is far more valuable than the 75% of the failures? The truth is that it matters that we change our perception on ministry as quickly as possible. I’m the world’s worst in looking to the negative in everything. I am extremely critical of myself. I look at the job I do as a husband, father, and pastor, and all I can see are those times where again and again I fail. That’s the negative consequence of loving your people and caring about what you do. It might not be bad by itself, but I find myself (and I’m not WEIRD in this…)often having the joy of the Lord sucked out of my soul because I fret about things that I cannot control. I ask myself if I could’ve preached a little harder, confronted a little more, visited a little more. Could I have said or done something that would make a bigger difference in the lives of those I minister to? Perhaps I could have. But I also know that I’m required as a sower of the Gospel of Jesus Christ ONLY TO SOW THE SEEDS! I’m not…I’ll say it again…you and I are NOT accountable for what people do with the Word of God. That being true, the success in Gospel ministry is not in how many conversions we can brag about. Success is measured in whether you and I sowed the seeds of the Gospel in obedience to the Lord’s commission. Once we’ve done that, it is the Lord’s work from there.

                But are we sowing the way that we’re supposed to? Am I…or am I allowing my Eeyore-self to drag the faithful part down? I think you know the answer to that. You likely experience the same thing if you care about what we do. That’s all that we are required to do. In what you say and in what you do, preach the Gospel. Whenever you have a chance, preach the Gospel. When those divinely appointed occasions come to be, be ready in season and out to preach the Gospel. And trust the Lord of the Harvest to do His part. We cannot force them to become a believer. But we can and should influence them towards becoming what God wants them to be. And you have no idea how one small. Loving gesture can be the seed that yields the bountiful harvest. And, even better, it is so incredibly easy to do!

                Yesterday (Sunday) morning was not the best day. It didn’t take long for the joy I tried to have to be taken away by screens and microphones and computer programs. The devil truly is the most reliable attendee we have in our church! Never misses a service. I’ve come to realize that allowing the devil to steal my joy is a choice that I might. I don’t accidentally slip into that mindset; I choose it. It is that dirty diaper that is so nasty and stinky…but it’s warm and it’s mine! And I’ve imperfectly reached a point where I am sick and tired of giving my worship days to Satan. So Sunday I made a decision that he would not have the service for me. I wouldn’t let despair and frustration be the passage I’d preach from that day. I’d do something different, something meaningful, something…weird!

                And so I went down to the road and stood there at the mouth of our driveway, took a deep breath…and started waving at cars as they went by. I was timid at first. Lord knows, it wasn’t a comfortable action, but I wasn’t going to let the devil have this day. Back home, waving at people is just what you do. Here…you might as well have grown another head on your shoulders! The greatest response I saw on people’s faces was confusion. “Did I just see a man in a suit on the side of the road waving at me?” Yeah, you did. A great many drove right on by without ever raising their eyes from their cell phones…a particularly disturbing observation. I must have waved to 100-120 cars, most of which dismissed me totally. But a few actually waved back. Some nervously, some with big smiles on their faces. One gentleman on a nice pick-up truck actually raised his hand up out of his sunroof to wave at me. Twenty-one people in total waved back at me. Even got one honk on the horn! I might have been out there 20 minutes at the most, but I waved as good as I could to everyone that came by the church. Honestly compels me to tell you that I started worrying about ordinances and such when I saw the same Cobb PD patrol car drive by slowly…twice!!! I waved at her too!

                You know what I realized? I impacted lives for just a moment. You see, those people who passed by our church had no intention of reacting to what they saw on our property. They would’ve passed by without another thought…but there was this weird guy in a suit smiling and waving at them. Instead they found themselves responding. They might have responded with disgust or confusion, but THEY RESPONDED. The ones who waved back and smiled, perhaps they would have done that anyways, but I don’t think so. They were influenced by something small that was unexpected. It interrupted their stupor and broke the routine of their day. And they responded. They responded to me because I was there doing what I could to get them to respond. It was so small, but it worked. Will any ever come to our church because of that? Who knows? That wasn’t the reason that I did it anyways. It was an action designed to remind me that even the smallest, craziest, weirdest gestures can truly impact somebody’s life. And the biggest life that it impacts is the one who sows the seed. I plan to do that as much as I can now!

                Here’s my challenge for you. Maybe you’re uncomfortable with a discourse on atonement and justification. So start small. What can you do to make a difference, albeit a small one? You might live in a subdivision where you can hand out water to people who come by jogging. Maybe you can go and visit a memory care unit and offer to read to the patients. Maybe you can call up someone you haven’t spoke with in awhile (you influence their day whether they answer or send you to voicemail). I don’t know what it is, but the possibilities are endless. What is in limited supply is a willing heart. I’ve not given you good odds – 25% approval rate at best! But we’re not called to do anything more than to try and make a little difference in the world around us. All we are are vessels that reflect the light of Jesus Christ into a dark world. Are we willing to be that? Are we willing to do that? Do we dare to make a difference?

                I hope so!


~Bro. Benjamin



How did the Lord speak to Elijah after he fled from Jezebel (1 Kings 19)? What does that mean for you?  



Previous Postings                                                                  This Week's Sermons
March 20
March 14                                                                                          March 18 (AM)
March 6                                                                                     "Father, Forgive Them"
February 27                                                                                      Luke 23:32-38
February 15                                                                                     
February 6                                                                                        March 18 (PM)
January 30                                                                                            "I Thirst"
January 23                                                                                        John 19:28-29
January 16                                                                                        
January 9                                                                                
December 19                                                        
December 12
                                                                                   March 14 (WED)
December 5                                                                                        Acts 8:18-25
November 28                                                                          
November 14


If you need a copy of any sermon from the past, email Bro. Benjamin with the date and title of the message listed below.
We will be happy to send you a CD of the sermon. Additionally sermons are available through the "Multimedia" Page

March 18 (AM)
"Father, Forgive Them"--Luke 23:32-38
March 18 (PM) "I Thirst"--John 19:28-29
March 11 (AM)
"Forsaken for Us"--Mark 15:34
March 11 (PM)
"We Are the Church"--Ephesians 19-22
March 4 (AM) "If It Be Possible..."--Matthew 26:36-47
March 4 (PM) "The Peace of Christ"--Ephesians 2:14-18

February 25 (PM) "Remember Who You Were"--Ephesians 2:11-13
February 11 (AM) "Faith Is a Family Affair"--Deuteronomy 6:1-9
February 11 (PM) "There Are NO Inactive Church Members"--Ephesians 2:8-10
February 4 (AM) "The Glory of Christ"--Matthew 17:1-8
February 4 (PM) "Prepositional Christianity"--Ephesians 2:8-10
January 28 (AM) "Lord of All Creation"--Psalm 102:25-28
January 28 (PM) "Great Reasons to Be Thankful"--Ephesians 2:1-7
January 21 (AM) "I See the Lord"--Isaiah 6:1-6
January 21 (PM) "All in All"--Ephesians 1:22-23
January 14 (AM) "Let's Make 2018 All About Him"--Proverbs 3:5-6
January 14 (PM) "What Paul Prays For, Part 2"--Ephesians 1:15-21
January 7 (AM) "Time to Start Over"--2 Corinthians 5:14-21
January 7 (PM) "What Paul Prays For"--Ephesians 1:15-21
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2017!
here for a list of available sermons from 2016!
here for a list of available sermons from 2015!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2014!

Click here for a list of available sermons from 2013!
here for a list of available sermons from 2012!
here for a list of available sermons from 2011! 

About Our Pastor
Bro. Benjamin Miller began his ministry at Shallowford Free Will Baptist Church in August, 2011. Prior to pastoring our church, Bro. Benjamin pastored at New Home FWB in Colquitt, GA. He received his B.A. in History from Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College) in Nashville, TN. He then received his M.A. in Biblical Studies from Lipscomb University, a Church of Christ graduate school in Nashville. Bro. Benjamin enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and fellowshipping with the people of the church. He is a HUGE Braves fan! Our pastor has dedicated himself to becoming a student of the Word and to preaching the Word with passion, integrity, and real-life applications.
Bro. Benjamin married Jara in June 2002. She is a special educator at Mount Bethel Elementary School here in Marietta. She is a tremendous part of his life and quite active in our church. 
They had their first son, Thomas, in June 2008. Thomas was born prematurely, and is a testimony to God's amazing grace and provision. He is now a 3rd grader, and does well in school. His greatest ability is to reach out to those in his class in concern and in love.
Bro. Benjamin and Sis. Jara welcomed Nathanael in March, 2014. His name means "given by God" and he is absolute reminder of God's ability to bless individuals beyond measure.
We hope you'll take the opportunity to get to know our pastoral family!