"Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop one hundred times as much as had been planted. When he had said this, he called out, Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!" Luke 8:8 (NLT)

One summer I noticed more and more hummingbirds in my flower garden. I thought they would only fly in and move on since I don't have hummingbird feeders. Instead they came back again and again, satisfied with the vast selection of flowers. As I watched this, the Spirit began to show me an analogy with the church [YFC Deaf Teen Quest].

It has become quite accepted to "hang out feeders" in our churches - choosing programs, music, speakers, and even architecture to draw in the crowds. And it works; there are huge mega-churches and popular gatherings across the country. The church leadership works hard all week to fill the feeder full of appetizing food, but when many of these people go home, they feel the necessity to always go back to the church building-the feeder-to eat. Contrast this bird-feeder mentality to growing a flower bed that will produce perpetual food, year after year, as well as seed for more plants.

What if, instead of always trying to figure out how to improve the program, the music, the building-the feeder-we would spend our time on improving the dry, rocky, thorny ground of people's hearts before planting seeds of God's Word (Luke 8:4-15)?

This means spending time with people outside the church walls: building relationships, breaking down barriers, helping to dig up stones and pull weeds from hurting hearts. Preparing the ground takes love, energy, and perseverance.  
 
But then comes the joy of planting the awesome, powerful seeds of God's Word and watching them mature into life-giving, food-producing plants that will feed not only the one in whom they grow but all those they come in contact with. No longer will they be looking constantly to others to be fed, but instead they will feast on God's faithfulness within themselves.

Look around. Do you see the hungry and poor? Love them into becoming a fertile place, ready for the planting of God's Word, and watch the kingdom spring up around you.
 

[Amy Layne Litzelman is a first cousin of DTQ director Bob Ayres and recently published a devotional book called This Beloved Road: A Journey of Revelation and Worship (Tate Publishers, 2010). This devotional really hits home with our outreach to deaf and hard of hearing teenagers. She directs this message to the "church" which includes our YFC evangelical outreach. See if you find ways this applies to your ministry. This article is used with permission.]
 
 
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