Forerunner Focus March 2018

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Volunteer Interest Meetings

We are looking for mentors to invest into our young men, women to befriend our Forerunner mothers, and tutors to help encourage our students academically! Pick one meeting and come learn more about what it looks like to serve with Forerunner Mentoring. Please tell your friends and neighbors to come as well! 

All meetings are from 2:00-3:30pm @ 8676 Skillman St. 75243
 
April 15th
April 22nd
May 8th


March Family Dinner

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One of our favorite ways to build relationships is through our monthly family dinners. It is just a wonderful time for all of our families to come together and be with each other. We believe spending time together is the best way to build relationships... and you know we think relationships change lives. Special thanks to Normandy Church for hosing our March Family Dinner. 


Forerunner Firefighters

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One of the goals in our Forerunner Junior High Development Program is to introduce our boys to different professions in life to give them an idea of what they can be when they become adults. One of our Forerunner Friends is a Richardson Fire Fighter and gave our junior high Forerunners full access to the fire station and fire engine. Our young men learned so much about the ins and outs of Firefighting. Special thanks to the Richardson Fire Department for all the kindness and positivity they showed our young men.


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Let's Go Mavs!

Look, we all know watching the Dallas Mavericks might not be the most fun this year due to their terrible record, but don’t tell our kids that! We had so much fun building relationships with our Forerunners at the Mavs game! The boys had a blast stuffing their face full of pizza, causing ruckus on a big ole’ bus, and cheering on the home team. I know it seems like “just a game” for most people, but this was an opportunity for our kids to experience something new in life. Most of our kids have never been to a game before! Thank you so much to all who made this night possible.

Forerunner Focus February 2018

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We Love Because He First Loved Us

We're all about loving God and loving our neighbor here at Forerunner Mentoring. We build relationships to help our families experience scripture and the love of Jesus Christ. We do that through mentoring, quality after-school programming, and serving our mothers.  

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Gal-entine's Day Party!

What do you get when you mix Valentine’s Day with a bunch of our lovely Forerunner moms? You guessed it: you get a Gal-entine’s Day Party! We absolutely loved being able to spend some time with our Forerunner Friends and our Forerunner Moms. Nails were painted, stories were shared, and a good time was had by all. We even sent our moms home with a gift bag with some goodies and a copy of Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love.” Special thanks to Lake Highlands’ Women’s League for the always-delicious food!

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We Got a Few New Friends!

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Dallas After-School

One of our values is “Always Be Growing.” We believe that there is always room to improve, and that’s why we sought out Dallas After-School. Dallas After-School exists to unify after-school care programs in Dallas County. They make sure we are providing quality after-school programs to help us increase academic scores, social-emotional skills, attendance in school, as well as reducing negative behaviors. We are so excited to have the opportunity for DAS to coach and train our Forerunner staff in new ways to better our programs! We value the covering of Dallas After-School big time!

 

Antioch Dallas

It feels good to have friends. Friends who care about you. Friends who have your back. Friends who believe in you. Relationships change lives, right? Antioch Dallas and Forerunner have been casual friends for a while now, but we decided to take our relationship to the next level. With their new building here in Lake Highlands, their church is a great place for Lake Highland families to come and gather. We’re excited to have a church right in our own backyard that supports the work we are doing here in LH!

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A Triumph-ant Family Dinner

I wish you could have seen the size of these ribs. They were as thick as my 3 year old’s arms, I swear. We are beyond thankful for Triumph Bank, their giant BBQ trailer, and their volunteers who provided our February Forerunner Family Dinner. Seriously, these people showed up at 1pm, cooked for 5 hours, and provided delicious food free of cost to our families. They took care of the hard part while we got to have fun and build relationships. Special shout-out to Triumph Bank and our LH friends of Forerunner who made the connection! 

Even If...

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." -- John 14:18

I cannot think of too many things that are worse than a child growing up all alone. No one there to love them. No one there to guide them or discipline them. No one there to encourage them or show them that they are special. The orphan is in direct contrast to the father heart of God.

Have you ever felt that way? Alone? On an island of fear without anyone there to encourage or guide you? I have. It’s not fun. Sometimes in this game of life, a curveball gets tossed my way. Some unexpected situation pops up that I do not know how to handle. I get scared. I doubt myself. Uncertainty creeps in. This even happens in my spiritual life from time to time. Lord, are you even there? Have you left me all alone to handle this situation where I have no idea what to do?

But he has not left us as orphans. No. He is with us. He died, he rose again, his Spirit is with us, and he is coming back. We are not alone. We have Jesus. And what better person to have on your side? No matter what we are going through—no matter what life throws at us—we have Jesus and His spirit to guide us. He will lift us up out of the mess that we are in. We can trust Him. We can lean on Him. We can go to Him whenever we feel like it. He has made each and every one of us with intentionality. We have a purpose. He has given us a vision and a call, and that’s good news. Our job here at Forerunner is to make sure that our families know who God truly is, what he has done for us, and what he will continue to do for his people. That is why I praise him today.

 

You lifted me up, up out of the dirt. You have washed me with kindness and with the love in Your words. You renew the fire, of love and desire that I carried at first.

You gave me a sound Lord, only I can release. A voice in the earth, that you call me to be. So I will not let fear, pain, or regret steal the song I was born to sing.

Even if my heart should break. Even if I am still afraid. I will rise up and I’ll praise you all the more. Even when I feel defeat, I will live from victory. I will rise up and praise you all the more.

You’re making me stronger. You’re making me bold. You’re igniting my spirit with the flame of Your words until joy like a river is running deep within me and breaks out wild and free.

No matter what mountains I face. Nothing is going to silence my praise to you God.

I will praise you with all I have.

 

 

Merry Christmas

Some people say that it is the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas time. A time for family. A time for celebration. A time to be filled with joy. For us here at Forerunner, it is a time for all of those things. 

We are so thankful for our Forerunner Family. It is because of you that we are able to build relationships with those who have been impacted by fatherlessness. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your donations. Thank you for your connections. Thank you for believing in us. It really means more than we can express. I am personally encouraged by your support. 

We celebrate. The Lord has done so many good things through the people of Forerunner Mentoring. I was talking to a mentor named Jordan the other day and he was telling me about a conversation he had with his 9 year old Forerunner on the way to one of our events. He told me that his Forerunner now refers to himself as the "Old Cannon" and the "New Cannon". The Old Cannon was the Cannon before Forerunner. This was the Cannon that used to make fun of people, fight, and yell at his teacher. The New Cannon has learned a new way. A better way. This Cannon now tries to be kind to people, be respectful to authority, and control his emotions. Now, is Cannon perfect? By no means! But he is trying. And he is transforming. And we're pretty sure the Lord is using Jordan and the staff at our after-school program to rewrite Cannon's story. Now that we can celebrate. We celebrate our God as we say "the old is gone, the new has come!" 

We are filled with joy as we reflect upon Jesus Christ and all that he has done for us. To think that the Lord of everything sent his son to die for me, a sinner, still baffles me. It sounds too good to be true. I guess that's why it is called "The Good News". It is too good to be true. Jesus loves me despite all of my junk. And he loves you too. He also loves our moms and every kid in our program. He loves us. He really does. No matter what. He will never stop loving us. He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. He loves us. He likes us. When he thinks about us, he smiles. He is not disappointed in us. He doesn't judge. He loves us just as we are. He never changes. And it will always be like that. That truth fills me with joy today. 

Thank you. Thank you for joining us as we do the Lord's work here in East Dallas. We invite you to celebrate with us as we stop and reflect on all that God has done through this ministry. We pray that you are filled with joy as you stop and reflect on all that God has done for you because of his great love for you. 

Merry Christmas to you and yours. May the grace and peace of the Lord be with you today.

More of Him. Less of us!

 
 
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Forerunner Focus November 2017

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The Impact of a Mom

Think back to your childhood. Was there anyone more influential on you than your mother? For a young man growing up without a father figure in the house, mom is everything. She is the authority. She is the comforter. She is the one who you went to in time of need.

So let me run this past you, if a mother is the single most important person in the life of a young man who doesn't live with his father, shouldn't we be empowering her to be the best person she can be for her family? Shouldn't we be doing whatever we can to ensure that the most important person in the life of our Forerunners is pushing him towards good?

We think the answer to both of those questions is an emphatic "yes". A huge part of what Forerunner Mentoring does is what we call Forerunner Family; a ministry created solely to help our moms flourish. A few weeks ago, we had our first Forerunner Family Enrichment Class. We laughed a ton as our moms and advocates got to know each other just a little bit better. The goal of this class is for our moms to build relationships with us and other moms while surrounding them with community and support. We are so grateful for the opportunity to equip our mothers with some extra tools to help her lead her family. So you go Mom. Do your thing. And remember, we're here for you if you need us. 

Let's Hoop It Up!

Huge shoutout to the Lake Highlands basketball team led by Coach Duffield. These high school students have been pouring positivity and encouragement into our Forerunners and giving them someone just a few steps ahead of them to look up to. I mean, look up at the picture above. Check out Daniel in the gray shirt. You might as well give him a spoon because he is eating it up! 

We look forward to getting to know our LH hoopsters better as the school year goes on and cheering them on from the stands. Click here to view their schedule and go catch a game or two!  Let's go 'Cats!

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Tailgate Time

Did you hear the LHHS football team mad the playoffs again this year? Did you hear Forerunner had a tailgate to support the Varsity 'Cats a few weeks back? Coincidence? I think not my friend.

Forerunner Mentoring had our 4th annual Forerunner Tailgate earlier this month. We had a couple master grillers on the grill cooking up hot dogs as a bunch of Forerunner and Wildcat supporters jumped to the moon on the bounce houses. Faces were painted. I ate too many hot dogs. A good time was had by all. Until next year!

 

Wanna Getaway?

Southwest Airlines might be onto something here. We all need some time to ourselves for a little bit of rest and relaxation. This world can be a tough place sometimes. I don't know about you, but I'm always rushing from one thing to the next with little time to come up for air. Sometimes it seems like the word "rest" is a four-letter word. I mean, it is, but you know what I mean...

Anyways, the same thing can be said for our Forerunner moms. We have been doing this thing for a while called Forerunner Getaway Days. You might be asking yourself, what is a Getaway Day? Well, let me tell you. A Getaway Day is when our Forerunner moms can take a day to relax and do something for themselves. Our moms are so busy keeping food on the table and raising their boys that they rarely get to hang out with their friends and do something for themselves. 

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Fishers of Fish

We here at Forerunner consider ourselves fishers of men, but sometimes it's just plain fun to be fishers of fish too! We partnered with Stewards of the Wild (SOTW) to strike fear in the gills of every fish from here to Waco. We are super thankful to SOTW for providing lunch, a stocked pond for us to fish on, and trophies for all who participated. One goal of Forerunner is to expose our young men to things they wouldn't encounter on a normal basis. I feel we accomplished that during this trip. Thank you SOTW! 

So What's Next?

Welp. That was fast. The school year is over.

Summer is here. Cut up that watermelon and cover yourself in Banana Boat, it’s time to embrace all that summer has for us.

The 2016-2017 school year was big for Forerunner. God did a lot here in Lake Highlands.

Personally, it’s hard for me to look back and appreciate all that the Lord has done through Forerunner Mentoring Program. Since I am in the thick of it day-in-and-day-out, I take for granted all that the Lord is doing.

So here are some of the things the Lord did through Forerunner in 2016-2017:

  • Added Kimo Aleman to our full-time staff
  • Doubled the size of our Northlake Equipping Program
  • Grew our budget from $123,000 to $236,000
  • Added Mac Macfarlan to our Board of Directors
  • Faithfully provided our entire budget
  • Helped one of our moms get a new job
  • Gave us vision and a plan to grow our Forerunner Family Ministry to serve our mothers
  • One Forerunner confessed Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior
  • Sent another one of our Forerunners to college
  • Helped one of our moms get her GED
  • Added Tre’ Crume and Isaac Harris to our part-time staff
  • Gave us vision and a plan for two new Equipping Programs
  • Gave us the opportunity to be on WFAA Channel 8
  • Helped our Forerunners improve academically and behaviorally
  • Helped one of our Forerunners transfer to Lake Highlands Junior High so he could continue to participate in Forerunner
  • Started new relationships with the principals of Skyview Elementary and Lake Highlands Junior High

I’m sure I am missing a few things.

Honestly people, this is amazing! Praise the Lord! 

Lord, thank you for providing for Forerunner. Thank you for looking after us and guiding us. We praise Your Name and are grateful the we have the opportunity to join You as You transform lives here in our Lake Highlands neighborhood. More of You Lord. Less of us.

So what’s next?

Allow me to take the time to tell you exactly what we believe the Lord has called Forerunner Mentoring Program to for the 2017-2018 school year.

Here we go.


K-2nd Grade Foundations Program

We are starting our Foundations Program next fall at Skyview Elementary. The vision behind this program is to equip our Forerunners with a strong academic foundation so they can fulfill their potential academically. We will focus primarily on literacy, as we believe that reading is the foundation of a quality education. This is important because we believe a good education is the best way to give our Forerunners opportunities to provide themselves and their future families with a way to escape poverty. We can all agree that being poor is hard. We want to give our students the opportunity for their children to not be poor.

Why is reading important? Well…

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 53 percent of children aged 3 to 5 were read to daily by a family member. Children in families with incomes below the poverty line are less likely to be read aloud to everyday than are children in families with incomes at or above the poverty line.

According to the Department of Justice, 21 million Americans can't read at all, 45 million are marginally illiterate and one-fifth of high school graduates can't read their diplomas. 

According to the National Adult Literacy Survey, nearly half of America's adults are poor readers, or "functionally illiterate." They can't carry out simply tasks like balancing check books, reading drug labels or writing essays for a job. 

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it is estimated that more than $2 billion is spent each year on students who repeat a grade because they have reading problems. 

We believe reading is important because it gives our Forerunners new opportunities through education and helps them fulfill their God-given potential.


7th-8th Grade Development Program

We are starting our Forerunner Development Program next fall at Lake Highlands Junior High. The vision behind this program is to equip our Forerunners through a program that will help develop them into Godly men who will have the opportunity to lead themselves, their peers, and their family. We believe that transition is hard and the transition from elementary school to junior high school is no different. We want to be there to help our Forerunners figure out how to attend 7 classes, go to tutoring, stay organized, study in advance, prioritize, and deal with all that comes with turning into a teenager. We also believe that junior high is a formative period where most kids pick which path they are going to follow. We are excited about the opportunity to guide our Forerunners and help them choose a path that is going to lead to life and life to the fullest.


Forerunner Family

We have a logo. It's official. We are changing the name of our Single Mother’s Ministry to Forerunner Family. After all, we are a family here at Forerunner. The vision behind this program is to help our mothers flourish. The word flourish means to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment. That is exactly what Forerunner wants to see from our single mothers. We want them to grow. We want them to be the best versions of themselves so they can best serve their families. We will do this by doing three things:

  • Building relationships through our Forerunner Family Dinners.
  • Showing our mothers worth and value through our Mom Getaway Days. This is where our Forerunner moms take the morning to rest and relax while Forerunner takes the kids on a fun adventure.
  • Equipping our mothers through our Forerunner classes. We will have two classes, one in the fall and one in the spring, where we give our moms the opportunity to learn something new. 

So those are the things that are next for Forerunner Mentoring in 2017-2018.

I look back at what the Lord has done through Forerunner and I am amazed. I look forward at the plans that are in place for next year and I am excited, nervous, and terrified all at the same time.

Lord, you’ve brought us this far. Please continue to be faithful and let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Being a defender to the fatherless.

Serving the modern-day widow

Putting the lonely in families

Lord, that’s what you’re about. That’s what we are about too.

We want lives to be transformed. We want our young boys to grow up to be Godly husbands, fathers, and leaders in their community. I think the plans above will allow the Lord to do that. 

We are thankful. Thankful to the Lord. Thankful to our supporters and our volunteers. Thankful for you reading this and, most of all, thankful to have an opportunity to help bring his Kingdom to Lake Highlands.  

We’re in this together. Forerunner Family.

Let’s see what happens next…

 

Is What You're Doing Even Working?

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I was talking to someone the other day and they asked me “What does it look like for Forerunner Mentoring Program to be successful?”

 

Valid question. Simple, yet powerful. I was taken back a bit and searched my mind for all the right answers. 

 

I stumbled around and said “What do you mean?”

 

He replied “I mean, is what you’re doing even working?”

 

Well, just come out and say it bud.

 

As I fumbled around, a slew of phrases ran through my mind:

 

Attend college. Hugs not drugs. No cussing. Follow Jesus. Good grades. Wait until marriage. Job. Leader. Respectful. 

 

I’m not sure how I answered the question, but I’m sure I said something vague and politically correct.

 

But the question sure got me thinking.

 

So what does success look like for Forerunner Mentoring Program?

 

I am all about doing whatever we have to do to put the best product out there to serve our families. I am down for surveys and reports and all the quantitative and qualitative data you can find. I want to measure everything and do our due diligence when it comes to tracking improvements and finding areas where we fall short.

 

Report cards? Teacher interviews? Comparing our kids to the rest of the kids in the district? Yes. Sign me up. I want all of that.

 

All of that stuff that you just read matters a ton. We all want to know if what we are doing is working, and Forerunner is no different. I spend a lot of time here at Forerunner and you better believe I want to see some fruit from my labor.

 

So what does success look like for Forerunner Mentoring Program?

 

This question still has me thinking. As I sit here,  I can’t help but to think about my own kids. I have two little ones at home that I love more than life itself. I think about myself as a father. What does it look like for me as I shepherd my little Garza flock? What does success look like for me and my family?

 

  • I want my kids to grow up in a safe and loving environment.

 

  • I want my kids to have every opportunity in the world to be the best that they can be.

 

  • I want my kids to feel supported and loved for who they are, not what they do.

 

  • I want my kids to be able to be a kid. I want them to be able to run around wild and do some “boy stuff”. I want them to get into just a little bit of mischief from time to time and it not be a scarlet letter for them. I want people to look at them running around with no-shirt-on and one shoe missing and think “those crazy Garza boys…”

 

  • I want my kids to have a refuge to run to when times get tough. I want them to know without a doubt that they can come to me when they are scared and mad and unsure and misunderstood.

 

  • I want my kids to learn from failing. I want them to know that it’s ok to mess up and it’s ok to ask for help. I want them to have someone to pick them up when they fall down.

 

  • I want my kids to know Jesus Christ and the unmerited love and acceptance that he offers.

 

  • I want my kids to dream.

 

  • I want my kids to be covered in prayer.

 

  • I want my kids to be self-confident and I want them to be secure in their identity.

 

  • I want my kids to be a part of a healthy family. I want them to see me love my wife well and to see me serve her with a smile on my face. I want them to see a servant leader putting others before himself. I want them to see me work hard and I want them to want to be like dad when they grow up.

 

  • I want my kids to tell others that “my dad can beat up your dad.”

 

  • I want my kids to know that real men don't fight. 

 

  • I want my kids to hear someone say “I’m proud of you.”

 

  • I want my kids to walk down the street without people giving them bad looks and moving over to the other side of the street..

 

  • I want my kids to get the benefit of the doubt. 

 

  • I want my kids to have options.

 

  • I want my kids to hold the door open for strangers and for them to say "yessir" and "yes m’am."

 

  • I want my kids to get used to older people saying "Aren't you respectful? But really. You don't have to call me mister anymore. Call me by my first name."

 

  • I want my kids to be proud when someone says “Aren’t you Zach Garza’s boy?”

 

That’s what I want for my kids. And I bet if you have kids, you want those same things for your kids.

 

Well, what I want for my kids and what you want for you kids, that’s what I want for my Forerunners. I want every last one of those things for every kid that is in our program.

 

  • I want our Forerunners to be loved and to feel safe.

 

  • I want our Forerunners to have hope and to be able to dream.

 

  • I want our Forerunners to be a part of something bigger than themselves and I want them to feel valued and important.

 

  • I want our Forerunners to have a consistent, Godly man in their life to tell them things like “I’m proud of you” and “You have what it takes to be a good man.”

 

  • I want our Forerunners to have every opportunity in the world and I want them to become a better man than me.

 

Is that too much to ask? Lord, please make it happen. 

 

So what does success look like for Forerunner Mentoring Program?

 

Yes. Success looks like better grades and better STAAR scores and better behavior. It looks like growth in a bunch of areas that most would deem “key areas”.

 

But success also looks like the things that you can’t measure. It looks like a smile on the face of a kid who feels loved. It looks like a self-confident kid who is proud of who he is. It looks like a kid calling up his mentor and asking “Can I ask you something?” It looks like hope in the eyes of one of our boys. 

 

 

That’s what success looks like to me.


And if that happens in one kid, just ONE KID, then Forerunner Mentoring Program has been successful.

 

 

We all have been given an incredible opportunity to build a relationship with our Forerunners through mentoring and tutoring.  I encourage you to pray about if the Lord is calling you to join our program. This is the time of year that Forerunner is looking for new mentors and we need as many men as we can get.

 

 

There are a ton of kids in Lake Highlands that have no one praying for them. Not one person. They don’t have a man teaching them how to act like a man. They don’t have anyone speaking encouragement and hope to their souls. They don’t have anyone asking them what they learned in school today or giving them a high five when they do well on a test.

 

 

Come and find out what we are about. Come and join us as we give our kids the opportunity to be the best they can be. Come and partner with us as we love our neighbors.

 

 

Come and help us be successful.

 

The One Who Got Away

We have a saying here at Forerunner that I think is pretty catchy. Out of all the slogans that are tossed on coffee cups and t-shirts, I think this one takes the cake. It is short. It is powerful. It is gold.

Here it is.

 

Invest. Love. Transform.

 

Pow.

 

Well, what do you think? Do you like it?

 

I’m not going to lie, I love it. I think it is the best. 

This whole mentoring thing isn’t that hard. In fact, it’s pretty easy.

 

Invest. Invest time and energy.

Love. Love these kids no matter what.

Transform. Watch these kids lives be transformed because you invested and you loved.

 

Like I said, simple right?

 

Wrong.

 

I have told you many times that the Lord has taught us here at Forerunner so much through adversity. He has taught us so much from our perfect plans turning out the exact opposite of perfect.

When we started this program years ago, we thought that changing a kid’s life really was as simple as showing up and loving them. We thought we had this perfect plan and formula that would change every kid into a perfect little angel. Just follow the plan and change a life.

Boy, were we wrong. We learned that we are only a part of the equation. We learned that there is something going on that is so much bigger than us.

 

Yes, it is our job to invest into our young men. We show up. We take time out of our schedule to show this young man that he is important and that he matters. We talk to him. We guide him. We are with him through the good times and the bad.

We love no matter what. It doesn’t matter if he is a straight-A student or if he is failing every class including PE. It doesn’t matter if he is starting Running Back or if he is starting Left Out. It doesn’t matter if he is clean cut and good looking or if he makes Quasimodo look like Tom Cruise. We love the kid. We love him because Jesus first loved us. He loved us no matter what. He loved us and he didn’t look at things like accomplishments, accolades, or appearance.

Now this is where it gets tricky. The first two things are part of the job description of following Jesus.

 

Invest.

Phillipians 2:3 says we should consider others more important than yourself

Galatians 5:13 says we should serve one another humbly

Romans 12:1 says we should be living sacrifices

 

Love.

John 13:34-35 tells is to love one another

Matt. 22-37-39 tells is to love your neighbor

John 15:12-13 tells is to Love as Jesus loved

 

Transform.

Here comes the curveball. Are you ready for it?

 

It's not our job to transform. 

 

Let’s look at The Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:3-9 and 18-23 for more insight.

 
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

 

Let me explain. We are the farmer. We are tossing out seeds whenever we show up. We are tossing out seeds every time take our Forerunner out to eat or every time we help them with their homework.

We are tossing seeds when we love them no matter what. When they are rude, we are kind. When they are impatient, we are patient. When they come with anger, we come with peace.

But what happens to those seeds is not up to us.

That’s up to God.

Only God can take those seeds that we toss and turn those into crops. Only he can turn a person’s heart from stone into flesh. We toss the seed, but it is He controls where the seed lands.

 

“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

 

And this is the thing about God, sometimes He does things in mysterious ways. His Kingdom seems like an upside-down Kingdom from time to time. It is so contrary to the ways of this world.

Think about it.

Love our enemies.

The first will be last.

Servant King.

Don't retaliate. Turn the other cheek.  

Those things don’t make sense! But that’s God. He does things His own way. And sometimes He does that to grow our faith in Him and to help us trust in Him alone.

If we toss 100 seeds over 8 years, the first 99 might land on rock or get choked out by the world. We might be tossing the seeds exactly like He told us to and not be receiving the results we think we should get.

But what about that last seed?

What about the 100th seed?

That 100th seed could turn into a mighty Oak tree that changes everything around them.

He calls us to be faithful to keep tossing seeds. He calls us to trust in Him. We trust that he is in control and He will transform lives whenever he is good and ready. We trust that he will save in His own timing.

I’ll close with a story.

One of my good friends and his wife were serving with Lake Highlands Young Life in the 1980’s. They were newly married and wanted to serve the community by pouring into ten kids who were just like the young men that we serve through Forerunner. Ten kids who had a life that most would consider an uphill climb.

My friends invited those young men over to their house every Sunday night for pizza for years and years. They ate together. They stayed up late and joked around together. They talked about Jesus together.

Eventually, my friend and his wife came to build an amazing friendship with these boys. They came along side these young men as they dealt with the ups and downs of life. Over the years, they began to see fruit in all the boys. Life was good.

Well. They saw fruit in nine of the boys. The other one… well, not so much.

Nine of the boys opened up and trusted my friends. One did not.

Nine of the boys were grateful and put their trust in my friends. One did not.

Nine of the boys hugged my friends and laughed with them. One did not.

You get the picture. My friend and his wife called him “the One that got away”.

Fast forward to today.

My friend is currently in his 50’s and is long past his days of eating pizza and staying up late with teenagers. He has a family of his own with three adult children. He has a successful business and is a Godly man in our community.

One day he was filling up with gas at the Tom Thumb off Skillman and Royal. He was leaned up against the side of his car minding his own business when a grown man started to approach him.

My friend isn’t the biggest of fellows and became a little uncomfortable when he saw the 6’6, 300 pound man coming straight for him. He put his head down and prayed to the Lord for protection. 

My friend was trying to get into his car when the man said “Excuse me Sir... Sir... Hey you!” His voice kept getting louder and louder. 

My friend turned around, somewhat paralyzed with fear.

“Uh yes..." he stammered.  "Can I help you?”

The big man said:

"You don’t remember me, but I wanted you to know that you changed my life. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of what you and your wife did for me. I am now a father myself and I learned a lot from watching you those Sunday nights when I was in high school. I just wanted to say thank you."

The man gave my friend a big hug and he was on his way.

That man was “the One that got away”.

He was the one who did not.

He did not say thanks. He did not open up. He did not show any signs of change.

Well, I guess I should say “He did not…. in our timing."

It took a while, but he did say thanks.

It took a while, but he did open up.

You see, on the outside, that one kid seemed as if he wasn’t receiving anything at all. But on the inside, God was doing something. The change wasn’t fast and the change wasn’t obvious at the time, but God knew what He was doing.

He transforms in his own way. He transforms in his own timing. He transforms the one who got away.

Give us a heart to believe that Lord.  

Give us a heart to invest into others. Give us a heart to love the unlovable. Give us a heart to trust you as you work behind the scenes.

Thank you Jesus

Thank you Lord that no situation is too much for you. Thank you that it is not up to us. Thank you that we get to join you as you transform the lives of our Forerunners.

Invest. Love. Transform.

We invest. We love. God transforms.