Recently the Lord was gracious in allowing me to speak at Hillcrest Baptist Church in rural Harned, Kentucky. This was very special for me because my mother and father grew up in Kentucky. In fact, my father-in his pre-Christian days- was a professional wrestler who went by the name “The Kentuckian.” But I didn’t realize how close to my “roots” I was.
After the seminar I called my mother and asked where she had grown up. To my surprise she told me it was close to Fort Knox-and that my grandfather had worked there for 21 years. Harned was no more than 30 minutes away! We had actually driven by the base on the way to the airport.
A Christian brother who attends the church, Dennis Chancellor, was such an encouragement. He shared how by studying God’s wonderful creation and following the Lord’s wisdom found in His Word, he has been able to solve some very difficult problems. He now has 20 patents (his inventions/designs are based on how God has designed our world). One of these patents has revolutionized the way we can better (and less expensively) desalinate sea water for human consumption. Amazing!
As I stood in church before hardworking men and women, I asked if any of them were farmers. A number of hands went up. I told them that after seeing this beautiful countryside, I had decided to become a farmer. They looked somewhat puzzled.
What a wonderful life, I continued. Farming has to be one of the best kept secrets in America. In the spring you go out on your property, throw some seeds around, and go home. You can even go on vacation until the fall, and then you go out and harvest your crop! It’s all quite easy!
No one knows better than these families, however, of how wrong that view is. These men and women work long, hard hours to care for their crops. What they harvest in the fall is the result of many hours of blood and sweat. The ground has to be plowed, and the stones and ‘roots’ have to be removed. This is hard, demanding work.
I remember as a young man working on a farm in Virginia. I was given pruning shears and told “Go to work!”
My job was to walk through the hay fields cutting down the foot- tall cedar trees with those pruning shears. If this wasn’t done, the hay couldn’t be harvested because the trees would destroy the farm equipment.
At the end of the day, I couldn’t stand up straight! I’ve never hurt like that in my life! My reward: $2.00 an hour!
I shared with these church friends that this is what evangelism in America and other Western countries is like. If we want to be effective, it is going to take a lot of hard work. There are a lot of stones and bad “roots” that need to be removed.
You see, too many people are looking for a quick fix when it comes to evangelizing. Many times we are told by well-meaning Christians to “just preach the Gospel, and don’t worry about that other stuff like creation vs evolution, upholding the authority of the Bible,” and so on!
This is impossible, though. Today’s culture cannot understand who Jesus is and our sinful nature by being given just part of the picture. Non-Christians can’t understand why they need a Saviour if they don’t understand what the effects of sin have been, beginning with the explanation in Genesis.
As a young person, my parents made me go to Church and Sunday school. I was exposed to the Gospel and the Bible at a young age. Even though I didn’t receive the Lord until later in life, I was at least aware that there was another way of looking at the world.
Today’s culture is totally different though. Most young people have no regard for God, church or the Bible.
This lack of knowledge became aware to me when I took a group of young people on a church retreat.
One day while playing basketball one young man asked me: “How did we get all of the races?” I started from Genesis and showed him how there was only one “race,” and that we all go back to Adam and Eve.
A short while later, another young man came up to me and asked, “Mr. Kerby, who’s Adam and Eve?” I was shocked, until I realized that our Western culture has changed: the Christian influence is waning, and most of us haven’t recognized it. The foundations of our culture have shifted, and the church must come to this realization to be effective in witnessing.
In order for this culture to understand the “Good News” of Christ dying for our sins, it must first take them to the “Bad News” in the book of Genesis. Hard work must be done to study and be prepared to reach people to have them understand why it is that Christ had to die on the Cross for their sins as inheritors of Adam’s sinful condition.
Praise God-this is what the Lord has called us at AiG to do. It is an honor and a privilege to share the message that God’s Word is true and that you can depend on it.
Mark 4:6 tells us: “But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.”
My earthly roots may have begun many years ago in a small town in Kentucky and are pretty shallow. But I praise God that my “spiritual” roots run much deeper. Mark 4:8 says: “And others fell on the good soil, and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” Will you consider helping AiG to continue plowing the ground so that the seed of the Gospel will fall on “good soil?” Thank you.