Dear Watermark Church family,
“[Jesus] spoke by way of a parable: “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. 8 Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
11 “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. 12 Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.” Luke 8:4-15
The greatest message you will ever hear is the Good News of forgiveness and eternal life through a relationship with Jesus. The message of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection gives new life to all who will put their faith in Him. But why does the gospel message bear fruit in some people and in others, it does not?
Jesus explains why in the parable of the sower and the seed. In this illustration, the determining factor in bearing fruit is not the sower or the seed. It is the soil, which represents the heart of the hearer.
Some people hear the message of Christ and simply do not understand or believe in the gift of salvation God is offering by faith. Others receive the message initially, but abandon it when trials or troubles come in life. Still others embrace the message of the gospel for a short while, but allow the worries and riches and pleasures of this life to choke it out.
How does the message of the cross bear fruit? When it is grows in the soil of an “honest and good heart.” This type of heart is a humble heart, acknowledging “there is a God, and it isn’t me.” This type of heart is also a repentant heart, fully aware of the need to agree with God about the reality of sin and the need for forgiveness.
If you are someone who is seeking God, humbly allow the message of Jesus’ love and forgiveness to enter your heart. Agree with God about your sin (repent), turn to Christ for forgiveness, and allow His Holy Spirit to bear the fruit of Christlikeness in your life.
If you are already a Christ follower, pray for God to lead you to people who have an “honest and good heart,” and share the seed of the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. There is no greater joy than to see others turn to Christ and begin to bear fruit for eternity!
This winter, Watermark Church is focusing on helping you become effective at sharing your faith in Jesus with others. Join us this Sunday, February 11 at 10:30 AM as we discover how to fulfill our role in reaching others for Christ!
Saturday, February 10 at 9:00 AM – Community prayer meeting at Watermark Church Join with other local church members and leaders this Saturday, 2/10 at 9:00 AM for a time of encouragement, fellowship and prayer for our community and our local churches, held at Watermark Church.
Parenting Forum this Sunday, February 11 at 6:30 PM – For parents of pre-teens and teens, join Pastor Larry and other parents as we tackle topics related to the parent resource, “How your teenager is wired.” Our first topic on February 11 at 6:30 PM at the church facility (during our youth group meeting) will beusing the power of communication to build a deep relational bond with your child.
Youth Group News – The Watermark Youth Group Grades 6-12 is using a teaching series called "The Way I'm Wired" this semester. This 6-week series has a student devotional (The Way I'm Wired), a DVD series, and a parent's book (How Your Teenager is Wired) that covers the following topics:
- Reflective Listening
- Understanding Your Spiritual Gifts, Best Qualities, and Finest Values
- Rethinking Your Motives, Relationships, and Use of Time
- Knowing Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
- Praying for Courage, Perseverance, and Miracles
- Writing Your Lifetime Dream Statement
- Surrendering All to Jesus
Here are links to the material if you would like to check them out. You do not need to order the materials because we will be placing an order:
- The Way I'm Wired Devotional: http://a.co/aeItxK5
- The Way I'm Wired DVD: http://a.co/9EtRwgo
- How Your Teenager is Wired parent's book: http://a.co/3Uegmad
Note: We are planning to use all the materials provided through this series in a maximum effort to help the students discover who God created them to be and the purpose He has for their lives, as well as helping you as parents by equipping you with tools to help you effectively converse with your teens about these topics. On the dates below, we will meet with the students to watch the DVD and discuss the topics. Once a month, during one of the youth group times, Larry will be meeting with the parents to discuss the parent's book.
Here is a list of upcoming dates and times for the Youth Group:
Sun, 11th @ 6:30 - Youth Group / Parent's Study
Sat, 17th FAMILY EVENT- Winter Jam @ US Bank Arena (meeting time and info to follow in future email, see http://2018.jamtour.com/cities/cincinnati-oh/ for artist and speaker lineup)
Sun, 25th @ 6:30 - Youth Group at Watermark Church facility
Sunday School: Prophecy and World Events – Pastor Ron is leading an insightful and encouraging adult Sunday School Class beginning thisSunday, January 21 at 9:30AM at the church facility. If you have never been to our morning adult Sunday School classes, this is a great way to start yourSunday morning! We have Sunday School classes for children at 9:30 AM as well.
Sunday School: Women’s Bible Study Group – Claudia Shrive is leading an encouraging women’s adult Sunday School Class each week at 9:30AM at the church facility. Join the ladies for fellowship and great discussion on various in-depth topics from God’s Word.
The Gibson’s and Settimos’ Life Group bible study is now meeting every other Friday, and is discussing the book, “Forgotten God,” which is a great introduction to the person and work of the Holy Spirit in our world, church and personal lives. Contact Paul or Nathan for more info.
The Wednesday night life group led by Pastor Larry meets on Wednesdays at 7:00 PM at the Kinkopf’s (6624 Forest Hill Ln., Hamilton, 45011.) We will be studying the book of 1 Peter. Contact Larry if you would like to be a part of this Life Group. Our first group Bible Study will be next Wednesday, January 24.
Church facility upgrades. This February, Watermark Church will begin making exciting renovations to the sanctuary. Drywall will be repaired and painted, carpeting will be laid, and the stage will be lowered and steps will be added. Sunday morning worship services will continue as normal during the building process. The work is planned to be finished before Easter, which is Sunday, April 1 this year. It is not too early to begin thinking about who you would like to invite to our Easter morning worship service!
We have now added a Grade 4-6 Children’s Sunday School class at 9:30am on Sundays. Classes are currently being offered as follows:
9:30 AM Pre-school - grade 3 Patti Kellis
9:30 AM Grades 4-6 Tim Kellis
Together sowing seeds of new life in Christ,