Close this search box.

Hearing From God – Book of Mark

By Pastor Amir Rostampour

Table of Contents

Good Morning, Church!


Today we’re going to talk about the parable of the soils in Mark chapter four. This is a very important chapter! If you can get this in your spirit, it could literally change your life. You can hear Jesus’ urgency in this passage, as He teaches us how to hear from Him. This is something we all need today. We believe the number one way you can hear from God is in His Word, so He’s teaching us through his word about our heart.  


Every time we hear God’s word, where does our heart need to be? The answer to this question will explain why some of us struggle, when we hear or read God’s word, to understand it. And so, here Jesus literally tells his disciples, “If you don’t get this parable, you’re not going to get any other parable.” That’s the emphasis that he’s putting on it. That’s how important this passage is.


So, for a little context. In Mark 4, Jesus is by a lake, and he begins to teach a series of parables. A parable, by the way, is a story that Jesus uses to emphasize a spiritual truth. Jesus would take something familiar to the people listening to Him and couple it with a spiritual truth in order to help them understand it. It was a cool way to teach.


Parables are kind of like stories. Big stories are easy to remember, but a parable is kind of like a puzzle. You often wouldn’t understand it at first glance, so you would have to dig a little. If you didn’t dig a little, you wouldn’t get it. What’s so interesting about this in Mark four is that He begins and ends this parable with an emphasis to listen


He says, “Listen!” Notice the exclamation point. There have been times I’ve heard my wife, but I wasn’t listening. That’s not good. But Jesus says, “Hey! Hear! Whoever has  ears to hear, let them hear.” 


Here’s what it says:

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 

Ok, pause. This is the eighth time already in the book of Mark that Mark is talking about how large the crowds are around Jesus. The crowd is so large, that Jesus gets into the boat. Why were the crowds crowding him? People have seen him do miracles, while other people have heard about him doing miracles, so they’re flooding to him. Some people are sick who physically want to touch him. So, in order to teach, Jesus has to get into a boat.  Remember that one of the themes of Mark is that Jesus has compassion. We talked about that last week, but one of the reasons He came, if not the reason, is to preach about the good news of the kingdom of God.


So yes, Jesus loves to heal people, but He is trying to teach them the good news. In order to do that, He’s got to get a little space. This is what it continues to say in verse two:

He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! 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, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. 

That’s the goal: “good soil.”

It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” 

That’s what God’s word will do. 30, 60, even a hundred times. Verse 9:

Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

Jesus is teaching this parable about a farmer who’s throwing seed, and it falls on the path, and it falls on rocky ground, and it falls on thorns and good soil. You might say, “Why would a farmer throw those things on some of those soils that weren’t great? 


Well, back then they didn’t have machinery. So what often happened is a farmer would put a big bag of seed on their shoulder and walk around and throw the seed by hand all over a plot of land. And they’re just trying to throw it all over so that seed would find good soil, and the seed would harvest. So, inevitably, some of the seed is going to fall on the path, and some of the seed is going to fall in rocky places.


Thorns? That wasn’t the farmer’s intention. 


What’s so interesting about this parable is that Jesus teaches this story, and then it comes to an abrupt ending. He doesn’t say anything else. Scripture doesn’t even say what the transition is. There’s no explanation. Thankfully, two verses later, the disciples come to Jesus and they say, “Hey, Jesus, we don’t get the parable. Will you please explain it to us?”


We don’t understand it either! So Jesus takes the time to explain it to them.


Here’s the truth that you can’t miss from that moment. God’s word, and parables like this, demand interaction. There will be times when you read God’s word, and you don’t understand it, you’re unsure, or you have questions. Don’t give up! Rather, press into it. Think about it. Engage with it. Ask questions, and study what Jesus is saying. 


What is so cool about today, what the disciples didn’t have, and these crowds didn’t have is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit wants to reveal things to us, speak to us, and help us learn about God’s word. So we’re going to break down this parable of the soils and see what we can learn from God.


Each soil is more a representation of our heart, the condition of our hearts and where it could be when we receive God’s word. With each soil, each condition of our hearts, I’m going to give you some practical steps. 


1. A Hardened Heart.


Now we’re going to read Mark 4:13-20. This is Jesus’ interpretation of the parable. 


Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 


Jesus gives the key to the parable. Listen, anytime you’re reading a parable, if you miss the key, you’re going to miss the parable. The key is this: The seed is the word of God.


If you think the seed is something else, you’re not going to get the parable. That’s why we have to study these things carefully. The different soils represent different conditions of our hearts, where our heart can be, which simply means this: The fruitfulness of God’s word is conditional on the condition of our hearts. 


God’s word was created to bear fruit, but our hearts can interfere with that. The first place the seed falls is on the path. This is where the word doesn’t penetrate the heart. It’s not received. Well, there are many reasons for this. For example, maybe the word is not heard yet. So, think of people in remote areas of the world who have never heard about Jesus, never heard the gospel. This also happens in America. If you never heard it, how can your heart be open to it? But some people hear, but don’t understand. Some people hear and choose not to understand. And that’s why they’re hard. Their heart is hard. And then what Jesus said is that Satan comes and just snatches up that seed.


There are many things that would cause a heart to harden. One is rebellion towards God. You have sin in your life, but you don’t repent for it. You have no intention of changing. You know what you’re supposed to do, but you just don’t really care. You keep doing things the way you want to do them. I had this in my life. I was like, “Okay, God, I’ll live for You in these ways. But this thing over here, no, I’m not repenting for that.I’m not giving that to You.” 


Well, sin will harden your heart, but rebellion towards God will make your heart even harder. And what happens is that word falls on the path, and it doesn’t get into your heart. Rebellion towards God is one cause of a hardened heart.


Another cause is what the Bible later calls “itching ears.” (See 2 Timothy 4:3). Itching ears is where you have a strong preference on who teaches God’s word, or what is taught when God’s word is taught. Itching ears is about specific personalities or specific topics. Social media in some ways is making this worse. You may say, “I only listen to this person,” or, “I only read these things in the Bible.”


Let me tell you a story of how this played out in my life. Many years ago, I was coming to church here and my best friend, Nick, was disciplining me. I would bring my Bible to church, and I would also bring a journal to take notes. When I take notes, it helps me remember, it helps me process.


I remember one specific day that Pastor Rick stood right here on the stage. He opened up God’s word. I think we were in James. He said, “All right, guys, today I’m going to talk to you about anger and what God wants to do to help some of you who struggle with anger.” And I remember I closed my journal, and I just kind of sat back and leaned back.


And Nick came up to me and said, “Hey, why aren’t you taking notes?” And I whispered, “Well, I don’t really feel like I struggle with anger, so I just wasn’t going to take notes. I was just going to listen.” And he said, “Hey buddy, do me a favor. Just take notes today. I’ll explain why later.” I remember thinking, Okay, what’s the big deal?


So, after church, we got in the car. I’ll never forget it, just sitting right there in the car in the parking lot. And Nick said this, “Hey man, let me coach you on something. I always want you to take notes. I always want you to listen intently to God’s word, no matter what the topic is.”


I responded, “Why? I get it, Nick, but what’s the big deal?” 


He said, clearly, plain as day, “Because God speaks to us through His Word. So every time you hear His word, the Holy Spirit wants to speak to you. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on what God could speak to you because you didn’t think it was for you.


I will never forget that conversation.  I realized in that moment that I had a tendency to check out if I didn’t think a message was for me, or a topic was for me, or I already knew about it, or if I was doing this thing well. This is what we could call itching ears; it’s a way that could harden your heart. How that could play out for you today is that maybe you’re someone who’s often wondering or often asking, “:Who’s speaking today” Or, “Hey, what’s the sermon on? What’s the topic? Where are we in the Bible?” Maybe you’re one who says, “Amir, are you not watching the news? We got to preach on this. We got to do another series on this.” And if it’s not your preference, you check out in your heart.  


Now, hear me church. You might connect with one pastor differently than others, or you might love different parts of this Bible more than others. That’s great. The problem is when those desires get to an unhealthy place. Then, what tends to happen is that if it’s not your preference, you check out, which means your heart gets hard, which means the word doesn’t do what it was intended to do.  


Let me tell you what’s going on spiritually that you may not realize. Remember, Jesus said that Satan wants to come and steal the Word. He wants to distract us. He wants to do whatever he can so we don’t receive God’s Word.  So that could be, we’re stuck in sin, we’re rebellious, we check out, we’re distracted, we’re checking sports on our phone right now, we’re thinking about our To-Do list later. 


Why is this important? Because Satan himself knows how powerful God’s Word is. He knows that if it gets in your heart, it’s going to bear fruit. So he’s going to do whatever he can to distract you and get your mind and heart off of God’s Word. At the same time, the Holy Spirit’s trying to work on you and convict you and speak to you and reveal God’s word to you.


And you see these two things in action always, but every Sunday, that’s why we have intercessors praying midweek, praying even this morning—so God’s Word would fall on good soil. Satan snatches it up because he knows how powerful it is. 


There are two things you can do practically if you find yourself with a hardened heart:


  • Lean in to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  


Jesus taught us that one of the many roles that the Holy Spirit does to help us, He convicts us of sin. So our response to that is when we’re convicted of sin, we repent. We confess. Confession and repentance are not just for when you get saved. It’s as often as you need. We’re all going to fall short of the glory of God. God will forgive us.  


What will tend to happen there is your heart will open up, you’ll come back to the Lord, and the Word will start to be received again. But if you say no, you stiff-arm the Holy Spirit, and your heart will stay hard. 


One of our pastors just this said, “Anyone I’ve ever met who’s rebelled from God says, ‘Man, I just wasted so many years of my life. I knew a long time ago what God wanted me to do. And I just kept doing my own thing. I wish I would’ve done that sooner.’”


  • Worship until your heart gets tender.  


This is simply getting yourself in the presence of God as often as you can. It could be here on Sunday, alone in your car, or at home. There’s something about the presence of God that will start to do things in your heart. He’ll soften your heart, and walls will come down, and there’ll be a work done in us. And then we just respond to whatever God’s doing in our hearts. We don’t want to live in a hardened heart place. We want to be able to receive God’s word when it comes to us.


2. A Shallow Heart.


In Mark 4:16-17, Jesus continues:


Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive 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. 


On a little bit lighter note, we’ve all experienced things that are shallow, things that we wish were deeper. Let me give you a few examples. Have you ever opened a new bag of chips? The last time I did this, it was on the couch with my family. I opened a new bag of chips, and I started eating this bag of chips. About 10 minutes in, I had this weird sensation where I started to feel the bottom of the bag.  And I’m like, “How did I already feel the bottom of the chips?” Now that I think about it, it’s probably a problem that I’m eating that fast, that I’m already to the bottom. But it also might be because the bag wasn’t all the way full to begin with, and it’s frustrating, right? 


Another one is free water cups at some restaurants. I don’t know why they give you the smallest cup in the world that my kid’s sippy cup is bigger than these cups. I was literally eating with one of our young adults this week. I took two bites of my food, and I went to take a drink, and the ice hit my face and I was like, “How is this cup already empty? Why are these so small? It’s like for a little baby, okay?”


What about snow? Man, we were praying for snow, and we got snow, and it was awesome! But then we went out in it, and it was a little shallow. And you’re like, okay, no big deal. But then, I don’t know about you, but when I tried to make a snowman, the snow just kind of disintegrated in my hand, and I just thought, I wish this was deeper. I don’t want to be selfish, but I just wished we had some more snow there.  


Jesus is describing soil that falls on rocky places. This is like a shallow heart, where the Word is received with joy, but there are no roots.  If we could ask the Lord, I wonder if He would say, “I just wish your roots were deeper. I wish you were deeper in me.”


The problem here isn’t the reception of the Word. No, the Word was received with joy. It’s that there were no roots. Hey, let me remind you of something. You can’t live off your parent’s roots, your best friend’s roots, or your pastor’s roots. God wants you to have roots of your own. 


Beth and I were honored to do nine years of college ministry in the church. And one of our favorite things that would happen all the time is that one of our college students would look at us and say, “I feel like for the first time in my life I’m finally living for God on my own. It’s not based off what my parents want or my friends want.” 


And that’s what God wants for each of you. I would even say it this way. God is calling New Life Church out of shallow roots. It’s time to grow deep roots in our churches. 


Later, Jesus would describe this soil as when trouble comes, not if things heat up.  And when he’s talking in the illustration about a plant, it withers because of the heat.  When heat turns up in your life, man, can your roots sustain you? 


Without roots, we won’t persevere. We saw this four years ago. The heat got turned up in our country, didn’t it? With the global pandemic, the political year, and division everywhere, people’s lacks of lack of roots were exposed. Some people left church, and other people left God. Thankfully, some of those people have come back to the Lord, though some have not. We have to keep praying for them. 


I’m just telling you, this is February, and let me give you a heads up. It’s an election year. But this year, we can’t be caught off guard that the heat’s going to come up and voices are going to start to get louder. No, we’re going to be rooted in Jesus, united as the body of Christ. And we’re going to do things that bring God glory. We’re not going to conform to the patterns of this world. You can be passionate about politics, but as a believer, your allegiance is to the kingdom of God, not to alienate 50 percent of the world. 


You can stand on convictions. Pastor Rick’s been telling us you need to have immovable convictions. So don’t be surprised in six months when people’s voices get louder. Don’t be surprised on social media when people start to run their mouths. That’s not how you respond though. You’re a Christ-follower.  You’re supposed to be set apart. We’ll probably talk about this, but I’m giving you my heart now. It’s going to turn up. 


Stand on your roots and your foundation. You don’t conform in Jesus’ name. What do we do if we have a shallow heart? Well, we get rooted.  And wouldn’t you know, we did a whole series on Rooted to start the year. Look at God. It’s crazy how these things work. There are two ways you can get rooted. 


The first one is just get rooted in Jesus. Prioritize your relationship with God! Practically, one thing that has really helped me even this year as a pastor is to have a consistent time and place where I hang out with the Lord, getting in God’s word every day.


We have a Mark reading plan. If you haven’t joined us, it’s six days of reading every day of the week, with all of us as a church reading together. It’s awesome. You can jump in at and see where we’re at praying, seeking God, and growing our roots deep in Jesus.


The other way you can be rooted is just to be planted in the church. When you’re planted in the house of the Lord, you’ll flourish in the courts of God. (See Psalm 92).


I was telling you this last month, let’s do our best to be here on Sundays. As often as you can, let’s take a next step. If you’re new, come to Connect Class. We have a Connect Class right after this service in the patio. You could just roll in.  


Do you want to get more involved? Come on! Get in a Life Group! We launched Life Groups two weeks ago. Most of them met last week for the first time, so it is not too late at all to join a Life Group. We would love to help you get connected. If you don’t know how, you can fill out a Connect Card. 


Be faithful to your life group. Let’s do our best to be there, to do our part. We have these resources of the church, like this book of Mark. Come on, let’s grow together. Let’s take deep roots in the Lord. This takes time though. It takes intentionality. It’s not going to happen by accident. 


And church, this is what’s so cool. As you grow deeper roots and receive God’s word with joy, you’re going to grow deeper. Then, when the heat comes, you’re not going to fall away.  No, you’re going to stand firm in Jesus.


3. A Distracted Heart. 


I think this is where most believers can live or do live. I know I have for sure. It’s hard. Mark 4:18 says:


Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”


Listen to this imagery, Jesus says, “and choke the word.” He could have used any verb. Choke the Word results in making the Word unfruitful. Thorns do the choking; we call this a distracted heart. The Word is heard and even received, but it gets choked out because there are many competing things in our hearts. The problem here is neglect.


Thorns (also weeds) don’t come up overnight. These are things in our hearts that tend to compete. Jesus identified three categories:


The worries of this life. Jesus is not talking about you having concern for something, like your parents or things on your mind. That’s not what he’s talking about. He’s talking about being consumed by worry. The consumption of worry, where it’s all that’s on your mind, and you can’t really focus on God. Some of that deep down is, “Do I trust God?” 


The deceitfulness of wealth. There’s this old phrase that’s been said many times, that money talks. It’s almost like Jesus is saying, “Yeah, money talks, but it can deceive you when it talks.” 


Desire for other things. This is simple, yet very real. This is where a lot of us live, myself included. It’s like, you love God, but you love other things, too, and sometimes those other things grow a bigger place in your heart than God. 


For example, some of y’all can say, “Amir, I enjoy spending time with God in the morning. But to be honest, most days I prefer to get on social media first thing in the morning and scroll for a while and just see what’s going on.”


Others would say, “Amir, I enjoy coming to church on a Sunday morning. But to be honest, I like to go out on Saturday night and be social and do things. And because of that, I can tend to miss church on Sunday.” 


I’m not here to judge you. These aren’t necessarily bad things, but what you don’t realize is that if these things are unchecked, they’re going to compete for your heart’s attention. Jesus said it in such a way that these things are going to compete with your heart to where they choke the Word of God out.


We have so many voices going on. We have so many things going on. We can’t discern between the Word of God and the other things. We can’t hear the voice of God in our life. 


For example. think of a time when it was really hard for you to breathe, like maybe you got the wind knocked out of you. Maybe, for some reason, you were gasping for air. You’re just like, “I just need a breath.” And sometimes in our mind, we freak out because we think it’s way worse than it is. If you’ve ever been in a pool or a lake, and you’re roughhousing with someone, and they push you under, you may think, “If I don’t give up on this water, something’s gonna happen!” Right?


Some of you are crazy. You do a cold plunge. You get in cold water on purpose! That’s insane, but when you jump in cold water, it can take your breath away. But in a lot of places in life, you can get to where you feel like you’re just desperate for air.


This is how Jesus is describing how the Word of God feels in your heart.  It’s being choked out by other things. And the Word of God is crying out, “Can I just have some air,  so I can do what I want to do in your heart?” It needs air to be fruitful. 


So what can we do for a distracted heart? 


Well, I’m going to empower you. You are now a landscape technician of your heart. You’ve got a new job description. You need no experience for this. You just get in your heart and we got to start working on that soil.


Take ownership of your heart. No one can take ownership of your heart for you. Some things that we have growing up, we got to tend to them. And this happens in two categories. For most of the things, you just got to work on the thorns that have grown up. Trim some things back. A lot of times it’s priorities.


Maybe your priorities have gotten off track. Take some time to make some adjustments, refocus some disciplines, and maybe slow down in some areas.  For some things, we need to remove them completely from our soil, from our hearts. They’re unhealthy.  What happens sometimes is that things that are good or things that are terrible have become an idol in our heart. 


An idol simply defined as anything that is the Lord of your life that’s not Jesus. It’s the number one thing in your heart, where that place and that seat was intended for Jesus Christ.  So it’s going to compete with God’s word. It’s going to compete with the affection of your heart. So you’ve got to make some decisions. If you’re willing to take ownership of your heart, this Word’s going to come in, but it’s going to have some air, it’s going to have some life, and it’s going to start bearing fruit within you, the distracted heart.


Number four, last heart,  I want to call it 


4. The fully devoted heart.


Mark 4:20. 


Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.


The good soil we could call the fully devoted heart. Some of the language of that is because that’s the vision of our house. Listen. A fully devoted heart is not a perfect heart. It’s just a heart after God. You’re doing your best to seek his face. The Word is heard, the Word is received, the Word is accepted, and it starts to bear fruit.  A mark of the fully devoted heart is obedience to God’s Word.  When you read this word, when the Holy Spirit speaks to you, you say, “Yes, Lord.”


That’s a fully devoted heart, even sometimes when it’s hard. And the result is that this Word will be fruitful. But Jesus said in such a way, it multiplies 30, 60, 100 times what was sown. When I was preparing for this message, I was just thinking about how 11 years ago was the first time I really got my heart in this place, fully devoted after Him.


I got serious about pursuing God. I got serious and honest about some sin I had been struggling with that was hidden for a long time. I started to deal with it. I started to find freedom in Jesus. I got baptized. I just did my best to prioritize the Lord. I felt like I was always at the church learning so much.


Coincidentally, during that time, I was in graduate school. I started interning in our church, leading a college age life group, and my heart was in good soil. I couldn’t keep up with how much I was growing. I still had challenges. I still made mistakes, but it was focused on what God was doing in my life, and His joy trumped those things. I wouldn’t get stuck on them like I did before. 


I’ll never forget. I came home from an internship meeting; our pastors were so good about teaching us God’s Word. My best friend, Nick, who I was telling you about earlier, came over to my house and I said, “Nick! Bro, I’m learning so much!” I just word vomited all the things I had learned over the past week. “Man, I learned this about Jesus. Did you know this is in the Old Testament? Did you know this is the New Testament? Do you know about the Holy Spirit? Why doesn’t anyone ever tell me about the Holy Spirit? He’s the man!” 


I’m freaking out, and I literally looked at Nick and said, “Did you know these things?”  And I’ll never forget. He looked at me, just with a smile on his face. He goes, “Yes, buddy. I know those things, but I’m so glad you’re learning them. And I love to see how much you’re growing.” If I look back on my life, it was the most growth I’ve experienced in one year that I’ve ever had.


And you can think of seasons of your life like that. Obviously this illustration is about soil. It’s not every day of your life, like 365, you’re always bearing fruit. But let me tell you, God’s heart is that we experience this kind of soil, this kind of fruit often. It’s not an exception, but an everyday thing of a fully devoted heart.


We’re doing our best to tend to the soil of our heart, and God does his part.  And the response, the result. So when you’re in this place, or you remain in this place of a fully devoted heart, there’s two things I would encourage you to do. 


Hold Onto God’s Word


The first one is to hold on to God’s word. You’re reading it, you’re hearing it, and it’s doing things in your life. Take a hold of it, and get it in your heart. Psalm 119 says, “I’ve hidden your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you.” There’s power in God’s word. I had a mentor once tell me, “Hey Amir, you know what the spiritual definition of an overcomer is?”


I was like, “What?” He said, “It’s someone who gets God’s Word in their heart and doesn’t let go.” 


You can go through the hardest thing in your life, and when you hold onto Jesus and his word, you will overcome. It may not be the way you think or the way you saw it play out, but you will be an overcomer, in Jesus’ name. 


Expect God to Speak to You


The second thing I would encourage you to do, with a fully devoted heart, is to expect God to speak to you. Increase your expectation, because your heart’s ready and the word of God will do what the word of God will do. So, when you read this word, when you hear the word at church or at a life group, or you listen to a sermon, even if it’s the smallest thing, God blows your mind with a revelation. Expect that you’re going to learn, expect that you’re going to grow, and expect that the Holy Spirit will tell you something to do.


When you apply it, and you’re obedient, you’re going to grow. You’ll see over time, as you do this, you’re going to have a fully devoted heart, and you’re going to have a fruitful life. 


So, what’s the condition of your heart today?  Is it hard? Is it shallow? Is it rocky and distracted, or is it on good soil? The goal would be that we take steps for it to be a fully devoted heart. This parable, much like the Word of God, demands action. 


What are the steps you need to take practically to keep and maintain a fully devoted heart? Here’s what you need to know; I’m going to speak over you in faith. 


From this moment on, for the rest of your life, until you go to heaven, anytime you hear this word, if you fight to have a condition of a heart that will receive it, it will influence you in ways you never could imagine. 


So, anytime you read or hear God’s word, simply check your heart. Take 30 seconds and ask, “Holy Spirit, is there anywhere that my heart is not in the right place?” 


I know we have a lot going on. You’re just trying to get here to church and respond to the Holy Spirit and fight to have that fully devoted heart. And this is where you’re going to start to see. God’s going to start changing your life from the inside out.


You’re going to hear God’s voice. You’re going to grow deeper roots. When hard things come, you’re not going to wither away. You’re going to endure, you’re going to do your part and take ownership. And as things come up, you’re going to tend to it and move things around. But what we’re going to see is that there will be more fruit in your life than you could ever imagine, because you did your part.


God did his part for you to have a fully devoted heart. Our prayer has been this for 23 years, and is the same today, that you would become and remain a fully devoted follower of Christ.  And some of that is the way you hear from our God and respond to His word.


I’d love to pray for you. Take a moment and ask what the Holy Spirit is speaking to you right now? We start response time by listening, and I believe He’s already been speaking to you. 


So, where’s your heart today? As you think about that, ask the Lord, “Lord, what do I need to do to get a fully devoted heart after you?” 


Then take those steps. If you need to repent, repent. If you need God’s help in an area, ask God for help in that area. If you need to continue to grow deep roots, grow deep roots.


What is it for you? Be expectant that He’s going to show you. And as we continue to pray, I want to pray for those of you who are unsure about your relationship with God.  You don’t know God. You’re far from God. Maybe we talked about how you’ve been rebellious towards God.


And I just want to share with you that this man, Jesus, that we’ve been talking about, we believe He is the son of God. Scripture says that He came and lived a perfect life. He died on the cross for our sins. He paid for our sins in a way that we can never pay for. And He rose again three days later, victorious over death and sin. 


He made a way so we can be in a relationship with the heavenly Father, so we could go to heaven one day, so our sins could be paid for. And the Bible says, clearly, that if you repent, turn from your ways, turn from a hardened heart, turn from rebellion, and you believe in your heart and you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved.


What happens there, in the context of this parable, your heart’s going to begin to soften.  God will break a hardened heart, spiritually, and begin to do a work in you, and He will save you. So, if that’s you, with every head bowed, and you’re like, “Amir, I need to make a decision to follow Jesus.” Will you lift up your hand?


That’s the first step. That’s the first step in moving towards a fully devoted heart. You’ve got to give your life to Christ. I just want to see you so I can pray for you, and what I love to say is: “It’s the best decision of your life.”



Jesus, I thank You for Your word. I thank You that you told us this parable. We’ve got to get this parable. 


I thank You, Jesus, that you desire to speak to us. Help us, Lord, to grow in receiving Your Word. Maybe we need to put ourselves in positions for more of Your Word. More seed could mean more fruit. But maybe, Lord, our heart has been hardened, and we need to come to You and repent and confess, or maybe we need to get in Your presence.


Maybe, Lord, we’ve been hurt. Maybe we’re in pain, God. I just pray that they come to You and find healing from You. Maybe someone with spiritual authority has hurt them, and that’s why they’re having a hard time hearing from You. Lord, I pray that You do a healing work in their hearts, that maybe a man or a woman misrepresented you, Lord. I pray that You would show them who the real Jesus is. Soften hearts, Lord. 


God, I pray for those who need to grow deeper roots. I pray You’d breathe your Holy Spirit wind in their sail. They would continue to seek you, continue to wake up and spend time with You, continue to come to church. You would just affirm them in their pursuit of You.


And you are growing deep roots for when He comes. Lord, help them stand firm. But Lord, for most of us, help us with our distraction, God. Help us. Maybe we’re going too fast in life. We love you, God, but You’re not even in the top three. Help us reprioritize you, Lord. 


I pray that this could be a year that New Life Church has a heart devoted after You. We’re fully devoted, God. Help us to see anything that’s getting in the way of that. We want to bear fruit for Your kingdom. We want to follow You closely. Lord, we want our hearts to be in a place where You want them to be. We’re open for you to do whatever you want to do, Lord. We want to be obedient, even when it’s hard.


And on our 23rd year anniversary, God, we just submit our lives to You. Help us to walk one day at a time, close to You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Table of Contents