Volume 7 Issue 1 | January 2024

You Reap What You Sow

From The Power to Change by Craig Groeschel

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. — Galatians 6:7–9 NIV

For us non-agrarians, let’s establish some definitions.

To sow means to plant — to put seed in the ground.

To reap means to gather the fruit — the result of the seed planted.

So the passage starts, “Do not be deceived.” The idea is: Don’t be led astray. Don’t be fooled, or stupid.


It continues, “God cannot be mocked.” The Greek word translated “mocked” means to snub or thumb your nose at someone. You can do that to someone — but not God. Don’t be deceived, God can’t be mocked. You might fool a lot of people, but you’re not going to fool God.


The next words are, “A man reaps what he sows.” That’s what we need to understand and not be stupid about. What does that mean?

You will harvest what you plant.

You will get out what you put in.

Your outcomes will be determined by your inputs.

The results of your life will be based on the decisions you make, the habits you stake, and the habits you break.


Paul gives us a spiritual example about sowing to the flesh or the Spirit. The flesh refers to our sinful nature. Some sow (or plant seeds) to the flesh, meaning they do what’s wrong, ungodly, and sinful. The result? They reap (or harvest) destruction. Bad decisions lead to bad consequences.


Others sow (or plant seeds) to the Spirit, meaning they allow themselves to be led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, so they do what honors God. The result? They reap (or harvest) eternal life. So if you live your life with and for God, that’s what you’re going to get out of it. Not just now but (especially) eternally. If you live your life for yourself, ignoring God, apart from him, that’s what you’re going to get out of it. Not just now but (especially) eternally.


But it’s not just true spiritually and eternally. This is the way all of life works. We reap what we sow.


There’s a law at work. Not a law like “You must do this!” More like how gravity is a law of nature. It’s how the world works. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to agree with it. Gravity will work for you, and on you, the same way it works with everyone.


God tells us there is a law of sowing and reaping. If you plant apple seeds, you get apple trees. If you plant orange seeds, don’t be deceived; don’t be stupid and expect apples. You can picture a farmer out in his fields: Wait. What’s this? I wanted apples. Why did I get oranges? It’s because you planted orange seeds!


Every. Single. Time. You reap what you sow.

True in agriculture. True in life.

If you plant good habits, you’ll get good outcomes.

If you plant bad habits, don’t be deceived and expect good outcomes.


When people mess up their marriages, friendships, or careers, they get upset and often blame God. Ummm, no. God didn’t do this to you. You did this to you.


If you plant good habits, you’ll get good outcomes.

If you plant bad habits, don’t expect good outcomes.

You reap what you sow.

If you don’t like what you’re reaping, change what you’re sowing.

If you don’t like the harvest, change the seed.


Here’s a divine assignment: Take an honest, prayerful look at the disappointing parts of your life. Ask God to help you search your heart. Then pinpoint the habits that have led to each aspect of your life that isn’t what you want. Avoid having a victim mentality or blaming others. That will not help. Take responsibility by identifying the habits you’ve sown that have led to your harvest. Then decide on a type of seed you will consistently plant to get a better harvest.

3 Important Bible Lessons for Black History Month

by Shelley Leith

As Christians, we have much to consider, learn from, and celebrate during Black History Month. When President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, he called us to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans.” Black History Month gives Christians a great opportunity to go well beyond just honoring accomplishments. We can examine our human pride, pursue reconciliation and forgiveness, and grow in celebrating God’s good gift of diversity.


Here are three Bible lessons that express some of the deeper meanings of Black History Month.


Bible Lesson #1 - We recognize the image of God in every person.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27


Black History Month is an important time to reflect on the struggles, sacrifices, and accomplishments of African Americans throughout our nation’s history. It is also an important opportunity to recognize the image of God in each and every person, regardless of their background or ethnicity. As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors and treat them with respect, as they were all created in the image of God, and therefore, are all equal in his eyes. We can use this time to examine how we may have contributed to racism and injustice in the past and how we can work to make our society more equitable and just moving forward.


Bible Lesson # 2- We embrace the power of forgiveness.

Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us. – Matthew 6:12 (GNT)


The power of forgiveness is key to our faith, and it is especially important to remember during Black History Month. We must forgive those who have wronged us, and we must ask for forgiveness from those we have wronged. The only way to move forward in a spirit of love and understanding is to work on healing the wounds of our past.


Bible Lesson #3 - We celebrate our differences.

There before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. – Revelation 7:9


Black History Month is not just about recognizing our past, but also about celebrating our differences—differences that will make us a beautiful tapestry when we all stand before Jesus at the end of this age. We can use this time to celebrate the contributions African Americans have made to our society, and to appreciate the beauty and diversity of all cultures. By celebrating our differences, we can create a more inclusive, equitable, and just society for everyone.

Six Benefits of Studying God’s Word with Others

By wordgo.org

Most of us will already be convinced that studying the Bible on your own is foundational to the Christian life. But how important is it to do it together? If starting or joining a small group Bible study sounds like an unnecessary commitment to you, here’s six benefits you may wish to consider.


1. It follows Jesus’ example

As believers, we seek to follow Jesus’ example in all things. Although Jesus preached often to large crowds, he chose to empower and prepare his followers for ministry in a small group setting. The early church continued with this discipleship model; Acts 2:42 tells us that first generation believers met in homes and “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship.”


2. It directs us in wisdom

The Bible is a roadmap for life! It contains “everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Yet just as sometimes we need someone to help us read a map, we benefit from others’ experience of digging deep in God’s Word. They will have found gems of wisdom that we have not yet discovered. We can offer insights that they have not yet learned. This is the beauty of studying together.


3. It creates meaningful connections

Humans were not designed to be alone. We were made to be dependent on God first, but also on one another. In an increasingly virtual world – where social media interactions can often be superficial and increase feelings of isolation – small group Bible study offers a powerful means of forging deep and life-giving connections with other believers.


4. It provides necessary encouragement

The group study context also provides a safe space for members to share their struggles. Witnessing the faith of another believer encourages us to keep going when things get tough (Romans 1:12); gives us the opportunity to comfort those in trouble “with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Cor. 1:4); and enriches us as we hear how God has strengthened, guided, and directed others.


5. It keeps us accountable

All of us need our knowledge sharpened, blind spots in our thinking corrected, and resistance to changes in our behavior challenged. We mature much more quickly in our faith when we can ask one another questions like, “What steps are you taking to change that?” and, “How did that go for you this week?” Accountability leads to more fruitful application of truth.


6. It transforms our families, workplaces, and communities

We read, He speaks, we are transformed. When we study the Bible together, God promises to reveal Himself, to teach us how to obey Him, and to show us how to love one another. When we are changed to become more like Jesus, our family, workplaces, and communities will be eternally impacted.

Where Can You Find a Bible Study?

Children

On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sabbath mornings, Pastor Goodman holds a Bible study with students from CAA who have indicated an interest in baptism. Photo Credit: Angela Wimberly


Youth

On the first Sabbath of every month, the Youth Ministry holds Young Lions, a meeting where the youth can connect and learn about the Bible.


Young Adults

Every Tuesday and Friday evening, the Young Adult Ministry provides Young Adult Bible Study in the conference room. Photo Credit: Jai Williams


Adults

Both pastors and some of the elders regularly conduct Bible studies with those who are interested. To sign up, complete the Bible Study Request Form at ephesus-sda.com/forms.

1 Courtney Cofield, Angela Evans 2 Lynn Travers, Jai Williams 3 Thomas Jackson, Roslyn Jordan 6 Chloe Campbell, Cleavon Harrison Jr., Alanni Hinkle, Jenee Lee, Kristopher Owens 7 Shelli (Palmer) Bailey, Thermon Odlet 8 Ronald Barber 9 Melissa Theodore 10 Geoff Green, Andrea Page, Nathaniel Thomas 11 Laurenda Deliotte, Aria Duncan, Jazmyn Lavalas 12 Ayzha Kendrick,  James Lee, Esq. 13 Elder Marvin Brown,  Alicia Donaldson 14 Sipho Makapela 15 Troy Page 17 Norda Bernard-Davis, Lune Deliotte, Johnathan Nwabunike 18 Madison Page 19 Carlton Churchill, Natasha Darius, Marshall Davis, Katherine Scott, Terry Smith, Michael Wimberly 21 Kimberly Desir, Rosalyn Grady, Kyra Lamar-Wyche, Brandi Phipps 22 Wanda Porter, Kevin Wingo 24 Torlita Wells 25 Holly Hollingsworth 27 Julio Deliotte 28 Lori Diaz, Gaye King


Did we miss your February birthday or anniversary? Let us know by emailing announce@ephesus-sda.com.

1 PJELC Board Meeting, Zoom, 6:30 PM

2 Young Adult Bible Study, Conference Room, 7 PM

3 Young Lions Bible Study, 1:30 PM

6 AdCom Meeting, Google Meet, 6:30 PM

6 Young Adult Bible Study, Conference Room, 7 PM

3 Ephesus vs. Dayton, Fellowship Hall

7 Impact Columbus Prayer Meeting, Ephesus, 7 PM

9 Men’s Fellowship, 7 PM

9 Young Adult Bible Study, Conference Room, 7 PM

10 Central vs. Ephesus, Columbus

11 Pathfinders and Adventurers, 10 AM

11 Super Bowl Party, Fellowship Hall, 6:30 PM

13 CAA Finance Committee Meeting, Zoom, 6 PM

13 Finance Committee Meeting, Zoom, 6 PM

13 Young Adult Bible Study, Conference Room, 7 PM

13 Young Adult Bible Study, Conference Room, 7 PM

14 Impact Columbus Prayer Meeting, Ephesus, 7 PM

16 Young Adult Bible Study, Conference Room, 7 PM

17 Youth Church, CAA Multipurpose Room, 11 AM

18 Elder Board Meeting, Conference Room, 9 AM

18 Church Board Meeting, Fellowship Hall, 10 AM

20 Young Adult Bible Study, Conference Room, 7 PM

21 Impact Columbus Prayer Meeting, Beacon of Hope, 7 PM

23 Men’s Fellowship, 7 PM

23 Young Adult Bible Study, Conference Room, 7 PM

24 Children’s Church, Fellowship Hall, 11:15 AM

25 Pathfinders and Adventurers, 10 AM

27 Young Adult Bible Study, Conference Room, 7 PM

28 Impact Columbus Prayer Meeting, Beacon of Hope, 7 PM

Ephesus Communications Department
Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church
3650 Sunbury Road Columbus, Ohio 43219
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