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This quarter, we focus on Jesus as our Soon-Coming King in our weekly devotional series. This week’s devotional comes from Matt. 13 – 19.

As leaders, we long for ways to be more effective in our ministries. Leaders frequently look for greater methodology and the latest trends, searching for anything that will help produce more fruit, seeking any resource possible for ways to improve ministry. Jesus provided the principles for spiritual fruitfulness through a series of parables in Matt. 13.

Jesus began by describing the kingdom of heaven in the parable of the hidden treasure and the parable of the pearl of great price. He instructed teachers of the law to bring out new treasures as well as old when teaching about the kingdom of heaven (v. 52).

What is the kingdom of heaven? It is anywhere Jesus is King. This definition provides the opportunity to live out the kingdom in day-to-day life, as well as to look forward to the joy of spending eternity there. So, how do we live in the kingdom of heaven today? How do we help others do the same so as to produce greater fruit?

Jesus revealed answers to these questions in the parable of the sower (vv. 3 – 23) and the parable of the weeds (vv. 24 – 30), where we find the returning King looking for those producing a crop planted in good soil as opposed to a crop with weeds that will be pulled up and thrown into the fire.

As we study these parables, we discover three things we must do to produce a crop. If any of these is missing, the crop produced will be lacking:

  1. We must hear the Word of God.
  2. We must understand the Word of God.
  3. We must apply the Word of God.

If we hope to produce a crop, the Word of God must first be planted in our lives. We must hear it, we must understand it, and we must apply it to our lives (v. 23).

Just as yeast must be worked throughout an entire batch of dough (v. 33), so must the Word of God work throughout our lives. Just as the smallest mustard seed can grow exponentially (vv. 31 – 32), so will our crop grow exponentially.

Finally, we must ask ourselves, “To what extent am I hearing, understanding and applying the Word of God in my life?” For it is to this extent that I am good soil, producing crops and ready for my returning King.

By: Heidi Messner, co-pastor of Faith Center (Eureka Foursquare Church) in Eureka, Calif.

Share your journey through the Gospels » Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you personally as the Foursquare family reads through the Gospels! Download the reading plan bookmarks for 2012, and you can also subscribe to the weekly Foursquare Leader Prayer email to receive insights and inspiration from Foursquare leaders around the world.

is a freelance writer living in Long Beach, Calif.