Subscribe to receive weekly emails of the Reasons for Hope blog.

* indicates required

The Beal Challenge!

The year was 1879. The location—Michigan State University. The event—a unique scientific experiment to determine the viability of seeds if left buried and undisturbed by outside forces. Professor of Botany, Dr. William Beal, gathered 20 batches of 50 seeds from 21 different plant species to put in each of 20 glass pint bottles, combined with sandy soil. He buried them on campus property with uncorked mouths facing downward at an angle to prevent water from getting to the seeds while still allowing for exposure to moisture and sand. The seeds were left in this dormant state.
Source: Derrick L. Turner/Michigan State University
After 5 years, the first of the 20 bottles was unearthed. Eventually, this time span was increased to digging up a bottle every 10 years, and in 1980, this cadence was upped to 20 years. Due to the pandemic, the most recent unearthing occurred in 2021.
As a Christian, I am familiar with another narrative about seeds—this one told as a parable by the Son of God Himself.

Matthew 13:3-8; 18-23

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside: and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth: and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and c hoked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

. . . When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.

What you have just read is a biblical model of evangelism. David Wheeler in the book, Evangelism Is (2010), writes that evangelism can be thought of as spiritual farming. The church was born in an agricultural society, so the ideas of sowing, planting, and harvesting were easy for them to understand.
One of our speakers, Dr, Juan Valdes, puts this concept into perspective in one of his messages, “4 Key Principles of the Spiritual Harvest” as follows*:
  1. The harvest is a process, not an event. The fields have to be prepared, seeds planted and watered, and then God has to give the seed life, so it will grow and bear fruit.
  2. There are different roles in the harvest. Every aspect is equally important. We must begin by plowing the fields through prayer.
  3. We can also plow the fields through community service. Intentionally share Christ by modeling biblical servanthood, and combine simple acts of kindness with intentional personal evangelism. (Note: Servant Evangelism by Albin Reed and David Wheeler, includes 58 project ideas for individuals, families, or churches.)
  4. Once the soil is plowed, the seeds need to be sown. In order to have a large harvest, many seeds must be planted. The more seeds we sow, the larger the harvest we can expect to receive. Jesus illustrated this with the parable of the sower in Matthew 13.
Believers in Christ should be focused on planting seeds, having conversations where we can speak about the gospel or lead others to thinking about God and His interactions in our daily lives, responding to difficult questions, and praying with people who are hurting.

We often get caught up in the thinking that every time we talk to someone about God or share the gospel, that they should get saved; otherwise, we’ve failed. Remember, it’s always a process, not an event. Our responsibility is to be part of the process, sowing the seeds; it is God who gives the increase (I Corinthians 3:6-9).
So what were the results of Dr. Beal’s experiment? Well, for one thing, it’s still ongoing, but the results to date are perfectly in line with Jesus’ parable of the sower. In each of the bottles that have been unearthed so far, there were multiple seeds that germinated and sprouted into viable plants. Yes, many did not, but EVERY bottle contained seeds that took root and yielded a harvest. In fact, the seeds extracted from the bottle dug up in 2021—an amazing 142 years after being buried—yielded 13 viable plants!
What’s the real lesson here? … Not just that sharing our faith is a process, but more importantly, we can never know how many of the spiritual “seeds” we’ve planted will take root or how long it will take for any to take root. I’m speaking from the experience of praying for my Dad for more than four decades (My mother prayed for him for over 50 years!), and seeing seeds planted by myself and others for that duration before he finally surrendered to God’s wooing (Read more about this story HERE in the blog entitled, Please say “Yes!”).
May we, much like Dr. William Beal, enthusiastically plant seeds of God’s love and grace, expectantly waiting and praying for a spiritual harvest. Our mantra—like one of our Reasons for Hope’s t-shirts—should be “When I get to Heaven, I want to see you there!”

The more seeds we sow, the larger the harvest we can expect to receive.

*Note: This section on the “4 Key Principles of the Spiritual Harvest” is just one of many of the concepts taught in Unit 1 of our new DeBunked IMPACT Curriculum.
Author Bio:
Holly Varnum, Director of Curriculum Development at Reasons for Hope joined us September 2021 to launch curricular materials to support many of our media resources. With degrees in education, curriculum and instruction, and educational administration, she comes with over three decades of experience in working with teens and adults in camp ministry, teaching and administration, and curriculum writing (A Beka Book, Focus on the Family, and Answers in Genesis to name a few). God has provided her with a well-rounded educational perspective through service in Christian schools, charter schools, public schools, homeschooling, Christian camps, and local church ministry. She has been a classroom teacher, instructional coach, administrator, camp counselor, Sunday School teacher, ladies’ Bible Study teacher, and conference speaker and looks forward to using her passion for God’s truth within the context of Reasons for Hope.

Her hobbies include cooking and baking, hiking, camping, travel, and working on do-it-yourself projects. Holly and her husband, Paul, (RforH*’s Special Content Manager) also enjoy any time they can spend with their three grown daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren (so far!). They live in the beautiful state of Maine, and yes, eat lobster (properly pronounced “lobstah”) whenever they get a chance!
To learn more about Holly, or to book her as a speaker for educational, ladies', or girls' events, click HERE.

Our Newest Releases!

IMPACT curriculum trains and equips young adult believers to stand boldly on the Word of God. It helps them know why they believe what they believe so that, in turn, they can live and share their faith with confidence.

Unit 1: Foundations begins with the basic principles of apologetics, biblical worldview, and critical thinking. This groundwork prepares students to unpack the rich content of the attention-grabbing DeBunked videos while they build relationships with others, actively apply the lesson content, and find true purpose in planting seeds of faith in a world that needs the hope of Christ. Click HERE to see other related products or to order this valuable resource.
We also encourage you to purchase our newest ministry book, Did Jesus Commit Suicide? And 27 Other Questions That Teens Have About the Bible (that adults want to know, too) to help you answer questions from a biblical worldview that teens are asking today. Click HERE.

We Have an App for That!

Our app is FREE and is designed to encourage you in your walk with Christ and to train and equip you and your family in staying bold in your faith. Just click HERE, and look for the blue asterisk on the black background.

No Comments


Recent

Archive

Categories

Tags

1 Chronicles 16:8-12 1 Chronicles 22:14 1 Chronicles 29:11 1 Corinthians 10:31 1 Corinthians 13 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 1 Corinthians 15:21 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 1 Corinthians 15:33 1 Corinthians 15:45 1 Corinthians 15:57 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 1 John 2:15-17 1 John 2:15 1 John 2:2 1 John 4:10 1 John 4:19 1 John 4:7-8 1 Peter 1:23 1 Peter 2:24 1 Peter 3:15 1 Peter 3:18 1 Peter 4:12-13 1 Peter 4:12-19 1 Peter 5:10 1 Thessalonians 5:11 1 Timothy 4:8 1 Timothy 6:10 1 Timothy 6:3-10 1 corinthians 10:13 100 miles 100% human 1Peter 1:17-21 2 Chronicles 9:13-29 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 2 Corinthians 12:9 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 2 Corinthians 1:3-6 2 Corinthians 1:3 2 Corinthians 3:17 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 2 Corinthians 5:21 2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Peter 3:9 2 Samuel 23:8-12 2 Samuel 6:17 2 Thessalonians 3:3 2 Timothy 1:7 2 Timothy 2:15 2 Timothy 2:25 2 Timothy 2:7 2 Timothy 3:12 2 Timothy 3:16-17 2 Timothy 4:11 25% are staying 50k 55-mile race AI Abraham sacrificing Isaac Abraham was very rich. Abuja Acts 11 Acts 13 and 15 Acts 17:11 Acts 17:22-34 Acts 17 Acts 1:8 Acts 5:38-39 Acts 9 Albert Einstein All great men were born in February. Alyssa Glander America waited too long. Apostle Peter Asbury Barabbas Barna poll Barnabas Baruch Bulla Be a Berean Be bold! Be bold Be happy! Be part of the process. Be still and know that I am God Best Evidence God Created Bethlehem Bible reading Bible Biblical archaeology Bob Gillespie Brian Miller C.S. Lewis CRT Camp Sigel Candace Nordine Carl Kerby Jr. Carl Kerby Cell phones Choosing for Two Christ in me Christ opened my eyes. Christian Camps Christian witness Christian worldview Chruch Colossians 1:27 Colossians 2:14 Colossians 2:8 Colossians 3:17-23 Colossians 3:17 Colossians 3:1 Colossians 4:5-6 Columbo Tactic Creation Creator God D. Mark Jacobs Jr. Dan Lietha Daniel 12:4 Daniel 2:21 Dave Glander David Tautofi DeBunked 15 DeBunked TV DeBunked Deuteronomy 11:13 Deuteronomy 32:35 Deuteronomy 6:6-7 Deuteronomy 6:6-9 Deuteronomy 6:7 Did Jesus Commit Suicide? Dr. Andrew Fabich Dr. Francis Schaeffer Dr. Jason Lisle Dr. William Beal Draa Mackey EQUIP+ EQUIP Easter Ecclesiastes 12:13 Ecclesiastes 12:14 Ecclesiastes 3:11 Ecclesiastes 4:10 Eleazar Elohim Ephesians 1:13-14 Ephesians 2:8-9 Ephesians 3:12 Ephesians 3:17-18 Ephesians 3:19-21 Ephesians 3:20-21 Ephesians 4:29 Ephesians 5:15-16 Ephesians 5:15-17 Ephesians 6:10-18 Ephesians 6:12 Ephesians 6:4 Equip Retreat Exodus 17:11 Exodus 17:12 Exodus 20:11 Exodus 33:14 Ezekiel 33:11 Facing the Giants Family dinner Fascinating Facts Fearless Faith Frank Figueroa Gabby Terry Galatians 2:20 Galatians 5:1 Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 6:7 Galatians 6:9 Gary Varvel Gen Z Genesis 11:1-2 Genesis 11:6 Genesis 11:7 Genesis 13:1-2 Genesis 13:8-12 Genesis 1:14-15 Genesis 1:14 Genesis 1:27 Genesis 1:28 Genesis 1:29 Genesis 1:31 Genesis 22 Genesis 3:10 Genesis 3:12 Genesis 3:14-15 Genesis 3:20 Genesis 3 Genesis 9:7 Genesis and the Gospel Genesis Glad You Asked Christmas Edition Glad You Asked Glendive Montana Glory to God! God created you God is love. God is rich in mercy God loves us. God loves you God makes no mistakes. God won the battle God-created world God-shaped vacuum God's Word God's character God's dwelling place God's grace God's joy God's plan God's pursuit God\'s Word God\'s character God\'s joy God\'s plan God\'s pursuit God\\\'s character God\\\'s joy God\\\'s plan God\\\'s pursuit God\\\\\\\'s character God\\\\\\\'s joy God\\\\\\\'s plan God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s character God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s plan God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s character God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s plan Gods Word is truth Gods Word Gods care Gods character Gods divine plan Gods light Gods love story Gods plan of redemption Gods plan Gods wisdom Good Shepherd Gospel message Grace Mally Grace Moffitt Grammar matters Groggy Hallelujah! Hawaii He is always faithful. He is risen Heaven Hebrews 10:1-18 Hebrews 10:19-22 Hebrews 10:23 Hebrews 11 Hebrews 12:1-3 Hebrews 12 Hebrews 13:14 Hebrews 13:5-6 Hebrews 13:5 Hebrews 13:8 Hebrews 4:12 Hebrews 4:16 Hebrews 7:25 Hell His glory Holly Varnum Holy Spirit How can I fight and overcome fear? How to Think Hubble Human life is sacred. Huntsman Center Hurry sickness I Peter 3:15 IMPACT Impact Curriculum Is it okay for a Christian to be rich? Is life good? Isaiah 11:1 Isaiah 26:3-4 Isaiah 40:28-31 Isaiah 40:29 Isaiah 40:31 Isaiah 41:10 Isaiah 41 Isaiah 43:1 Isaiah 43:2 Isaiah 45:9a Isaiah 53:6 Isaiah 55:11 Isaiah 55:8-9 Isaiah 55:8 Isaiah 64:8 Isaiah 7:14 Isaiah 9:6 Israel Museum It is well with my soul Jamaica James 1:12 James 1:15 James 1:17 James 1:2 James 4:10 James 4:14 James 4:7 James 4:8 January 2022 Jehovah Rapha Jeremiah 17:9 Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah 29:13 Jeremiah 31:3 Jeremiah 33:3 Jeremiah 36:32 Jerusalem Jesus and me Jesus chose to die. Jesus comforts the broken-hearted. Jesus saw their faith Jesus the Messiah Jesus Jewish feasts Job 1:3 Job 2:8 John 10:10 John 10:11 John 10:17-18 John 10:27 John 11:25 John 14:1-3 John 14:6 John 15:1-11 John 15:13 John 15:16a John 16:33 John 1:12 John 1:35-42 John 3:16-17 John 3:16 John 3:17 John 6:51 John 8:32 John 8:36 John Mark John Ray Joni Eareckson Tada Joni and Friends Joseph A. Kennedy Joseph and Mary Joseph Joshua 1:9 Joshua 22:5 Joshua 24:15 Juan Valdes Jude 1:22 Julaine Appling Justice Kaimuki Bulldogs Kaimuki High School Keeping teens faithful King David King Hezekiah King Solomon Know It! Live It! Share It! Know why you believe. LEAD Wisconsin Lacey Reitz Lamentations 3:22-23 Lamentations 3:22-24 Leviticus 12:8 Leviticus 18:24-30 Leviticus 25:23 Liberty Institute Life in layers Life is good because God is good. Life is good Listen to His voice. Listen Little boys need Mamas. Little boys need to know their Mamas like them. Loose the Lion Luke 12:12 Luke 18:1 Luke 1:32 Luke 22:32 Luke 24:38 Luke 2:1-14 Luke 2:24 Luke 2:55 Luke 2:7 Luke 5:1-11 Luke 5:37-39 MTD Malachi 3:3 Malachi 3:6 Mark 10:45 Mark 10:8 Mark 16:15 Mark 1:16-18 Mark 2:3-5 Mark 5:19 Mark 6:31 Martin Luther Mary Master Potter Matthew 10:20 Matthew 10:32 Matthew 11:28-29 Matthew 11:28-30 Matthew 11:28 Matthew 11:29-30 Matthew 11:29 Matthew 13 Matthew 14:22-33 Matthew 14:31 Matthew 16:24 Matthew 19:16-24 Matthew 19:23-24 Matthew 1:22-23 Matthew 24:35 Matthew 27:15-25 Matthew 27:75 Matthew 28:18-20 Matthew 4:18-20 Matthew 5:13 Matthew 5:16 Matthew 5:18 Matthew 6:19-20 Matthew 6:19-21 Matthew 6:19 Matthew 6:25-26 Matthew 6:27 Matthew 6:33 Matthew 9:35 May 15 1987 Memory Lane Mere Christianity Messiah Mic'd Up Mic'dUP Mic\'d Up Mic\'dUP Mic\\\'d Up Mic\\\\\\\'d Up Mic\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'d Up Micah 5:2 Micah 6:8 Michigan State University Miracles Money is their god. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism Mosaic NRB National Religious Broadcasters Never Forget. Never Again. New Year's resolutions New Year\'s resolutions Nigeria Noah's ark Nonconformity Not yet a human. OJ Simpson Parable of the sower Pastor Baba Paul Varnum Peter Philippians 1:6 Philippians 2:13 Philippians 2:3-4 Philippians 2:6-11 Philippians 3:12-16 Philippians 3:7-8 Philippians 4:13 Philippians 4:6-7 Philippians 4:6-9 Philippians 4:8 Pilate Plan C Please say Yes! Please say "Yes!" Please say \"Yes!\" Please say \\\"Yes!\\\" Pool of Siloam Potter Pray for Rachael Neal. Proverbs 11:10 Proverbs 12:26 Proverbs 14:12 Proverbs 14:34 Proverbs 15:4 Proverbs 16:3 Proverbs 18:12 Proverbs 18:24 Proverbs 19:21 Proverbs 1:20 Proverbs 1:8-9 Proverbs 22:6 Proverbs 23:19-21 Proverbs 27:17 Proverbs 3:5-6 Proverbs 3:5 Proverbs 3;5-6 Proverbs 6:16-19 Psalm 100:5 Psalm 100 Psalm 103:2-5 Psalm 119:105 Psalm 119:11 Psalm 119:160 Psalm 122:1 Psalm 138:1-2 Psalm 139:14 Psalm 139:17 Psalm 139 Psalm 13:6 Psalm 147:4 Psalm 16:11 Psalm 18:1-2 Psalm 18:30 Psalm 19:1 Psalm 1:1 Psalm 1 Psalm 23:1 Psalm 23:2 Psalm 23:4 Psalm 23:6 Psalm 27 Psalm 29:2 Psalm 2:1-6 Psalm 31:14-15 Psalm 34:19 Psalm 37:3-7 Psalm 37:5-6 Psalm 40:2 Psalm 40:8 Psalm 42 Psalm 63:3 Psalm 68:19 Psalm 69:9a Psalm 73:16-17 Psalm 8:3 Psalm 8:4 Psalm 92:1-4 Pursued Put God first Rachael Neal Reasons for Hope Responds Reasons for Hope in the Mosaic of Your Life Reasons for Hope* Reasons for Hope Rebekah Haynie Respond to God's voice Respond to God\'s voice Respond to God\\\'s voice Respond to God\\\\\\\'s voice Respond to God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s voice Resurrection Revelation 19:11 Revelation 20:12 Revelation 22:18-19 Revelation 7:9-11 RforH Romans 10:14 Romans 10:15 Romans 10:9-10 Romans 10:9 Romans 12:1-2 Romans 12:2 Romans 12:9-21 Romans 1:16 Romans 1:20 Romans 3:23 Romans 5:10-11 Romans 5:12 Romans 5:17 Romans 5:6-10 Romans 6:23 Romans 8:14 Romans 8:18-25 Romans 8:26 Romans 8:28 Romans 8:38-39 Sanctity of Life Schaftlein Report Scriptures Seal of Baruch September 11 Shelby Pruitt Spurgeon Stay bold! Stay bold Steve Herzig Supreme Court Surprised by Joy Testify Thanksgiving The Bible Project The Bible is a Jewish book. The DeBunked Files The Plumb Line The Right Ingredients The Screwtape Letters There is no truth There's Nothing Wrong with Abortion ... DeBunked! There\'s Nothing Wrong with Abortion ... DeBunked! There\\\'s Nothing Wrong with Abortion ... DeBunked! There\\\\\\\'s Nothing Wrong with Abortion ... DeBunked! Think before you post. Thinkful TikTok Tish Kerby Titus 2:6 Tower of Babel Trust His heart Trusting God Use God's Word correctly. Use God\'s Word correctly. WEF Wade Wacker Wash their feet. Wealthy Christians What are you thankful for? What is a Christian? What is my purpose? Who Made God? Why am I here? Why did Jesus have to die? Will Our Generation Speak? Within Our Reach Wooed Word of God Your grace still amazes me. Your vote matters. Youth outreach Yuval Noah Harari Zola Levitt a little at a time a process; not an event abortion absolute truth abundant life acacia accepting help achieving the impossible adventure angels angry another child of God struggling answering questions antidote to fear anxious apologetics artificial intelligence astronomy astrophysics atonement for sin be not afraid best of luck biblical Christianity biblical creationist biblical perspective biblical worldview biology blindfold boldness bold boys branch brokenness bullae bulla butterfly caged called to encourage cancellation cancer journey cancer cease striving certainty challenge character check your attitude children choices clay coercion come alongside comfort zone comfortable Christian commas save lives compromised confidence confused conjunction consequences created in Gods image creation vs. evolution critical race theory critical thinking cross curriculum cut the head off the snake debate deception defend depressed depression design of the eye desperate passion dinosaur dig distractions don't fight alone don't stop don\'t fight alone don\'t stop don\\\'t fight alone don\\\'t stop don\\\\\\\'t stop dont stop doubt eisegeses embryology encouragement entrusted by God to do good eternal life eternity without God eternity evangelism examine the scriptures exegesis eye fair and impartial faith walk family circle family first fear not fearfully and wonderfully made fear feeling lost feeling overwhelmed fig filled with joy and worship flight cancelled football coach forest forever home former athiest freedom of choice fruit fulfilled prophecies galaxies gestation give a defense give thanks glory in His holy name good luck good news of Jesus Christ good news good will toward men grace gratitude grog having conversations heavenly host hermeneutics heroes of the faith history of the universe hope human eye humble ourselves illness impact lives impact your teammates positively impulsive incomprehensible God inn investment isolation keep moving keep progressing largest church in the world layers leaf light year speed like Christ live in freedom loss of loved ones loss love of money love made for another world made in His image manger marriage memories memorization without application memorizing Scripture missing opportunities more like Christ multiple meanings mystical truth never compromised no coincidence no complaints no hope no pain no gain no place like home no quitting no room in the inn nonconformist not a fetus not ashamed oak objective right and wrong olive one foot in front of the other one race one-world government opened doors opportunity to bring hope overwhelming distance palms part of a team passionate patience patriotism paying it forward peace persecution persevere perspective physics plans pomegranate positive messages postgame prayer potsherd pottery potter power of the Word praying pregnancy pregnant preposition prioritize God pro-life progress propitiation providence quadriplegic quiet time reach the younger generation reality exists reality reassurance red cardinal redemptive work of Christ refining refocus what church looks like relationship with God relentless forward motion represent Christ resolutions rest revival right time right words root of all evil root sacrifice salvation see God move seed experiment seek the Lord shine a light silversmith situation slavery social media son of encouragement speak life speak your truth spiritual apathy spiritual harvest spiritual legacy spotless Lamb of God stable stagnant church stand boldly on the Word of God stand up against evil star-gazing starstruck stars step by step stranded stress statistics stress study for yourself suffering summer camp swaddling clothes sycamore symbol of God's love and reassurance symbol of God\'s love and reassurance symbol of God\\\'s love and reassurance symbol of God\\\\\\\'s love and reassurance symbol of Gods love and reassurance teaching science technology teen questions teens telescope temple of the Holy Spirit terebinth thank you thankfulness thankful the apple of his eye the finish line the lion will defend itself the seeing eye theology think for yourself thriving in Christ traditions traffic trees trials tribulation troubles trust Jesus truth turn to God ultamarathon ultrarunner unborn child uncage the Lion uncertain uncover the truth unfair universe unpredictable use your gift vine virgin birth visual reminders vote wethering the storm where two worlds collide willow windows to the soul wonder of boys work ethic worldview worth fighting for worth it worthy of protection young earth your circle matters youth ministry youth zeal for worship zoo guide