Last night was no exception. We spoke about some rumors, about my doctoral project and attendance, and some quick thoughts on it. The main thing at FBC is the fact that we have stayed relatively stable for the past 10 years which is good on the one hand in a declining area. However, we should be growing, and that is the focus for the church.
Digression time. . . .
A retired pastor said growth is not all there is in a church. He said faithfulness is number one, and if you are faithful that is more important than growth. You may want to stone me for this, but I disagree about 100%. Although I didn't tell him. My belief is that if you are faithful you will be fruitful. Read John 15
1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.Okay, I'm preaching now. . . I love this. This is our lives, we are called to be fruit bearers, and the only way to bear fruit is to be connected to the source of all life, CHRIST. The KJV calls it 'abiding' the NIV calls it 'remaining'. I call it FAITHFULNESS. If we aren't faithful we aren't going to bear fruit, period. We often think we are faithful, but the sign of faithful for me, is you/I become fruit bearers, not just for today, but as Jesus said in verse 16, it will be fruit that will last.
Sermon is now over. I hope we get it. We have the power, the power comes from God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we have the people. It's all there, right before us and in us. God calls us to live the super abundant life. Let's do it . . . Amen? Amen!