Pastor’s Ponderings: What’s it Mean to “Bear Fruit”?

Posted by on Sep 8, 2021 in FEATURED, Pastors Ponderings | 0 comments

As we move towards our annual Generosity Sunday (11/14/21), Pastor Jim submitted the following thoughts on 8/30/21.  During the next months, we will be reading the book, “Cultivating Fruitfulness” together.  This post lifts up some important thoughts from that book.

Greetings Friends:
 
PLEASE READ: Luke 4:18-19

Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

In his book, “Cultivating Fruitfulness,” Bishop Robert Schnase offers challenging suggestions while providing insights of what it means to bear fruit for Jesus Christ.  In this offering below, Bishop Schnase offers some direct advice for Christians and local churches who desire to bear fruit for Christ.
 
Bishop Schnase writes:

“The stories, teachings, and parables of Jesus consistently point toward God’s love for the poor, the sick, the outcast, and those most vulnerable to the oppressions of society (James 1:27Matthew 25:36Deuteronomy 14:29, for example). Against the resistance of the religious elite and contrary to the advice of His disciples, Jesus lifts up the bent-over woman on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10-17), touches the unclean with healing power (Matthew 8:1-4), releases the paralyzed from his bed (Mark 2:1-12), eats with tax collectors in their homes (Mark 2:15 Matthew 9:10-13), and risks the violence of the mob to intervene for the woman caught in adultery (John 8:2-11).  In teaching and action, He shows that God’s way includes costly demonstrations of unexpected love to the least likely. The stories of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), the father risking humiliation to welcome back his prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24), and the rich person neglecting Lazarus at his own doorstep (Luke 16:19-31) all consistently show who Jesus is: and through Jesus, we see what God intends for us.

(Scripture citations were added to this excerpt) 

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The life of service flows naturally and inescapably from the teachings of Jesus Christ, and no congregation or disciple can avoid the direct gift and demand of God’s call to love and serve others. Risk-taking mission and service is one of the fundamental activities of church life that is so critical that failure to practice it in some form results in deterioration of the church’s vitality and ability to make disciples of Jesus Christ. When churches turn inward, using all resources for their own survival and caring only for their own people, then spiritual vitality wanes. When churches turn outward, they come alive with a sense of purpose and transform the lives of their members and the communities they serve.”

 


 
Shalom,

Pastor Jim

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