Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gardening and Ministry

Over the past few weeks my neighbor, Jonathan Foster, and I have put in a garden at the house. We have been under the supervision of our children as to the quality assurance of our garden. We have planted lettuce, onions, potato's, arugala, strawberries, broccoli, carrots, and cabbage. As Jonathan's dad put it, "that is not food, that is what food eats." We are having a blasts. Every afternoon when it is dry we head out back with the children to look at our garden to see what has grown. I find great excitement in going out and checking on the garden.

You know I never grew anything in a garden until I planted the seeds. Imginge if Jonathan and I in conjunction with our children went out to "check on the garden," and we had not planted anything. We would just head out and stare at dirt, some weeds, and a few grass sprigs. Interesting, it is real tough to grow a garden when you have not planted any seeds.

This all hit me a few weeks ago when a NAMB Missionary came to share at our church. He said that North America has around 320 million people total with roughly 250 million of them now knowing Christ. He made a piercing comment that hit me squarely in my heart as a pastor. He said, "Churches come together on Sunday mornings expecting to reap a harvest, but there has been no seeds planted in the community throughout the week." So true. We gather together for worship on Sundays and we look around wondering where are the new people and where are the lost. There is none. Perhaps we gather together to "check on the garden" and there is nothing growing because we have not planted any seeds. No seeds, no new fruit.

Producing fruit is the responsibility of the church. Jesus said in John 15 that He is the true vine. He reminds us that His father is the vinedresser that prunes that we may bear more fruit. However, ten times in the next seven verses he tells us to abide in Him. He says in verse 8, "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear MUCH fruit, and so prove to be My disciples." When the body of Christ produces fruit God is glorified, and we prove to be the disciples of Christ. He even goes further and says in verse 7, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it be done for you." WOW! It is amazing to think that when the word of God so saturates our lives and we so closely abide in Christ that when are prayers aline with His will we can ask whatever and God will do.

Church, we are to beare fruit so that God will be glorified. We bear fruit by going out and sowing seeds. We sow seeds by involvoing ourselves in the community and the world every day. I pray that we will not come to church to "check on the garden" without being actively involved in sowing seeds of the gospel in our home, our community, our state, and our world. May we be seed planters and so become fruit bearers!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Where I am in life right now

I really at a place in my life right now where God is teaching me about the pruning process that he talks about in John 15. Interesting, we often think of the pruning process as this mean thing that God does in our lives because we have this horrible hidden sin our life. It is like we think God is out to get us because we are bad and not confessing sin. So he punishes us with difficulty and pain until we get back on the path that he wants. Right? I have been there. Granted sometimes he does have to prune us to show us areas of our lives that we have sinned, but other times he just wants us to grow.

In fact. Read John 15. I point out verse two, "while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." The issue is not that the branch is not producing fruit, rather the issue is the desire of the Father, who is the gardener, for the branch to produce even more fruit. That should be our hearts desire even more than anything. Simply put, produce more fruit. I pray that in my life I see the pruning process as God saying to me, "hey David, I see you are producing fruit, I just desire for you to produce more fruit and this is what I have to do in your life to make that happen." Hebrews 11:12, " No discipline seems please at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

That is where I am right now in life. I want my life to count for more. I don't want my life to be simply remembered by what I did not do. Rather, I want my life to be remembered by what I did do in kingdom work. I want my life to count in kingdom work and that is done by producing fruit. Pruning is simply a means to and end, it is not the end.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Psalm 145:3

Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable.
The Lord is great! I look at the landscape of my life at what the Lord has done for me and I am simply in awe. I am amazed at the wonderful wife that He has blessed me with. Her heart and passion for other people and the glory of the Lord is simply amazing. I am thankful for her more each day. The three children that we have together make me smile! I am humbled that the Lord has allowed us to be entrusted with raising and shepherding the hearts of three precious children and soon to be four! They bring such joy to our lives and I love being their daddy.
I am also thankful for the church that Lord has called us to serve with in ministry. They are great people that love the Lord so much. I have told many people that there is not a better church in the world to be our first church to pastor than First Baptist Austell. They have allowed me to be me and grow as a person and as a pastor. Love them!
I chose Psalm 145:3 as my blog title becuase this verse has come to mean so much to me over the last few months. The Lord is great and worthy of all of our praise!! The greatness of God is simply amazing and I see his greatness written in every aspect of my life. I have so many thoughts and ideas that run through my mind during the day. I want to use this blog as a an opportunity to share my heart about the greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ.