Seeds for Growth in 2013

Mark 4:26-29

Image26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Today’s blog is a plea for us to live more authentic lives in Christ in 2013.  I want to see us live lives that are more Godly, for sure, but I’m praying earnestly for “Real Godly.”  Genuine godliness is not as easy to pull off as the fake stuff.  Why?  Because “Real Godly” takes time… like a seed it sprouts slowly.

Paul Tournier once wrote:   “There are two kinds of gentleness, confidence, sympathy, or ferver; those which are spontaneous – they alone are efficacious; they blossom quite naturally in us when we are in ‘good form’ spiritually, and there are those which we invent when we are not, but wish to appear so.  It is when we have no hope of seeing a tree break into blossom that we hang artificial flowers on it.”  (The Strong and the Weak, p.128.)

Jesus taught that real growth is a process which takes time.  There seems to be 3 simple (?) steps to this process:  plant, wait and harvest.  Are you missing any of these steps?

1)  Are you doing any planting?  This involves prayer, study, evangelism, etc.

2)  Are you doing any waiting?  Are you trusting God to produce the fruit in you or are you all about “hanging artificial flowers?”

3)  Are you doing any harvesting?  Planting and waiting mean nothing if the fruit then dies on the vine.  Are you giving of yourself to God and others?  Do you know about love, joy and peace or are you displaying love, joy and peace.

Wherever you find yourself in your spiritual walk today, ask yourself this:  What kind of growth are you expecting in the Fall?  Whatever your answer, you better get to planting this Spring!

Winter Pruning

John 15:1-5

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in theImage vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

I don’t know much about gardening, but I watched recently as my landlord trimmed his bushes WAY back.  January is a great month to do that.  Come spring those bushes will look much better for the effort.  January is also a great month to trim back our hectic lives.  Author Bob Merritt comments:

     “Every year our lives grow new “activity” branches without our intending it.  We grow new meetings, commitments, classes, parties, dinners, concerts, friendships, and sporting events that overcrowd and choke our lives.  We hang on to these things even though they have no value.  What’s needed is a good pruning.  We need to cut off the dead weight so that the light can come through and cause new growth.”

     Take this first month of the year to evaluate how 2012 worked out.  Still gasping for breath?  Why not try a different pace these 12 months?  Lord… pass me those sheers!