After three weeks away it was great to be back in church on Sunday - there's nothing like being at home! We're away next Sunday, I'm speaking at the ONE Conference in Lincoln (please pray that I bring what God wants me to say), then we're going to be around for pretty much the rest of 2013. It's going to be an exciting time with amongst other things Sandhurst launching in September and the GLS in October.
On Sunday I spoke about God's expectation that we live fruitful lives for him, based on Luke 13:6-9. Fruit could look like lots of things, seeing more of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives (more peace, joy, patience, love...), growing in our relationship with God, seeing the lives of people around us being changes, doing well in our jobs or businesses, our marriages, children and friends doing well.
As part of the message I set all of us some homework, which was to examine every area of our lives and see how fruitful they are. This will include:
- Your family relationships
- Your friendships
- Your job, education or vocation
- Your leisure activities including time you spend watching TV or on Facebook and Twitter
- Your relationship with God inluding your Bible reading and prayer life
- Areas where you serve in church life, ministries you lead or groups you're a part of
- Other things you do in the wider community
- Anything not covered by the above
For each of these put it into one of three categories:
- Is it flourishing? Is it bearing lots of fruit?
- Has it stagnated? Perhaps in the past it was really fruitful but now it's just limping along.
- Is it dead? Is it really bearing no fruit at all.
For anything in category one then come up with a plan to feed it, to do more of it, to put more energy into it so that it can bear even more fruit.
For anything in category two come up with a plan to give it the potential to be more fruitful, to dig it around for a season.
For anything in category three, or anything in category two which you've dug around in the past but things haven't improved, then come up with a plan to cut it out of your life (unless of course it's a marriage, your kids or something else you're committed to!). Then use the space you create to do something which might produce fruit in the future.
One you've done it then share what your outcomes with a friend and compare notes.
Hope that's helpful!