The Fresh Fruits of Summer are here!

The summer tent is back up on Allisonville Road by the Church. And with the Tent all kinds of fresh produce are once again available.
When we lived in Oregon, I would drive by a large fruit farm everyday on my way to the office. The sign listed every kind of fruit imaginable that the farm produced. In the cold and damp winter the trees and fields looked pretty bleak, but in the spring everything turned green and began to show promise for the harvest. I was really looking forward to the harvest season when all the fresh fruit right from the vine would be available.
I never tasted that fruit as we moved back to Indiana before the fruit was ready for harvest. But seeing all the fruit got me to thinking . . .

In the Bible (Galatians 5:22-23) we read about the fruit of the Holy Spirit that God wants to grow in our lives. These fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  We each would like to have these characteristics, but it’s hard to always love, or be good or self-controlled when things aren’t going our way or we are tired or some one is giving us a hard time.

I have news for you. God doesn’t even want you to try to be these things all by yourself in your own strength. He wants to grow these characteristics in you. He does that when you spend time with Him. Just like you are influenced by other people when you spend time with them and become kind of like them, you are influenced by God when you spend time with Him and become like Him.

You can spend time with God by reading the Bible and listening to what He wants to say to you. You also spend time with Him when you pray to Him or when you go to a Bible Study or Prayer time at church with your friends. The more time you spend with God the more fruit the Holy Spirit can produce in your life.

So, as you spend time tending your garden, shopping the produce department of your favorite grocery, visit a Farmer’s Market, shop under a Tent and take time to enjoy that Indiana-grown cantaloupe and then stop for a moment and ponder what fruit is being produced in your life.

Take time this summer to spend time with God and ask Him to begin to ripen some new fruit in your life.
After all, we could all use a little more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
May God bring us each and abundant harvest this summer!

Learning to play the Fool …

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Working in Septic Tank in Guatemala
If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you.  Leviticus 25:35 NIV
Serving Food to the Needy

 

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  James 1:22-24 NIV

Over the years, I have done many things in pursuit of serving Jesus.  I have tried many things in trying to be more like Jesus.  Too often though the things I do are respectable, honorable, and (well let’s face it) they make you look good. But not everyday.  I confess that I have been made a fool more than once while trying to  serve and live like Jesus.
A few years ago on a bitterly cold day I was part of a community food distribution and despite our best efforts we had food left over.  The leftovers were to go to the Community Food Pantry.  There was leftover frozen meat, but there were no boxes to put the meat in.  I suggested that we use a grocery cart from inside the church (used to collect food pantry donations) and transport the meat the 3 blocks to the Pantry.  I never gave a thought to what I would like in the process – in looking at the pictures I was a fool.
On another occasion while serving in Guatemala with Mission Guatemala, I had the opportunity to spend two days in the belly of a septic tank as part of our project to expand the restrooms in a community school.  I can tell you it was not my number 1 or 2 favorite jobs, but someone had to do it.  What a fool to volunteer!
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”            I Corinthians 1:26-31 NIV


Perhaps we if we spent more time being foolish and less time being honorable, we would understand what it means to truly live and to LOVE like Jesus.

Here’s to more days of being the fool for Jesus!