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Pastor's Message

I have identified 2 things that I would like to be this year. Be rather than do, on the basis that we are by nature human beings not human doings. Of course, who we are results in what we do and what we (and others) do shapes who we become, but our character gives a foundation to our lives, which will make what we do far more effective. The 2 things are; to be more abiding and to be more fruitful.

"But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love." (1Co 13:13)
In 1 Corinthians 13 v 13 the apostle Paul says to abide in faith, hope and love.

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Rom 8:28)
If I increase in faith it means that I trust God's character more; that He loves me and will never leave me; that He is always working for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. I trust more in His power that is at work within me, the same power that caused Jesus to be raised from death to life. That faith will result in works of obedience to God's will for my life, since faith without works is dead.

"For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison." (2Co 4:17)
Hope will help me to stand through whatever the year brings, because I am hoping in a God who is far bigger than any circumstance, and the treasure stored up for me is far greater than any temporary difficulties I may go through.

Love, as the greatest of these three qualities is defined, challengingly, in 1 Corinthians 13 as patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful or arrogant, not behaving badly or selfishly, not provoked or holding onto any perceived wrong done to me, not pleased about unrighteous things but always happy with God’s truth, it can take all things without failing, it hopes and believes for God’s best at all times.

"And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty." (Mat 13:23)
It is not possible to become more abiding (in God) without doing certain things. You cannot harvest a crop without sowing seed in good ground and watering it regularly.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10 v 17). Faith does not come by reading alone, but by hearing, in the sense of receiving the words. Jesus, who often taught in parables, said about the hearers “ seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand”. So hearing requires reading (or listening to) the word of God and allowing Him to speak to you with an open heart.

"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope." (Rom 5:3-4)
Hope comes as you persevere and do not give up (Romans 5 v 4). Hope also requires looking forward to see what God has promised to those who believe in Him.

Love is a part of the fruit of The Spirit and grows as we allow God to do His work in us through feeding on Him in His word and in prayer, thanksgiving and worship.

I also want to grow in fruitfulness. That means all the characteristics of the fruit of The Spirit described in Galatians chapter 5; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. They go together as a bundle and are not given piecemeal. I cannot say I am loving yet impatient or am good but not kind or gentle. They are also as supernatural as the gifts of The Spirit, that is, we cannot manufacture them through our own strength. They grow as a result of our walk with God.

"For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2Pe 1:8)
So I would like to become more abiding and more fruitful. Out of these things, which are treasures in our hearts, come words and actions that will help people, light which will draw people to Jesus, and power that will cleanse, heal and deliver.

And why not since Paul says that we are being transformed into the image of Jesus as we look to Him (2 Cor 3:18). All that is needed is seed, good soil and regular watering.

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