Archive for July, 2012

July 1, 2012

sprout.grow.bearfruit (July)

Tis the season for growing gardens.  Gardens are beautiful places.  Life began in a garden with God placing Adam and Eve in Eden.  Life began anew in a garden with Jesus announcing his resurrection to the women, even being mistaken for a gardener at first (John 20:15)!  Life will continue eternally with the arboreal images we find in the New Jerusalem, the tree of life sustaining and healing the world (Revelation 22:2).

I myself do not know much about gardening, but I am hoping to learn more and more, especially this year.  The more we understand gardening, the more we understand our lives as Christians.  God often likens us to plants, and I think there are lessons to be found in this imagery.

This month, Mount Hermon Baptist Church will enter into a new chapter of her life.  The deacons and I, through months of looking to God in guidance, would like to introduce you to this new chapter expressed in the picture of a garden.  We want everyone to understand their Christian lives in these three simple pictures: Sprout, Grow, and Bear Fruit.

I think it is miraculous to see a plot of brown dirt transformed into a luscious green forest of leaves and fruit.  Likewise, it is a miracle to see a person sprout in their faith, claim Jesus as their Lord, get baptized, join a church, and start their walk with Jesus.  The days when a seed sprouts and gets established are tenuous days.  It is true for people too who are coming to Christ for the first time.  We want Mount Hermon to be actively involved in the lives of those who are taking these first steps.

Once established a plant needs help growing.  It can take trees several years before it produces any fruit.  If the tree is not cared for during these first few years, it may never have the opportunity to bear fruit.  Christians too must grow, and must continue to grow their whole lives.  Spending time with mature Christians, practicing the Christian disciplines, learning from Scripture, evangelism, and participating in a church family help a young Christian grow and understand what it means to be a follower of Christ.

We recently read in John that Jesus calls us to bear fruit, fruit that will last (John 15:16).  And if our Lord Jesus called us to do something, we better do it!  Graciously, God has given us the Holy Spirit to enable us to bear fruit that will last.  We want Mount Hermon to be a garden that abides in Christ, is pruned by the Father, bears much fruit through the Spirit.  As in sprouting and growing, we must do this together as a community.

And we will do this!  It is an exciting time in the life of Mount Hermon.  Keep these three simple pictures in your mind and heart.  Prepare to hear it and meditate on it often.  I will be preaching on these simple pictures in July.  Until then, ask yourself how you can participate in these pictures both in your life and in the lives of your brothers and sisters.

Your brother in the garden of God,

Pastor Rich