Monday, September 12, 2016

Outreach Lessons Part 1: Abiding in Christ

           During Outreach Phase of DTS we went to 3 places.  In each place God taught me a new lesson.  When I look back however I see how all 3 lessons relate in some way. 

God allowed me to use these lessons as messages to the people we ministered to on outreach.  I think it is important for believers to allow the testimony of their life to be shared with others.  As we grow closer to God in our personal experiences we can encourage others to do the same by sharing our experience with them.  As I read through the book of Acts on outreach I believe this is an important part in the Christian life.   

So now I want to share these same lessons with you.  This first lesson was learned in Bangkok.  It was about the importance of abiding in Jesus so I can produce fruit that is good.  You can find this teaching in John 15:1-17. 

A brief summary: Jesus is the vine, God is the gardener, and Christians are the branches.  Fruitless branches are cut off.  God prunes fruitful branches so they produce more.  All are cut. None are left alone.  To produce fruit we must remain close to Jesus, the vine.  God answers the prayers of those who stay close to Jesus.  God wants us to bear lots of fruit not just a little.  You will be happier when you are fruitful because we are Jesus friends, not His servants.  He wants us to produce fruit that will “last forever.”

So what is this fruit God wants us to produce that will last forever?  Well you can find it in Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.)  But the fruit Jesus talks about in this chapter, and the fruit that He wanted me to work on during this outreach is LOVE.  Paul also said that love is the greatest of all in 1 Corinthians 13. 

What can we do to show this fruit?  How can we bear it?  First we can be patient when God prunes and like Job trust what He is doing.  When we trust God we allow Him to work even when we are being pruned and life hurts.  The most important thing we need to remember during this time of pruning is that we need to remain connected to Jesus, the vine. 

There are probably some things in our life God wants us to change so when we are being pruned we should ask God what He wants us to change.  We need to be willing to change the things God shows us.  This year, for me, it is my pride.  He really wants me to be more humble in how I serve and respond to people.  With humility comes a type of love that is genuine, and reflects the love of God more than love filled with pride. 

So what does it look like to abide in Christ?  This world has many distractions.  Even things that aren’t sins and are good for us can be a distraction (family, ministry, facebook.)  Abiding in Christ and His love means that we fix our eyes on Jesus not the distractions so….
·      We can have peace in all situations, good and uncertain.
·      We can have hope and won’t get discouraged when life dumps all it’s trash on us!
·      It will help us live for Him and bear good fruit.
·      We can find it easier to love others and see them the way He does.   

I will share more in the next 2 blogs about how we abide in Christ and what that love looks like in more detail!!!

To learn more about the outreach in Bangkok click here.

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