Illustration results for Fruit Of The Spirit
Sermon Central Staff
THE EEYORE SYNDROME
In the past I have spoken of what I call, "The Eeyore Syndrome"--these are Christians who walk around acting like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. They choose to look at the gloomy side of life. Their eyes are cast down, their countenance is cheerless, and they have no enthusiasm or anticipation for life.
Joyful people cannot have The Eeyore Syndrome. The Eeyore Syndrome is not a Fruit of the Spirit. The Eeyore Syndrome is not a realistic view of life nor faith-filled.
William Ward writes words about discouragement that can apply to the Eeyore Syndrome. He says, "Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellowman, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God."
(SOURCE: William Ward. Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 18. From a sermon by Ken Pell, A Fruit-Full Marriage: Joy-full Love, 6/26/2011)
THE ROOT BEARS THE FRUIT
A farmer one planted two fruit trees on opposite sides of his property. The one he planted to provide a hedge hide the unsightly view of an old landfill; the other to provide shade to rest under near a cool mountain stream which ran down beside his fields. As the two trees grew, both produced began to flower and bear fruit. One day the farmer decided to gather the fruit from the tree nearest his house " the one used to provide a hedge from the landfill. As he brought the fruit inside the house, he noticed that it was a little deformed " the symmetry of the fruit was not very good, but still the fruit looked edible. Later that evening, while sitting on his porch the farmer took one of the pieces of fruit for a snack. Biting into the fruit, he found it to be extremely bitter, and completely inedible. Casting the fruit aside he looked across the field to the other tree over by the mountain stream. After walking across the field, the farmer took a piece of the fruit from the other tree and bit into it. Find the fruit to be sweet and delicious he gathered several more pieces of fruit and took them to the house.
The fruit was greatly affected by the nutrition of the root. Just as the tree grew by the landfill to be bitter, and the tree by the stream produced sweet fruit, so the Christian has a choice. He can either put down his roots into the soil of the landfill of fleshly pursuits, or into the cool refreshing stream of the person of Jesus Christ. We must understand that the root bears the fruit. The fruit of the Christian is the outward evidence of the inward motivation.
Reading a book on growing grapes [P.M. Wagner, A Wine Growers Guide, 1996] gave me insight into Jesus’ words about vine, branches, and fruit. Wild female vines cannot bear fruit unaided; they have a defective stamen. Living outside God’s will does not produce good work or fruit. Cross-pollination does not change the character of fruit. Planting a good vine in bad ground will not produce good fruit, nor will planting a bad vine in good soil yield a harvest of good grapes; it depends on the character of the vine and the foundation in which it is planted. Bearing fruit in every good work requires the right combination. God the Father provides the fertile ground. His Son is the vine on which we grow. The Holy Spirit creates conditions optimal for bearing fruit.
DO YOU KNOW CHRIST?
Billy Graham said in his message “Saved or Lost” in Texas in 1965. “..one of the fruits of the Spirit is joy. You might not be able to work up joy yourself, but God the Holy Spirit living inside of you can produce this joy supernaturally, and a Christian is to have joy.
He went on to say, “But a Christian is to have joy. That’s one of the great characteristics of the Christian is the joy that we have, and if you don’t have this joy and if you don’t have this...
D. Marie Hamilton
WORDS IN THE SPIRIT
When I was asked to be the preacher for the North Little Rock Ministerial Alliance Community Thanksgiving Service, I was floored. I didn't think that anybody thought that much about me. I was honored by the gesture, but the moment I said "yes," my nerves got the best of me. I know that God has not ever failed me, but even though I'm not of this world...I still live in it. And the somatic changes in body gave me heart burn and an upset stomach.
Finally the moment arrived for service. I read over my sermon frantically. The more I read over my sermon, the more nervous I became. Finally Dr. Watkins told me to stop reading. I obeyed her, but I didn't want to. I felt like that my life depended on me reading over that sermon just one more time. All sorts of thoughts ran through my mind. Would they laugh at my jokes? Will they get my off color humor? Would I offend one of the priests in our group with my encouragement for the assembled congregation in Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church for vocal feedback throughout my message? I didn't know what to expect, so I said a quick prayer and trusted that God would deliver.
The core of my message that evening was everyday that we experience is a day of Thanksgiving. Morning by morning new mercies we see. Thanksgiving is not a holiday, it's a way of life.
I hate to admit it, but I got full of the Spirit and said something that even surprised me. I said, "This here Methodist pastor is about to turn it out in this here Lutheran church!" I continued to say that because of this very moment right now, I will forever be grateful to God because God gets all of the glory. To my surprise, the congregation erupted with an explosive affirming Amen. I hope that I don't offend anybody when I say this, but from a cultural stand point -- me, being an African American pastor, I haven't ever seen a congregation of Anglo people get full of the Spirit like that before. It was like being at McCabe Chapel, but better because they wanted to hear the message that God put on my heart. I was humbled by that because they received the message with gratitude and joy.
That experience made me realize that I must watch what I say and do at all times because I have experienced and witness people of different denominations, priests, and pastors receive my sermon as if it came directly from the mouth of God. That's humbling on so many levels that I can't even describe it. All I know is that I've been changed forever by it.
Proverbs 18:21 specifically states that words kill and bring life. They're either poison or fruit. We're the ones that make the decision on which one we produce.
According to John Wesley, death and life are brought upon by men based on the words that they choose to use (Wesley's Notes). That just goes hand in hand with what Christ says in the twelfth chapter of Matthew: that if we have minds like snake pits then the things that we do to build the kingdom will not be heartfelt and sincere.
What's in our hearts, not what what's in the dictionary, that gives meaning to our words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. Jesus continues to teach us a hard lesson in that same chapter by telling us that every one of our carless words are going to come back and haunt us. Words are powerful; take them seriously because words can be our salvation as well as our damnation.
Are we going to produce life or death with what we say?
Sermon Central Staff
"SULLY" AND SECOND NATURE
Thursday, January 15, 2009, was another ordinary day in New York City. Or so it seemed. But by that evening people were talking of a miracle.
They may have been right. But the full explanation is, if anything, even more interesting and exciting. And it strikes just the note we need as we think about Christian character and "goodness" in particular.
Flight 1549, a regular US Airways trip from La Guardia Airport, took off at 15:26 local time, bound for Charleston, North Carolina. The captain, Chelsey Sullenberger III, known as "Sully," did all the usual checks. Everything was fine in the Airbus A320. Fine until, two minutes after takeoff, the aircraft ran straight into a flock of Canada Geese. One goose in a jet engine would be serious; a flock was disastrous. Almost at once both the engines were severely damaged and lost their power. The plane was at that point heading north over the Bronx, one of the most densely populated parts of the city.
Captain Sullenberger and his copilot had to make several major decisions instantly if they were going to save the lives of people not only on board but also on the ground.
* They could see one or two small local airports in the distance, but quickly realized that they couldn't be sure of making it that far. If they attempted it, they well might crash land in a built-up area on the way.
* Likewise, the option of putting the plane down on the New Jersey Turnpike, a busy road leading in and out of the city, would present huge problems and dangers for the plane and its occupants, let alone for cars and their drivers on the road.
* That left one option: the Hudson River. It's difficult to crash-land on water: one small mistake-catch the nose or one of the wings in the river, say-and the plane will turn over and over like a gymnast before breaking up and sinking.
In the two or three minutes they had before landing, Sullenberger and his copilot had to do the following vital things (along with plenty of other tasks that we amateurs wouldn't understand).
* They had to shut down the engines.
* They had to set the right speed so that the plane could glide as long as possible without power. (Fortunately, Sullenberger is also a gliding instructor.)
* They had to get the nose down to maintain speed.
* They had to disconnect the autopilot and override the flight management system.
* They had to activate the "ditch" system, which seals vents and valves, to make the plane as waterproof as possible once it hit the water.
* Most important of all, they had to fly and glide the plane in a fast left-hand turn so that it could come down facing south, going with the flow of the river.
* And-having already turned off the engines-they had to do this using only the battery-operated systems and the emergency generator.
* Then they had to straighten the plane up from the tilt of the sharp-left turn so that, on landing, the plane would be exactly level from side to side.
* Finally, they had to get the nose back up again, but not too far up, and land straight and flat on the water.
And they did it! Everyone got off safely, with Captain Sullenberger himself walking up and down the aisle a couple of times to check that everyone had escaped before leaving himself. Once in the life raft along with the other passengers, he went one better: he took off his shirt, in the freezing January afternoon, and gave it to a passenger who was suffering in the cold.
The story has already been told and retold, and will live on in the memory not only of all those involved but of every New Yorker and many further afield. Just over seven years and four months after the horrible devastation of September 11, 2001, New York had an airplane story to celebrate.
Now, as I say, many people described the dramatic events as a "miracle." At one level, I wouldn't want to question that. But the really fascinating thing about the whole business is the way it spectacularly illustrates a vital truth--a truth which many today have either forgotten or never knew in the first place.
Sullenberger had not, of course, been born with the ability to fly a plane, let alone the specific skills he exhibited in those vital three minutes. None of the skills required, and certainly none of the courage, restraint, cool judgment, and concern for others which he displayed, is part of the kit we humans possess from birth.
You have to work at mastering that sort of skill set, moving steadily toward that goal. You have to want to do it all, to choose to learn it all, to practice doing it all. Again and again. And then, sometimes, when the moment comes, it happens "automatically," as it did for Sullenberger. The skills and ability ran right through him, top to toe. (Source: N.T. Wright, "After You Believe", p. 18ff.)
Flying that plane as skillfully as "Sully" did seemed very natural to those around him, like "second nature." And it was SECOND nature. By that I mean it was not really natural but a learned, rehearsed, and ingrained action that over time Sully was able to make appear to be natural.
That, my friends, describes the Fruit of the Spirit better than anything I can think of.
(From a sermon by Ken Pell, A Fruit-full Marriage: Goodness, 8/4/2011)
FRUIT REQUIRES EFFORT AND DEDICATION
The young boy stood looking up at the naked ice-covered limbs of his favorite cherry tree. It was 4:30 in the morning and the full moon produced a silvery sheen in the ice, which almost seemed to originate within the branches themselves. The young man let out a deep sigh, which produced a cloud of ice crystals that slowly rose up as a gray mist amongst the limbs of the tree. As the young boy turned his eyes back to the snow covered path, his mind conjured up images of pies made from the bright red spheres of wonderful fruit this tree would produce in early summer.
The boy headed on to the barn, from which the gentle sound of cattle let him know that it was time for their morning feeding. The young boy would repeat this morning’s journey every day, seven days a week, 4 weeks a month until the winter snows would eventually gave way to spring rains. With the spring rains the boy became more and more fixated on his cherry tree. He was so delighted when the first pink and white blossoms began appear; but, at the same time, he was burdened by the fear of a late frost. Eventually, the blossoms were replaced with the beginnings of that most perfect of fruits: the cherry.
The young boy’s anxiety over a late frost was replaced by a deep sense of guardianship. He absolutely reveled in the thought of bathing his taste buds in the fruit produced by the cherry tree, but so did every bird in the county. To protect his tree from the inevitable onslaught of birds, he leaned boards up against the tree and place morsels of food on the upper part of the board. He hoped, in this way, to entice the barn cats to eventually venture into the branches of the cherry tree. He also placed an old stuffed owl on top of a pole, which he secured next to the tree.
Of course, he personally took on a daily vigil of protecting the tree. With every pail of milk he carried to the milk house, morning and night, the boy would stop and survey the tree for signs of birds. Should one be careless enough to perch in the tree, the boy would carefully set down the pail of milk, slowly reach for his bb-gun and turn the bird into cat food. He never paid any mind to the breed of bird; the fruit of the cherry tree must be protected at all costs.
Thanks to the faithfulness of the cats, the diligence of the owl, and the boy’s true aim, the cherry tree produced an abundance of fruit. As he had expected, the young boy’s grandmother turned the first harvesting of the tree into perfect cherry pies. She made them just the way the boy loved cherry pie: with extra thick pie crust on the top and on the bottom. Subsequent harvesting of the fruit from the cherry tree was canned and naturally an occasional pie was also made. Thus, the rewards of the cherry tree were both immediate and enduring.
As a youngster, the cherries served to pleasure the boy’s palate, but later in life he often considered how much effort and dedication is required to produce an abundance of good fruit.
In a back yard there once lived an apple tree and a thorn bush. The apple tree produced nice juicy apples that everyone liked to eat. Kids would climb up the tree and pluck the apples. Worms would eat the ones that fell on the ground. Birds would peck away at the fruit from the top. The owner would also prune and spray the tree to make sure it produced lots of fruit for the neighborhood. In the corner, about 50 yards from the apple tree stood a thorn bush. Nobody messed with the thorn bush. One day old Jimmy Johnson ran his bike into it, but after he got all cut up, he never made the same mistake again. Nobody picked any fruit off of it, everyone left it alone. At first the apple tree liked all the attention. But after about ten years, it started becoming envious of the thorn bush. It said to the thorn bush, “you know, I’m sick of everyone always climbing on me and picking my fruit. The master is always trimming me, putting smelly manure around my trunk, and making a fuss over me. I wish they’d go somewhere else. Better yet, I wish I was a thorn bush, then everyone would leave me alone.” The thorn bush then looked at the apple tree and said, “don’t be a fool! Bite your bark! Look at me! I don’t do anyone a bit of good. I feed nobody. I look ugly. All I do is harm. The master didn’t plant me here, I’m just a wild weed. The only good I do is to fill up some space in the yard. I would trade all the thorns in the world to have one child climb my branches - to have the Master trim my branches - and produce some fruit.”
As Christians, we are sometimes like the apple tree. It seems like we’re taken advantage of by the world. People ask us for our fruit, and then walk away without saying thanks. People climb us, abuse us, and do all sorts of things to us, and expect us just to take it all the time. The Master even removes our thorns by saying, “the fruit of the Spirit is peace.” But that’s par...
THANK YOU, SENSEI DON
Dr. Don Sisk, the former president of the mission board I'm with, BIMI, tells of winning an old "papa-sahn" to Christ, the father of one of the ladies in his church. He had such a grateful spirit for Dr. Sisk, whom they referred to as "Sensei Don" which means "Teacher Don." He lived way up on a mountain and couldn't come as often as he wished to church, but when he did, he would position himself at the front door of the church, and when Dr. Sisk arrived, he'd bow in respect for Dr. Sisk....By the way, in Japan the person who stops bowing first is the least polite, so bowing sessions can go on for awhile.... After several bows, he'd look at Dr. Sisk with tear-stained cheeks, a public emotional display unusual in Japan, and he'd say, "Sensei Don, thank you for leaving your land and coming to Japan to share the Gospel with me so I could be saved." Now that'll keep a missionary going for quite awhile!
Later Dr. Sisk became the Far East Director of BIMI and several years later had the opportunity to revisit the old church he'd started and pastored. When he arrived, sure enough...there at the door was the old papa-sahn, who when he saw Dr. Sisk, bowed several times, tears rolling down his cheeks, and said, "Sensei Don, welcome back to Japan. Thank you again for leaving your home to come and share the Gospel with me so I could know Jesus." My what a great welcome!
Dr. Sisk returned home, and several months later received a letter notifying him that the old papa-sahn had gone home to be with the Lord. Tears instantly came to his eyes, but just as quickly disappeared as a happy thought came to his mind. He thought that one day he too would go home to glory, and when he did, a short Japanese papa-sahn would be at the gates of glory and when Dr. Sisk entered those gates, the papa-sahn would bow, and Dr. Sisk said they would bow for about a thousand years! Then the old papa-sahn will say, this time with a gleam in his eye, for there will be no tears in heaven, "Sensei Don, thank you for leaving your land to go to Japan to share with me the Gospel so I could be here in heaven."
But this is where Dr. Sisk drilled home a glorious thought in telling his story: He said he firmly believed that the papa-sahn would go to every person who ever gave a penny to help him get to the field so he could preach the Gospel, and bow several times and thank them for making it possible for Dr. Sisk to get to Japan to preach the Gospel.
O, beloved, do you not see it?--When you have a part in missionary giving, the fruit of the labor of the missionary can abound to your account! What a glorious thought!
Charles R. Peck
A gentle spirit is worth it weight in gold, and this gold is not fools gold.