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Summary: This message focuses on one particular aspect of this passage - that the Lord prunes us to make us more fruitful. Practical application in this message is to consider what the Lord may be calling me to prune from my busy life, in order to do the best thi

Hook/Opening

Overcommitted? Many of us feel/are. But here’s a list of busy/committed:

Billy Graham and ____.

James Dobson and _____.

Joni Earikson and _____.

Jimmy Carter and _____.

Bill Bright and ______.

(RCA) Betty Voskuil and _____.

Gary Smalley and ______.

“Our world has been greatly impacted by men and women of almost single-minded determination whose contributions were defined by the passionate pursuit of excellence in a specific arena. Somewhere in their personal journey, either by accident or on purpose, these few discovered the advantage of narrowing their focus.” Reggie Joiner/Andy Stanley

You:

Perhaps one of God’s steps for you is… Deciding to do less (fewer things better) in order to order to be more effective for Him. It’s a biblical idea: (part of Jesus saying in John 15) To focus on that part of this great passage, lets look at the two statements that don’t seem to fit together:

1. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes. (.2)

2. You are already clean. (.3)

Cleaning by pruning…

Furthermore, by getting the branches off the ground, it keeps them from sinking many little roots directly from the branch into the surface of the soil where the moisture is not sufficient to produce anything but hard, sour grapes. If the branch is lifted out of the dirt, however, it is forced to get its moisture from the deep roots of the vine and produces luscious fruit. Radmacher, E. D.

So Jesus is saying…

But we need some convincing, don’t we? We’re adders!

Move: Greater Relevance

When I spread myself thin, I dabble in all kinds of things and fail to make what I am thinking about practical. Jack of all trades and ___… exactly. And practitioner of none, or none well.

The first benefit is fruitfulness in our lives (vv. 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 18). As we ask God to focus our lives, what is inside us flows out in producing fruit. Our faith becomes more relevant to our lives and those around us.

Move: Better Connection

I am more connected to the Lord Jesus Christ when I am seeking his specific direction and not trying to DO it all. I am also more connected to others. Too much in our lives, even too much of good things, erodes relationships. Too much done for God can actually erode one’s relationship with God. Makes lone rangers of us. Resentment, too, when others don’t do as much. Look at John 15 and Jesus’ interest here than we stay connected to him and nurture that primary connection, lesser and divergent ones stripped away.

verse 4: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” As we stay close to the Lord, He promises to stay close to us. What a promise!

Move: Higher Quality

I will bring a higher quality effort when it is focused more sharply. Doing a few things well. (Or ONE thing well). Complexity makes organizations "dumber". It does that to people, too. Instead of increasing our potential, doing more sometimes just dilutes it. We fail to achieve excellence because we try to do too many things. When Jesus says, “this is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit” the context suggests that he’s not only talking about quantity, but quality as well. (Watermelons but not solution)

Move: Stronger Impact

I will impact my world much more when I focus, like a punch of chisel.

Unbelievers/unchurched don’t clamor for our attention…

River vs swamp; surgery with a laser but not a flashlight.

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” We know! But we often feel it just means doing more for the Lord, when it context it involves pruning.

Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

You never have to be intentional about creating complexity - it jut happens.

It happens in organizations, and it happens in people. Its subtle. It’s often not something we do on purpose. (off-purpose!) We keep adding. We’re going off in too many directions. And sometimes we confuse activity with results.

And it affects our fruitfulness as disciples of Jesus. What about you?

“Thin after…” Confession: can’t bring myself to do it.

Silly as that sounds, we all do it: Ever imagined that Jesus says, here’s a bunch of seeds…

You:

What would a "Not-To-Do" list look like for you?

Warning: It’s hard.* It’s not something to do alone. (Prayer)

It would not be so bad if the Not-To-Do list was a collection of vices. But when the things I am choosing not to focus on are good, worthy aspirations, it gets really tough.. (I’m not advocating doing less for God) But I would speak for doing a few things you know God wants you to do, well.

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