Friday, January 04, 2013

Being Pruned for Greater Fruitfulness

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.   John 15:1-4

The start of 2013 is Half Time for our ministry and fiscal year at PCC.  I shared in June that theme verse for this year was John 15:1-4  Being Pruned for Greater Fruitfulness. We sensed God calling us to slow down, sit down and allow him to prune us as a body and as a ministry. 

As I have reflected on this season, and have seen PCC at its best in this season, 5 axioms emerge that I want to share with you:

1. Fruit needs water in order to reach its fullest potential.
If you have ever kept a garden, you have surely realized that if only water the plants in it once a week your harvest is going to be compromised. On the other hand, if your plants are receiving frequent and consistent waterings, they are going to be stronger and the fruit is going to be better.

Psalm 1:3 (NIV) - He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

2. Good soil is very important.
The soil contains most of the nutrients that cause the plants to grow. There are tremendous differences between good soil and bad soil. Keeping good soil, guarding our heart (Proverbs 4:23), both individually and as a church is and will always be our top priority.

Matthew 13:23 (NIV) - The one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

3. Death brings life.
We must die to ourselves and our own desires and submit to God’s plan. In doing so we will bear much fruit. Our end goal is NOT dying to self, our end goal is living FOR Christ.  In God’s kingdom, dying is the means to living!

John 12:24 (NIV) - I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

4. Pruning produces more fruit.
It doesn’t make sense while you are doing it, but the results prove its effectiveness. God is an expert gardener and He knows which areas of our lives need to be pruned to make us more effective. It does hurt, but the end result is living into our maximum fruit bearing potential…and who doesn’t want that?

John 15:2 (NIV) - He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

5. A branch can’t bear fruit separated from the plant.
That is a no-brainer, right? Any fruit that we will bear in our lives will be a result of us being connected to our source: God. Just like a severed branch can bear no fruit, neither can we bear any fruit if we are not abiding in Him.  Do you believe this? 

John 15:5 (NIV) - I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

I know these are simple axioms, but we can never grow beyond these! I cannot tell you how excited I am for 2013, let’s keep surrendered and keep letting God prune us.  The result is nothing short of supernatural.

On a personal note, I wanted to let you know that last night, the US Embassy in Kinshasa informed us that Joella’s visa to the United States has been approved! The Consul Agent told me, “Mr. Gaddini, I have exciting news for you! Joella’s visa has been approved.  The Lord is good!”  Please join me in praying for all the details of getting her home to Redwood City.  Thank you for praying and standing with us.

This Sunday, Brian Rhen will serve it up for the body.  Brian has traditionally preached the first Sunday of the year, setting our course for the coming year. 

I love being your pastor!