Grace Lutheran Church

Chapter 10

Pastor's Pen

Our church is currently in the process of calling a new Pastor to lead and guide us on our spiritual journey here on earth.  We are praying earnestly, and believe that God will send us a new minister soon.  While we wait, following is a writing from our former Pastor, Chris Johnson, who retired in December 2016, after many years of service to the Lord and his many congregations around the country.  We hope you will take comfort in and find blessing in this writing.  Please visit us soon!

Fruit trees are one of the many wonders of God's creation. To see the beauty of the tree and its fruit, to enjoy its taste, and to realize that it all came from a tiny seed is almost beyond our comprehension. An apple seed is planted in the ground, and, with water and sun as nourishment, miraculously a seedling surfaces that develops into a fruit tree. After a period of time, the apple tree fulfills its mission by bearing apples.

We, as Christians, are like that apple tree. We, too, have been fed and nourished by God so we can bear fruit. "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last" (John 15:16). Jesus tells us "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" (John 15:5). The life and power of any plant is found in its vine. The vine uses the branches to produce its fruit. The branch is simply a growth of the vine, produced by it and appointed to bear fruit. The branch exists only because the vine makes it possible.

Fruit characterizes the life of the Christian steward. When we stay firmly connected to Jesus, we are told that we "will bear much fruit." Christ has given us the task of ministering to the needs of others and spreading the Gospel. As we stay connected to Him through His Word and Sacraments, we discover God's perfect will for us, and we are empowered to please Him by bearing fruit (Colossians 1:9 - 10). God has created us to bear fruit (Ephesians 2:10), but only through Christ is it possible for us to do so.

"Since we live by the Spirit," Paul exhorted, "let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other" (Galations 5:25 - 26). As children of God, we have this fruit because His Spirit lives in us, not as a result of our own efforts. We do cease to bear fruit when we give in to our sinful natures, becoming, in Paul's words, "Conceited, provoking and envying each other." We are to "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness" (Ephesians 5:11a), but are to "Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord" (Ephesians 5:8b - 10).

Go and bear fruit!