#907. We are ‘pruned’ to better show God’s glory (27/9/23)
This, our third and final week in this vision series, we are considering how remaining in the vine will make us effective in reaching our community for Jesus.
‘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.’ (John 15:1-2)
Lesson: The Father’s ‘pruning’ in our lives will make us more effective at revealing Christ to others because pruning makes us more like Christ and gives us experiences that we can share.
To listen to this devotional, go to:
The Father, described as ‘the gardener’, is ‘pruning’ us to make us more fruitful. This is the work of sanctification. Through, often painful, circumstances, the Father is making us more holy and like Christ. This process will make us more effective at helping to bring others to Jesus. As our character is refined, we become more loving and better represent Jesus as we become more loving, patient, generous etc. Additionally, as God takes us through difficult circumstances, we are able to empathise and share our story to inspire people who don’t yet have a relationship with God.
We may not understand why we are suffering, but we can know that it is for our good and is also for the good of those who are outside of faith. As we walk with God through trials, we can show how God gives joy and endurance in suffering. When, through persevering prayer, we come out of our trial, we have wonderful stories to share with those who, as yet, don't have a relationship with God. As our character is refined through the Father’s 'pruning,' we know that we will radiate the character of Christ more fully.
Let’s not lose heart or hope! Let’s receive the truth that The Father’s 'pruning' in our lives will make us more effective at revealing Christ to others because pruning makes us more like Christ and gives us experiences that we can share. I’ve heard it said that immense pressure is needed to produce a diamond. Likewise, showing the glory of God in our character requires our Father's loving and purposeful discipline. Specifically, are you listening well and then, appropriately, sharing your stories of how God helped you in the dark paths of your life?"
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Let's use the icebreaker that we talked about in our vision series: How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Please read John 15:5, 26-27
This week, as we end our brief vision series I thought that we could ensure that we understand the vision and goals and spend some time praying over it.
Let’s begin by reminding ourselves of our vision and goals as a church:
At CCP, our vision is: 'Bringing people to Jesus: myself, one another, and our community.'
1. Myself(I bring myself to Jesus)
We are seeking to build a church in which every member knows the importance of, and has the skills to come to Jesus each day so as to live as fully devoted followers of Jesus every day.
2. One another (We bring one another to Jesus)
We have an Acts 2 vision of the church where we see their devotion to meeting together. Together, we encourage each other to come to Jesus and put Him at the centre of our lives.
3. Our community (we seek to bring our community to Jesus)
We are a church that has deep compassion for our community and we know that God wants to work through us to bring people to Him. We understand or identity as 'salt and light' in our communities doing good works and sharing the gospel thoughtfully. We love to ‘serve, invest and invite’ in our community - invest in friendships and invite them into our lives, church community and closer to Jesus, particularly through Alpha.
Our 4 simple goals
To help with this, we have 4 very simple but, I believe, powerful goals that encourage every member to work on:
Goals to help me to bring ‘myself’ to Jesus:
1. We 'come to Jesus daily' by setting aside quality time each day in prayer and worship out of the Bible and asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit (20 minutes, using the ‘come to Jesus daily’ blog is a good start)
2. The 'icebreaker' used in our CG meetings is, normally, 'How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?'
Goal to help bring 'one another' to Jesus:
3. We are devoted to building an amazing Community Group (Meeting weekly is a good start).
Goals to help us to bring ‘our community’ to Jesus:
4. We aim to share, pray and plan about how we are ‘serving, investing and inviting’ into our community every time we meet in our Community Groups. Additionally, we pray and plan specifically during our monthly ‘SIV Week’ (Serve/Invest/Invite).
What is SIV?
SIV stands for Serve, Invest, and Invite. This is our very simple strategy to help bring our community to Jesus. We believe that God has placed us in relationships and in specific locations to be 'salt and light.' We can effectively bring people to Jesus by 'Serving' them, demonstrating the love of Christ in practical ways; by 'Investing' in the people to whom we feel the Spirit is leading us; and by 'Inviting' them into our homes and hospitality, to church events, to Alpha, and ultimately, inviting them to come to Jesus through the gospel.
1. How does Jesus' teaching on remaining in the vine relate to our vision and goals?
2. Please now read John 7:37-39, which is another text that has been very influential in the forming of our vision. How does this text relate to our vision and goals?
3. This week, we focussed on reaching our community for Jesus. Please ensure that you understand SIV and our goals around this.
4. Do you have any encouraging stories of how you are serving, investing and inviting?
4. SIV - Do you have a prayer list of people that God has put on your heart?
5. SIV - Do you have any friends that you could invite to church or a church event? If yes, how have you developed this relationship, if no, how could you make progress?