Our home that we purchased last August came with a very overgrown peach tree. Having zero experience in dealing with fruit trees, I talked to my brother about it. His first question was, “Well, do you want it to bear fruit?” It seemed like a silly question, of course we wanted it to bear fruit! Peaches are very healthy, especially when you bake them in a pie or add them to milkshakes!
"Well,” my brother continued, “the first thing we will have to do is prune it back.” A couple of weeks ago Ryan came over and showed me what fruit-tree pruning looks like. He pruned the branches back HARD. When he was finished he told me some other things we will have to do throughout the growing season, and then he cautioned me that we might not get a bumper crop this year. Apparently the first year after a hard pruning isn’t always bountiful, but then after continued care the tree should be overloaded with peaches for years to come.
So why do I tell you all this? Well, I think the lessons Ryan taught me about fruit-trees apply to our spiritual lives as well. Do we want to be fruitful as individuals and as a church? The easy answer is “YES,” but being fruitful may mean that we are in for some pruning, especially if we’ve ignored our spiritual life for a while.
When God prunes us, He starts to clip away all unnecessary and “dead” things in our lives. Sometimes it means asking us to give up things we enjoy, but don’t have lasting value. Sometimes it means losing our “free” time so that He can redirect us. And sometimes, let’s face it, it means clipping away undesired character traits like pride, envy, selfishness, and anger.
Going through a season of pruning isn’t fun, but it is necessary if we are to remain fruitful. John 15:2 says that “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Did you catch the end of that verse? God prunes us because it will help us bear more fruit! Here’s the deal…like my peach tree, abundant fruit may not appear in our lives right away. But don’t give up. Be patient and allow God to continue to work in your life. Given time, you will begin to bear more fruit than you ever thought possible!
Here’s what’s happening:
1. We are still in need of helpers in the nursery. Please consider serving and contact Shirley Echternach.
2. Saturday, 4/14 – Spring Clean Up Day from 8am until whenever the work gets done (probably by 11am).
3. Holy Week 2018 at Ebenezer:
Wednesday 7 pm to Thursday 7 pm – 24 Hour Prayer Vigil
Maundy Thursday Service – 7 pm. “Breads and Spreads” Fellowship time afterwards. Bring your favorite bread (homemade or from your favorite bakery) and/or your favorite spread (jelly/jam/cream spreads/etc…) to share!
Community Good Friday Service at Metzler’s Mennonite Church at 7pm.
Easter Morning Sunrise Service at Carpenters Community Church at 6:30am.
Easter Morning – Celebration Service at 10:15
4. On Sunday, April 8, Jesse North from Intervarsity Christian Fellowship will be returning to Ebenezer and will be giving the morning message.
5. Sunday April 15 – We will begin our spring sermon series on the book the Esther, titled “God is Now Here.”
I am looking forward to Sunday morning as we look at the ladies discovering the empty tomb (Mark 16:1-8). The message on Sunday will include both a challenge for believers about being fruitful and a strong invitation to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. Please invite someone to join you in worshipping with us!
See you on Sunday,