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The Haven Christian Centre is the church for the Heatherton Estate and our vision is:
July message from Martin:
During the first part of 2019 we have been prayerfully considering the “5 Practices of a Fruitful Congregation” and this has led me to John 15:1-8. At the first reading of John 15:1-8, it seems like such a simple message, and really it is. If the branch stays connected to the vine, much fruit will be produced. In the instance of grape vines, which this parable is based upon, grapes will be produced. If a peach branch is connected to the tree, peaches will be produced. If an apple branch stays connected to an apple tree, apples are produced.
But, what is produced when we stay connected to Jesus? Avocadoes? Pears? Cherries? To many in and of the world the answer is clear: we produce nuts! If a Christian stay connected to Christ, what is produced? The fruit of the Spirit? Yes, a Christian will produce the fruit of the Spirit if connected to Jesus, but the produce of a Christian connected to Christ is more Christians.
We are to produce more Christians. OK, simple enough, but how is that accomplished? In the book of Romans, chapter 11, Paul tells us that we were not natural branches, but were grafted in to the tree (or Christ) due to our belief. After being grafted in, we need to get connected to Christ, be fed by him, receive nourishment from him, become one with him; we are to take on the very nature of our Saviour. Then we can become fruitful.
OK, we are to take on the nature of Christ, but what is the nature of Christ. All we can do is look at his attributes to discern his nature. In my opinion, the top three attributes of Jesus, and since he is very God they are also attributes of God, is Love, Mercy and Forgiveness. In fact, if it were not for these three attributes, none of us would be followers of Jesus, nor would there likely be any followers of Jesus anywhere. It is only through the love of God that Jesus came to earth, it is only through His mercy that sinners such as us have a chance and it is only through His forgiveness that we enter the Kingdom of God.
Incidentally, these three attributes of God are central to the message of Jesus Christ. They are the Big Three in his teaching. Let’s briefly look at what Jesus taught us about these three attributes of our Saviour and God.
There are many places where Jesus tells us to love others and teaches us how to behave in love. One such instance is the Golden Rule, another is, John Chapter 13:34-35 where Jesus instructed us to love one another.
If we stay connected to Christ, this love will come. If, however, we fail to connect to Jesus, then we will fail to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to love each other regardless of our station in life, or our ethnicity, or race, or political affiliation, or income, or education, or hair colour, or appearance, or emotional disorders, or . . . well, you get the idea. We do not have a choice! We are commanded to love each other.
While this is an impossible task for us to do in our own strength, or in our own natural love, if we stay connected to Jesus Christ it is not impossible.
We are to be merciful to each other. Jesus tells us this on numerous occasions. However, one of the clearest pictures in the Bible of how and why we are to be merciful to each other is found in Luke 6:41-42.
When you get connected to Jesus, it becomes easy to be merciful. When you stay connected to Jesus you become painfully aware of your own faults and failures and you lose a desire to condemn another since you are aware that you have the same fault in spades. When you stay connected to Jesus you extend love and mercy to others.
How important is it for us to forgive others? Is it really necessary? After all, no one can hold a grudge like I can hold a grudge. You hurt my feelings 35 years ago, and I will never forget or forgive you for calling me a fathead. My head is not that fat!
Is it really necessary that we forgive others? Just how important is it? Take a few minutes to read Matthew 6:14-15.
Sometimes the hurt goes so deep that it becomes part of us, and it affects all of our relationships and even our Worldview. Sometimes it becomes so deep that it is impossible for us to forgive the person that hurt us or trust others. However, if we get connected to Jesus we can forgive and receive healing through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is only through the help of the Holy Spirit that we can experience such healing and then forgive others for how they have hurt us so deeply. If we get and stay connected to Jesus we can experience this forgiveness and share it with others. When we stay connected to Jesus we have love, mercy and forgiveness to share with others.
When we get connected and stay connected to Jesus we begin to be transformed into the image of Christ. We begin to take on the nature and attributes of Jesus, we have love, mercy and forgiveness to share with others. If you stay connected to Jesus, fruit happens! It just happens! Fruit really happens!
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