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  • Writer's pictureChris Whitler

Fruitfulness, Faithfulness and Fred Rogers

What does it mean to be fruitful? Last month a leader in our mission put out a statement regarding YWAM and our future coming out of this pandemic. He talked about how pruning is the way a plant becomes fruitful..taking away unnecessary parts of the plant so that the life can flow to the branches to produce sweeter, better fruit. Jesus said that every unfruitful branch would be cut off and even the fruitful ones would be pruned. This leader was saying that this season is one for pruning so that we could become more fruitful.

And what is fruit? Conversions? Disciples? Growth? Funding? Community buy-in? Or…”the fruit of the Spirit…love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?”

Before this time of pause, we have not been healthy and we have not been producing good fruit. We have not been living the kind of life that is sustained, at peace, and filled with the good things listed here. It’s been a frenzy of activity and trying to keep up. We’ve been running from one thing to the next without time for preparation and only maintaining, maintaining, maintaining.

We know we have to get off of that wheel. I have been tempted to jump the gun. To get back out there. To make something happen. To make sense of and squirm out of this uncomfortable season. But I know that it is not yet time.

A trusted couple in our mission has reached out and they want to visit and take us through some counseling sessions that serve as an exercise for times of transition this July. I know that this is our next step. God has brought them to us like a gift. We need to listen to our lives. Stop trying to figure it out and trust the process that we are in.

“Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

"…Whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people…” Galatians 5 and 6

Faithfulness is fruitfulness. We will stay the course. Thank you for hanging in there with us.

One more thought from Galatians.

”You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Galatians 5

So many churchly people are choosing to bite and devour one another right now. Folks are fearful, hurting, uncomfortable, impatient and weary. This is expressing itself in anger, selfishness, hoarding, arguments, protests, boasting, self righteousness, judgement and unrest. Politicians and media outlets are leveraging this time to gain footholds, using people’s fear to advance their cause. The oh so common presence of snark on social media and the ones who “sit in the seat of mockers” are not helping.

I just finished a book about the life of Fred Rogers and have been wondering what he would feel about what’s become of the world in these days. Don’t you want to be one of the “helpers” that Mr. Rogers’ mother told him to look for in times of fear and crisis?

“What can we do…to encourage people to have more quiet in their lives? More silence? Real revelation comes through silence.

“We get so wrapped up in numbers in our society. The most important thing is that we are able to be one-to-one, you and I with each other at the moment. If we can be present to the moment with the person that we happen to be with, that’s what’s important.

“I know that when I walk out of the studio someday and there is a child who has Downs Syndrome, for instance, and that child comes up and gives me a hug, I know that that’s the field I want to be growing in. Because I see that people who are not the fancy people of this world are the ones who seem to nourish my soul. And I want to learn how to be the best receiver that I can ever be. Because I think graceful receiving is one of the most wonderful gifts we can give anybody.” Fred Rogers

“…serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

So, what ARE we doing?

We are housing, hosting and responding mostly right in the neighborhood here. We are maintaining, in partnership with New Hope congregation, a house for a refugee family. We are also responding to needs from our Afghan friends as they come up in this confusing time.

Also, our whole family is helping host weekly events for people from 4 residential care facilities that serve the severely mentally ill. Since the church is not being used during the week, it is a great place to get these folks out of the house to enjoy movies, coffee, games and an open yard.

We are continuing to serve our friends at New Hope on Sunday Zoom meetings and staying involved in local prayer initiatives, ministry networks and partnerships.

Thanks for your interest and support!

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