The Fruit of the Spirit Project

Many of you know that I am a pianist and have enjoyed writing original instrumentals over the years. I have gone back and forth about recording these song as they are developed. I Have been encouraged to do so but have hesitated due to my lack of knowledge in the process it takes.

I have recently compiled a list of original songs and been moved to work on a project titled The Fruit of the Spirit. Please be in prayer with me as I discern the wisdom of moving forward with this. No time line as of now. Below is a list of the titles:

  1. Love – Unity
  2. Joy – Journey With Grace
  3. Peace – Peace
  4. Patience – Patient Love
  5. Kindness – Kristin Elayne
  6. Goodness – The Simple Way of Things
  7. Faithfulness – Winter Storm
  8. Gentleness – Dancing in the Meadow
  9. Self-control – The Haunting
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Never More Freeing Words

Faithfulness – devotion to a cause or person.

Grace – unmerited favor.

God – sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe. 

The life of a Christian is devoted to Christ and supported by the limitless and undeserved love of God.


Sometimes anxious thoughts fill my mind. As a pastor, I wonder if I’m serving the people well enough? Am I achieving the results expected of me? Am I communicating the Word of God the way I intend? As a human being, I get caught up in striving while hoping my sincerity is accepted.

Philippians 4:6 tells us not to be anxious about anything, but in prayer and petition, with thanksgiving to offer our requests to the Lord.

I have been influenced by a book recently by Philip Yancey called, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? I’m learning that prayer is not simply about making requests before God. Certainly it is important to offer our anxieties to him. However, prayer is significantly more about recognizing our proper place before God in humble faithfulness and dependence. This is why the psalmist said, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

Time in prayer creates the space we need to be reminded that God is God and we are not. When we are not being quiet before the Lord, we can be sure we are being influenced by the noisy and intrusive lies of the world. Lies that say you need, you deserve, if you do not have you are failing. The world tells us we must achieve and then dictates what achievement looks like.

Prayer reminds us that everything in the world is primarily God’s responsibility. Everything that happens is ultimately in His hands. That means at the end of the day there is not a single outcome in any circumstance that relies on me. This is extremely freeing.

During my time in prayer I have been blessed and challenged by these counter-cultural words from the heart of God.

“It’s not up to you to succeed or fail. It’s only up to you to be faithful and fall on my grace.”

“It’s not up to you to be understood or misunderstood. It’s only up to you to be faithful and fall on my grace.”

“It’s not up to you to be recognized or forgotten. It’s only up to you to be faithful and fall on my grace.”

Faithfulness – devotion to a cause or person.

Grace – unmerited favor.

God – sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe. 

The life of a Christian is devoted to Christ and supported by the limitless and undeserved love of God.

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The Sin Contract

What temptation do you struggle with most in your life? You, and perhaps only you know. You know the shame and hurt it could cause yourself and others. You know the great regrets you might live with. Only you and God truly know the inward struggle you have been engaged in. Perhaps you can even relate with Paul when he says in Romans 7:19, “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do-this I keep doing.”

Imagine yourself – by some strange and fantastic turn of events – swept away into a setting that can only be described as supernatural. Picture yourself alone on a mountain top with the heavy feeling of a profound choice. Before you sits a table. On that table lies two separate contracts and a pen. Somehow you understand the purpose of this experience and you begin to carefully review the situation.

As you begin to study the contract on the left you find you have the opportunity to sign the deal of a lifetime. By signing this contract you may continue to indulge in as much of your greatest temptation as you would like without any consequences. There would be no more shame or regret. Nobody would ever get hurt. People would not look poorly on you if they ever found out. There would be no negative physical, emotional, or natural ramifications whatsoever. Most significant of all, you would still be able to avoid any eternal consequences because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and grace.

Of course you know the importance of small print and as you read you find the only catch is that sin is still sin.

On the other hand, the contract on the right is much shorter and to the point. It simply says,

You will never commit or even desire to commit this sin ever again.

Immediately it becomes obvious that you can only agree to one of the two contracts. As you pick up the pen, you take plenty of time to make your choice. What considerations are going through your mind? What battle do you find yourself fighting during these moments? What contract do you finally sign, and why?

 

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Everlasting Success or Sudden Demise

I wanted to update everyone on the wonderful service we had this past Sunday. This week we had the opportunity to reestablish our church membership. This was an exciting time as we studied the scriptures in relation to our new membership covenant.

The message on Sunday was according to Galatians 5:22-26 and 1 Corinthians 2:12-16 regarding the Fruit of the Spirit.

Those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins have received the Holy Spirit. This means we are no longer bound to the foolishness of our own flesh. We can now understand the wisdom of God as we yield to the Holy Spirit in us. Those who do not have the Holy Spirit cannot understand the wisdom of God. They have no choice but to follow whatever seems best to them. But if we trust Christ we do have a choice. We can continue in the way of the world. We can essentially reject the character of Christ by preferring our own selfish desires. Or, we can desire and strive to grow in the Fruit of the Spirit, emphasizing the character of Christ, including grace and forgiveness when we fall short.

At Mountain View Baptist Church in Spearfish, SD we are taking the Fruit of the Spirit seriously. We understand that the health of a body depends on the health of its many parts.

This past Sunday we discussed the following questions:

  1. Which wisdom will we operate in as individuals who make up the church, the wisdom of the world, or the wisdom of God?
  2. Who will we follow as individuals who make up the church, the discernment of our flesh, or the discernment of the Holy Spirit?
  3. Where will we go as individuals who make up the church, with our own selfish desires to our own demise, or with the Lord to his everlasting glory?

The choice is up to us.

As a church we took a step into a much bigger story this week. 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles records the dedication of the temple in Israel. During this time king Solomon stood before all of Israel as they committed themselves to the Lord. God spoke to Solomon and gave Israel a clear ultimatum. They could choose to be a healthy and vibrant nation by following God. This would cause the nations around them to marvel at who God is. However, if they would turn from God and follow their own fleshly desires they would lead themselves to their own ruin. The nations around them would wonder why God had abandoned his people. It was the same option they had in the wilderness, in the garden, even in the rededication of the temple in Ezra’s time. It is the same option we have today. Only God’s way leads to the truth and grace we need.

God is doing exciting things. Lets dedicate ourselves to his way.

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Good News On My Mind, and On My Brain

We met with my neurologist today. We are rejoicing as we report that the aneurysm has not grown at all since it was discovered six months ago. In fact, they had a hard time locating it because it is still so small. The doctor is calling it very stable and is optimistic it will not grow at all. We will have another scan a year from now to confirm this expectation. It is possible it has been there all my life and never grown from the start.

We are very relieved and praising God for this good report. Who knows what the future will bring but we have every reason to believe life will go on as normal as it ever has. (That doesn’t mean to say life will actually be normal).

If the worst should ever happen we are told the location is one of the best it can be for a brain aneurysm. The symptoms I should watch out for are an extreme change in vision or a massive headache that leaves no doubt. If the aneurysm would ever need to be operated on it is in a very good place to be reached. We could’t have asked for better news.

Thanks for all of your preyers. Don’t ever stop praying for us. We need it in more ways than we know:)

tims-brain

The aneurysm is located on the artery that is shaped like an S. If you tilt it a quarter hour clockwise it would be on the very top. It is small. I bet you can’t find it.

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Call Back From the Doctor

I received a call from the doctor today while I was on a lunch visit. I cut the visit short not wanting to get bad news in front of anyone.

I went to my car to listen to the voice mail and learned that there is no cause for immediate concern and that there was no reason to push up our appointment on January 4th.

I was able to go back in and finish my lunch appointment and share the good news.

We are praising God and continuing to pray. We will learn more on January 4th. It is possible the aneurysm has grown a little and we will know more then.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and have a merry Christmas.

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Quality of Life: Love

Quality of life is dependent on three things: love, joy, and peace. A person can be dirt poor and sick as a dog with next to no social life, but if they have true love, joy, and peace in their life, circumstances really don’t matter.

We cannot manufacture love in our own strength. This is a good thing. If we could achieve love by some means of accomplishment we would be bound to hold onto it by our own efforts as well. The moment something went wrong would be the moment love was lost. Our circumstances would dictate the amount of love in our lives.

The only way we can truly experience the kind of love that never fails is to receive it from Christ. This takes the effort out of our hands. We are free to receive rather than forced to achieve.

You can go to Christ. Simply ask him for love and he will give of himself to you. Christ is patient and Christ is kind.

Christ shows his patience as he walks with us through all of our failures and shortcoming. He is not standing over us with a pad and pen making a list of our mistakes. Love keeps no record of wrong. We can go to him in any state and at any time and he is patient with us.

Christ shows his kindness to us by actively providing for our needs. Even to the point of dying for us. There is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend. Love always protects and always perseveres.

The only way we can experience the kind of love God intends for us is to receive the ministry of Christ’s love to us. He is exceedingly patient and kind. Go to him. Humble yourself. Ask him to minister to you through his love. Dwell on his words from scripture and let him produce the fruit he desires you to bear.

Christ never fails.

 

 

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