“Every blade of grass has an angel that bends over it and whispers, “Grow! Grow!” – Talmud

Welcome to Windsor Road this morning! It is really good to have you here and more importantly, God is with us by His Spirit. Jesus made a promise – and he never makes promises he can’t keep – and it is found in Matthew 18:20,  “For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them” (NIV). I hope and pray that our worship to God this morning from start to finish including our catch ups during morning tea connects you to God more deeply and strengthens you for the week ahead in your frontlines.

Our church theme for 2019 is, ‘Fruitfulness’. It’s a two-year focus that started last year and it is based on John 15:8 & 16. Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples…You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last…”. Jesus’ vision for our lives is unmistakably clear. He wants us to thrive, flourish and grow. This is the life God envisioned for us from the very start. In Genesis, he told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. This mandate has never been revoked.

One of the most beautiful images that the Bible uses to describe a thriving, flourishing, growing life comes from Jeremiah 17:7-8, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit” (ESV). If we are honest with ourselves, we even struggle with the very idea that we are just meant to be fruitful. It feels overwhelming. It feels like a lot of work.

That’s because we hear Jesus’ and Jeremiah’s words through the KPI (key performance indicators) lens. The more fruit we produce the more our ‘acceptance, worth, value before God’ ratings go up. “Didn’t meet God’s KPIs this month. Will need to work harder next month”. No wonder we find ourselves languishing in condemnation, guilt, fear and discouragement instead of flourishing.

Re-read Jeremiah’s words in the light of Jesus’ words again. They are meant to be life giving!

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Have a fruitful week!

Mark