Sunday, December 30, 2012

4 ways to be more fruitful for God: A top ten leadership post in 2012


What if God wanted to do more in, through, with, and for you? What if it grieved His heart that you've been settling for less?

Jesus said, "I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given..." (Luke 19:26a).

Cuyahoga Valley Church is 25 years in 2012. Our 25th anniversary as a church has reminded me about other milestones in my personal ministry. I have just celebrated 26 years of ministry here in NE Ohio as a church planter/pastor. I started in vocational ministry in 1979, 33 years ago. And I am just 1 week into my new role at CVC as Founding Pastor and Pastor of Missional Living and Leadership Development.

I have been given much - so much more than I dreamed. I have a great wife, a wonderful family, 3 sons who are seeking to follow Jesus, a fantastic Christ-honoring daughter-in-law, and an amazing grandson. I have had and now have a place of influence at CVC. I am surrounded with people who love me. I have loyal friends.

So, when Jesus says, "Everyone who has," He's talking about me. And, I'm guessing, you.

Now, look again at the rest of the verse. "I tell you the truth," says Jesus, "that to everyone who has, more will be given." If you have some, Jesus says you will be given more.

If God lets me live long enough, I can, therefore, safely anticipate even more fruit from God over the next 25, 26, and 33 years. In 25 years, I will be 84. Could I live that long? Possibly. Could I have greater influence in the next 25 years than I have had in the last 25 years? No doubt.

See, our fruit comes from abiding in Christ (John 15:5). He's the vine and we are the branches. The branch that bears the most fruit is the one with the largest circumference, the deepest attachment, and the most continuous connection with the vine.

No matter how old we might be or what our job description might be, we can experience more. We can see an increase in fruit-bearing. How?

1) Increase the size of the circumference of the branch.

2) Deepen the connection of the attachment to the vine.

3) Decrease the frequency of disconnecting from the vine.

4) Increase the purity of the connection to the vine.

Accomplishing these four things will create an abiding-in-Christ lifestyle. When we abide, we can confidently claim verses like Luke 19:26a as a promise. We can experience more.

Consider other verses with the same promise of more. "For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance" (Matthew 13:12). "Take care then how you hear, for the one who has, more will be given" (Luke 8:18). "Every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit" (John 15:2b). "But He gives more grace" (James 4:6).

Never settle for less. Always go for more... by His grace and for His glory.

Questions: How have you been settling for less? What might more look like for you?

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