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Archive for the ‘fruit’ Category

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. – Matthew 7:20 (KJV)

The world knows some things about Christians.  The world knows what they hear about Christians.  The world knows what Christians say about themselves and their beliefs.  The world knows when what we say and do fail to match up with one another.

Multiply that by one hundred when it is revealed that you are a Christian in business.

You can run a small business or run a faith-based nonprofit agency.  It doesn’t matter.  The world knows what the world knows.

  • Develop business practices that are in line with and based upon the Scriptures
  • Keep God’s Word as your daily guide; read Proverbs or Psalms daily
  • Evaluate your words and deeds by what the Lord says in His Word

Don’t forget that the world knows you by your fruits.

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“Leadership is an art, something to be learned over time, not simply by reading books.”- Max DePree
Leadership Is an Art
If leadership, like DePree says, is truly a form of art, then there are definitely different levels and types of leadership.  I may become absorbed with the the leadership style demonstrated by a young adult or men’s ministry pastor and sort of thrown off by the youth or children’s pastor and his leadership style.  Each may be a leader by position but each also may have a different way of approaching their craft.
Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time
I find that Christian leadership has some basics that include what should matter in the “real world,” too.  Those in ministry leadership positions may very well be empowered and entrusted to lead.  However, if they are not equipped to lead, then the ministry itself suffers.
Leadership 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know
Ministry leadership should always:
  • Involve People: Gather those who are willing.  Do not call a meeting to run down a list of who is not here and wondering why Brother Smith didn’t show up.  Don’t do that.  Call people together with an agenda and some actions in mind and on paper.  Include a sign-up sheet for special task teams, too.  Go forward and get people involved.
Christian Reflections on The Leadership Challenge (J-B Leadership Challenge: Kouzes/Posner)
Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God's Agenda

Strength to Love

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For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.- Luke 6:43-44 (ESV)

Check around you.  Look under your seat or in that junk drawer at home.  You may have some hidden fruit.  I said hidden fruit, not forbidden fruit.  I am speaking of the qualitative impact of your ministry or business on the lives of others.  These are the impacts that may not manifest on quarterly programmatic reports or become highlights or recaps during this year’s financial projections at the annual church business meeting.  They are the qualitative things that make a difference in the lives of the people that you serve.

You are known by your fruit.  Your fruit is evidence of the work that went into that project or that incident.  Your fruit can either be good or bad, but it says more about where it came from (more like “who” than “where”) than of itself.  You may not see it now, but you most probably have some hidden fruit somewhere that is still spreading its seeds around these days.

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And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light.- Luke 16:8 (NLT)
Manga Messiah

 
I think about the recent terror scare regarding explosives discovered in packages destined for Jewish houses of worship.  It’s sent the world into a new frenzy of terror.  It has TSA and FedEx into a scurry about security along with everyone else from DHL and UPS as well as USPS.
 
Imagine if they weren’t Islamic terrorists.  What it they were evangelical extremists? I am talking about some Bible-thumping, gay-bashing, King James-only, moral flag wavers.  What if that was the case?
 
How quiet is it kept that hate crimes can be committed in the name of Christ just like Allah? How much of an uproar is stirred up when Christians blow up abortion clinics or attack others for their “sins?”  Paul said that we are all like “filthy rags.”
 
Where is the love?
 
The hate is evident.  It is surely visible.
 
Where is the love?
 
The fruit of the Spirit should be pouring out from us.
 
Think about it and be real honest with yourself.
 
What if the tables were turned?
 
Evangelical extremists? Could there be such a thing?
 
This year Halloween falls on a Sunday.  Don’t allow your congregation to fall prey to the subtle idolatry that may slip as “for the kids’ sake” or “just having some good, clean fun.”

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Ye shall know them by their fruits.- Matt. 7:16 (KJV)
We are known by what we produce.  The Bible refers to this as our fruit.  Our fruit serves as evidence of our effort.  The fruit shows that we put our best forward and here is what was produced by our faithful and obedient efforts. 
Our fruit is broken down by quantity and quality:
  • Quantity: much or little [John 15:5]
  • Quality: good or bad [Matthew 7:17-8]
God intends for us to be both faithful and fruitful.

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There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.- 1 Cor. 12:4 (NIV)

The chasm between what we have and what we need could be considered the gift gap. It is the region where you stand somewhere between the way we have done things in the past and the way we know that we need to do things going forward, asking ourselves if we have what it takes to go forward with faith.

We see the gift gap as an issue when church leaders fail to tap into their people and the innate gifts given to their people by the Spirit of God. Unfortunately, the problem occurs more often in ministry than we care to admit. We see it when someone departs from a ministry position unexpectedly and we’re left with one of those obvious vacancies. We rush to utilize our earthly resources to fill the void rather than waiting patiently on the Lord to use His eternal resources to send us the right person for the right season. In the end, we find that all that we did to help God along only resulted in reminding us that we should have looked to God in the first place to provide for all that we needed in that season. The gift gap exists today.

Spiritual matters do not seem right in our eyes at times because we are so busy working through earthly issues. We don’t recognize that our ministry may not be fruitful or flourishing because of who we have or do not have in place at this time. Our prayers should include those petitions that cover God opening our spiritual eyes to the spiritual warfare that faces us as well as the spiritual needs that we encounter as we serve in ministry. In our service to the Lord, let us continue to open our eyes to newfound opportunities to where our spiritual gifts can be used to meet needs daily.

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Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.- Matthew 7:20 (ESV)
When it comes to ministry and business, we see a lot of people gauging success by results. The results let the people know what came about due to their efforts. The results come in various forms. Most assuredly, the results can be numeric and measured in quantitative terms. Also, results can also be identified as qualitative with intrinsic value. Yet, many may not understand or recognize the essence of their results.
Results are generated by effort, usually the work related with delivering a service or product through our ministry or business. Our efforts lead to results. We put in the work and expect to see results based upon what we have invested into the work. However, we must be realistic about our results in order to not repeat mistakes and to implement innovations based upon lessons learned in the field.
Our results can come about from what is intentional and what is incidental.
  • Intentional: These are the results that we have set as targets from the onset of the project or venture. They are the results that we have set up as measures with benchmarks and time-sensitive checkpoints for status and progress reports. These results speak to our ability to reach identified goals within a prescribed period of time with a certain allotment of resources. Obtaining intentional results deals with deliberate actions for desired outcomes. Our intentional results help us identify where we hit and missed targets along the way, allowing us to also identify internal and external factors that impacted the results. For instance, an external factor such as a recession and economic downturn can have drastic impacts on fee-based services and the acquisition of “new” business for service providers. Therefore, in reporting on results, the team and its leadership should research factors-whether internal or external- that impacted whether results were achieved or not.

  • Incidental: Results such as these stem from what occurs in the process of conducting business. Typically, these are unplanned and unexpected results that occur while delivering services and achieving desired results. For instance, your program may be designed to reach the children of low-income families and you discover that, in the process of doing so, you are able to assist single-parent households and at-risk students at the same time. You didn’t intend to do so, but you were able to reach such people due to the broader audience you were seeking to reach. Such incidental success should be recorded and reported along with your intentional success, seeking to replicate similar success in the future as part of an intentional plan.

You are known by your fruit. In other words, your results tell a lot to others about what you have to offer and what you are able to achieve. If you have grant funding or donors, you need to be able to share about your results. In the case of business, where you have investors, stockholders or other interested parties, you should be able to explain your results in layman’s terms. Demonstrate good stewardship by reporting on your results, recognizing what you achieved and whether your results were intentional or incidental.

People know you by your fruit. People know you by what you produce.

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