expectations, Growth, prepared., ready

Trestles and Vines

Last night at our Church AGM we had an interesting image brought to us about Trestles and Vines. Vines need support -Trestles- to enable them to flourish and grow well.

The idea of trestles is what support do we need to put in place to enable to work of the Kingdom of God to grow and flourish well?

Without a trestle the vine falls on the ground and the fruit is trampled underfoot, and the grapes flourish in the sunlight.

It is an image I like, because the priority is focused towards what actually matters, and building a structure; loose, adaptable and flexible, to adequately host what God -the vine grower- is doing.

Sometimes in order to help the vine, we need to work with the trestles.

Yet I began to kick the idea of Vines and Trestles around in my head for a little bit and I thought of three pictures around this.

The first picture is a very sad one, -the Revered but Redundant Trestle- where the vine has long since withered and died, and so they obsess about the trestles, the trestles are -if we are being brutally honest- in-necessary and unneeded by the people have got used to them being there, and have been there when there was a vine covering them, and no one has had the heart to gently say “your trestles don’t appear to have any vines, leaves or grapes on them”.

The second picture is a little happier  -it’s the just about coping Trestle- the vine and the trestle are well matched and everything is coping nicely, the vine is a little heavy on the old trestle and the trestle has given faithful service, but it is all okay really. It works, yet the trestles have only been built to contain what they now contain, they may have been originally built with vision and faith, but now they have reached their capacity, and are happy, but a little strained, but they don’t want to stretch out new trestles and push beyond the now reached boundaries.

The third picture, is a faith-filled Trestle, where the trestle is built in faith for the vines future growth and development, seeing the vine now how it currently is, but how it can and will be, it know the vine will grow and need support, it is waiting/watching and prepared to take the strain as new growth gradually appears.

Growth is sneaky, often advances by inches, subtle and unnoticed except to the most faith-filled and expectant watcher with alert eyes.

When God starts to move, are our Churches ready and able to cope with what the Lord of the harvest brings in? Are our trestles, redundant or only just coping? Lets instead build with faith that God is at work.

Building not for what is here at the moment, but building for what is going to come, for the harvest we have yet to see.

Lets be people building these faith filled trestles/

 

 

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Growth, Health

Growth & Health / Health & Growth.

Yesterday when trying to catch the dog outside in the dark I didn’t see a step and ‘OUCH’ hurt my foot (actually its a lot better today, but for the sake of the blog go with it!) hobbling over to the settee I instinctively realized that making this bust foot bare my weight was not a good idea.
Putting weight on something that is broken will causes more damage in the long term than being sensible and getting it fixed. Yet as I talked about in my blog about the dentist getting things fixed isn’t something we are necessarily good at doing as Christians.
Sometimes our life together as Church can be pretty broken, is it wise (or helpful) to run around and try and grow as a Church without sorting out the brokenness, is like trying to do a marathon with a broken ankle.
Sometimes we get so caught up with wanting God to work THROUGH us that we never actually let him work IN us.
I guess this is what Jesus is saying about sorting out the log in our own eye before dealing with the speck in our brother/sisters eye.
I love John Wimbers’ famous prayer “Lord Send Revival, Start with me”, a desire for the Growth of the Kingdom of God, but in order for the Kingdom to grow we need to sort out our spiritual health.
With our children, we worry about their health,  but (normally) their growth is a normal by product of being healthy.
Just as in life when we invest in health we find that God brings growth, however, when we invest in growth that doesn’t necessarily produce health.
Mike Breen said “When you make disciples you get Church, but when you do Church you don’t necessarily make Disciples”.
This reminded me of a conversation I had this week with a guy who was talking about “loving to see the Church packed”, we ended up talking and (it was a banter-type conversation) said that I could give out free beer, have pole dancers perform and not mention Jesus once but I reckon we would have the Church packed with standing room only. As the conversation progressed we talked about the difference between ‘bums on seats’ and ‘transformed lives’.
I once heard someone say “I couldn’t grow the Church because I am not an evangelist”, but this particular lady was an amazing saint, and she might not be dragging people out of bed to Church on a Sunday morning, but she really helped the Church be healthy by her infectious love of Jesus, his word and his people, which helped make the Church more healthy and Christ-like, which I believe is really attractive to the world alongside us.
Growth isn’t always numerical, popularity is not always the litmus paper for obedience.
Lets be people who are spiritually healthy seeking first his Kingdom both in our lives and also in the lives around us.
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