Growing me, Growing you, Part 3, Planting and Tending  

On Sunday 4th November at our morning service, we finished the series Growing me, Growing you with the topic Planting and Tending..

In this blog you will find a summary of the talk.

To listen to the talk, please click here.  

 I admired a curly willow and managed to get a cutting and rooted it. The trouble was when I planted it out I kept accidentally weeding it out. After several attempts I have manged to grow it successfully. It started well, faltered and finally grew tall and strong. Growing things doesn’t always come easily. What about you? Have you had trouble with your attempts? To get plants you first have to get the seeds, or the cuttings, or stock. It is the same with love you have to receive in order to give. The source of all love is God, because God is love. Are we cultivating our relationship with God?
All relationships take time and our lives can get really busy. We can feel like a hamster on a wheel. We are going round and round and not getting anywhere. We need to get off the treadmill and look up. Life gets busy and space to grow our relationship with God can be squeezed out if we are not careful. God is speaking all the time, but are we too distracted to hear. It is so easy to get caught up with the busyness of life that we miss the beauty and blessing of God. We need to make space – otherwise the weeds of life-in-general will choke love out of the garden of our lives.
Jesus talks about this in one of his parables. He describes different soil on which seeds are sown. This is where he explains the story.
LINK Luke 8:11-15 (The Message)
I confess that the verse I most relate to is where the seed falls amongst the weeds. We are all in danger of getting caught up in the worries of life and maybe even the pleasures, so that God is crowded out. We need to get off the treadmill and look up. Otherwise we are in danger of just echoing the meaningless noise around us.
God’s whole creation has been designed with rhythms. There are time of growth, activity, rest and restoration. We neglect life’s rhythms to our detriment. We are not designed for 24/7 activity.
To grow healthily we need to give space for God. We need to develop a “RULE OF LIFE”. The word “rule” comes from the Greek for “Trellis”. It is a structure that helps us to grow healthily like a clematis or a vine. We all have a rule of life whether consciously or not. The struts of the trellis are the structures that we put in place to grow spiritually. These are things like being part of a church, quiet times, prayer, Bible study, etc. there should be opportunities to meet with others and nurture accountability relationships, as in Life groups or other small groups. It also includes silence and solitude, as well as retreats and weekly Sabbath rest. We all need to consciously develop a “Rule of Life”; a structure and direction for us to intentionally pay attention to God so that he is at the centre of our lives.
At EBC our mission is to love God and love people as we grow together to become more like Jesus to do this we must Get off the treadmill and look up. Pete Scazzero in a podcast said that “Most of us are chronically overextended... Jesus spent over 90 percent of his life — ?thirty of his thirty-three years — ?in obscurity.
In those hidden years, he forged a life of loving union with the Father.
He continued to prioritize his relationship with the Father throughout his three-year ministry. As a result, Jesus modelled contentment amidst pressure, calmness in the face of betrayal, and power to forgive at his crucifixion — ?the fruit of a long history of living in knowing deeply that he was “beloved” by his Father.”
We need to learn from Jesus practices, His rule of life.
Sometimes I grow things like beans up a cane. A single cane can get pulled over by the weight of the plant. Better to tie at least 3 or four canes together. It is needs to be a strong structure. The fewer the canes the weaker the structure. It is the same with our spiritual growth. Relying on just one or two things makes for weakness and vulnerability. The more things in place the greater the potential for growth.
Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your small group)

  1. Having read this Passage through which kind of soil do you relate to most?
  1. Do you have a rule of Life? Is it consciously thought through or haphazard?
  1. What are the things that you have put into place and what kind of things do you need to put into place? This may be about frequency as well as more things
  1. Jesus spent time in solitary places and in silence so that his ministry came out of abiding in the Father. What things could you put into place to help you find space like Jesus in order to deepen your relationship with God?
  1. What is the difference between having a Sabbath day of rest and a day off?
  1. What would Sabbath rest look like for you?
  1. Sabbath Rest is commanded in the 4th commandment. How easy or difficult is it to have a real day of rest?
  1. Having thought about your Rule of Life think about what that looks like now and what you would like it to look like?
  1. What is one step that you can take as a result of this study?
Steph Littlejohn, 05/11/2018