Posts Tagged ‘followers of Jesus’

lemon-treeI’ve got a young lemon tree in my backyard. It’s not very strong yet, but it’s got lemons. Only a few, but they’re lemons. I know it’s a lemon tree because I can see lemons hanging from the branches. If I was doubtful at all that it was a lemon tree I could cut those lemons off the tree and suck the juice and I would be convince that it was a lemon tree.

I’ve got another bush in my backyard. The leaves suggest it may be an apple, but it may be something completely different. It was in a pot in someone else’s backyard when I got it and for a couple of years I’ve watched but there’ve been no flowers, and certainly no fruit. I can’t really tell what it is.

When a tree produces fruit it seems to be the ultimate statement. A kind of announcement: “I’m a lemon tree and I can prove it. I produce lemons.”


How do you know if I’m a follower of Jesus? Well you can take my word for it. But ultimately, you’re looking for fruit. You want to see some sort of evidence that convinces you that I’m a follower of Jesus. After all, if I say I’m a follower of Jesus, but you see me breaking the law of behaving badly you would probably doubt my word.

The Apostle Paul said:  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Now that makes sense. Here are some pieces of fruit, some outcomes from being a follower of Jesus. When people see these virtues working out in another person’s life they want to ask the question, how can a person be like this?

When a person uses bad language all the time, they’re constantly aggressive, they’re vindictive or hurtful to others, it’s like bad fruit. And bad fruit suggests there’s something wrong with the tree. So the problem is not just with the outward appearance. There’s a deeper problem.

So while my lemon tree is only small and a little spindly, the healthy lemons that it is producing, say to me that this is a lemon tree and it’s OK. People are always looking for fruit in our lives, and we can’t produce good fruit if there’s something wrong with the roots.

Fruit like love and joy and peace, forbearance, kindness; you know … all those great virtues that Paul talked about, don’t come naturally. He called them the fruit of the Spirit. They’re the result of Jesus being present in our lives; they’re the result of a person living in harmony with the Holy Spirit.

What’s your fruit like? Can people see the fruit and know that you’re a follower of Jesus. Or is it still a secret?


Here’s a sensational video and a thought for the new year from Ephesians 4:  You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.


There are a few people who are “followers” of my blog which means that you get advice that I’ve made a new post and if you’ve got time you will read it.

Thanks for your support. I appreciate that people read what I have to say, and that they can benefit from my ramblings.

But I’ve been thinking about the Facebook type of following and the sort of following that Jesus talks about.

Yesterday in church I spoke about an incident that was recorded in Luke’s Gospel about a time when Jesus was walking along the road surrounded by a big group of people.

There were those people who we refer to as the “disciples” but there were others who joined Jesus and took part in a conversation about what it meant to be a “follower” of Jesus.

One man promised to be a follower of Jesus, but Jesus had to remind him that he didn’t  have a home of his own so following him would cause him to risk the usual comforts of life.

Jesus invited a second person to follow him, and he agreed to the idea, but put it off until some of his plans were sorted out. He made the comment that he needed to bury his father first.  I suspect that his father wasn’t even dead yet and following Jesus was something that would happen at a later, and more convenient, date.

A third person was really keen to follow Jesus but needed to go home and say goodbye to the family first. You still get the idea that it was a delaying tactic.

It seems there was a clear distinction between the disciples, that group of men who had given up their fishing, tax collecting, and other businesses, to follow Jesus, and some of the other people who were walking along the road with Jesus at that time, talking about the issue of following.

It seems that we can be fellow travellers with Jesus, but not followers in the way in which Jesus was inviting people to follow. That we can be like “blog followers” who can pick and choose what that following will look like.

When Jesus invited people to follow him, he didn’t just ask them to tick a box and read his blogs when we had time. He was asking for a level of commitment to him that involved putting him first in every aspect of our life.


I’ve added a couple of posts during the week that you may have missed. The Science of Happiness is a great video about the power of gratitude. And for a bit of light relief, look at The View from an Aeroplane Lavatory and follow the link to see some more great pics.

I loved the comment that appeared on my blog this week: Just a story I would like to share following on from the Fun Factory: Adam was saying to me today that when he went to the Fun Factory activities in the holidays that they told him about a man who lives in the sky and stops bad things happening to people and he couldnt remember his name, I told him it would have been Jesus, he said oh yes it was. I said that some people dont believe in Jesus and he said sternly: ‘Well that’s because they didn’t go to the Fun Factory isn’t it!’

If you’ve been to Fun Factory you’ll love Messy Church that is held at MVBC on the fourth Saturday of each month. The difference is that Messy Church is not just for kids. In fact, more and more I’m thinking it’s what church should be like. Kids and parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, teens and singles, all getting together to work together, play together, worship together and eat together. We do all those things in a pretty informal way and through it all we’re getting to know Jesus better.

In a changing world it’s important that we reimagine the church and look for new and different ways that we can gather together as followers of Jesus, and even as people who are thinking about what following Jesus might look like. Messy Church is one of those options that are available and I suspect we also need to think about other ways we can help people move closer to God.

I’m convinced that the church has served God well over the centuries, but it has changed during that time and needs to continue to change if our world is going to experience the good news of Jesus. I’m loving be a part of that change and looking forward to what may be around the corner.

If you want to get a picture of what Messy Church looks like, take a look at this video from our Grand Final Challenge on Saturday.


There are 14,000 known uses for salt, according to the Salt Institute, the North American based non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing the benefits of salt. They claim that salt is the world’s oldest food additive and on their website highlight some of the benefits:

(Keep reading, you’ll get to the point of this post soon!)

  • One component of salt, sodium (Na), is involved in muscle contraction including heartbeat, nerve impulses, and the digestion of body-building protein.
  • Sodium is the major extracellular electrolyte responsible for regulating water balance, pH, and osmotic pressure;
  • Salt is important in nerve conduction. Because of sodium’s importance to your body, several interacting mechanisms, including generation of hormones angiotensin and aldosterone, adjust the system in the event of consumption of insufficient amounts of salt which would threaten the body’s nerves and muscles and interference with the sodium-potassium “pump” which adjusts intra- and extra-cellular pressures. If your salt intake varies widely, these mechanisms activate to assure that your body remains healthy, maintaining a relatively constant blood pressure;
  • The other component of salt, chloride (Cl) is also essential to good health. It preserves acid-base balance in the body, aids potassium absorption, supplies the essence of digestive stomach acid, and enhances the ability of the blood to carry carbon dioxide from respiring tissues to the lungs;
  • Because salt is essential to good health, the human body is hard-wired with an innate salt appetite;
  • Iodized salt is used by 70% of the world’s population to protect against mental retardation due to Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD);
  • Many countries fortify salt with fluoride against dental caries in situations where fluoridating drinking water is inappropriate;
  • A growing number of countires fortify salt with iron to prevent anemia;
  • Salt brings to food far more than one of the five basic taste sensations (sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami); it enhances other tastes. Sweets taste sweeter. Salt masks bitter tastes, making naturally bitter foods like chocolate and broccoli become delicious;
  • Before recorded history, men learned salt’s key role in food safety and preservation by retarding the growth of spoilage microorganisms.

OK, here’s the point. Today at church I talked about the followers of Jesus as being a “redemptive presence in our community”. I wasn’t the first to say that. Jesus said it, not exactly in those words, when he said to his followers: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. He then went on with a different image, but same theme: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

What do you to stay salty and remain alight? Use the comment section to share your thoughts.