Finally Home!

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Psalm 92:12-15 (AMP) says this:

The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible].

Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God.

[Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment].

[They are living memorials] to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

It is good to be planted in a place.  Being planted is the first step towards growth.  The palm tree didn’t start out tall and stately; it began with a seed.  Likewise, the cedar of Lebanon did not begin as a picture of majesty and durability.  Seeds need a good environment to germinate:  soil that is fertile, plenty of water and a good amount of sunlight.

We have spent the last 7 months “uprooted”.  And as I have said in other posts, we are grateful for the journey that God has brought us on.  If nothing else, we have seen how healthy and influential the church in the city of Perth is.  But there is no substitute for being planted in the house of God.

The Psalmist says that those who are planted in the house of God will flourish in the courts of the Lord.  in other words, being planted inside makes us flourish outside.  Blessings, impact and influence on our homes, marketplace and communities result from our being planted in God’s house, which I read in this context as being part of a local congregation in the city.

Here are some blessings which result from being planted in God’s house:

1.  Growth

When we are planted, we draw nutrients from the soil.  With all the other conditions in alignment, growth happens.

We are grateful for all the growth we’ve experienced in our old church.  I spent 21 years there and owed a lot to that church in terms of spiritual formation, life-giving relationships and ministry development.

But we are excited about our next phase of growth.  Whilst it is true that growth should primarily come from anchoring yourself to Christ through his Word, sometimes it’s not a bad idea to transplant yourself into new soil.  This is because growth also comes from being part of a community.  Different people around you will challenge you in different ways; new vision may well propel your ministry in new directions.

And it is interesting that the Amplified Version says that we “grow in grace”.

In my view, the best fertiliser for growth is grace, not law.  The law alone never brings growth; if it did, the nation of Israel would already be a picture of perfection and holiness.  Obedience to the law brings growth.  Israel struggled to obey God’s statutes, and so do we!  But Christ came to fulfill every jot and tittle of the law; and today as we are in Christ, we have received every blessing that comes from obedience under the law; as we behold Christ in all his grace, we are compelled to grow and be transformed into His likeness.

2.  Fruitfulness

This is the year of Unceasing Fruitfulness!  As we are planted in God’s house, we will bear fruit in character, attitude, joy, effectiveness, impact and influence.

And notice that the verse says that we will bear fruit in our “old age”.  Our age might advance, but those who are planted in God’s house don’t grow old.  Our youth is constantly being renewed.  We run and will not grow weary; we walk and will not grow faint. We will soar on wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31).

3.  Spiritual Vitality

When we are planted in God’s house, we experience spiritual vitality.

I have known what it is to feel spiritually dry:  the Word of God doesn’t excite; you end up analysing the music rather than participating in the worship and you can pinpoint every typo in the powerpoint slides. You eat lollies during the sermon.  It becomes easy to just complain about everything that is going wrong rather than celebrate the things that are going right.

But when you are revitalised, there’s a spring in your step.  Spiritual things gain traction in your heart.  Your heart leaps like how John the Baptist leapt in Elizabeth’s womb at the nearness of Jesus.  You experience continual awakening in your spirit. Your life becomes lush and verdant with the fruit of the Spirit.

4.  A Living Testimony

When we are planted in God’s house, our lives become living epistles: a testimony as to God’s faithfulness to his promises.  People will be drawn to you because God’s goodness will chase you down.  Your life will become a fragrance of life to those who are perishing.

So today, 4 March 2012, marks the beginning of a new journey for us as we are planted in FAITH COMMUNITY CHURCH.  In the near future, I will share on how God led us here, but in the meantime, we are looking forward to the blessings of being planted in this local house; to being fruitful in ministry; to continually being renewed and awakened in our spirit and to being a testament of God’s grace in our lives.

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