Worship and the Marketplace Part 2

When I wrote yesterday’s post, I was led to Ezekiel’s vision of the river flowing from the temple in Ezekiel 47. As I read that passage, I had more thoughts about the connection between worship in the temple and transformation in the marketplace.

To fully appreciate the connection, we have to get an understanding of what I mean when I say “worship”. To me, trying to define worship is like defining the undefinable. In a later post, I will attempt to do so using Harold Best’s thesis in his book Unceasing Worship. Suffice to say for present purposes, worship encompasses our entire life. When we talk about worship in a church setting, it is simply an intensifying of what we are already doing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In this sense, the expression of praise that takes place on a Sunday could be said to be a subset of “worship”.

So we need to think about worship as a continuum. Praise/seeking God/waiting on Him etc sits on the more mystical side of the continuum; work/going to the office/house chores etc sits on the practical side.

So, in this context, let us go back to Ezekiel 47.

The Outworking of Worship

In the first few verses, Ezekiel describes how the river gets deeper the further it goes from the temple.

This is the outworking of worship. A holistic vision of praise starts and ends in the temple, because God is the beginning and end of everything (as one Biblical writer says, “in Him and through Him and for Him are all things”). But God is in the business of reconciling to Himself all things, which is an action directed towards the “outside”, i.e. towards the world, its people, its systems etc. So worship begins in the temple, but then is propelled out to the world with the mission of bringing “in” those who are “out”.

Colossians 1:19-20 says this:

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Second Corinthians 5:18 says:

But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him].

This is the same pattern we see in the book of Acts. As the disciples waited and sought the Lord in worship in the Upper Room, the Holy Spirit fell on them on the day of Pentecost, propelling the church out into the marketplace to answer the prophecy of Joel 2, that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord, will be saved”.

The Impact of Worship

Going back to Ezekiel 47:6ff:

Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.

When we take the presence of God into the marketplace, it brings with it a divine flow of life into the areas of which are spiritually dead. That goes for people who are dead in their sins, and systems/values/mindsets which are corrupt and perverse.

Even the Dead Sea becomes a place where swarms of living creatures will live and thrive! The salt water will become fresh. Like Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3, we become the aroma of Christ, the fragrance of life to those who are perishing.

The Reach of Worship

Ezekiel’s vision ends with this, in verse 12:

Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.

Indeed, this year is the year of Unceasing Fruitfulness. For those who worship God, our leaves will not wither, nor will be fail to bear fruit.

But notice this: the presence of God is our source “because the water from the sanctuary flows” to us. And further still: the purpose of our fruit is not just for our own sake and prosperity. Rather our fruit is to feed others! This is where worship and justice meet: to lift the poor and feed the hungry.

And our leaves will be for the healing of the nations. Where once the nations have turned away from God, true worshippers will carry an anointing to see the fulfillment of the day when the kingdoms of this world, will become the kingdom of our Lord and King.

Worship begins in the sanctuary and worship flows out into the marketplace to bring transformation. As my friend Adrian Lim once put it (and recently reminded me), true worshippers worship through the 24/7 window, the 9/5 window and the 10/40 window. Worship begins as a 24/7 lifestyle, but then must be manifested in the 9/5 window of the marketplace. And the end game: to see the nations, represented by the 10/40 window (being the most unreached of the nations) transformed and revived.

Blessings Reel – February 2012

I’m a few days late, but reflecting on the month that’s passed, I am amazed by the goodness of God in our lives.

As I have said, this year is the year of Unceasing Fruitfulness. And like the Tree of Life in the book of Revelations which bears twelve different types of fruit, we can expect twelve different manifestations of blessings each month of 2012.

A fruit has its origin in the seed. Once the seed is planted, it germinates and grows into a tree. When the tree is mature, it begins to bear fruit. The DNA of the fruit however is in the seed. In other words, an apple seed can only bring forth apples.

Our seed however is Christ, for in Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

Galatians 3 says that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for “cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree” (v13). Paul goes on to say that Christ redeemed us in order that we might receive the blessing of Abraham.

In verses 16ff, Paul says:

The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds”, meaning many people, but “and to your seed”, meaning one person, who is Christ.

The blessings of obedience to the law is now available to us through the Seed, i.e. Christ, not because of anything we can do, but because of God’s grace through faith. So we can expect to receive blessings of health and healing, prosperity, peace, salvation, favour, divine help, guidance, wisdom, God’s presence, joy etc through Christ, the originator of all blessing.

For me February has been a month of closures. On one day at work, I had three complicated cases come to closure, the most spectacular of which was a guy who had claimed that he was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of his ex-wife. When the Immigration Department assessed his claims, they said that he did not have a strong case. To be honest, I didn’t think he had a strong case. But I responded to the Department’s concern the best I could. After several weeks, I was still not optimistic; I thought his case could be rejected at any time. But to my surprise, and quite miraculously, the Department agreed with my submissions and granted him permanent residency. He was so happy he started telling everyone what a great day it was, including the guy who made us coffee at the coffee shop!

But the greatest closure for us was the fact that we had finally found a church to belong to after 7 months of wandering. And we sense that as one chapter closes, a new door has opened for us in Faith Community Church and we are excited as to what the future holds.

So I’m thankful to God for the blessing of new beginnings.

As we move forward in this chapter, I want to finish off this post by acknowledging some wonderful people who have walked alongside us, supported us, encouraged us and dialogued with us over the last 7 months, in no particular order: Ps Daniel Ho, Ps Judy Low, Shaw Cheong, Wai Kin and Anna, Joanna and Dan, Bernard and Vicki, Pastor Yoy Alberastine, Pastor Binh Nguyen, Pastor Benny Ho, Wendy Yapp, Cao, Cindy, Joe, Jos, Louis, Mons, Stephanie Truscott, Derwin, Derek, Jenn Yong, Joy, Samson, Addie, Sharon, Adrian and June, Esther, Matthias, Dave and Yvonne, Juls, Jade, Esther, Bryan, Clem, Drew, Amy, Alan, Adrian, Matt, Jess, Pastor Koon Hee and Jin, Darren, Chi Yen, Edmund and Sharon and so many more of our friends who had coffee with us, hung out with us, served with us and just generally poured into our lives during this last season: even if it was just over a meaningful meal together. We learnt a lot and heard your hearts. Thanks so much for sharing in the journey!

Finally Home!

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.

Blessings Reel – January 2012

Okay, I admit the title to this post is a bit tacky, but I’m in a tacky kind of mood.

I actually can’t believe that it’s February and January 2012 has already come and gone.

During the first sermon for 2012, Joseph Prince shared on “Unceasing Fruitfulness” and one of the things he mentioned was that the tree of life had 12 fruits. These fruits speak of 12 different blessings for each month of the year. Looking back over the last 31 days, I can say that I’ve experienced the blessings of God.

It’s a bit difficult to say which one blessing is the one fruit for January, but here’s some of the things that I’m grateful for in the last month:

  • First day of the year: a brilliant sermon at New Creation Church on “Unceasing Fruitfulness” to set the scene for the next 364 days (actually 365 as this year is a leap year). In the year of drought, I can experience unceasing fruitfulness as I meditate on God’s word! Amen.
  • Ling and I had a great time in Singapore for holidays, with plenty of eating and shopping and spending time with her side of the family.
  • At work, I won a difficult appeal in the Refugee Review Tribunal for a Coptic Christian from Egypt. The Tribunal accepted that Australia owed my client protection obligations. The Immigration Department is now processing the remaining requirements and I expect that this client will be granted permanent residency in the next couple of months. I don’t care what people say about the refugee situation in Australia, but when you sit across the table from some guy whose life is on the line, all the ideological grandstanding about boat people and border protection goes out the window. This guy is extremely relieved!
  • We got to go to the Influencers Conference (or parts of it) and heard some inspiring preaching. A friend of mine had booked for the entire conference and wasn’t able to make it, so Ling got free use of his pass for a whole day!
  • We had a great jam session with some old friends from Full Gospel Assembly.
  • We had the opportunity to meet with an apostolic leader in the city and I sense that God is starting to open new ministry doors in 2012 (even though I feel a bit disenfranchised at the moment not being part of a local church). I’m also privileged to be able to serve alongside Shaw Cheong and Judy Low in some developing projects as part of Grace and Fire MInistries.
  • We started going to Faith Community Church for the month and I was completely floored by Pastor Benny Ho’s sermon last Sunday. I’m on the way towards building a strong, consistent devotional life.
  • My blog is going well. It’s only been going since December and as at 31 January 2012, it’s recorded 1353 views! (Okay some of that was me looking at the blog myself, but most of it was legit!) I hope it’s been a blessing to others so far!

And to cap it all off, on the last day of January 2012, a friend told me that Pastor Benny Perez had tweeted my blog. In fact, his church had tweeted it first, and then Benny Perez retweeted it. What an honour. I’m actually not sure how twitter works exactly, but I’m thankful that at least on this occasion, my writing has gone half way around the world!

So looking back through January, I’m thankful for all that God has done for me. I’m deeply loved, highly favoured and greatly blessed!

One Thing is Needful

As some of you may know, we’ve been spending a few months now visiting different churches throughout Perth. Since the start of the year, we have made a more concerted attempt to settle in a home church so for the last couple of weeks, we have started going to Faith Community Church (FCC) to absorb a little of the culture there.

Because it’s a church full of South-East Asian migrants, the congregation has been at about half strength. This week, Pastor Benny Ho returned to the pulpit after a three-week break.

The service was extraordinary. We liked FCC at half strength, but today the worship was pumping and Pastor Benny hit the sermon out of the ball park.

I’ll get to the sermon a bit later, but one of the things we have been looking for in a church is a strong sense of the presence of God in worship. Now, apart from the manifest presence (e.g. cloud, gold dust, unusual miracles etc, which seldom happens now within a contained Sunday service in the Western church, except maybe at somewhere like Bethel Church in Redding), I appreciate that it is very difficult to gauge the strength of God’s presence in any church setting. There are many different things that trigger that “sense” in you, and what does it for me may not do it for everyone. But I’m wired a particular way, and the elements in FCC’s worship today simply pushed all the right buttons.

I was completely engaged and I can say that it’s been a while since I’ve been able to just jump and close my eyes (not at the same time of course, as that would be dangerous) and just focus on God. At the end of the worship, I realised my car keys had flown out of my pocket onto the floor 2 seats away!

Here’s one of the songs they did that really spoke to me: Here in Your Presence by New Life Worship:

After the worship, Pastor Benny preached on “Realigning Your Relationship with God” from the following passage in Luke 10:38ff:

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Now, before I talk about the sermon further, I want to make a quick comment about sermons these days. Recently, I attended the Influencers Conference. Now, I only went to two night sessions and I also heard a Sunday message streamed from Paradise Church on Sunday. Whilst the types of messages I heard were really inspiring, I found that they were almost devoid of Scripture. There might be one starting passage, and then one keyword becomes the springboard for a number of tangential thoughts the preacher may have. A lot of what ends up being shared are great life principles which could just as well have come out of a motivational book. Now, I’m not saying this is necessarily bad, but what I’ve found is that I am personally more inclined to more Bible-based teaching.

Joseph Prince is a brilliant example. Whilst he is sometimes controversial, and I don’t always agree with everything he preaches, no preacher I know uses as much Scripture as Joseph Prince. That is comforting because if he errs, he is less likely to err spectacularly.

So back to FCC. What I’ve always admired about Benny Ho is his ability to combine both Scriptural exegesis and personal application with inspiration, conviction and a good smattering of humour as well for good measure.

Opening with the text in Luke 10, Pastor Benny said that most people interpret this passage to suggest that waiting on God is superior to working; that Mary’s example ought to be extolled above Martha’s. But Pastor Benny refused to believe that, so he studied the Scripture further and he concluded that in fact, the passage doesn’t teach that one is better than the other. Instead, the passage is about the many things that distract us; the some things that are necessary for us to do; and the one thing that is needful.

The one thing, being a strong devotional life, helps us determine what the some things we need to do are so we are not distracted by the many things. Wow, what a great reading of this passage.

It is out of a strong devotional life that ministry is released, i.e. ministries are not built; they are released.

In that context, it is possible to be completely rested even whilst we are working because resting is not a physical posture, it’s a condition of the heart.

I loved how Pastor Benny illustrated the point by flipping the story on its head: imagine Martha serving out of a place of rest; joyfully cooking, greeting guests etc. Mary may be sitting at the feet of Jesus, but if she is not at rest, she might start to criticise or resent Martha in her own mind. Who is at rest in that scenario?

Pastor Benny makes the point: “I like Martha before dinner, and I like Mary after dinner!”

Pastor Benny then concluded his message with a powerful prophetic word from Genesis 2:10-15:

A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris [Hiddekel]; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Eden (meaning “pleasure”) was the place God had planted Adam and Eve to work. There can and should be pleasure in ministry! But the streams that feed the river are significant.

  • “Pishon” means increase;
  • “Gihon” means to burst forth;
  • “Hiddekel” means powerful and strong; and
  • “Euphrates” means fruitful.

This resonated with me with the theme of this year preached by Joseph Prince at New Creation Church: in the year of drought, we will experience unceasing fruitfulness. But not only that, it’s increasing fruitfulness that bursts forth and is replete with the power of God.

The key is a strong devotional life, or as Joseph Prince says, godly meditation for good success. I am challenged to build a strong devotional life, so that Godly empowered ministry will flow from me for the edification of others! This year is going to be a great year!

The Year of Unceasing Fruitfulness – Part 2

Today, I want to continue with the thought of 2012 being the year of Unceasing Fruitfulness. It is certainly a word which has resonated with me and it is one, which, it seems, has resonated with many Christians as well.

In his New Year’s message, Joseph Prince shared the key to unceasing fruitfulness by cross-referencing Jeremiah 17:5-8 with Psalm 1.

Psalm 1:1-3 says:

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

The key is to meditate on the Word of God. Prince shared the thought that to “meditate” was to “mutter under one’s breath”; to keep the Word of God on our lips.

I want to bring this thought into the context of apostolic worship.

I believe that true worship transforms the worshipper. This happens in a number of ways. It is true that encountering God exposes our own sinfulness and convicts us to change. It is also true that we become like who (or what) we worship. But worship also transforms us, often not in a sudden, electrifying moment, but through a gradual process. This is where I think Biblical meditation and worship through singing intersect.

I remember many years ago, Integrity Music released Scripture Memory songs, Scripture set verbatim to music. It was a powerful and effective way to memorise Scripture. This is in fact how I memorised Romans 8:1 (“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” – sing with me if you remember this song!) It’s actually a shame that not more worship songs these days record Scripture in this way.

So, the process of singing is one way by which we can take a Scriptural word or thought and internalise it by repetition. It is a psychological phenomenon which I am not equipped to explain, but I can only point to the evidence of my little niece who, at the age of 2, is just beginning to form sentences of longer than 3 or 4 words; and yet she can practically sing an entire song on her own (she needs to work on her pitching though, but not bad for a 2 year old!)

Do you ever get a song stuck in your head and it just keeps repeating over and over again? When I attended New Creation Church on the New Year’s service, the worship leader led the song “Unmerited Favour”. It’s actually got some awkward phrasing, but it now keeps playing in my head:

Now I’ve got every reason to rejoice
Your unmerited favour is on my life
It’s got nothing to do with what I did
But it’s all about what You’ve done for me
And because of the cross it’s plain to see
I’m irrevocably saved now I am free
And I’ll rejoice
In everything You’ve done
In everything You’ve done

Almost unconsciously, I am declaring the favour of God over my life! The power of music is not just to play over in our minds, but also to bypass our minds and affect our emotions. In fact, when coupled with the gestures of worship (such as bowing, dancing, lifted hands), it becomes a way we love God with our heart, mind, soul and strength.

So one way we can meditate day and night is to let the songs of the Lord ring in our hearts, increasing our faith to believe God for His will to be done in our lives.

It is therefore not surprising that the psalmist is also a prophet. The songs are forthtelling – bringing the future Will of God into our present.

I want to leave you today with a song (which is a bit dated now) but which captures the thought of “Unceasing Fruitfulness”. It’s called “Lord I Live by Your Word”, written by Mark Altrogge and recorded by Kent Henry. The lyrics paraphrase and capture Psalm 1 and Isaiah 55:10-11:

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Here’s the song:

As we begin 2012, my prayer for you is that in your life, God’s Word will not return to Him void. It will accomplish His will in your life. It will surely succeed. His Word transforms the desert, and His Word will transform You. May His Word water the soil of your heart and bring forth unceasing fruitfulness (and not only that, but also increasing fruitfulness) in 2012.

The Year of Unceasing Fruitfulness

I had taken my seat in the cinema at Marina Bay waiting in anticipation for the start of the service. It was an interesting experience for me. Even though we would usually visit New Creation Church whenever we were in Singapore, this was the first time we were attending the service at a satellite location via live feed. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

The screen moved from rolling announcements to live feed as the worship leader took the stage. The first song started: the chorus of “Great is the Lord” – one of my favourite songs of all time.

It was part emotion, but mostly the presence of God. I sensed tears welling up. This was gearing up to be a great first church service for 2012.

After the worship ended and the chairperson read a couple of testimonies, Joseph Prince took to the pulpit. The whole congregation, linked through satellite at various sites in Singapore, waited in anticipation for him to release the vision for 2012.

Prince started with Jer 17:5-8:

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives. “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

In that context, Prince announced the vision for 2012: the year of unceasing fruitfulness.

Wow! That really really resonated with me.

There are two types of people: those who trust in man. They are like a bush in the parched land. They don’t experience prosperity when it happens upon them.

And then there are those who trust in God. Even when the heat comes, they won’t feel it. In the year of drought, they continue to be fruitful.

I’m making this my theme for the year too.

I’m not sure what the economic situation will hold. Life might throw some curve balls. But because my confidence is in the Lord, I will be like a tree planted by the waters. My leaves will be ever green.

In Rev 22:2, Scripture says:

On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

No natural tree bears twelve different types of fruit: only the tree of life which is a picture of the cross. Because I am in Christ through the cross, I can bear fruit. I can be fruitful in every area!

So this year, I thank God for unceasing and increasing fruitfulness. In finances. In my job. In my ministry. In my relationships and family. It’s going to be an exciting year ahead.

And I believe that in 2012, my life will be impactful because the leaves are for the healing of the nations.