Posted on: 10th February 2020
“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.”
How can we produce good fruit?
How much fruit do you eat? The 5-a-day campaign came from the advice given by the World Health Organisation, that eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables each day reduces risks. That seems like really good advice with potentially life altering benefits. But like we considered last week, good advice only becomes wisdom when it is put into practice. Challenge yourself this week to record your fruit intake. I talked to a student this week who was experiencing a cherry for the first time. Maybe this could be your chance to try something new. ‘Morinda citrifolia’ is the fruit they tried on ‘I’m a celebrity’. It translates as ‘Vomit fruit’…sound nice?
When we consider the words of Jesus, we have to remember that he spoke into a specific time and culture as well as sharing eternal truths. Those hearing his words would have a strong idea of the ‘bad fruit’ that was evident in the religious orders. Jesus openly challenged the religious teachers and used such terms to make clear his opposition to them.
A few weeks ago, we considered Jesus’s instruction of ‘Do not judge’. This week, take time to reflect on your own words, actions and thoughts. Are you bearing good fruit? If there is someone you trust, ask them what they think. If there are areas that you feel are producing bad fruit, take time to confess them to God and ask him to work with you, so that you can produce good fruit in that area.
Posted on: 3rd February 2020
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
There are 171,476 words in current use in the Oxford English Dictionary. There are 47,156 obsolete words. That’s a lot of words. An average woman speaks 20,000 words a day and an average man speaks 7,000. A typical person can speak 125 words-per-minute. That’s a lot of words.
I am loving the audio book app, Audible (other apps are available). This year I’ve listened to ‘Dare to serve’, ‘The dark web’, ‘Leadership pain’, ‘Questions of Faith’, ‘Soar!’ ‘Atomic habits’, ‘Hearing God’, ‘Excellence wins’, ‘FAKE’, ‘The road back to you’, ‘Tower of Basel’, ‘God sleeps in Rwanda’, ‘Aftermath’, ‘Rebel ideas’ and my current download is ‘REVOLution’. Then I had a tip off from a colleague about Borrow-Box, a free service from Lancashire libraries. Here I’ve managed to listen to ‘Finding my virginity by Richard Branson’, ‘Skin in the game’, The Mindful leader’ and ‘P x W x R = Power score’. Maybe spend some time this week sharing some of your recent reads (or listens).
That’s a lot of words! There has been a lot of good advice and challenges contained in those listens. But listening is only the start. It’s action, Jesus says, that builds wisdom.
The words of Jesus are a challenge to us all. The cost of listening to good advice and not putting it into practice is that you may as well have not heard it in the first place. That is why we focus on ‘Challenge and Action’ in our form time worship activities. The blessing of putting good advice into practice is that when troubles come (as they always do), we can withstand them.
My challenge for us all this week is to consider the words we hear and be more deliberate about putting them into practice. This way, we can live life to the full, no matter what comes our way.