Experience the Fire
Become a good tree who bears good fruit
In the famous “sermon on the mount” Jesus drew a compelling picture of people who are fanning the fire of the Spirit into flame, or not:
📖 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-20).
The way of Jesus is an inner journey and a outer journey. We have a long way to go whichever direction we face! We look inward to become whole and we look outward to share that goodness: good trees bear good fruit. Healthy cells multiply. People who live in shalom make peace. Living congregations grow. Compassionate people transform those they touch and the world itself. Jesus said:
📖 “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded….I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:48-49).
We are the hearth where the fire is continually kindled. This part of the journey, the “fire” part, is all about receiving your gifts and giving them, in that we will all have some part of leading with Jesus to share, maybe not as an official leader, but surely as someone who knows where the bread is and will show or tell the hungry people everywhere.
Practical steps to take
How do I figure out what to do and how to do it?
1. Listen to God and pray together
Pray together each day at 11:45
Monday through Friday at 11:45 the pastors invite us all to pause and pray with them, wherever we are to seed our life and works with prayer. Take two minutes or fifteen, whatever you can. They use this simple guide and the recited prayers. View it here.
2. Take a personal or group retreat
Jesus took time to be away from the crowds and even his closest followers, to be alone and commune with the Father. We are learning the ways of solitude and communion after his example. We take time for solitude and reflection outside of our normal activities and rhythms of life in the body to intentionally retreat. Some of our group retreats have been weekends for men or women; sometimes the whole church is invited. We have them for special seasons, in honor of notable people, for prayer, for envisioning and more. Each event will have its special character and you can decide if you would like to be a part. You will see the offerings in list of Gifts for Growing.
There are many online resources for how to take a personal, spiritual retreat. Here is one.
The Pastors are committed to having an overnight retreat once a quarter. They and others have collected a list of nearby retreat centers they have used. View locations of retreat centers here. Download an outline for 2 to 4 person retreats here.
3. Explore your spiritual gifts
Visit our Spiritual Gifts page for Discernment Exercises, Bible studies, and complete definitions of spiritual gifts.
4. Deepen your practical application of the Bible
The Anabaptist Dictionary of the Bible is a tool from a branch of the Christian tree we appreciate.
5. Explore and imitate the examples of our transnational, transcultural, transhistorical body of Christ
We have a blog devoted to lifting up great examples, men and women of all sorts from all ages, who can teach us how to live a life that makes a difference. It is also the place where we teach about the important days of the traditional Christian calendar. We call it Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body—You can subscribe or see all the entries here. The two Daily Prayer blogs usually let us know when a new entry appears, as well.
6. Receive the Gifts for Growing
We lay out a path from here to there in faith each year and provide resources for people making their way in deeper faith, hope and love. We call these resources “gifts for growing” since someone among us has given them as a gift to help us come to our fullness. These following offerings for 2018/19 especially relate to everyone fanning the sparks of God’s presence into the fire of transformation.
- 30something Day Retreat
- Advent in your cell
- Seminarian's Cohort
- Village Parenting Day
- In all the cells: The gift of sharing
- About Making a Covenant
- About Circle of Hope