• The fruit of the Spirit is LOVE

    By Ossie Fountain

    But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love
    – Galatians 5:22

    Jesus … had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end
    – John 13:1

    This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you
    – John 15:12

    Love is the first focus of the Spirit in our Christian lives. Perhaps we can say that Spirit-inspired love is the most comprehensive of the fruit. Paul’s great hymn to love in 1 Corinthians 13 expresses this most profoundly:

    • Without it I am nothing more than noise and I gain nothing.
    • With it the other fruit of the Spirit grow: patience, kindness, patience endurance and hope.
    • Love lasts forever and grows us in preparation for eternity.
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  • The Spirit’s fruitfulness

    So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Let us keep in step with the Spirit.
    – Galatians 5:16,22,25

    Ossie Fountain

    There are at least six important characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit.

    1. They are Spirit-produced

    These marks of the Holy Spirit in the life of a follower of Jesus are the striking evidence of the supernatural, divine Person who has entered that follower’s life. More than miracles, manifestations or inspired utterances, all of which need to be tested for their source (1 John 4:1), these nine-fold fruit do not need their worth or accuracy tested. They cannot be imitated or counterfeited by the devil, or by human effort. What is produced by human effort is a work of the “flesh”.

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  • Good Friday reflections

    This year, members of Porirua Community Churches were invited to take time on Good Friday to reflect individually on the death of Jesus, before more specifically emphasising the resurrection on Easter Sunday in a congregational format.

    The initiative came from a member of Titahi Bay Community Church, Liz Langham, who approached her elders and asked for their reaction to a local version of the Stations of the Cross tradition that has long been observed in various other sections of the Christian church. They were warmly supportive, and Liz went off to enlist her contributors.

    They covered 14 points on Jesus’ journey:

    1. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
    2. Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested
    3. Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin
    4. Jesus is denied by Peter
    5. Jesus is judged by Pilate
    6. Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns
    7. Jesus takes up his cross
    8. Jesus is helped by Simon to carry his cross
    9. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
    10. Jesus is crucified
    11. Jesus promises his kingdom to the repentant thief
    12. Jesus entrusts Mary and John to each other
    13. Jesus dies on the cross
    14. Jesus is laid in the tomb

    Fourteen different people responded to the invitation to “reflect more thoroughly on one particular station and to represent that in some creative way which may be displayed in the church on Good Friday. Art, sculpture, flowers, powerpoint, music (at a listening post), photography, calligraphy, stained glass, poetry… pretty much any tangible expression of the Biblical text and its associated ideas will be welcome. The only restriction is the size of the chapel!

    “The primary purposes of this exercise are to encourage individual church members to engage in deeper thought about the death of Jesus in the lead-up to Easter and to enable them to express these for their own spiritual growth, and also to share with each other some visual or aural springboards that will assist other people to worship.”

    Those invited to come and reflect during the day began with the local congregations of Porirua Community Churches, expanded to include the members of other churches in Titahi Bay and thereafter anyone else who wished to come. There was a steady stream of people through the chapel from 9:00am to 2:30pm on Good Friday.

    The stations were arranged in sequence around the chapel and people were welcomed to a quiet journey in their own time. The first hour was made available for parents to bring their children, and many remarked later how powerful it was to explain some of the features to questions they had often not been asked before, and the time thereafter was for adult reflection. A small booklet was given to each visitor with a brief introduction and the relevant biblical texts.

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  • The Son comes up


    It was dawn.

    People sleep at dawn.

    Except for those performing service tasks —

    Deliveries, street cleaning, preparing for the day —

    Or maybe those who have a lot to do,

    Or, sometimes, those who seek surprise,

    Who want to upset normal men

    And take them by surprise.

    It was dawn.

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