Grace for the World

Have you ever eaten a bad piece of fruit… a rotten or mealy apple? It’s disgusting and sometimes one bad grape is enough to keep me from eating any more from that clump. Fuzz on blackberries makes me want to gag. Can also I just stop and say that canned fruits and veggies aren’t overly appetizing? Anyone agree? Who knew peas could actually be spring green rather than puke green? I’m getting off track. Apologies.

I spent my summers during college working at Pine Cove Christian Camps. After 6 days of exhausting and fulfilling work I would stay with my grandparents for less than 24 hours before starting it all back up again. 12 weeks straight. My grandmother had a fridge full of food – but I was usually only ever tempted by one thing – the fresh fruit. I would practically eat a meal of the chilled fruit before finishing it off with a small glass of freshly frozen peaches. When fruit is good you can’t keep me away from it.

Jesus loved to teach in metaphor and parables. A consistent theme throughout the New Testament is the use of fruit to represent our labor and love.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing… When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father…You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:5, 8, 16-17 (NLT)

You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. (Matthew 7:16-17, NLT)

Followers of Jesus and fruit (LOVE) are to be synonymous. Jesus said we are identified by our fruit… and that fruit is our love… and yet… Christians today are known more for what they dislike rather than what they love.

How you and I respond to culture is eternally significant.

So what does good fruit look like in our lives? “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…” (Galatians 5:22-23,NIV)

Good fruit is attractive. It’s not hateful or hurtful. Good fruit is full of grace.

So as we enter into the final weeks of the election season, let’s pray that our conversations, posts, and e-mails would be full of grace. May our fruit be evident to all.

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV)

“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” (1Corinthians 13:13, NLT)

Following,
Ginger

A GRACEFUL GIVEAWAY! Two copies of “Graceful” the book by Emily Freeman are up for grabs this week. Follow this link for details and entry form!

“And so we have some important choices to make. Every day, a direction. Every minute, a decision about what we will believe. Are you going to keep trying hard to be good on your own? Or will you dare to believe that you are graceful in Christ, marked forever by his divine favor?” (Emily P. Freeman, Graceful)

Reflection

Movies are a part of our culture and life.  There’s no denying it.  And just like everything else in current world, you have limitless choices when it comes to the films that you watch.  I’ll be honest, I don’t choose movies based on the rating letter.  I’m more apt to choose based on critical reviews.

Regardless of what causes you to make a decision, I wanted to provide some reflection questions that can help us evaluate in light of the quote I mentioned a few weeks ago.  “There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.” (Madeleine L’Engle)

1. Repeatability
-Can the film be viewed multiple times with profit or enjoyment?
-Usually character-driven movies score higher on this than plot-driven movies.

2. Significance
-Does the film treat an important subject in a substantial way?

3. Impact
-Mind: Does the film change the way you think or the way you understand something?
-Emotion: Does the film affect you viscerally?
-Behavior: Does the film change the way you live?

4.  Longevity
-Will people still be watching this film in years to come?

Viewed through this particular way of thinking, what are some movies that have influenced your faith?  What are some of the films that keep you thinking even after the credits stop rolling?  Here’s my list, and I don’t think any of them were from a Christian production company.

Top 10 influential movies – films that still keep me thinking.

10.  Hotel Rwanda
9.  Dead Poet’s Society
8.  The Spitfire Grill
7.  Shine
6.  Babette’s Feast
5.  Life is Beautiful
4.  Chariots of Fire
3.  Schindler’s List
2.  The Shawshank Redemption
1.  To Kill A Mockingbird
 
What movies challenge you?  Which of those would make your top five or top ten list?  How do you select the movies that you watch?  
 
Following,
Ginger