Is Being Fruitful That Simple?

Baptism 8-27-11 056

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. John 15:5 NLT

Is it that simple? Can I be fruitful by just remaining and abiding in Christ?

I was reading John 15 the other morning, when this phrase jumped out at me. If I just live in Jesus I can be fruitful. Now living in Christ does not mean being idle. Yet the passage seemed so simple. I don’t need to hype up my evangelistic series. I don’t need a cutting edge technology-filled worship service to compete with all the other really cool livestream services.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s wonderful that my 91-year-old aunt can livestream her church worship service when she can’t make it to church. But let’s be careful. Vacations lose their meaning when they become all about the photo opps for Facebook, instead of the actual vacation. Do we get so wrapped up in making sure our livestream worship service is as smooth and hip as that “really cool mega church” that we forget our worship service is just that – a worship service?

Several years ago I had a Bible study group made up of non-churched youth. One week my church was having an evangelistic series with all the hip modern music, so I decided, why not take the kids and their parents to see this instead of our regular Bible study? Let’s show them we do more than just study. Let’s show them how “with it” we are. So all the kids and a few of their parents came. The music was wild, and while it was not my taste, I was happy, thinking the kids would be impressed. After the service I asked a 13-year-old in my study group, how it went over.  With shrugged shoulders he said, “I wish we would have had the Bible study instead.”

That was several years ago and I have since learned what Google has known all along. People like simple. Google doesn’t busy their home page with ads and articles like so many other search engines. They wisely keep it simple.

In Tampa I have a Thursday afternoon teen Bible study with mostly non-churched teens. Recently the kids and I were separated because of the public school holiday break. When we came back together, a high school Junior shared some questions she had come up with while studying the Bible on her own. She told me she thought Elijah’s story was similar to end-time events, and why. I agreed. Her family was not studying with her. She had no study guides. Just a young girl and her Bible alone with the Holy Spirit making amazing discoveries! So simple.

In Plant City, I have been assisting our pastor with a Wednesday night youth Bible study group. We started off playing games, serving refreshments and having a short Bible study at the end. Over time the game time has become shorter and shorter, and the Bible study time is becoming longer and longer. Not by the pastor or my design, but because over time the youth wanted to study more and play less! This tells me people today are not hungry for fancy programs. They are hungry for the simple Word of God. At Plant City we sometimes have hymns, we sometimes have the latest praise songs and teams, but every Sabbath young and old show up for the Word of God.

Come to find out, people are not hungry for particular worship styles and fancy programs. They are hungry for God. Jesus tells us if we simply abide in Him and His Word, we can bear fruit to feed a starving world.

You may study this week’s Sabbath School Lesson here. 

Growth Group Lesson #4 Need

DIALOGUE # 4 – NEED
by Pr Denis Sand – sanddenis@gmail.com

Objective of today’s dialogue: Challenge the group to accept Jesus as their personal Savior and recognize him as the solution for our greatest need.

Additional resources: Desire of Ages, chapter 61, Zacchaeus 552-556.

Welcome (15) – Fellowship
• What was your greatest need when you were in elementary school?
• What do people say is their greatest need today?
• What is your greatest need that you have been struggling to fill?

Worship (15) – Worship
• Read Psalm 95:1-3
We want to see
Mighty to save
• Ask your group to pray together giving thanks for those things that God has done in their lives.

Word (30) – Discipleship
• Read Luke 19:1-10
• What kind of man was Zacchaeus according to the text?
• Why do you think Zacchaeus was so desperate to see Jesus that in order to do it he is willing to climb a tree and make a fool of himself? v3,4
• Why do you think Jesus says “I must stay at your house today” v5?
• What is our greatest need according to this story? Consider v9,10
• What is our greatest need according to the following passages? Romans 3.23; 6.23
• What is the solution for our greatest need? John 3.16; Luke 19.6,10
• Review His Story (the gospel presentation): explain it in your words
o GOD is the Creator, is loving, holy, and just
o US we were created perfect, but became sinful by our choice, we deserve death, and we are spiritually helpless
o CHRIST is God, and became also a man, is perfect and without any sin, he died as our substitute, and offers his forgiveness as a gift
o YOU & I must respond, ask Christ to be our forgiver and Master, the result is spiritual transformation, obedience and a new life
• Make a call to accept Jesus as our Savior:
o How many here recognize we have a problem with sin, that you have tried to change many times and it hasn’t work, that you and I need help from above, salvation from God?
o Do you want to accept Jesus as your personal Savior?
• Pray for those who have accepted Jesus as Savior.
• Invite those who accepted Jesus for the first time to commit to get to know Christ personally through Bible Studies.

• To do: Write now on a small card the key text of this week Luke 19:10. Carry it in your wallet or pocket, place it in your fridge or car and memorize it during this week.

Works – Witness (15) – Ministry & Evangelism
• Do you know anyone who desperately needs to find a solution to their disoriented and lost lives? share their names and pray as a group for them.
• Call them tomorrow and tell them of God’s plan for their lives.
• Invite them to next week group meeting

Refreshments– Fellowship
• Find the way to get to know people while eating something. Remember, build relationships.

Growth Group Lesson #15 – Wise

DIALOGUE # 015 – WISE
by Pr Denis Sand – sanddenis@gmail.com

Objective of today’s dialogue: Invite members to analyze their way of living and to choose to be wise by following God’s advice

Welcome (15) – Fellowship

• What do people consider foolish in our days?
• What was one of the most stupid things you have ever done and why?
• What could have made you not do it?

Worship (15) – Worship
• Read Psalms 106:1-2
Blessed be the name
Above all
• Have a popcorn prayer giving only thanks to God for the wise decisions He helped you to make in your life.

Word (30) – Discipleship
• Read Ephesians 5:15-21
• Why do you think is so important for a Christian to live a “wise” life? v15
• How can we “make the most of every opportunity”? v16
• Paul urges us not to be fool, but to understand what God’s will is. How can we get to know and understand God’s will? v17
• Why is it so important to be filled with the Holy Spirit and not with other substances? v18 How do you know the Spirit is controlling your life?
• Why do you think is so important for a wise Christian to sing, praise God and talk to others about it? v19
• How can we fulfill the command to “sing and make music in your heart to the Lord’? v19
• What is the relationship between giving thanks always and for everything to God and being wise? v20 How can we do it?
• What does it mean to submit to another out of reverence for God? v21 Why is this wise?

• How will you apply this year what we have studied today?
• What changes is God calling you to make?

• To do: Be wise and memorize any verse from: Ephesians 5.15

Works – Witness (15) – Ministry & Evangelism
• Once again refresh the vision for the group of being the family of God in Miami, and of multiplying believers in order to see them in heaven.
• Talk to the group about their not so wise friends who need to know God. Ask each one to write their names on sticky notes and pray for them as a group.
• Remember to ask the group: How can we pray for you tonight?

Refreshments– Fellowship
• Direct the conversations during this time to how to live out what we have just studied.
• Talk to people, and listen.