Skip to main content

The Fruit of the Spirit is Love...

Winnipeg Centre Vineyard is closely knit to and planted at the same time, about fifteen years ago, as the Vineyard church in Katmandu, Nepal. Today, there are thirteen other Vineyard churches that have been planted by joint effort between us throughout Nepal. We nearly always have people from our congregation over there and currently, the head pastor there is here in Winnipeg. A short man with quick wit and humour, Noel preached to us last Sunday. He spoke about the Fruit of the Spirit.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22, 23 NIV).

I’ve observed that most Christians repeat this list of virtues as something we need to discipline ourselves to attain, but Jesus said, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:4 NIV). Fruit is the result of being connected to God, not the way we get connected to him. Noel, however, made a statement that gave me pause to think: We have to take the first step.

Love. It kind of floats, doesn’t it? But love is an action. It doesn’t just float. It is connected to action and it costs. If I want to love my neighbour, I’m going to have to walk to her door; if a young man is in love with a girl, he will spend money to take her out on a date. Sometimes we don’t WANT to love. Sometimes Noel doesn’t want to love his wife. Sometimes I don’t want to love Tom. But we need to step out and move in Christ.

We have only two ways we can move—forward or backward. Do we want to move back to who we were in Galatians 5:19-21?
“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like.”
There is no middle ground. We are either living in verse 22 or in verse 19. When we walk in the middle path, we’re missing the mark. If we don’t take the first step towards verse 22, we will slide back to verse 19. Life is very grey for far too many people.

“Do you have trouble loving?” Noel asked. “I have trouble loving.”

Yes! I am having a great trouble loving, especially my husband. But what can I do? Noel’s answer is that what we need to do is cry out to God and take the foundational first step. But what is that step?

As Noel continued to speak, he talked about the other virtues and the importance of being able to see ourselves with God’s eyes—he gave us his eyes when we accepted Jesus into our lives so we can do this.

At the end of the service we were invited to close our eyes and take a look inside. What did we see? When we saw it, we were to turn to someone beside us and confess. My friend beside me and I chuckled because she had done this before the service so now it was my turn. “I have trouble loving my husband. I’ve put up many barriers that divide us and now that I want them down, I don’t know how to dismantle them.” So she prayed.

Interestingly, I felt much warmer towards Tom for the rest of the day and I wonder: Is this a new beginning? I hope so.


Popular posts from this blog

Monogamous, Homosexual Unions--My Position and the Story behind it

I've been asked to be one of two participants at church each representing opposing views on the matter of monogamous, homosexual unions, moderated by the pastor.  In preparation, I have written the following.  In the comments, please do not post any vitriol--from either side. If I think any comment is hateful, I will delete it. Respectful disagreement or questions are welcome, however.

My Position and Values:
I believe that sexual relations between two people of the same sex is contrary to God’s will.I would like to say otherwise but I find nothing in Scripture that allows me to do so.BEING homosexual, having a longing or desire for someone of the same sex, is not condemned in the Bible.  We all have desires that are contrary to God’s will.  The sin occurs when we feed those desires, like Jesus talks about when he calls lust adultery (Matthew 5:28).Much cruelty to LGBTQ people has happened because of the stance of the Church. We have not acted with love, compassion and listening ear…

In My Prayer Room

Oh God
You surround me with your love,
with memories
of who you are
of what you've done
of promises you've made
of who I want to be
of who I am because of you.

You give me hope and joy,
peace and gratitude.
You convict me
and teach me
encourage me
and remind me
of what it means to follow you.

You listen to my prayers
and grant my requests
in your time.
You give me insight
and knowledge
and words to write
to share your presence
your goodness
your love
your admonition
with others.

You expand my love
to pray for friend and foe
near and far
family and stranger
people as pins on maps
clustered and scattered
who know you and reject you
for those in need
and those too full to need.

You draw me close
and then release me
to bring you close to others
to serve
and love
and give
all I have received.

You fill my heart with joy
that warms
and glows
and bursts
into laughter,
and even dance.

You wrap me in your arms
and tell me
"You are mine"
with intensity that burns
and smoul…

Circle of the Musk Ox

Message by Nathan Riegeras interpreted by Debbie Haughland Chan
It was at an elders’ meeting several years ago that someone received a picture of the musk ox circle.When danger approaches, the musk oxen form a circle, enclosing the weak and vulnerable and face outwards as a solid wall of protection.Nothing but a mouse can get past the power of their horns.Society today gathers around the beautiful and successful, paying homage to those who’ve had the lucky breaks.But what would it be like if, instead of the “best” in the centre and the weaker, less successful crowding around them, the weak and vulnerable were in the centre with the strong and confident encircling them—not in obeisance but as a strong wall, facing away from the centre in solidarity against those on the outside who would destroy?Loneliness.Abandonment.These are places of terror for those living on the fringes of society but what if, as a church, we lived as the musk ox?Not long after the elders’ meeting, the church held …