At the core of being a disciple of Jesus is growth. We want to grow in love for God, in love for His Word, and in love for our neighbors. Our discipleship ministries are designed to help this happen.
Every year we follow a theme that includes daily Bible readings. These readings are followed by children, teens, and adults. This year’s theme is Fruitful.
Over the past 12 months we have gathered under the theme “Chosen” from John 15:16: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.”
This year we are focusing on the second part of that verse, the part about bearing fruit.
As part of this, the staff of St. Matthew took a prayer and planning retreat in June to pray about how God wanted this done at St. Matthew. One of the ways God led us to accomplish growing in Fruitfulness was through a program we will call, surprisingly, Fruitful.
In addition to the verse above, Jesus says in John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
By remaining connected to (or abiding in) Jesus, we produce much fruit.
Paul tells us what that fruit is in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
So in order to remain in Jesus, here is where we see God leading us this Discipleship year. In this booklet, you will find a program that leads you to be connected to Jesus each day through 1) Word and 2) Prayer and then leads you to cultivate a lifestyle of 3) Outreach.
We are calling these three parts IN, UP and OUT.
IN: We take IN God’s Word. Each month we will focus on one fruit of the Spirit. Each day there were be a Bible verse that says something about that particular fruit of the Spirit. It is our desire that you read these verses daily, meditate on them throughout your day, and let God speak to you through them.
UP: We reach UP to God through prayer. Each day we will be praying for that fruit in our lives, praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ at St. Matthew, and praying for those who do not yet believe in Jesus.
OUT: We reach OUT to our neighbor with the fruit God is growing in us. Each week we will select one non-believer or un-churched person who will benefit from God making us fruitful as we abide in Jesus. For example, when we are focusing on the fruit of love we will each pray for and look for an opportunity to share that love with one non-Christian or un-churched person that we know.
We are excited about what God will do in us and through us as we seek to be Fruitful!
We do online devotions each week that go along with our Fruitful readings. They can be found on Facebook and YouTube.