The Fruit of the Spirit: Part 2

(For last month's devotional - part 1, click HERE)

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. (Romans 6:20-22, NASB)

At first glance, this doesn’t seem to have much in common with Galatians 5. One speaks of the fruit of the Spirit, the other of choosing slavery to God or the world. However, noting the Greek, we find that what is translated as "benefit" in Romans 6 is the same word Paul uses for "fruit" in Galatians 5: καρπὸς (karpos). There appears to be a connection between our slavery to God and our ability to bear the fruit of the Spirit.

We in the American Church tend to have a strong aversion to using slavery terms to describe the Christian life. Even the Greek term for slave is almost never translated as "slave" in most English Bibles, but rather as "servant" or "bond-servant." This is certainly understandable. Western society has a long, sordid history with race-based slavery. Its enduring assault on both individual and corporate identity, dignity, and livelihood has been especially appalling.

For the Apostle Paul, however, slavery was not only a regular part of life (scholars estimate slaves made up 10% - 30% of the population in the Roman empire in the first century A.D.), but he used slavery terminology liberally to describe both himself and the rightly-lived Christian life. Paul regularly labels himself a slave of Christ Jesus and often calls believers to live in “slavery” to God. And, it is this slavery which aids our understanding of allowing the Spirit to produce His fruit.

First, slaves had virtually no rights. Whether they were captured in battle, born into slavery, or voluntarily sold themselves into it, slaves were generally regarded as property. Their will was permanently superseded by the will of their Masters. In like manner, we who live in a society predicated upon the rights of the individual must always remember that as a Christian, any “rights” to freedom, comfort, dignity, security, or even life must always be subordinate to our Master’s call.

Second, the purpose of the slave was to do the bidding of the master. To know the master’s intent and execute it to the best of one’s ability was the slave’s highest calling. The same is true for us. While knowledge, physical prowess, business savvy, or artistic creativity can be tremendous tools for God’s use, they are largely powerless unless we are constantly in tune with the mind of Christ. If I am called to wash the feet of my enemy or give a kind word to a stranger, no amount of teaching, leading, fund raising, or singing will ever replace that.

When I have subsumed by identity in God - when I have vacated any claim to rights or reputation - when I have allowed my will to be bent to the will of my Master, I am in the perfect position to bear the fruit of His Spirit. As I daily submit to the posture of slavery, the Spirit roots out my propensity for the "works of the flesh," replacing them with with the nourishment from the True Vine which produces in me His fruit - the fruit of life. And, that fruit will be attractive, delicious, and nourishing to everyone who comes in contact. It will be the true fruit of the Spirit.

Your SoCal district administration

 

Informational Meeting: California SB1146

On August 2, 2016 PLNU is hosting a pivotal luncheon meeting for pastors and faith-based leaders at the Liberty Station extension campus. The purpose is to pray, inform, and to encourage action regarding serious legislation impacting PLNU and all other-faith based universities.   California Senate Bill 1146 (“SB-1146 Discrimination: post-secondary education”) is unlike any other bill to be presented before a state legislative body. It intends to significantly reduce religious freedom especially as exercised in over fifty faith-based institutions in the State of California.

This is a critical call to respond as a body of leaders of believers.  It is especially important that Latino, Black, and Non-Caucasian leadership attend. Please put this on your calendar and make the necessary arrangements to be there. We hope to join efforts with other faith-based organizations.

 

Summer Shorts

Continuing our "summer shorts" series, we have a new video telling the story of how God has been working in the San Jacinto Shepherd's House Church. Feel free to use it in any church events or services in which you find it applicable (If you click HERE you can find the file for view [HD download version is coming soon]).

 

NYI - Save the Date

August 20th 10am-1pm @ Murrieta Gateway - we want EVERYONE who works with youth (in any capacity) on our district to come to this special end-of-summer NYI celebration!

January 2017 - SoCal NYI Campference - It’s a conference + camp specifically crafted for youth workers. More details to be announced soon.

 

Leadership Team Retreat

Formerly Pastor and Spouse retreat, this year's Leadership Team Retreat will take place October 7-9 at the Springhill Suits Marriott in Oceanside, CA. Cost is $375 for a double room occupancy and includes dinner on Fri./Sat. and breakfast Sat./Sun. Click HERE for more information.

 

Teen Bible Quizzing

Teen bible quizzing begins mid-August with a study on the book of Luke. The program is open to middle school and high school age students.  If you are interested in starting a new team, please let Jerry Goodwin know. A team of experienced coaches and helpers is ready to help you get started.  

This year’s competition schedule (many locations are TBD) 

  • Sept 10, Luke 1-2, Scramble/Workshop
  • Oct 8, Luke 1-6, San Diego Invitational @ Mission Church
  • Nov 12, Luke 1-10, District Quiz
  • Dec 3, Luke 1-12 (material estimate), Grizzly Tournament @ Fresno area
  • Jan 14, Luke 1-16, District Quiz
  • Feb 11, Luke 1-20, District Quiz
  • Mar 18 (date estimate), Luke 1-24, Prescott Tournament @ Prescott AZ
  • Apr 8, Luke 1-24, District Finals @ Mission Church
  • May 26-29, Luke 1-24, Elev8 @ PLNU

For more information, contact District Teen Quiz Director, Jerry Goodwin (jerrygoodwin@wildblue.net).

 

All Local and District Licensees

To better prepare and assist ordination candidates, we are looking to set aside October 21-22 for our first District Ministerial Candidate Seminar. Please mark this date on your calendars. More information will be provided when available.

 

2016 Haiti Work & Witness Trips

If you're interested in being a part of one of the November Haiti Work and Witness teams, please contact Rob Altice(menifeenaz@hotmail.com) indicating your desire. 20 tickets are reserved for each team. (Teachers and Medical personal have 1st priority for Team 2.)

 

 

Church Plant NEEd

Living Water Church of the Nazarene, church plant of Southeast Church of the Nazarene in San Diego, is still in need of a few items. If your church has an excess of any of these items or knows someone who would be willing to donate to Living Water, please contact Pastor Chris Nafis. Thank you.

  • Tables (portable tables for meals) (example)
  • Very Large Rug for our children's area (as large as we can get!)
  • Bookshelf/Storage Shelving System for Children's Materials and Toys (example)
  • Infant Jumper (example)
  • Play Kitchen (example)
  • Small Kid's Table and Chairs (example)
  • Toys (in good condition)
  • Water dispenser (example)
  • Tithing Plates/Box (example)
  • Bibles (we get asked for Bibles often and do not currently have a stockpile)

Update: Please continue to pray for Pastor Chris and the church in East Village, SD. Several homeless people who attend the church have recently experienced the brunt of both city crack-downs on the homeless and actual physical attacks. Pray that God will continue to direct the church in how to best serve their congregants and the surrounding community.

 

A Word from your SDMI Chair

Biblical hope not only desires something good for the future; it expects it to happen. ~ John Piper

We are dispensers of hope in all that we teach.  The turmoil we are experiencing with all the civil unrest and terrorism makes this an excellent opportunity to create and share some Bible studies on hope. Let’s be wise how we use each opportunity.

Here are a few starting points to get you going:

  • The Gift of Hope (Psalm 119:49)
  • Future Hope (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • Unending Hope (Psalm 131:3)
  • Guiding Hope (Psalm 25:5)
  • Sovereign Hope (39:7)

May the God of peace keep our eyes on our everlasting hope in Christ Jesus.

Kevin O’Connor (SDMI Chairperson)

 

Monthly Reporting

Pastors, please continue - or start - recording your monthly church stats HERE. By the way, we've had a clamoring for stats on which churches are reporting (and, presumably, which are not). We're not much for public shaming - the ol' "catch more bees with honey than vinegar" notion - but, every once in a while, a little vinegar can work wonders. So, attached to this newsletter is a list of all local church reporting stats for the year. A nice district vinaigrette salad. Bon Appétit.

 

Upcoming Events

  • PLNU SB1146 Meeting: August 2
  • NYI Worker Celebration: August 20
  • Leadership Team Retreat: October 7-9
  • District Ministerial Candidate Seminar: October 21-22
  • Haiti W&W trips: November 11 - 19; 19 - 27

For a more detailed record of these and other upcoming district events please visit the district calendar, or www.socalnaz.org/events/calendar

For a printable version of this newsletter (abbreviated) for use as a bulletin insert or wall posting, please see the attached file.

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