Defining the Fruit of the Spirit

This weekend, we kicked off a new series on “the fruit of the Spirit,” which Paul, one of the Bible’s authors, lists in Galatians 5:22-23. He writes,

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Paul uses the word “fruit” to describe the outcome of Jesus’ work in our lives—if we give Him some leeway, we’ll find these traits becoming increasingly common in the way we engage life and interact with others.

An author we particularly like, Tim Keller (we did a Bible study he wrote last winter) defined each of these fruits (including the word Paul uses in Greek), and even gives ways that we “fake” them. Give it a read as we journey through this series.

And, ask yourself: am I demonstrating genuine fruit, or the counterfeit version of it? 

Agape – love

Definition – To serve a person fo rtheir good and intrinsic value, not for what the person brings you.

Opposite – Fear: self-protection and abusing people.

Counterfeit – Selfish affection. Rescuing someone but really rescuing self. Attracted not to a person, but to how this person’s love makes you feel about yourself.

Charajoy

Definition – Delight in God and his salvation for sheer beauty and worth of who he is.

Opposite – Hopelessness, despair.

Counterfeit – Elation that comes with blessings not the Blesser! Mood swings based on circumstances.

Irene – peace

Definition – Confidence and rest in the wisdom and sovereignty of God more than your own.

Opposite – Anxiety and worry

Counterfeit – Indifference, apathy, not caring about something. “I don’t care.”

Makrothumia – patience

Definition – Ability to take trouble (from others or life) without blowing. To suffer joyfully.

Opposite – Resentment toward God and others.

Counterfeit – Cynicism. Self-righteousness. “This is too small to be bothered about.”

Chrestotes – kindness

Definition – Practical kindness with vulnerability out of deep inner security.

Opposite – Envy. Unable to rejoice other’s joy.

Counterfeit – Manipulative good deeds. “Right hand knowing what left hand is doing.” Self-congratulation and self-righteousness.

Agathosune – goodness. (integrity)

Definition – Honesty, transparency. Being the same in one situation as another.

Opposite – Phoniness; hypocrisy.

Counterfeit – Truth without love. “Getting it off the chest” for your sake.

Pistis – faithfulness.

Definition – Loyalty. Courage. To be principle-driven, committed, utterly reliable. True to one’s word.

Opposite – Opportunist. Fair-weather friend.

Counterfeit – Love without truth. Being loyal when you should be willing to confront or challenge.

Prautas – gentleness. (humility)

Definition – Self-forgetfulness.

Opposite – Superiority: self-absorbed self-aggrandizement.

Counterfeit – Inferiority: self-absorbed, self-consciousness.

Egkrateia – self-control

Definition – Ability to choose the important thing over the urgent.

Opposite – A driven, impulsive, uncontrolled person.

Counterfeit – Willpower through pride or through more “functional” idols.

A Prayer for Rest

This weekend, we explored the theme of rest from Psalm 62. Here’s a great prayer to reflect on as you seek rest in God alone this week, from Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471):

Grant me, O most sweet and loving Jesus, to rest in you above every creature,
above all health and beauty,
above all glory and honor,
above all power and dignity,
above all knowledge and subtlety,
above all riches and arts,
above all joy and exultation,
above all fame and praise,
above all sweetness and consolation,
above all hope and promise,
above all desert and desire,
above all gifts and presents which you are able to bestow or infuse,
above all joy and gladness which the mind is capable of receiving and feeling;
finally, above angels and archangels,
and above all the heavenly host,
above all things visible and invisible,
and above all that you are not,
O my God!
Amen.

Praying for Charleston—One Week Later

we’ve waited a while to say anything, because sometimes silence is all we have for a while.

but now, a week later, we’re still moved by the tremendous demonsration of hatred and violence and, yes, racism, in Charleston.

well, maybe we aren’t moved as much as we’re stunned and shocked and even a little paralyzed.

as the people of JESUS, we’ve long known that it’s our calling to “to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8), but knowing what we’re supposed to do and how to do it are often different things.

the tendency in these moments is to be so aware of our helplessness that we quickly give up, or at least move on. given enough time, a new tragedy will find its way into our news feeds, and there will be something else to distract us.

but even as we move on, there are still victims with real stories and real pain; there are still woulds to heal; there are still sins that need forgiveness.

so what are we to do?

for us, this profound song by  Jenny & Tyler provides the start to a way forward.

the message of the song is this: faint not. choosing to do something is always preferable to doing nothing. and

that’s why the words of this song are so important:

Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, let me pardon
Where there is darkness, let the Light come, come

suggesting that “love” is the best way forward seems a little trite, yes? but we must remember that the opposite of love isn’t hate, but indifference. to combat the indifference, or the better-intentioned paralysis that we feel in moments like this, love can lead us forward.

“keep company with HIM and learn a life of love” is the ultimate invitation of the Christian Way. as we learn to live a life of love, the true test of our learning is found in moments like this: will we be lead into deeper love for our world, and thus to action, or will we simply move on?

faint not, friends. keep up in love. and when in doubt, go love everybody.

BLOG: The Bonfire Sessions

it’s no secret that church is becoming less and less important to people in our culture—if you haven’t noticed, churches aren’t chock full of people like they were a generation ago. studies indicate that the Christian faith is shrinking—though, others interpret this data in a more positive light.

in either case, the fact of the matter is that while people are increasingly spiritual they are decreasingly interested in making church a part of their spirituality.

engaging with why that is, and how we can become a church that is safe for people who have walked away from “organized religion,” is going to be our focus throughout the summer at Regeneration.

together, we’ll have intentional conversation about the nature of faith, spirituality, and church—including topics like, “what is the miraculous?” and “why has church become so irrelevant?” we’re calling these conversations The Bonfire Sessions. 

now, before we go any further, here’s what we mean by conversation: there will be guided discussion thorugh an interview-style talk around a campfire. if you have questions, you can ask them—but if you just want to listen, that’s OK too. as always, you need to be who you are: and if you’re not a talker, but a listener, that’s awesome.

together, we’re going to take a fresh look at what it means to be the church—the people of JESUS—in a community that needs HIM terribly.

the bonfire sessions kick of June 21. don’t miss it! 

during the summer, {re}kids! will still be available for children pre-K thorugh 5th grades, and we’ll continue to have nursery care available, too. 

10 Ways Anyone Can Use Social Media to Help Regeneration

like-en-share

did you know that people spend more time on Facebook than they do on their pets? it’s true. 

we love social media—at {re}generation, we use Facebook to keep folks up-to-date with events and the like, but also to encourage them, love them, and point them to JESUS.

during March, we’re inviting folks to pray for loved ones and friends and coworkers for our March ONE THING. we know that talking with people about GOD can be intimidating, but that prayer can be a step in that direction. so can sharing posts with your social media accounts.

with that in mind, here are 10 ways that you can help {re}generation connect with your friends on social media. 

  1. “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
  2. click the sharing links on our blog posts, updates, and especially pages featuring our upcoming sermon series.
  3. “check in” on Facebook every time you’re at {re}generation, or an event we’re hosting.
  4. click “Like” on posts you see on Facebook by {re}generation, which helps our content spread further to be seen by your friends.
  5. re-tweet what {re}generation posts on Twitter.
  6. take photos and videos at church and church-related events, then post them to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and use the hashtag #beregeneration so we can spot them!
  7. post, as a tweet or Facebook status update, a short quote from a sermon, or a lyric from a song we’re singing, and put #beregeneration in your post.
  8. invite people to {re}generation events using your social networks. (Share the posts on our page with your friends!)
  9. help us to follow you on social networks! Email us links to your social profiles and we’ll follow you!
  10. write your faith story so we can share your faith with all kinds of people. Share with us here.

BONUS:  If you really, really, REALLY want to go the extra mile to help us spread the word on Facebook, you can cruise over to our main Facebook page, mouse over the “Liked” button and choose to “Get Notifications.” every time we add an update to our page, you’ll get a Facebook notification (not an email) about it and you’ll be able to click on it, “Like” it, “Share” it, etc. Here’s a screenshot:

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 7.31.30 PM

are there other ways you can think of? tell us in the comments below. and if you don’t mind your profiles being available to everyone on our site, feel free to post your social profile links below for us to follow!

A Word from Kyle: Summit Sunday

lightstock_187492_jpg_user_5616830 (1)

in college i once served on a short-term missions team to the United Kingdom. on one of our days off, we went on a hike that, we were promised, would be easy.

evideenglandntly, the word “easy” means different things in America and in England, because that hike got crazy. halfway through we climbed a cliff-face-waterfall.

halfway up (behind that big rock) was a sheep skeleton.

it was hard work, but when we got to the top, we could see beauty for miles.

this Sunday, we’re having our first-ever Summit Sunday. together we’ll climb a mountain (metaphorically, thank goodness) to see where GOD is leading us in 2015. it’s been a crazy ride for the first six months; let’s see where GOD is leading for the next 10!

if you love {re}generation, or are even mildly interested, don’t miss this weekend!

The Prodigal God Small Group

Out of the Dust Announcements.006

“everything you’ve ever heard, everything you’ve ever thought, about how to approach GOD is wrong.”

there is a well-loved story of JESUS called the parable of the prodigal son. in it, a son leaves his father’s house and spends his inheritance on wasteful living. when his life bottoms out, he returns home to find a loving, forgiving father—and an angry older brother.

while many are somewhat familiar with this story, or even have it memorized, we haven’t grasped the fullness of what JESUS wants us to see. 

in this six-week journey, we’ll walk through this parable together. this event is hosted by the Tennant Gospel Community each Monday at 6:30 starting February 16. for more info about location, fill out a contact us form and we’ll touch base with you!