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Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the
Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly,
I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth
and dies, it remains just a single grain;
but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
John 12:23-24

Ronald Reagan never tired of telling the story about a little boy who was an incurable optimist. He was so happy and hopeful that his worried parents took him to a psychiatrist to be ‘cured’. Trying to dampen the boy’s optimism, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled ceiling-high with horse manure. But you never saw a more excited boy as he eagerly scrambled to the top of the smelly pile, dropped to his knees and started scooping out handful after handful of the manure. “What do you think you’re doing?” the horrified psychiatrist yelled. “With all this manure,” the boy replied, beaming, “there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!”

That’s optimism! But a far greater story of optimism and faith is seen in today’s scripture as Jesus meets rejection and crucifixion with confidence. Jesus envisions His suffering and death like a grain of wheat buried as in a grave, covered over with dirt, and forgotten. It looks like the end for the grain of wheat; it dies, breaks apart, and disintegrates. But then life bursts forth! And not just life, but life multiplied times over, abundant and fruitful for all. The wheat grain’s death brings life!

Jesus wants us to understand that His suffering and death will generate life for the whole world. On one level Jesus sees His death producing life for all. On another level, Jesus sees a profound spiritual truth: the many deaths we suffer this side of the grave will produce new life and blessing for us. There can be, for example, the death of a dream, career, relationship, finances, loved one, and health, to name a few. There are times we feel like that grain of wheat: dying, coming apart and coming to nothing. Watch the Lord of Life go to work! Even in these many deaths, the God of Resurrection brings forth new life multiplied times over.

Before the joy of Easter comes the loss and pain of Good Friday. George MacDonald rightly said, “The Son of God suffered unto death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.” (George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons). God can take whatever I am suffering right now and make it fruitful, not just for me, but for others. There’s a pony in here somewhere!

PLANT A THOUGHT… Repeat, Tell, Write, Create

A Fellow Traveler,

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You will bring water from rock for the community.
Numbers 20:8

We take our name from the Bible’s story of the archetypal Exodus journey during which the people of God came to a place in the desert wilderness where there was no water. Yet, it was there in a hostile wilderness that they experienced God’s provision of water for them and leadership into a new future. We trust in a God who still provides, renews and leads His people.

Rooted in the Word

We are a ministry of Christian renewal rooted in the Living Word, Jesus Christ, as He reveals Himself through His Written Word, the Bible. Through the Written Word we encounter the Living Word in the incomprehensible wonder of His love. We are mindful that knowledge, even of the Bible, “puffs up” while love “builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). We engage the Scriptures seeking to love more and know more of love. We purpose to search out God’s Word with both our minds and our hearts.

Ecumenical in Outlook

We honor all followers of Christ who have gone before us, and all who are among us now. We have much to learn and receive from all who have a lived experience of God’s transforming love. By reaching out to embrace the universal Body of Christ we strive to balance orthodoxy (right belief) and right living (orthopraxy).

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.
(Rupertus Meldenius, 1582 – 1651)

Experiencing the Living God

We thirst to know God and not just to know about Him. We long for a living experience of God. We believe that God breaks into our world on the holy ground of His Word, and seek through His Spirit a living encounter with Him there. We daily aim to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength (Mark 12:30).

The arms of God be around my shoulders,
The touch of the Holy Spirit upon my head,
The sign of Christ’s cross upon my forehead,
The sound of the Holy Spirit in my ears,
The fragrance of the Holy Spirit in my nostrils,
The vision of heaven’s company in my eyes,
The conversation of heaven’s company on my lips,
The work of God’s church in my hands,
The service of God and the neighbor in my feet,
A home for God in my heart,
And to God, the Father of all, my entire being. Amen.
—Fursey of Yarmouth, 6th century Irish monk

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