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33 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 33 of 57In Pursuit“I’m going out of town for a few days,” Loola says over the phone. You flip pancakes on the stove-top skillet. You pinch the phone between your shoulder and your ear.  “Where are you going?”  “I’m going to see my son,” she says. “He never comes to town. He’s become too […]

Lazy

32 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 32 of 57In PursuitWeeding is something a gardener must commit to regularly doing. To weed successfully, you have to go deep and get at the roots. Without weeding, there will be little to no fruit. Weeding a certain amount per day isn't the purpose or the goal of gardening, though it's something that needs […]

Prayer Takes Digging

31 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 31 of 57In PursuitFor a week, Aunt Loola has been visiting each morning. She likes her coffee hot and dark. She comes armed with instructions for you. You’ve seen little progress so far, but at least you’re getting your hands dirty.  “What should we do next?" you ask.  “It’s time to do something about […]

Weeding

30 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 30 of 57In PursuitOne of the greatest detriments to the abundant life is when we feed and nurture the wrong aspects of our lives. Jesus illustrated this idea in his famous parable about various kinds of soils. In his parable, he said, other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked […]

Cultivating Sin

29 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 29 of 57In Pursuit“So, when are we going to start working on my garden?" you ask.  "Are you sure you're ready?" Aunt Loola asks as she sets her tray down on the table. The line at the buffet was long, and your stomach is growling.  "Yeah, I'm ready. Why wouldn't I be?" you say […]

Thorn Farmer

28 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 28 of 57In PursuitMany Christians believe that it is determination, willpower, and commitment that will force their spiritual life to grow and to eventually bear fruit. They do the try harder method; the do more approach. They pile up all kinds of tasks that seem good but don't bring about growth.  Have you ever […]

Try Harder

27 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 27 of 57In Pursuit"I'm going to church. Do you want to come?" Aunt Loola says over the phone early Sunday morning. You're beginning to expect calls and visits before the sun is up, but you're a little nervous about her invitation.  “I’m not sure that—” “I want you to hear what Preacher has to […]

Garden Harder

26 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 26 of 57In PursuitDo you have a personal Bible? If you do, you are unique in comparison to most people in Christian history. It wasn’t until late, possibly the turn of the last century, that the practice of having a personal Bible arrived.  Despite the fact that most of Christian History didn’t even have […]

Rotten Fruit Teachers

25 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 25 of 57In PursuitAs you drive toward home, you and Aunt Loola continue to talk about Cravis and his strange garden.  “How did you get to know him?" you ask.  “We used to be—” Aunt Loola pauses. It’s rare for her to be at a loss for words. “Cravis and I used to be […]

Trees With Bad Fruit

24 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 24 of 57In PursuitGod has a big important goal for your Christian life. However, there are those who have substituted God's goal for a goal of their own. In the last chapter, we talked about substituting pride for God's ultimate goal. In this chapter, we'll talk about another substitution. I call those who do […]

Escape Artists

23 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 23 of 57In PursuitYou put the car in park in front of an old, dilapidated-looking house. It could be the scene of a blockbuster horror film. There are holes in the roof. Wood rot marks the siding. The door hangs askew. Despite the horrid state of the untenable home, you notice a garden that […]

Escape

22 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 22 of 57In PursuitDo you realize that many Christians are in this situation? There are loads of believers who have replaced the ultimate goal of the Christian life with maintaining a spiritual reputation. There are likely millions who go through the motions, doing spiritual tasks, in order to get applause, approval, or accolades from […]

Don't Swap

21 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 21 of 57In PursuitYou dry as Aunt Loola washes the dishes. After a moment, you notice a smile stretch across her face.  “Hey, do you have time to go see a friend of mine?” Loola asks.  “Sure, why not,” you say. You grab your keys and escort Aunt Loola to the car. She directs […]

Goal Swap

20 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 20 of 57In PursuitDo you realize that this is where many Christians are? They’ve taken what were supposed to be helpful habits like praying, study, and attendance, and they've turned them into the ultimate goal. They've converted the Christian life into a to-do list. Though they are checking off tasks from their list, they […]

Don't Forget

19 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 19 of 57In PursuitYou show Aunt Loola around the house and offer her a seat at the kitchen table. You start a dark pot of coffee brewing and pull out some eggs and a skillet.  “So, are we going to work in the garden today?" you ask as she shuffles into the kitchen. “I […]

Forgetting The Purpose

18 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 18 of 57In Pursuit I can't count the number of times I've heard preachers and Bible teachers pressure a congregation to doubt their salvation. I've heard pastors use phrases like, "If there's no fruit, there's no root." What they mean by this is simple. If you're not doing good works, you must not be […]

No Fruit No Root

17 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 17 of 57In Pursuit Your car pulls up in front of Aunt Loola’s house far earlier than you prefer to be awake. Though you have an urge to lean grumblingly against the horn, she emerges from the font door before you have the car in park.  “Where to?” you say when she gets in […]

To Much Sowing Seeds

16 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 16 of 57In PursuitTo keep the fruit tree growing, you need to work the soil. Good soil needs water, weeding, and fertilizer. In a similar way, there are some activities that will help you keep your mental soil in good condition for spiritual growth. The sun powers the plant while the soil supports it. […]

The Conditions

15 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 15 of 57In PursuitYou arrive at the feed store at ten thirty with a thermos of coffee in hand. You head straight for the gardening section in search of Aunt Loola. She's finishing up with a customer when you arrive. The customer leaves with a cartload of gardening supplies.  “Can I help you?” she […]

Conditions Are Right

14 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 14 of 57In PursuitYour mindset is vital because it blocks you from thinking certain things. This is where the gardening analogy comes in handy. The soil represents the mind. The soil can only support a limited amount of growth. That growth can be weeds, or it can be fruit-bearing plants. Since weeds grow much […]

Why It Works

13 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 13 of 57In PursuitYou arrive at Aunt Loola’s house the next morning with a pen and notepad. You’re eager to get instructions. You feel as if you’re finally making progress, as you now know where you have to focus.  You knock on the door, but there is no answer. You knock again and wait. […]

Focus On The Soil

12 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 12 of 57In PursuitTo have abundant life, you will need to be transformed by God's Spirit. In order to be transformed, there is something relatively simple you must do. Paul explained it when he said, do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.⁠1 The transformation we […]

Mindset

11 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 11 of 57In PursuitYou wake with the sun streaming through your window and are at your garden in a few minutes. With transformation on your mind, you wonder where to start.  “I thought I might find you here,” comes a now familiar voice.  “Hey, Aunt Loola,” you say. “What are you doing here?”  "You […]

Soil

10 of 57
In Pursuit

Part 10 of 57In PursuitTo experience abundant life, you don’t need more effort; you need transformation. It's not your effort or willpower that makes this transformation, sometimes called growth, happen. It's true that you have a part to play, which we'll discuss in a later chapter, but the power for the transformation you need comes […]

Transformation
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