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Cindy Keating
Writer | Speaker | Podcaster | Question Asker | CoCurator for | CoFounder of Re
Writer | Speaker | Podcaster | Question Asker | CoCurator for | CoFounder of Re


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As they left Bethany the next day, he was hungry. Off in the distance he saw a fig tree in full leaf. He came up to it expecting to find something for breakfast, but found nothing but fig leaves. (It wasn’t yet the season for figs.) He addressed the tree: “No one is going to eat fruit from you again—ever!” And his disciples overheard him. -Mark 11:13-14 (MSG)

This parable occurred early in the spring when the leaves of fig trees were beginning to bud. Figs normally grow as leaves fill out, but this tree, though full of leaves, displayed no figs.

The tree looked promising but offered no fruit.

In the same way the fig tree appeared to bear fruit, Jesus was showing his anger at religious life that displays no substance.

If you claim to have faith without putting it to work in your life, you are like a barren fig tree which boasts leaves, but offers no figs to those who are hungry.

Jesus shocked His disciples by condemning a perfectly beautiful tree, so consider this: what if Jesus were standing in front of you, me, right now? Could the story of the fig tree apply to our lives?

Do you appear to be a good-fruit-producing-Christian, or does your life offer no substance?

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” -Galatians 5:22-23 (MSG)
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In conversation last week, a couple of friends and myself were having a discussion about what makes our faith real and true. We were discussing the difference between authentic Christianity and fake Christianity.

As if reading my mind, Facebook brought an article to my newsfeed written by Tim Keller via the Church Leaders blog. The title absolutely grabbed my attention:

3 Questions Fake Christians Can’t Answer.

Which got me thinking…

It’s easy to call yourself a Christian in today’s culture, isn’t it? Everyone from Donald Trump to Kanye West labels themselves a Christian. And while I do not claim to be the judge of Don-ye’s hearts, I can certainly suggest that calling yourself a Christian and living as a Christ follower are two very different lifestyles.

And that’s when the Holy Spirit gripped my own heart with this probing question:

Are you a fake?

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Today’s podcast episode is a candid conversation with Bob Roxburgh – pastor, preacher, professor, academic, theologian and all around down-to-earth guy.

Based on 50 years of ministry and a life gripped by Jesus, he shares his wisdom on the church, today’s culture and the importance of living in missional community.

“We belong to the Kingdom of God, and only until that really grips us can we cope with the kingdom of this world.”

Thoughts From Today’s Episode:

Can anything really grip us when we’re bombarded with information and distracted by so many influences?
It takes a real conscious effort to simplify what is cluttering our faith in order to allow our hearts to be gripped by the Holy Spirit.
Do we create space for our hearts to be gripped by the Kingdom?
We need to belong to groups of people who are on a journey of living out the Kingdom of God.
In this culture that is so non-stop and busy, what does discipleship look like and what does community look like?
A big need in our church is people coming to a deep understanding of the nature of God.
There’s no formula for doing community or church, but there is a need to understand the Kingdom and the ways of Jesus.
Be sure to subscribe for newsletter updates and listen on iTunes!
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We ask, “Where does God fit into the story of my life?” – when the real question should be, “Where does my little life fit into the great story of God’s mission?”

We want to be driven by a purpose that has been tailored just right for our own individual lives, when we should be seeing the purpose of all life, including our own, wrapped up in the great mission of God for the whole of creation.

I may wonder what kind of mission God has for me, when I should be asking what kind of me God wants for His mission.

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I can’t tell you how many conversations I have where the people I’m conversing with tell me how important community is to them.

The longer and deeper we talk, the further I discover these same people to be lonely and discouraged because they don’t get to hang out with their friends as much as they want to…. or they don’t experience community as often as they would like…. or they haven’t been invited out in what feels like forever…. or they can’t actually name who their closest and safest people are.

So let’s take a few minutes to confront a hard truth.

Community is important and necessary, but it’s only truly important if you make it truly necessary.

Which means, something has to give.

If you are too busy to have meaningful friendships, the other people in your friendships aren’t the ones to blame. You are. You are too busy.

...READ ON -->
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On the podcast today we’re talking about fruit and what producing it looks like in one’s life.

Through the lens of Mark 4, we read about the importance of asking ourselves a couple of very honest questions: is my life producing the kind of fruit the Father desires for me to produce?

What does good fruit look like?
What does good soil look like?
What does the non-choked life look like?
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This podcast episode ponders the question: what does it mean to plant seeds in your life?

The everyday wear and tear of day-to-day monotony can take a toll. It’s easy to see our daily tasks as nothing more than dutiful responsibilities, but what if we saw them as more? What if, rather than seeing our lives filled with chores, we saw them filled with opportunity to plant seeds – hundreds of thousands of little seeds?

Inspired by an author named Kent Keith and his Paradoxical Commandments, we are challenged to see seed planting take on a whole new meaning when we hear about how the seeds he planted in 1968 spread all around the world without him even knowing the impact his life was making.

Because that’s just it.

You may never know the harvest that arises from the seeds you plant, but plant seeds anyway.

“Lord God, extend our faith so that even when we fail to see the fruit of our planted seeds, we may have the assurance that every inch of soil overturned will lead to a harvest someday.” –Shane Claiborne

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I have always found it easy to judge the Pharisees.

They showed off.
They cared only for themselves.
They rallied to embarrass and kill Jesus.
They influenced good people to turn away from the truth.
They lived with arrogance and attitude.
They strived for power.
They jockeyed for position.
They placed themselves on pedestals.
And all they cared about was performance and people’s approval.

Basically, if ever there were people to avoid, the Pharisees were it.

So you can imagine my surprise when last week the Holy Spirit asked me a question that convicted me of my hoity-toity, “at least I’m better than the Pharisees” attitude.

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Short little podcast with my 7 year old son today... :)

Take time today to notice the miracles.
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