Gateway Church Fareham


Encouragement in the garden

Since the end of March, many of our “worlds” have been reduced.  Key workers have, at times, had their worlds reduced to working, eating and sleeping.  Shielders, have had their worlds reduced to their home, video calls and over the fence conversations with neighbours.  In some way, all of us have experienced our worlds reducing and it has been something of a relief to have those restrictions lifted recently – even if only for a season! I certainly have loved meeting with some of you in the flesh! And it is good to take the opportunity we have to meet together to encourage one another as the writer of Hebrews says “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together,……but encouraging one another…..”.  

Two weeks ago, I wrote about Caroline’s celery experiment and how it caused me to wonder if the Holy Spirit was wanting to grow something new for us as FCC – still Church but different.  Since then, I found God speaking to me again through two gardening related things.

The first was through this beautiful hydrangea.  Last year it looked pretty good, but this year we have nearly twice the number of blooms on it.  The reason? – we pruned it.  We not only took off the old deadheads in the spring, but we also cut each stem back further to above two leaf buds. The result has been this astonishing display of flowers! 

The second was through some seeds we bought too late to sow this year.  Soon, we will sow them at the back of a border where they will be hidden and forgotten, behind late summer flowers, until next spring when they will bring early colour to our garden.

Pause for a moment and reflect – “What might God say to you through these things?”  –  then read on….

For myself, I sensed God’s encouragement.  Whenever we or our world feels reduced, it is always for increase … “He prunes every fruitful branch so that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2).  But God also reduces us, to re-shape us so we become more like Jesus.  I’m asking God to show me what He is doing through this “reducing” both for me and FCC so I can cooperate with His plans for our good. 

I also sensed the Holy Spirit encouraging me to sow God’s word into my life now – frequently and regularly.  Some of what I read and pray about may not seem immediately relevant.  I may even forget about it or it becomes “lost” in the business of life.  But God was saying that as we sow His word in us, He will be preparing us for the next season of our lives so we are ready and equipped when it comes and whatever it may hold.

I don’t know what God might say to you out of those two snippets but be encouraged He is working out His good purpose for us. Remain faithful in reading (or listening) to the Bible and pray expecting the Holy Spirit to shape and equip you both for now and the future.  And let’s encourage one another with what He is saying to us, whenever we can and whenever we meet so that together we become mature in Christ.


PS: The celery is growing bigger😊!

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