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Something came to me the other night as I was thinking about some of the churches we’ve worked with over the years. It comes from a familiar passage of Scripture.
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 
(John 15:2)
Notice that both the fruitful and the unfruitful branches face the pruning shears. Of course we expect Jesus to remove things that aren’t fruitful. But notice that even with the fruitful branches He is actively pruning things away.

I consider Andy Stanley one of my mentors, even though we’ve never met. I read and listen to as much of his stuff – as I can get my hands on, especially his leadership materials. One of his communication mantras is “Teach Less for More.” This verse shows a different application of the same principle. I would call it Jesus’ “Do Less to Achieve More” principle. Jesus doesn’t add things to the branch. He actually removes things from it! But His express purpose in doing so is that it would be able to produce more fruit. I know this is counterintuitive; but the implications for churches are huge!

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The earth is groaning for change from heaven. Conditions often appear overwhelming and even dangerous, but that doesn’t change the fact that prayer changes things. You and I have authority from above to take our stand and bring change to this earth!

One type of prayer that does this is called the prayer of binding and loosing. We find it in Matthew chapter 18.
Verily I say unto you whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. … For where two or three are gathered together in my name there I am in the midst of them. (verses 18, 20)
I want to call your attention to that phrase “in my name.” Jesus is talking about His name. Instead of using the authority in the name of Jesus, many born-again, Spirit-filled Christians have let the enemy bind them—but we’re supposed to be binding the devil.

Take a look at Jesus’ words in Mark chapter 16:
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. … And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (verses 15, 17–18)

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I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the word listen contains the same letters as the word silent. God created the human ear to catch and transmit sound to the brain, enabling us to receive and interpret messages. Unfortunately, the Bible tells us that all too often human ears become like those of heathen gods:
Having ears, they hear not.
(Ps. 135:17)

God is a great listener. He listens because He loves us. When you come to Him with something on your heart, He not only receives you, but you have His full, undivided attention. You have the total interest and awareness of the God of the Universe concerning your problem.

Listening is an important part of showing someone that you love him or her.

Love listens. You can say over and over and over again, “I love you,” but the best way you can show your spouse that you love them is by listening to them.

I’m talking about turning off the television and looking them in the eyes when they are talking to you. I’m talking about not answering your cell phone when it rings in the middle of your conversation. I’m talking about not flipping through a magazine while you ask, “How was your day?” If you really care you’ll put the magazine away before you ask that question, showing your spouse that you really want to know and that you’re interested in what he or she is going to say.

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The online ministry of cfaith has been helping people discover faith, friends and freedom in the Word since 2000. Cfaith provides a unique and comprehensive collection of faith-building resources for the worldwide faith community.

At cfaith, you can strengthen your faith and deepen your understanding of the Word of God by digging into the vast collection of teaching articles, streaming audio and video messages, and daily devotionals. No other website offers such a unique and extensive collection of spiritual-growth resources aimed at helping you grow in your knowledge of the Word.

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