Rev. Jim Toole
Philippians 2:3-4
Fruit of the Spirit: Who Am I Becoming


Philippians 2:3-4 - Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.

C.S. Lewis - “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

Theme: Jesus is our supreme example of Humility and Humility at its core is thinking of yourself less.

  • Jesus did not ride on a great horse, rather a donkey or a colt.
  • Jesus was not celebrated with a ceremonial robe, rather the garments from the crowd.
  • We all know that Jesus as He entered into Jerusalem was not given a crown or seat of power; rather He humbled Himself and received a crown of thorns and the position He was granted was upon the cross.

So some of you are saying to yourselves right now, I get that I need to be humble. I get that Jesus was humble. I get that humility is thinking of yourself less. But what I do not get is how do we become humble?

In order to become humble it starts with humbling ourselves in front of our Lord.

Humility was a central motto to the early church, the idea that spiritual vitality and victory comes not from our own strength or abilities but through complete dependence on God. 

I would like to end this series on the Fruit of the Spirit and Humility with the same image I started. Rootedness! Rootedness, yes, it is a real word means to be firmly planted. This is the image of John 15, where Jesus says I am the vine you are the branches. If we truly are rooted in our dependence upon Jesus we will have fruit in our lives. We will become kind, faithful,
gentle and yes, even humble.



Rev. Mat Grover
Galatians 5:22-23
Fruit of the Spirit: Who Am I Becoming


Gentleness: Webster’s dictionary describes gentleness as meekness or mildness in manners of disposition. Although this kind of gets to the point, the Greek word in Galatians 5 (πρᾳΰτης) is better translated as a gentle strength or power with reserve.

St. Francis de Salle said, “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”

1 Peter 3:15-16
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander

Cultivating the fruit of Gentleness
1. Trusting the will of God
2. Having a teachable spirit
3. Having consideration of others

Gentleness is not weakness! Gentleness is being like Christ.

Matthew 11:28-30
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.



Rev. Jim Toole
Mark 8:34-37/Matthew 25:4-22
Fruit of the Spirit: Who Am I Becoming


Theme: Faithfulness is about surrendering to follow Jesus with a sense of priority in your life and circumstances.
It is about becoming a Jesus follower as a way of life.
Faithfulness is small incremental steps of allowing the Holy Spirit to stretch our spiritual capacity to follow Jesus. I believe faithfulness is a two sided coin of both identity and then action.

Mark 8:34-37 is one of those great challenges of Jesus on our identity.
The traditional interpretation of the “way of the cross” that is defined by C.S. Lewis and other scholars is that Jesus, when He says we must “lose” our lives and “take up our cross and follow Him”, He is saying do not build your identity on gaining the things of the world. I want you to find a whole new way. I want you to lose your old self; the old identity, and base yourself and your identity on Me.

Matthew 25:4-22 is a challenge of Jesus about faithfulness as an action.
The meaning of the parable extends far beyond financial investments. We all have been given skills, abilities, family connections, social positions, education, experiences, and more. We are called to act and be faithful in these various arenas that God has called us to. It is not
acceptable merely to take them for granted.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. In the analogy of the boardroom, who has the most of your attention; social self, private self, the work self, the sexual self, the recreational self, the religious self, or others?
  2. Where in your life do you need to take small steps towards faithfulness?


Goodness and Kindness

Rev. Jim Toole
Ephesians 4:25-5:2
Fruit of the Spirit: Who Am I Becoming?


Randy Frazee describes goodness and kindness as cousins that come from the same root but with distinct meanings.

  • Paul often for the word “good” uses the Greek word “agathos.” It refers to an outward beauty that comes from deep within.
  • The Greek word for “kindness” is “christas” which means the followers of Jesus show kindness to others because this is what resides in their heart.

Theme: Goodness and Kindness are one of the purest forms of the imitation of Christ.

The definition of Incarnational Ministry is as Jesus entered into this world then we as Christians enter into the worlds of those who God puts in our lives by coming beside them, accompanying them and being with them.

This is where Goodness and Kindness truly are birthed from imitating Christ.

My hope and prayer of imitating Christ in goodness and kindness is that we can truly be about widening our perspective, widening our sights out to the very people God loves. For some of us it will be widening our sights out to the margins. Others of us, it will be widening our purpose in life, that as Christ dwells within us, we bring an incarnationalpresence to the people around us in order to point people to God’s presence in their lives.

Who is that someone God is calling you to?



Rev. Jim Toole
1 Samuel 16:4-13
Fruits of the Spirit: Who Am I Becoming


Dictionary Definition of Patience - the ability to accept delay, suffering, or annoyance without complaining or becoming angry

One of the common exhortations of the Bible is the call to “wait on the Lord.” Even though God promises special blessing for waiting, waiting is just downright hard. It is often in our waiting we think God has abandoned us when in reality God is right there with us deepening us.

Theme: I want to argue this morning that in our waiting, spiritual maturity is

Here are a few Essential Factors in Waiting on the Lord we see in Scripture. 

  • Waiting Necessitates the Passage of Time
  • Waiting Involves an Expectation Based on Knowledge and Trust
  • Waiting Also Involves Seeking the Lord

The key to patience is knowing in our heart that God is faithful and then seeking God by taking small steps of faithfulness and obedience.

Questions for reflection:
1. What are you waiting on?
2. Do you have confidence in God’s faithfulness to you? Do you wait with expectation?
3. How are you seeking God? or are you taking matters in your own hands? or are you waiting passively?
4. What is your next step of faithfulness in your waiting?



Rev. Jim Toole
Hebrew 6:13-19
Fruits of the Spirit: Who Am I Becoming


There are times in our lives where we may be going through a season where we feel like we are living emotionally in a wasteland that has been destroyed by an illness, tragedy, crisis or broken relationships. Others of us may not feel like we are living in devastation; rather everyday life is wearing on our hope.

Theme: We can cope with the hardships and struggles of life because of the hope we have in Christ.

  • Hope takes endurance and patience.
  • If we want to experience hope then we must trust God’s love for us.
  • Hope acts as anchor.
  • Hope allows us to thrive no matter what we face.

Our earthly circumstances may not change. But as we see in this passage as Christ followers we are heirs to the promise. We believe Jesus’ death and resurrection is the ultimate covenant, that as we become followers of Christ we are indeed children of God. This is the good news, this is our ultimate hope.

1 Peter 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,

Please write on the red card where in your life do you need God to speak hope to you?
(Ex: finances, family, marriage, work, etc.)



Peace and Self-Control

Fruits of the Spirit: Who Am I Becoming

Rev. Jim Toole
1 Corinthians 9:24-27


Shalom is defined as a totality of safety, satisfaction, blessing, completeness and wholeness. Peace and self-control are definitely interrelated. If we are living lives out of control there is a very good probability we are not experiencing much peace.

So how do we define Self-Control?
The Greek word used for self-control in The New Testament is often “egkrateia,” which means having command or “mastery over” or possession of “one's own behavior.”

 So how do we develop Self-Control?
I have mentioned that the Fruits of the Spirit are attributes that develop as “both/and.” Self-control is a character trait that indeed we have to practice and make a conscious choice, but self-control is also a byproduct that is developed in us by the Grace of God. It is both/and.

So, how do we nurture Self-Control? 
The beginning of Godly self-control is an honest self-appraisal.
We need to practice the art of turning towards God.
We need to continually turn to caring and wise Christians.

One of my favorite images used to promote self-control is the idea of having guardrails in our lives. Now, everybody knows what a guardrail is, but you probably don’t know the official definition of a guardrail.  A guardrail is actually a system designed to keep vehicles from straying into dangerous or off-limit areas. Self-Control is a God given guardrail to keep us from entering into hazardous areas in our lives.

Questions for Reflection:
How developed are your limits? 
Do you have guardrails in your life?
Do you actually have a God given internal moral system designed to keep you from entering into hazards in your life?



Fruits of the Spirit: Who Am I Becoming

Rev. Jim Toole
Galatians 5:16-23 / John 15


We are starting a New Sermon Series today on the Fruits of the Spirit. The Fruits of the Spirit is a biblical term that sums up nine attributes of a Christian life according to Paul in his Letter to the Galatians.

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
Galatians 5:22-23

The character qualities of the fruits of the spirit are not another moral code to live by. Rather they are the result of living and being led by the Spirit.

Sermon Series Theme: The fruits of the Spirit are less about what we do and more about who we are becoming in Christ.


The word Joy appears 88 times in the Old Testament; 57 times in the New Testament. Joy is important but it cannot be manufactured or contrived; it must be about who we are becoming in Christ. Joy is produced by a life-giving organic process of the Spirit. A great image of the Source of Joy is John 15 - Vine and the Branches.

Sermon Theme: Joy flows out of being rooted to something greater than ourselves, our Savior

Joy is an emotion that’s acquired by the anticipation, acquisition or even the expectation of something great or wonderful. Joy is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a
settled state of contentment, confidence and hope in Christ

Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet
confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to
praise God in every situation
. (Rick Warren)