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Saturday, June 18, 2011

We Can Have Sweet Fruit

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Gal 5:22-24 NIV

“Why did you write your book?” the speaker asked. I was in a class that was supposed to teach me how to describe my book so I could increase sales. “Maybe the best way to figure that out is to figure out what makes you mad. Take a moment and write down what makes you mad.”

I sat and prayed about what made me mad. I couldn’t think of anything but I knew what broke my heart. I want to weep when I meet broken, mean spirited, or hardened Christians who make Jesus look unattractive to a world that needs Him so desperately. I want to weep for those poor Christians not experiencing the fruits of Jesus’ spirit and for those they influence.

Jesus got furious at the Pharisees because they were religious but legalistic, judgmental, and just plain mean. He scolded the disciples when they were afraid, wouldn’t let the children talk to Him, and wasted time trying to figure out which of them was more important. He came to give us peace. He told us that the greatest commandment was to love God with our entire hearts, souls, minds, and strengths and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

So many of the people I meet on the streets believe Jesus has no power because the Christians in their lives were not exhibiting the sweet fruits of the spirit that were readily available to them – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. It has been my observation that the lack of those fruits in their lives is the single biggest reason people don’t share their faith and why so many in our country are disappointed with Christianity and the church. I wrote my book, The Secret to Everything, to those Christians who longed for more spiritual fruit in their lives.

Pastors Need Sweet Fruit

“I went to church and it made me cry,” a young man at Bonnaroo told me. “Since nothing had ever done that before, I went back. I became friends with the pastor’s son. One day, I was over at the pastor’s house playing basketball and I beat his son at basketball. The pastor got so mad that I beat his son that he started yelling profanity at both of us. I haven’t been back to church.”

“I’m so sorry that happened to you," I said. "It sounds like that poor pastor wasn’t experiencing the joy of his salvation. The Bible promises us what it calls the fruits of the spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. The Holy Spirit was what made you cry. He touched your spirit and wanted you to know the Jesus that offered you those fruits. That pastor didn’t demonstrate that to you but please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let me introduce you to Jesus.” Within a few minutes, the young man prayed to receive Jesus

Families of Pastors Need To See Sweet Fruit

After leaving Bonnaroo, I stayed the next night at a KOA. When I went over to the office, a sad looking woman sat outside smoking a cigarette. She was in the middle of divorcing her abusive husband.

“I had to get my daughter away,” she said. “She looks just like me and he was starting to turn his anger on her.”

“I’m so sorry,” I said. “Do you have church support?”

“No,” she said. “I was saved when I was little but my pastor was my aunt. She was nice to everyone at church but she was always mean to my mother. I don’t know how a minister can act like that. I’ve tried a couple of other churches but nothing has stuck.”

“What about your daughter,” I said. “You say you’re saved but does she know Jesus?”

“She’s been to Bible School and sometimes we go to church but she hasn’t been saved.”

About that time, nine year old Katie, walked up. “Hi,” I said. “Your mother told me you’ve been to Bible School. Did they tell you about Jesus?”

“Yes,” she said.

“What do you know about Him?” She went on to tell me that Jesus was a baby and had died on a cross.

“Did you know He came back to life?” I asked. She did.

“Do you believe it?” She did.

“Have you ever done anything wrong?” She had.

“Jesus loves you and will forgive you for anything.” I looked at her mother. “May I invite your daughter to accept Jesus as her Savior? She already believes and I think she is ready.” The mother eagerly agreed.

“Katie, Jesus loves you very much and is sorry that that your Mommy and Daddy are getting divorced. They still love you and Jesus wants to help you. Would you like to invite him into your life right now?” She nodded eagerly. Together with her mother, Katie prayed to receive Jesus.

Relationship, Not Religion Creates Sweet Fruit

“I grew up in a Christian family,” a woman told me. “They answered the phone with ‘praise the Lord.’ And yet, they were all depressed and angry. They fought all of the time. Two of those ‘Christians’ committed suicide. When I was 12, my Christian father attempted suicide. I found him and saved his life. What bothered me most was that no one over talked about it or anything else. They just put Bible band-aids on everything and never dealt with anything. I still consider myself a Christian but I almost died from bulimia before I realized that I had to have a relationship with Jesus and not just a religion.”

Who Wants Sour Fruit?

God has called me to go into dark places like Mardi Gras, Bonnaroo, and the Ohio Halloween block party to lead people to Jesus. The Bible says where sin increases, grace abounds and I can testify to that. At all of those events, there are “Christians” there who stand on street corners and walk around, yelling judgment down on the crowd. They call the people walking by horrible names and inform them they are going to hell. They don’t stop with judging the “party hearty people.” They also yell judgment on those entering churches whose doctrine they disagree with. I sometimes follow behind what I call the “sour Christians” and apologize to the crowd on behalf of Jesus Christ who loves them very much. That apology often leads people to Christ.

I wrote my book, The Secret to Everything, because I believed Jesus when He said the most important thing we could do was to love God with our entire heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. It hurts so much when I see Christians so miserable that they exhibit hate and depression rather than the life Jesus intended. It hurts when I see Christians worrying, fighting, or looking as if the burdens of the world are on their shoulder. It hurts because I was once one of those Christians and I still remember what it felt like. When I discovered that the secret to everything was to stop working on fixing everything and everyone and just love God and people more each day, the fruits of the spirit began to taste sweeter each day. I wrote The Secret to Everything because I long for more Christians to know how to fertilize and prune to have fruit as sweet as sugar. The sweeter the fruit, the happier we are, the more people want what we have, and the easier it is to lead people to Jesus.
Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at


1 comment:

  1. Great article Cheryle, thanks for sharing your holy discontent! Continuing to pray for you.