Thursday, September 13, 2007


Starting a new series at our church this week. The main text for this series is the beginning of John 15 where Jesus basically says "I am the true vine ... you are the branches ... remain in me and you'll produce fruit ... apart from me you can do nothing." Gotta admit - I've heard it dozens, if not hundreds, of times before. But for some reason this time it is grabbing me and not letting me go. It's getting inside of me in a way it hasn't before. And I think the reason is that if I'm honest with myself - I feel pretty disconnected from Jesus Christ. To "remain" in the Greek means to "live" or "dwell." I think I live/dwell in myself most of the time - not in Jesus Christ. I'm not trying to be hard on myself (I've been accused of that) - it's the truth. Learning to "remain" in Jesus is not easy. It's just not. I think the "Church" has made it too easy. We've made it about coming to church an hour a week, doing a little for God, etc. Jesus made it about a relationship with Him that changes your core/soul in such a way that you die to you and live for Him, and in doing so produce fruit that impacts the world. I'm rambling - but just some thoughts I'm having ...


kenneynan said...

I may be a bit biased, son, but I do think you are producing fruit that impacts the world, or at least our world here in Augusta. Love reading your blogs! Hugs from yo Momma

Joy said...

“Remain in me”

Websters definition of remain: “to be a part not destroyed, taken, or used up”

So remaining in Christ is to keep myself from being destroyed, or taken, or used up.
Even when I feel as if I have been used up; while I remain in him I am safe. I know I can retrieve my lost self, because I remain, no matter what.

Jessica said...

I know what you mean, John, and I can't wait to see what God's going to do with this....*ahem* series.

Joy said...

I’ve been thinking and praying about this whole vine, branches, fruit of the vine thing.
Decided to blog about it.

So. First the grape is plucked from the vine.
Then it’s pressed, or stomped, or crushed, and the seeds and skins and the stems are filtered out.
Then it’s fermented to make wine.
But wait, what happens to those dregs that were filtered out?
Is it discarded? No.
Those dregs are used to make something called “grappa”.

Grappa was first made in the Dark Ages, by the poorest of the poor, who had to make due with the leftovers to make their wine.
I think I have spent too much of my life feeling like grappa. Somewhere in my own dark ages, I was plucked and pressed and stomped and discarded and fermented.
I remember being part of a vine; a living, growing connection to Jesus. But somewhere along the way there was a change.
I’ve tasted grappa. I don’t like it. It’s very bitter.
I’m trying to let go of that bitterness.
I’m freeing myself so that whatever tiny molecule of the vine is left in me can be grafted back on to the greater vine.
I believe God will make it so. He can do some kind of reverse osmosis-fermentation-distilling thing. Bit by bit my bitter grappa is becoming a sweeter wine, and that wine is returning to become a fruit of the vine, and I will again be a branch of that vine.
God, create in me a clean heart willing.