Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Vine and a Butt Kicking.

In an attempt to make sense of a bunch of scattered thoughts and run on sentences, I decided to give my poor, neglected blog a little lovin' today!

This weekend in a message given by Wilson Creek Winery owner, Mick Wilson, our congregation was given literal illustration of what it means to live a life connected to The Vine. In reference to John chapter 15, we were challenged to take a close look at our own lives in search of the evidence, or the fruit, of a life connected to Christ. I metaphorically had the wind knocked out of me when I realized today, in how many ways, Christ has not been the only source that I've been drawing life from.

* Where is the fruit?! Lately, so much of my life is spent just coping, and not enough spent on learning what it means to abide in Christ and making sure I'm always bearing fruit!

* If I'm spending time drawing life from other sources, what are they? And why are they so important to me?

Mick snapped off two branches of the vine he brought from Temecula to help illustrate his message. One of the branches was brown, dry and dead. The other was green, lush with beautiful leaves. He explained that although the appearance of the one on his right looked vibrant and full of life, it was in fact, dead because it was snipped from it source. It would eventually wither and become dry and brown like the branch he held in his left hand.

* How much of my happiness, and joy is just a facade?! How much time do I have left to turn things around before my soul is withered and dry?!?!

The biggest challenge for me this weekend has been to identify the "sucker branches" or false sources that I've been sucking life from.

There are certain people, I believe, God places in my life to strengthen me, give me hope, and just motivate me to love life. Although they are so important to me, they are NOT meant to be my source, and I HAVE ashamedly taken advantage of them by placing them in a role that God was meant for and wants to fill. It seems like somehow I've tricked myself into believing these people in my life are more tangible and accessible than the God who created me. Ouch! When did THAT happen?! Not only do I now need to reconnect to the True Vine, but I also owe a serious apology to my friends, and my husband especially, for expecting them to fill that crazy complex hole in my heart.

After taking a pretty big beating in the form of a reality check today, I am so encouraged to know reconnecting to The Vine is as simple as asking God to connect to me, and to remain in His word, seeking His truth. And even more encouraged to know that God cares enough about me to continue my pruning and essentially refocus my eyes on Him.

Ugh. I don't deserve that. I have so much work to do. God, you're grace and patience is crazy rad.

John 15:1-10
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love."