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One Year Ago this Weekend

I have been going back to my journals and blogs to feel what life was before the accident. Connecting to Julies last sermon has helped me think what she was wrestling with, and some of the discussions we had over dinner conversations. Julie had increasingly began preaching in our local church and other locations when she was invited. During our first years as missionaries, she resisted the idea of public speaking, blaming language and other responsibilities. Her last sermon, about three weeks before the accident was on "The Vine", based on John 15. She spoke with eloquence and determination. She loved grapes and was always in touch with nature. Our plan was to plant grapes in May-June of 2012. We had designated a section on our property for this purpose. People in church still remember Julie's power point illustrations and her way of presenting a profound truth about the Christian walk. Guess what I will do this coming May and June. guessed. I am preparing the soil.Julie did not turn down opportunities to serve her Lord. Preaching became one of those avenues she used. Thanks Julie for sharing your heart and reminding me of John 15 and my need to be pruned. Julie, I love you and miss hearing you share in church. NorbHere is part of that blog entry. Thursday, March 29, 2012

We are Grafted In

We are currently preaching a series on the "I Am" statements of Jesus.  This weekend I'll be talking about "I am the True Vine."

John 15 is one of my all-time favorite Bible passages.  I love grapes and I can just visualize a bountiful grape vine just bent over with the weight of huge, luscious grapes.  My mouth is watering for those juicy morsels right now!

What is more difficult to grasp is the idea of pruning the grape branches.  Yet, if you know anything about gardening, you know that in the winter time pruning has to be done in order for an abundant crop come harvest time.  
The most powerful image I think this passage portrays is the concept of a young branch being grafted into its source.  Jesus took lifeless branches and grafted us in as His children so we could produce fruit in abundance.  We have absolutely no life outside of Him and can do nothing when we're separated from Him.  I believe remaining in Christ means being tied so tightly to Him, that no storm, no wild animal, nothing can pull me loose from what sustains me.  His DNA is in me and I should bear the kind of fruit that He desires from me.    

So, the question bears asking first to myself and then to church, "Are we connected to the TRUE vine (vs. the ones that don't give life)? and if so, what kind of pruning needs to happen so we will bear an abundance of fruit?


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