As the Father has loved me, so I have 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. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. – John 15:9-11
As always, my morning today started with a walk, coffee, and a devotional moment to keep things in perspective. It’s a simple routine, but absolutely critical if I am to have any chance of engaging everything else that comes along with the correct frame of mind, the appropriate frame of spirit.
I have surveyed the news headlines this morning, and I have heard news from people experiencing crisis; and I can’t imagine how it is possible to engage life with the confidence of genuine hope and promise outside of faith in and a relationship with God through Jesus.
I can’t imagine how it is possible to engage life with the confidence of genuine hope and promise outside of faith in and a relationship with God through Jesus.
Rebekah’s message yesterday – another in her ongoing series of “I Am” statements from Jesus – vividly illustrated what it means to be connected to the vine. “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches…” (John 15:4-5)
Simply put, what we get from Jesus is life itself! I’m reminded of the quote from Jesus in yesterday’s blog, “Get away with me and you will recover your life!” It’s not just a re-set, it’s a continual infusion of nourishment, purpose, strength, and passion!
This whole “I Am” conversation has been a perfect background for the intense two-day Bible-study class Rebekah is offering at WFPC (and will repeat in September). The study is designed to better equip us to study the Bible; to help us to understand how people approach scripture differently; to facilitate a deeper appreciation for the variety of lenses through which faithful Jesus-followers look at the word; to educate us when it comes to language, word-meaning, translation, context, history, methodology, purpose, and more; to give us the tools we need in order to have more meaningful interaction with scripture; to guide our conversations around controversial and traditionally divisive topics; to promote unity over uniformity, value understanding over dogma, and experience deep truths where we have thus far only witnessed proof-texting and one-dimensional bluster.
We started with a two-hour session Sunday evening. Rebekah was hoping for 25 attendees, but 80-90 people showed up. There is a genuine hunger in our community – I believe – for a deeper understanding of scripture and for a more focused walk with Jesus.
If we are to successfully navigate the challenges of living as people of promise and purpose in this fragmented, broken, and turbulent world, then we not only need a deeper understanding of scripture and a more focused walk with Jesus, but we need to be connected to the vine.
As Jesus said, we’re never going to be able to bear fruit unless we abide in the vine.
– In love, and because of love: DEREK