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Raleigh Worship

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Its an honor for myself, my wife, and our baby girl Elizabeth and I to be here! Currently we have are residing in Spartanburg where I have been serving the 4 years and I had pastored in Boone and Banner Elk, NC prior.
Elizabeth is our new addition to the family. We were selected to adopt her earlier this year and she was born in April was able to take her home with us 2 days following her birth. Hard to believe 8 months have already passed us but our lives have certainly changed for the better!
I spoke here 16 years ago as a student from Mount Pisgah Academy
-I messed up many times, in the first service and better in the 2nd service after the pastor chatted with our group.
-Even then this church made an impact on me in my early years when I was attempting to determine what God’s call was on my life. How neat it is to be back here again.
-That Sabbath I shared on a passage I had discovered only a few days before I was to preach. Today I don’t plan to preach, but I would like to share a lesson from the same the passage.
-John 15---This is the chapter where Jesus states he is the true vine.
-Before we look at the passage though, I’ll tell you it is interesting this passage has struck a chord with me because, our family has anything but a green thumb. Sadly plants tend to die in our home because something as simple as watering a plant tends to prove to difficult in our house.
I once heard a pastor share a story about attempting to plant roses outside his home as a romantic gesture to his wife.
He decided to go to the store that specialized in flowers and all things gardening. He was careful to learn how to plant some roses that would last for years outside his home. He said, the salesperson really took advantage and he ended up buying a lot of supplies.
So he came home and planted the roses and that spring they ended up being exactly what he wanted. He did take notice that the next year the roses appeared but not as pretty, not matter how much water and sunlight they were getting. The next year only a few roses even appeared.
So he returned back to the salesperson who sold him the roses. He said, Ma’am I know my cellphones typically start going bad after 2 years but did you sell me some two year roses??? I’ve done all the things you told me to do. Ive made sure the soil is good, and watered them, and we’ve had plenty of good sunlight.
The person responded, have your pruned them???
He says, I’ve done all I was told…but all I get is these sad roses with lots of thorns.
Have you pruned them?
What does prune juice have to do with roses???
“Pruning, not prune juice” Pruning, clipping the thorns so the nutrients from water can serve the flower and are not lost on the stem.” Prune your roses and they will return to its former good health.”
Jesus told his listeners
John 15:1–2 ESV
“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 does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
The purpose of the vine or root system is to provide the nutrients for the tree, for the plant.
Jesus says, I am the vine!
John 15:4 ESV
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
I’ve sat in evangelism strategizing meetings, I’ve sat in visioning meetings, I’ve sat in church building fund meetings. Those meetings meetings bear much fruit without a united commitment to seeking God’s will.
Listen its easy, so incredibly easy to confuse our will with God’s will. If anyone here is like me you might find yourself pleading or petitioning your case with God, maybe sharing some new information to him as if he doesn’t see the big picture already.
My friends when we pray, we aren’t sharing things to God as new information so now He’ll know. We share our burdens and our praise in submission to His will and placing our faith and confidence in His judgment.
Even our best intentions without being connected to the vine, connected to Jesus fall at the wayside.
verse 5
John 15:5 ESV
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
a part from me you can do nothing.
then notice verse 7
John 15:7 ESV
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
The key, I am convinced of, is we have to have to as individuals, and as a larger church body establish our will, our vision, in communion with God’s will.
That takes relationship. That takes more than once a week church attendance. It takes a personal relationship.
It also takes humility. Humility is the only way to become servant leaders for Jesus. As Jesus demonstrated, become lower so to do greater.
John 15:8 ESV
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Sometimes it takes getting out of our own way and letting God work in us and through us.
God wants us to be humble in spirit but love passionately and compassionately.
I also believe that whatever God loves He prunes, He chisels away. He removes the barriers and the stumbling blocks to helps us to receive the living water flowing through the Vine. He did it with his disciples, and does it with his churches. By God’s grace he will do it with you and with me.
If this is a church that desires to stay connected to the vine, I would be honored to work alongside you!
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