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Find Answers to Life's Questions through Prayer

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Theme for 2019: Find Answers to Life’s Questions through Prayer (John 15:7)
John 15:7 ESV
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Jesus is teaching his disciples that they have a new identity.
(18th Century and still present in some areas today) Modern identity: I am the master of my fate and captain of my soul; Post-modern identity responds to that saying, the self is massive signifiers and narratives that swirl to and fro and we actually re-invent ourselves the whole time. However; the Christian response to both of those is that “a new creation” happens through salvation/baptism as an initiation where a person ceases to be the person that you used to be and you start being transformed into being a new creature. The self that you are now has a new identity in Christ. We are imagers of God, we are a community united as the people of God. The Apostle Paul tells us about our new identity in Galatians,
Galatians 2:20 ESV
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
It is extremely important to realize that our primary identity has to change when a person becomes a follower of Jesus and a child of God.
This new identity motivates us as an international community to find ways to “Bridge God’s love.”
The text takes us to find answers to Life’s questions through prayer. There are eleven verses in the text, but it is important to read them out loud together.
John 15:1-11
John 15:1–11 ESV
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 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. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 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. 5 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. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 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. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

1. Get Ready

Before the game begins: Introductions

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. (John 15:1)

Who is who?

True Vine, Vinedresser & branches/friends

I am the vine; you are the branches. (John 15:5a)

God is Creator and we are His creatures

Here is a quotation from the Bible Knowledge Commentary that says,

Active dependence and loving obedience are the proper paths for all of God’s children.

What is freedom?

Before knowing Jesus and in our former identity, we felt independent and we had our own choices. We might say, “it is up to me.” However, we are being taught that being branches in the vine leaves us dependent, totally dependent on the vine. Jesus is our everything. Jesus is our all in all. Jesus is King, Master, Lord and Savior.
So, # 2

2. Get Set

Location, location, location; put all the pieces in the right places

Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5b)

What is our relationship?

Connection, Correction, Communication

Ask Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers. (Genesis 37-45)

Genesis 37:28 ESV
28 Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt.
Genesis 45:4–5 ESV
4 So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.

Ask Daniel who was thrown into the lions den (Daniel 6:20-22)

Daniel 6:20–22 ESV
20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”

Ask the boy who shared his lunch for the feeding of 5,000 people (John 6:1-14)

John 6:8–9 ESV
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”
John 6:12–13 ESV
12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.

Ask the widow who gave two mites (Luke 21:1-4)

Luke 21:1–4 ESV
1 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, 2 and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Pray,

Jesus’ own obedience of the Father shows us how to pray
John 6:38 ESV
38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
John 14:31 ESV
31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
Jesus’ example of his relationship with the Father is our example.
Our relationship of active obedience and loving obedience is the foundation for our communication through prayer.
John 15:7 ESV
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
A fruit that comes from the vine and is shown on the branches in verse 11.

Be joy full!

Jesus’ joy poured into you so you are joy full.
John 15:11 ESV
11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
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