A Message From Pastor Thomas

Connected to the Vine

February 2021
Being a Christian is a challenging task. As we study Jesus’ teachings, especially the Sermon on the Mount, we are faced with a completely different purpose than the world offers:

Seek first the Kingdom of God…instead of myself
Love your enemies…not just your friends
Don’t store up treasures on earth…take all you can get
Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect…do whatever makes you happy

These instructions that Jesus lays out are beautiful and inspiring but they’re also impossible... if we rely on human ability. If we want to be devoted followers of Christ we have to face the reality that we can’t do this alone.

But the more important realization is that we don’t have to do it alone! God knows we’re incapable...but he didn’t leave us to figure it out on our own. He sent Jesus to be Immanuel, God with us. God invites us to participate in His work WITH him.

In John 15, Jesus was trying to encourage his disciples to carry on God’s Kingdom work after his crucifixion. But he didn’t want them to try on their own. To do that he painted a beautiful picture with words.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”              -John 15:5

Jesus is the source of life, strength, and purpose. He will not leave us. He will not forget us. He will help us “bear much fruit.” But we have a HUGE responsibility… “remain in me.” It’s our job as branches to remain connected to “the Vine” because apart from him...we can do nothing.

There are so many things we can’t control in this world. We easily get overwhelmed and discouraged. And yet the greatest source of strength and encouragement is always available.

How are you maintaining your relationship with Jesus? How are you connecting to God on a daily basis? How are you staying in touch with the other branches around you? I know our world is challenging but the first and greatest challenge lies within us. If we’re going to accomplish God’s divine task for our lives, we must remain connected to the Vine. And the only way to remain connected is to devote yourself to your relationship with God.