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The True Vine

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everybody it's really great to see you guys today and I want to welcome those who are watching online as well we're in a series about the seventh statements that Jesus may made that started with the with the phrase I am and he actually refers is referring back to when Moses was asking God at the burning bush like who are you who should I tell has sent mean and God says tell them that I am has sent you and so Jesus connects himself to God by using that phrase seven different times in the New Testament and we've been looking at those statements I am the bread of life I am the light of the world last week pastor PO talked about I am the way the truth and the life and today I want to talk about I am the vine and you are the branches we long for connection our world longs for it we long for relationship and a sense of belonging and wanting to be connected to others and and I think there's even a deeper need that sometimes we don't even recognize that we want to be connected to our Creator to the one who made all of this and and and knew us before we were ever born and under and understands us and I there's something longing inside of us for connection yet we experience disconnection more often than we experience connection I mean I think about the polarization that's happening in our nation in particular I think about how we we're constantly dividing rather than uniting and I and I and I'm wondering as I approach this message I've been thinking about this and praying about this is there a way for us to unite under the the the connection that Jesus says that prompt that he promises that that we can have with him and with one another when we find ourselves connected to the vine is there a way that that may be a vision that Jesus would cast for us today that would look at how we might reconcile with our neighbors how we might be able to reconcile with those that are unlike us how we can reconcile with people who are of a different political affiliation how we can reconcile with people who we disagree with on certain issues is there somewhere that we can find a place of integration rather than dis integration that exists around us and and I think Jesus talked about this actually I I know he did and and one of the key places that he talked about it was in John chapter 17 and he says these these powerful powerful words in John 17 I think if we can get that on there that's right I got controlled now John 17 and we're actually gonna spend most of our time in John 15 so if you have a Bible you can start to turn there now if you want to follow along but Jesus says these words I do not ask for these only and he's actually praying this he's praying this to God that as he's thinking about leaving he's know he knows he's gonna go to the cross he knows that he's gonna be leaving the earth and he's like praying to God God would you would you do some things for those who have who have leaned in who have chosen to follow me would you would you create a culture of unity and oneness and this is what he prays I don't ask for just these that are standing in front of me right now but also for those who will believe in me through their words so Jesus is thinking all the way to now even to the people all of us who have said yes to Jesus he's saying I'm praying for them I'm asking that what that they may all be one say one let me just stop right here and just like I'm a little I'm a little mad this morning not not like not angry with the church I'm just like like this is the vision that Jesus cast for his people who would call on his name and yet I look at the history of the church I see it and I see disunity more than I see unity I see I see denominations that have formed because of doctrinal differences I see people that Christians I don't even talk to other Christians because because they believe that maybe women can't preach or that women can preach or they they don't even talk to each other because because they believe that Jesus is coming back after the tribulation and some believe before the tribulation I mean like really is it that important and Jesus cast this vision that all maybe one side note I'm gonna have to cut some things later in the message so I can get done on time but two weeks ago it was actually a probably a little like two months ago a movement in Bend with pastors and I and I think there's been there's been something bubbling in the surf under the surface for a lot longer than that but all of a sudden that something broke in and been and even in Central Oregon where where pastors senior pastors are finding themselves doing this regardless of doctrinal differences regardless of what we see illogical differences and we're saying let's be united let's be one let's let's actually answer this prayer let's be the response to this prayer of Jesus at least for our community in our city let's start with the pastors being one together heart connection and in and it's amazing to see that maybe that this actually is possible when we put aside our differences and our disagreements and we say there's something bigger and more important than that and that is simply to be connected in Christ Jesus to be connected so to be one just as you Father are in me and I in you that they also may be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me see this calling to be one to be united under the banner of Christ is is at the center of the teaching of Jesus for his church for his bride for what the New Testament authors described as his body one body everybody has a know some are arms some are legs some are mouths but all of us are connected to one body this vision then there's something profound about this especially in light of where we're at culturally Jesus would be asking us to put aside our differences to connect both with him and with each other integration rather than disintegration connection rather than disconnection so Jesus I pray that as we open up your word today that you would show us how we can be connected to you and to each other the vine and the branches connected United together for life for life for your life happening in US and through us I pray in Jesus name Amen awesome let's dive in John chapter 15 verse 1 this is where Jesus begins this I am statement I am The True Vine and my father is the vine dresser I love that Jesus uses like real-life illustrations to help us understand who God is and who we are in relationship to God I am the bread of life I am the light of the world I am the vine and you are the branches this idea of this idea of a gardener that comes along and is helping us grow and flourish and connect and be united together that that that we are if we are connected to Jesus there's something powerful about that and it's interesting to me that Jesus uses the word true you know the analogy works without it the I mean I am the vine and my father is the vine dresser that that gets the message across doesn't it so why I'm here I was curious why would Jesus put true in there I mean is he ago testicle you know and he's not we know that based on his life but why does he put the true vine and I think one of the reasons he does is because it helps us to understand that there are many other ways to connect and they're not bad ways to connect but they may not last for eternity I think about this there are there are many ways there are there are many ways to connect I mean favorite sports team any Ducks fans really that's all I'm getting today I mean is that all you got today I mean come on how many beaver fans I was on that was unfair okay how many duck fans again just a curiosity so so so you feel United you feel connected because of the sports team but guess what it also does disconnects you from the other half of the group because they're not in that same do you see what I'm saying that happens it happens sociologically in so many different ways that our connections in one area potentially have the can disconnect us with others in other arenas I think about race gender political issues we feel connected some people and inadvertently and maybe in some cases intentionally feel are disconnected with others that are outside of that sociological does that make sense see so the but what Jesus does is he's trying to cast a vision where we can find unity and connection in Christ regardless of our race gender political affiliation etc etc and on and on and on that there's something that and and listen I I know that we in the church have used Jesus as a as a disconnecting dis unifying a person we've we've created doctrines that says you know Aaron you're you're out and we've used Jesus and yet his his vision for us is this gardening metaphor that we would be connected to him and thereby to one another as we connect with God so why does Jesus proclaim himself to be the true vine in verse two he says 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 I see I think in in in a world especially that we're living in where this that kind of anything goes a high a high value for tolerance the teachings of Jesus this in particular can feel a bit harsh Canton I mean like like any any branch that doesn't bear fruit you like cutoff you like you like chop away and and and most people today aren't willing to go that far we're not willing to say this these kinds of things and I think this is why Jesus can still stand and be the true vine for us is because he's willing to look at all of our lives not just some people's eyes but ever all of our lives who say yes to him and say I want to follow you and he says listen I'm going to I'm going to do some things in your life that might hurt that might cause pain that that and and and the reason that I'm doing it is so that on the other side there will be more fruits and more life see the of our souls he comes to steal kill and destroy wants to take life he wants to rip us off and Jesus comes and even though he prunes and cuts away he wants to produce life in us he wants to he wants us to flourish but a flourishing life means we welcome the pruning and cutting that Jesus offers I have this tree in my front yard maybe you have a tree like this that grows it just it's it's really I guess you could say it's really healthy because it grows I mean it's like branches everywhere it's chaos it's like and they're all going in different directions some are going up somewhere going down some we're going sideways it's a mess it doesn't even it doesn't look nice it's not enjoyable to see it blooms like crazy I mean it's doing this job but if I if the life that it has if I just left it alone eventually that tree would do what it would die it would not be able to sustain the branches all of that's growing so health in that interesting eventually if it's uncut unpruned the health of the tree could kill it see there's something about this in our CEO and we're fine we're fine like pruning our trees just don't prune my life just let me be fruitful without the pruning without the cutting away of even those things that are healthy and productive see Jesus is the true vine I think because he's willing to do the pruning and the cutting the question is are we willing to allow him to where we allow are we are we willing to to allow the the cutting away so that we can be grafted in so that we could be connected to the vine there's another reason I think Jesus says he's the true vine is because in verse four he says 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 am the vine you are the branches whoever abides in me and I in him he it is that bears much fruit that sounds like Yoda doesn't it it is that burst anyway it's a little esv sometimes does sound like Yoda FYI but that's why I like it so much true story anyway he it is that bears much fruit for apart listen this for apart from me you can do nothing now you you read that and like really do you not know people that are not connected to Christ they're not Christ's followers that are doing good things right they're doing good work and they're producing life in their own lives and in other people's lives I think what Jesus is saying is like you can't do anything good unless you're connected to me I think what he's saying is like the nothing that you do will last beyond yourself but connected to me that the things that that I want to do in you are eternal that are long-lasting that will outlive you and your children and your children's children the things that I want but but that happens when you abide in me because we cannot bear fruit on our own imagine how many of you have kids young kids that they they're two three four years we'll just imagine for a moment that you decide you know I'm not gonna do any pruning in their life I'm not gonna do anything discipline in their lives just let let them be just let them act however they want to act they'll they'll figure it out good or a bad idea right good or a bad idea for them we all know it's bad for us but it's bad for them unchecked just you know figure it out we gravitate towards disunity and disconnection we gravitate towards brokenness and and and and we just gravitate that way I don't think it's because we're inherently bad I just think that that left on our own that's why I think the teachings of Jesus are so radical and necessary for connection is that he and he says this if you abide in me you will bear fruit your life will flourish it will it it won't always be pain-free there are moving moments of pruning and cutting a way of things but but but but the the life story of your journey will be fruitfulness it will be gains more than losses if we avail ourselves to him and I think that's why another reason why he says I'm the true vine because at the end of the day we cannot bear fruit on our own I I mean look at Galatians chapter five let's just chapter five Paul writes these words and he talks about the fruit of the Spirit so I'm thinking about the vine and the branches and we if we abide in him will bear much fruit and then I read this this list of the fruit of the Spirit I'm thinking this is if I do if I'm on my own am I going to move towards love or hate am I gonna move towards joy or sorrow I'm gonna move towards peace or anxiety you see I'm saying I think I personally I gravitate more towards anxiety than peace it's easy for me to get caught up in the anxiety of our day and Jesus says but if you abide in me and if you'll allow the pruning and the cutting to happen if you're connected with me and with others what will happen is that I will produce fruit in your life if you're connected to the life source eventually my DNA he says will start to flow through your veins and my DNA is packed full of love joy peace patience kindness goodness gentleness is self controlled there's no and there's no law against these things I mean is these are these are things that will cause you to thrive and flourish and have the freedom to do those things and and I can't do it on my own nor can you so according to Jesus the True Vine there's a couple of things that he mentions here in John 15 that that we have to consider if we want our lives to flourish if we want our lives to have meaning beyond just this life but to the next and beyond even my kids but their kids and their kids and that our lives would have ripple effect throughout the generations and there's two things that he kind of keeps coming back in this analogy and it's these two things remain in Jesus and remove anything that keeps you from Jesus remain in Jesus and remove anything that keeps you from Jesus Jesus uses this word abide by it in me and it's the original it's a the ridge in the original language of this book and it means to like to like come home like get settled like settle down settle down in me stop looking for other ways to find meaning and purpose and connection but but but you can find it right here in in in Christ in me he says that you can abide if you abide in me to settle down with me let me be let me be this for you let me be the connecting point let me be the place that you feel like you can belong to and connect with and and be at home with ya trying to I'm trying to stop look looking everywhere else for real and lasting connection outside of Christ I'm starting with him I'm starting with my my vertical connection and and as I've done that over the years I've found that this connection is healthier more vibrant and more life-giving as I connect with Christ abide in him remain in him me just ask you and I want you to actually answer what happens when a branch is cut off from the tree what happens to the branch it dies what happens to a water skier when he lets go of the rope what happens to a computer when it gets unplugged from the outlet see the connection equals life disconnection equals eventual death I mean I guess you could float in the water for a while but you know you're gonna get all wrinkly you know I mean you get the idea connection is where life happens disconnection is where disintegration and and disunity and the lack of reconciliation takes place remaining in Jesus drawing near to him coming close to him this opens up the possibility for other deeper connections with ourselves and with others around us I I believe the foundation for connection with others begins with connection with God lasting connection with others has to start with a connection with our Creator Paul the Apostle Paul who wrote much of the New Testament he he writes about me about being in Christ over and over in Paul's writings you you see this phrase in Christ in Christ in crisis the foundation of everything else for Paul is to be found in Christ connected to the vine being in him that that's the the life can happen everywhere else when we're in Christ maybe you feel as I have felt in the past in my past journey with God and with the church that maybe God has let you down or maybe his people have let you down that that they've disappointed you or hurt you or abandoned you or and I and I get that I've been there and I but I've come I've come to realize that this is a tactic of this enemy that wants to come to steal kill and destroy that one of his taxes is to isolate you to make you feel disconnected to make you feel like you don't belong that that God has it out for you that that he's not for you but against you and that not only God is that way but that his people are to that this is a lie of the enemy that would try to discourage you and keep you in isolation why because he knows the power of us getting connected to the vine the power the life that flows through the vine the life force of love and compassion and goodness and kindness that flows through the person of Jesus he knows that enemy knows the power of what that can mean in a life fully submitted fully connected to the vine the kind of transformation that can happen the kind of of life that will flow how do we abide in Jesus think of it think of it like this everybody take a deep breath of oxygen alright who a blow it out and make sure you don't hold your breath too long that's not good for you either take a deep breath it's that air that you just breathe is always available to you isn't it it's always available to you but there are times in life weakly that you just need to go out and get some air you know talking about that hard day at work and it's just like this Oh I mean you just feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities maybe of work or family or whatever and you're just and you just I guess got to get some air I gotta get outside I gotta I had to breathe in something other than the stress and anxiety and conflict and financial difficulties you know I'm saying but that's we use we have to get some air and that I think abiding in Jesus can be simple as that of a minute or two 15 minutes whatever every single day where you just get out and get some air I talked about this in our soul series a few months back where where it's like this sometimes we just have to slow down maybe it's taking 15 minutes and taking a deep breath throughout the day and just breathing in or just thinking about Jesus going out on a drive maybe on your way to work you just take that moment and go like take some deep breaths I'm reconnecting I'm reconnecting to the vine Marie connect because all of life is trying to get us to disconnect is trying to pull this away I'm just gonna keep reconnecting moments and by moment whenever I can maybe it's going on a run I'd rather take a drive or a motorcycle ride but maybe he's going on a run I went on a run yesterday it's been I my app tells me it's October 18th was last time I went running anyway I'm doing all right I'm finding other ways here comes the excuses I find in other ways to be healthy fine right you know I mean I don't know what they are I've got my head but I'm finding other ways to be healthy see finding places to connect with our souls with our God with one another is life to us it's vitality to us maybe it's intentionally focusing on fostering relationships with others I I was I I'd ask you if you are like me I'm an introvert but you wouldn't raise your hand if you're an introvert you'd be like if what I've asked you if you were an extra like I am I want everybody to know about it I'm a I'm an extreme introvert I know it seems strange doing what I do but left left on my own I'm like just yeah give me a good book in a dark room and I'm just fine I might need counselling but I I'm an extreme introvert so so we had a men's breakfast yesterday and it's not my it's not like like I don't gravitate toward those kinds of gatherings like personality-wise naturally but doing what I do it's it's not required of me but it's not it's probably a good idea every once in a while show up in groups in our church you know and and so I went and and so I I immediately go to the food line because that's the least you know that's the easy easy low bar get to the food line I get my food I come back over to the table I look at I look for the closest open seat and so I do I just take the closest open seat I sit down next to a guy that I never met before I didn't know who he was I found out his name was Craig because they had nametags which is really helpful for me and so I see I say hi Craig and and I'm Steve never met you know and and so I asked him you know story and why he's here how he found out how do you end up at the men's breakfast and he he started to share his story of being in grief share which is a class that we have for people who have lost loved ones and Craig shared with me how just last November he lost this 32 year old son I don't believe in coincidences some of you would be like well that's interesting did you Center Steve huh what are the chances I was there he was there we talked about our boys we talked about I'm walking through it how do we have we walked through it do we ever get through it we I mean it was just like a god thing and then we listen to my father-in-law Clif Murray who's been a pastor for 40-plus years and every time he opens his mouth Jesus shows up and I'm not it's like I'm serious you know and he shared it was just like this like the Holy Spirit was heavy and I and I left connect having having connected with other men in our church and having connected with God and it was an hour and a half of my life in a week that it just wasn't that big of a deal and it was like this but but but for my spirit for life for for for for what God wanted to do in my it was it was vital that connection both with God and with others it's vital to us and we have to find spaces create spaces say yes to spaces to have that connection with God and with others remain in me and you will produce fruit maybe it's in a blue group maybe it's at essentials next week when we when 20 or 30 other people gather to figure out their purpose and what the meaning is of their life and you connect along those lines maybe it's sitting right here right where you are I'll talk about that in just a minute so remain in Jesus abide in me together with others and then the second thing remove anything that keeps you from Jesus and this is a bit of a misnomer because you really aren't the one removing them Jesus is the one who prunes and cuts away the dead branches I wonder if you would avail yourself to that today I wonder if you would say yes to Jesus is work in your life and to say there's no place hidden or I'm gonna close oh you can you can speak Jesus you can speak to my finances I'll I'll give you that because I need help there or I'll but you can't speak to my sexuality because that's kind of off-limits that's a private personal thing or Jesus you can you can talk to me about my family and my relationships but you can't talk to me about my addictions but it's saying I want to be connected Jesus to you I want to I want your life force to flow through me and so I'm giving you permission in every area any area of my life to cut away to prune here's my life see if you're into viticulture you have no problem with the idea of cutting and pruning but just don't do it in my life don't do it in those places that I've kind of kept hidden and in the dark see the thing about pruning I've learned is that pruning happens whether you want it to or not kind of depends on how you respond to it so I've looked I've kind of changed my thinking about the hard things that have happened in my life as as places where God has used those hard things to prune my life and now that's a hard one to wrap my mind around I I used to allow brokenness and sin and tragedy to disconnect me from God and from others I used to blame him for things I used to I used to allow the things as a selfishness and the and the and the tragedies and the doubts and those things to just alienate me from others and from God but now I see all of those things as potential connectors with God points of connection and transformation if I lean in when tragedy strikes when I if I lean in when when the the selfishness and the pride begins to rise up when when I lean in when I when I I struggle with addiction I lean in rather than disconnect rather and move away I move toward so we have a tendency to move away when things aren't working out for us or not going well or it's not paying off we bail too soon we say I can't handle this when stuff gets tough he's like Jesus I'm tapping out I'm tapping out I think one of the messages for us today is that when things get hard as you lean in you connect more I have a good friend John Phelan he's a pastor in Salem he's spoken here I think Oh once or twice and he shared this story about how him and his family went to a Seattle Mariners game and they had the nosebleed seats and so they were just watching this game and it got to the end of the game is like the top of the ninth inning and the other team was ahead by three runs it didn't look good see I wasn't playing well literally the stadium emptied I mean people just started going home and that left this the the first base line wide open for John and his family to go on down and sit and watch the the last inning of this game at from front row seats and so they were there and one batter first batter for Seattle bottom and I gets up hits a single gets on base next batter hits a single you got two guys on base the next two batters get out now there's two outs bottom of the ninth they're down by three runs next guy gets up to bat hits a home run tie game it goes all the way to 13 innings back and forth people's score and runs by the by the bottom of the 13th Seattle has scored nine runs since everybody left nine runs they got to see Seattle I mean and John says these stupid people that left I say that does this end with this don't don't leave the game early don't tap out stay connected to the vine when everything in use is to isolate into and to enter and to move away and to and to disconnect would you do the opposite of what you of what intuitively you're thinking is the right thing to do and reconnect with God and with the people around you that would say I want to I want to have relationship with with God and with others and even through the hard times that we experience I'm not going to move away I'm going to move toward there's a couple ways I want you to respond today I want you to consider responding today one is with our prayer team it's a great place it's a great space to reconnect the branch to the vine it's a simple way just to come up and ask them for a prayer and you can seem to say I just want to get reconnected and I'll pray for you second way that you can respond today is to make a commitment or recommitment to follow Jesus to actually be grafted into the vine to have that connection and if you'd like to make a commitment to follow Jesus today or a recommitment to rededicate your life or to dedicate your life to following the way of Jesus and you've never done that before it's been a really long time and you feel disconnected from him and you want to you want to respond today and say yeah I I want to follow Jesus I want to reconnect myself to him if that's you would you right now eyes wide open because you're gonna be part of this community for a while would you just raise your hand right now I feel like yeah I want to reconnect or I want to connect with Jesus I feel disconnected I feel like I'm I saluted from him and I want to reconnect yeah when I asked him into my life I want to follow him I want to give him my out my heart I want to receive His forgiveness in his love whatever you do don't leave the game early here's the third way I want us to respond and this is gonna be uncomfortable for some of you like me who are introverts I've noticed something over the last let's see how long have I been in church forty years I've noticed something for a really long time everybody sits in the same place now I'm not going to discourage that maybe you've heard in the past in other churches or even in this church that you know sit somewhere else keep it fresh keep it alive and I understand why why we've done that in the past but I look at our church and I think one of the one of the challenges of a church like ours is connection it's just simply the fact that it's a really big room and we have four different services every Sunday and and and how I don't know who is ever I don't know have I met that person before they look really familiar but here's the thing you all sit in the same seat every single Sunday I see you I know you do you've got your butt print firmly implanted in that seat and if somebody sits there before you get to church like mmm what suppers then they must be new it must be new awful awful so but I want us to leverage that for connection and this and you know I know this is awkward for everyone because it's like I should know their name they've been sitting next to me for like three years I met them once we entertained it we've changed names but I forgot listen they have to they don't know who you are either so let's just embrace that today and in just a moment I'm gonna actually have you stand up if you if you've been around website for a while you know that we usually do a turn and greet during worship we did not do that today because we're gonna do it right now and you have space and time you can spend as little or as much time as you want but what I do want you to do is I want you I'm gonna have you stand up go ahead and stand up right now you can do that and I and you do not know anybody next to you that's the frame of mind I want you unless you're married to them that brings up other stories I wish I had time to tell you but anyways I unless you're married to them you don't know them just assume that you don't know their name you've never met them I want you to go in cold turkey like oh yeah just I mean I know you can whisper that to them but tell me anyway you know whatever but I want you to introduce yourselves to each other mingle and fellowship for a while and I want you to do this every single Sunday that you're here at church go ahead you

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