anne rice, attractional, church, counseling, family, god, grapes, grapevines, help, holy spirit, Jesus, love, ministry, missional, outreach, real vs fake, serving God, the barna group, true vine, vineyard
It’s quite amazing to me how much insight the seemingly insignificant objects and circumstances of our lives have to offer us if we’ll just stop for a moment to look and listen. Like word pictures on a life size screen they patiently wait for us to focus on them to impart to us their message.
Last week I gathered together the remnants of the partitions that I had moved from the ministry center and used them to construct a playhouse for my daughter. It worked out nicely because I also had several bundles of shingles that had been left sitting in the yard by my brother in-law to use for the roof and this was the proper motivator for me to deal with them.
As I was sitting outside admiring my handiwork one evening in the relative coolness that so blessedly replaces the intense midday heat of August, my attention was drawn to the artificial vines that I had draped across the structure. I was impressed by their realistic appearance as they moved with the occasional light summer breeze. So beautiful! Unlike the real vegetation in my yard that was starting to wither from the heat, they were unchanged…
I saw these real grapevines growing and so I snapped this shot to use for comparison.
They look as if they’ve been through a hot summer. Most of the leaves have wilted and fallen off allowing a better view of the delicious fruit they’ve given their all to produce.
All of this vine viewing caused me to take a serious look at my own spiritual life.
Is my Christian life just about appearances?
Do I really have a connection to the true vine?
Given the choice,would I rather not “get real” if it meant that I couldn’t remain unchanged and indifferent to my environment?
Am I really so superficial that I’d prefer to be something with practically no value primarily because it required nothing of me other than to go through the motions?
Am I “okay” with never bearing any real fruit because deep down I know what a drag it is being a fake…
1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
My recent evangelistic/ministerial efforts fell pretty far short of what my hopes were for them but I feel as though I learned many valuable lessons in the process. I’m still very interested in seeing my vision of a ministry center happen, I think it’s a great idea that could produce a lot of fruit!
Basically the idea is for the church to connect with people by providing assistance with many of the common issues that are causing both the churched and unchurched so many problems today. It’s more than just mentoring, it’s free help with things like exercise classes and health maintainence information, diet and food issues, money stewardship, family skills and counseling, substance abuse and addiction support meetings. All centered around the practical application of biblical principles as the solution to every need!
Why not put it all under one roof and make it convenient and organized so that people could be more easily helped? There would be paid teaching/training positions as well as a lot of volunteer work done by members of local congregations which would provide their members with great opportunities to stir up the gifts within them as they serve God and their communities!
According to the statistics I’ve read put out by The Barna Group we’re losing the battle for souls in this nation. If I were to speculate as to why that is I’d have to say that it seems as though the church has gotten a reputation for being about all of the wrong things. We’re hypocrites, child molesters, thieves and con men in peoples eye’s who it seems really only care about one thing and that’s money!
And according to author Anne Rice who recently “quit” Christianity,
we’re primarily known for what we’re against, not what we’re for…
What better way can you think of to let people know what we’re actually “for” ?
This can be accomplished by promoting what it means to live victoriously in a tangible way they can easily relate to. As the true vine we’re called to love above all things, which can perhaps be defined as being willing to ask,
“How can I help?”
We as the church must attempt to reach everyone that’s “wrestling” with all of the weapons that have been formed against them by the powers and principalities of our enemy. The only way that we can lose is If we continue to do nothing but sit back and wait for the lost to come to us instead of going to them. Instead we should be open compelled to do whatever it takes to share the good news of salvation and deliverance with everyone who’s life is plagued by the effects of sin!
The Father gave us the resources to build multi-million dollar churches, He left us with His Holy Spirit to help us, and He sent us Jesus who defeated the Devil for us so that none of these weapons can prosper against us unless we allow them!
What will we as the church do with all of that?
I guess that depends on who and what we really are…
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.