All Posts Tagged: connection

The Vineyard – Principles of Remaining

Remain in Me, and I in you.
Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in Me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches.
The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit,
because you can do nothing without Me.
If anyone does not remain in Me,
he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers.
If you remain in Me and My words remain in you,
ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be my disciples.

John 15:1-5

 

REMAINING! We have learned that remaining, staying at home, staying connected to Jesus, the vine, is absolutely indispensable for a life of multiplication that magnifies the Father’s glory! John 15 is my focus in that it records Jesus’ last words to the Eleven hours before his death. You may think this melodramatic. So, I ask: IF you knew the precise time of your death, what would you say to those whom you love? 

There’s no more vivid illustration of remaining than baby in a mother’s womb, the place of connection and attachment. It’s the ultimate home! Padded by sponge rubber of flesh, baby is able to endure the most shocking bump. And, given the mother’s health, baby receives a constant flow of gourmet nourishment. No need for anything outside the home!

So, how does one “stay at home“?

It’s not that difficult. Jesus said: “The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be (home).” (Matthew 6:21) Why do we say, “There’s no place like home“? Because home represents everything we value most!  heart and home go together.

 There are three fundamentals, two of which I’ve alluded to before. (Maintenance of Life: Intimacy with Jesus). Interestingly, Step 11 of the Big Book outlines two steps: “Sought through prayer and mediation to improve our conscious contact with God.”

What’s the purpose of the womb? GROWTH … a secluded, private, comfortable place for growth.

Second Touch – Stimulators of Growth

 

Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
2 Peter 3:18
 

 

What stimulates growth? The primary ingredient is a growing intimacy with Jesus.  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)

 

 

Like the growth of human relationships, a growing intimacy with Jesus requires: faith, trust, communication, honesty time, risk, to name but a few. 

Step 11 of Alcoholics Anonymous captures the essence of the above. “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God.”

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all You have done; I reflect on the work of Your hands. ” (Psalm 145:5) The word “meditate” is a rather humorous, Hebrew word. Literally it means: a cow chewing its cud.This implies solid food. “Solid food’ is only for the adults ....” (Hebrews 5:12) Hence, meditation is the practice of eating a portion of God’s Word. “Let the word of Jesus dwell in you, enriching your life ….” (Colossians 3:16) “Father told me, ‘Son’, Eat this book.’  Make a full meal of it!” So I ate it. (Ezekiel 3:1-3) The portion size is dependent on ones growth level. After ingestion (taken it into ones heart) one begins to chew on the food. Like a cow one might chew on the Word all day, regurgitating (sorry, a little crude!) it for deeper meaning.

 

 

“In prayer the human spirit can send invisible waves to eternity.” (Guglielmo Marconi) Prayer is connection via conversation. It involves both speaking and listening. No subject is “off limits”! (“The Maintenance of Life -Intimacy with Jesus )  Remember this: in both mediation and prayer one is enamored with a person, Jesus, the Living Word. “In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God. John 1:4) “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. (John 1:14) “The reality is, my prayers don’t change God. But, I am convinced prayer changes me. Praying boldly boots me out of that stale place of religious habit into authentic connection with God Himself.” (Lysa TerKeurst)

 

Like a coin pray and meditation are one activity of intimacy. That upon which we meditate becomes the subject of our prayer as it relates to our current lives. 

 

 


The Vineyard – The Vital Connection

 

Remain in Me, and I in you.
Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in Me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches.
The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit,
because you can do nothing without Me.
If anyone does not remain in Me,
he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers.
If you remain in Me and My words remain in you,
ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be my disciples.

John 15:1-5

 

 

In the rarefied atmosphere of theology Biblical hermeneutics is the study of the principles and methods of interpreting the biblical text. Have I impressed you? Actually, when it comes to any biblical text, there are some $1.00 principles. The text above illustrates one: a word that is used multiple times in a defined context is mostly likely extremely important. Such is the case with the word remain(s)“. 

The Greek word is μένω. The root of the word has to do with spatial location. On this foundation, however, is built the idea of attachment and connection, staying and dwelling in a specific location. For example, you may have been on an extended trip. After visiting many geographical locations you desire to go ‘home‘. You may have used the phrase, “There’s no place like home!” Now then, whatever “home” means to you, that’s precisely what’s conveyed in this word “remain“. Of this I spoke in The Basics section of this blog: The Means of Life: Connection to Jesus,

One of the most famous stories in the Gospels is that of the “Prodigal Son”, though, I believe, it ought to be called the “Heart of the Father.” Below is an abbreviated version.

Then Jesus said, “A man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the property.’ So the father divided his property between his two sons. “After a few days, the younger son gathered his possessions and left for a country far away from home. There he wasted everything he had on a wild lifestyle. Finally, he had nothing to live on. He was so hungry that he would have eaten what the pigs were eating. It was then that he came to himself” and said, I’ll go home to my father. “So he went home. While he was still at a distance, his father saw him and felt sorry for him. He ran to his son, put his arms around him, and kissed him. The Father said, ‘My son was dead and has come back to life!” (Luke 15:11-24)

Thinking he could make it on his own, unattached from home / father, the son left for a distant country, getting as far from the father as he could, “far away from home.” Soon, however, the son had to resort to the food of pigs. In his circumstance of hunger, a light went on. Apart from his father / home  he would not make it on his own. The food of pigs (for those who want to know, look into the Hebrew attitude about pork) was totally inadequate, to the point of death. So, having “come to himself“, the son went home!

Arriving home, he experienced the lavishness of the Father’s heart! Home meant nothing less than the nourishment of grace and mercy, that which alone is Life. (John 14:6) Remaining is nothing more or less than “staying at home”!

 

 

This may surprise you but this is the essence of Steps 2-3 of the Twelve Step program!

 
Step 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Means of Life – Connection to Jesus

God gave us eternal life; this life is in His Son.
“So, whoever has the Son has life;
whoever rejects the Son, rejects life.
 

1 John 5:11-12

 


Imagine a solid gold table lamp. It has a cord at the end of which is a plug designed for connection to an energized receptacle. However, the expensive lamp is UNplugged. It can be seen and handled. But, from the perspective of purpose the gadget is LIFE-LESS! It merely exists. Everything changes when the cord is plugged in. Energized the lamp fulfills its purpose. The conclusion is simple: connection means power for purpose whereas separation signifies a lifeless existence.

God gave us eternal [living at 100% satisfaction] life; this life is in His Son.” (1 John 5:11) Provided by the Maker, Jesus is the source of power uniquely generated for humankind. “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never become hungry….(John 6:35)  “God invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline. It would not run properly on anything else. God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn,” (Mere Christianity, p 50)

So, whoever has the Son has life….” (1 John 5:12) Jesus said to the fishermen, ‘Come, follow ME!’ At once they left and went with Him.” (Matthew 4:19) “When we are called to follow Jesus, we are summoned to an exclusive attachment to His person” (Cost of Discipleship, p 49)

“Jesus came into the created universe, bringing with him new life. Everyone who gets it gets it by personal contact with Him” (C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity). (Mere Christianity, p 221)

Getting connected to others via phone, computer, car, train, or plane is costly. Attachment to your Maker is free of charge! Just get connected to Jesus. But wait! There’s more. You’ll also receive LGS without charge! It’s an offer you can’t refuse!

Danny Silk on connecting with Jesus

“The Church simply must get deeply in touch with what the Gospel actually means in regard to how we are now to relate to God and man. Jesus invited people into a connection with Him, not a religious reform program. He showed up in the midst of our brokenness with compassion and healing, shocking everyone by how fearless He was about keeping His love on with sinners. Jesus didn’t create distance with broken people; He created connection. But this shouldn’t surprise us, because we know that His entire mission was to finally remove sin—the source of all relational disconnection—through the Cross.

“When He served as a sacrifice for our sins, [Jesus] solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world’s (1 John 2:1-2). Other translations use the word ‘propitiation’—‘He Himself is the propitiation for our sins….’ Propitiation is the completely satisfying sacrifice that closes the gap between God and His children. Only Jesus Christ could serve as this sacrifice, and He did. He solved the problem of sin. He solved it for everyone, for good. It doesn’t matter who has or has not ‘prayed the prayer.’ Sin has been handled, and everyone has access to the Father.” —Danny Silk