Vine to branch (part 1)

This will be a really long, 2-part post but it is packed with incredibly important revelations for us all.  For those of the 45 men there this morning, I want a comment from you below – what did God show you this morning?  What moved you?  How was it powerful for you?

Simple question – which one of these two pictures best describes your life right now?

2009_05_10_vine-1iStockDeadBranch_000001762962XSmall%5B1%5D

I saw this video from John Eldredge last Thursday and was so struck by it, I watched it two nights in a row.   This is about an hour long but well worth the investment of your time… http://new.livestream.com/rhevents/matofeb14

Saturday night on GPB, Georgia Outdoors was featuring the North Georgia mountains and had this quote, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to figure out that going to the mountains is going home – that wilderness is a necessity.”    (you will see why this was significant in a moment) 

Sunday, Mark Sivak made a comment on one of the blog posts that read, “I have been thinking more about living intentionally, and “investing” my time rather than “spending” it, living outward rather than inward, and I reflected on the desires of my heart. It was a good thing to do. Some of them are generic, some more specific to God’s calling and giftings. Now, I couldn’t have done this during the busy of the day, but I was outside enjoying the quiet and beauty of creation and enjoying the breeze. I allowed myself to be still not thinking of anything being more important than being with the most important One. These things came bubbling up, I scratched them down without editing, without critically thinking about them, or attempting to apply my logic – these came from my heart, and God put them there…”   (you can read the rest of  his powerful revelation the comment section of the Feb 20 post)

And when I read Mark’s comment, I knew.  I knew we had to cover this material this morning before we launched into Wide Awake.  We can dream big.  We can pursue, create, imagine, achieve, live outward, reach new pinnacles.  All of these things are possible but if we don’t get “this” we saw this morning, we will not be able to truly live Wide Awake.  Here are the slides  wide awake before we begin

John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly”.  We love that verse.  It’s a foundational verse for LiveUP.  And we tend to think abundant life is a great job, beautiful family, rich faith, material blessings… But this isn’t what comes first.  What comes first is the power to live.  The fruits are things like love, joy, kindness, creativity, friendship, etc.  Yes!  But the primary offer is the Greek word Zoe.  Zoe is the life Jesus had within Himself – that indestructible, phenomenal life!

Jesus wants to give you this life.  This Zoe.  He wants to give it to you, feed you with it daily like a vine feeds a branch.  Salvation is “life”  Life in order that you may live.  The invitation is for you to join your life into God’s.

Drawing your life from God is your first task.  It takes priority over your wife, your kids, your job and even your devotionals.  Your priority each morning is to draw upon this life.  Drawing upon this stream of living water is what enables you to tackle all that you have in front of you each day.  It is was enables you to dream big, to create, to imagine, to start new ministries.  It is the only thing that enables you to LiveOutward.

And so, the question is this – “What are you doing daily to draw upon the life of God, the Zoe?” 

Does your day start with silence and solitude?  Do you go outside to watch the sun rise and soak in the life of God?  Do you find a quiet place in your home before the family awakes to spend 15-20-30 minutes drawing upon life?   Or…  do you sleep as late as you can, roll out of bed, grab your phone and start reading emails and texts from bosses, customers, family, all the people who need something of you?  Do you turn the TV on first thing?  Shower, shave, dress quickly, scarf down some breakfast and fly to the car to get the kids to school or to get to that meeting, reading texts as you drive, making the first calls of the day and listening to noise on your radio?

Do you feel like you run on a freaking treadmill 12 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week?  It’s called the “Tyranny of the Urgent” and it is killing us.  Killing us.  Killing you.  It’s groundhog day over and over.  Rinse and repeat and nowhere in there is there time for drawing upon the life of God.  All you’re trying to do is get through the day, trying to “do right” and get ahead of the avalanche bearing down on you.

So which one are you?  The lush fruit bearing much fruit or the dead branch laying out in the pasture?

Again I ask you, “What are you doing to draw upon the life of God, the Zoe?”

I’ll leave you hanging…part 2 coming in a few minutes…

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One thought on “Vine to branch (part 1)

  1. I have experienced times in my life that were best described by the vine bearing fruit and other times when it was a bare branch. In fact, there are days that I feel like both. I have been running on empty during the last month between being a father of a 1.5 y/o and 5 y/o daughters, husband, and active in bible study, church, etc., This class has allowed me to slow down in the morning and re-set my priorities to spend 15-30 minutes praying, reading my morning meditation, and praying over scripture. My morning prayer life had been less intentional lately, with a quick prayer in the shower on my knees. I try to start every day on my knees in prayer but I am now being much more intentional in the morning and truly focusing on not only praying to God but meditating in silence for what God may be saying to me. Be still, and know that I am God. This has also translated to being much more present and humble to participate in what God may be saying to me through others that I contact throughout my day of work and praying for God to speak to me and guide me in my interactions with my fellow man. You are God with skin on, so by being open to what God has planned in my life, I can be more receptive to what each encounter with another one of God’s children means in my relationship with God. I am praying to be more sensitive to the needs of others and how I can be more like Christ in my day to day grind of work. Serving God and others. I am not perfect, and I will make many mistakes but this re-focus in the beginning of my day, throughout my day, and end of my day has brought much needed restoration and Peace!

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