Thursday, June 24, 2010

Growing Grapes

Oy. It's been too long since my last blog. My computer has been giving me fits, thus deterring me from writing. Well, blogging anyway.
This morning I find myself once again at the Lifelight office. Since I am here only occasionally and voluntarily, there are times when I've not much to do, so here I am...contemplating the idea of abiding in Christ while at the same time working toward what I want to be doing.

Since my last blog, I have applied for several jobs, all as a youth pastor. These job possibilities are scattered across the country, though two are in Europe...and of course, these are the two I am most greatly hoping for. One is in Stavanger, Norway and one is in The Hauge, Netherlands. Both are at English speaking churches and both are located on the continent on which I wish to serve.

So there seems to be some tension between abiding and taking steps to begin this other phase of my life known as full time ministry. There is a difference between being idle and being still. I am trying my best to be still, to listen to the Lord and wait for his direction. Yet, I continue to peruse ministry sites in search of a place in which to serve.

John 15 seems to come up a lot. This is the chapter in which Jesus says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains (abides) in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." I had been thinking of that verse in terms of "abide. abide. wait. abide," and so on. But for some reason, today, the latter half of that verse stuck out, "(s)he will bear much fruit." It's not just a matter of being plugged in....stuff comes out of that. Good stuff.
Also, I noticed, that in the latter half of John 14, just prior to the vine and the branches part, Jesus had been talking about leaving his disciples. The disciples were in distress. Thomas asks, "Lord, how can we follow if we don't know the way?" I think they were probably feeling quite abandoned.Their leader and teacher and dear friend was now talking about going away. This man in whom they had placed all of their hope was talking about leaving them. What comforting words they must have been to hear about remaining in him.

He appointed them to "go and bear much fruit." But the abiding, the remaining had to take place first in order from them to be able to go and bear such fruit.

Lamentations 3:22-24

 22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
       for his compassions never fail.
 23 They are new every morning;
       great is your faithfulness.
 24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
       therefore I will wait for him."

Wait. Await. Abide. And bear some fruit in passing.

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