Forecast 2016: Connected to God

As we begin a new year we are also restating our vision in a new way. We want everyone in the church to be able to remember that CPBC’s vision is as simple as 3 C‘s-

Connected to God
Committed to Grow
Compassion to Go

On Sunday we looked at Jesus’ teaching in John 15 to help us understand that our connection to God is like a branch that is attached to a vine. Jesus used this simple analogy to illustrate how life, growth and fruit happen in the lives of His followers. Here are three basic principles from the passage:

1. Jesus said, “I am the true vine” (v. 1). Here is one of 8 “I am” statements in John’s Gospel. Each time he used these words to describe something about himself (“I am the door”, “I am the light of the World”, “I am the way, the truth and the life,” etc.), He was also making a claim to a unique relationship with God. These statements were offensive to many of the Jews, especially the religious leaders. His claim to “the true vine” means that there are many false connections that promise to give life but are unable to do so. He is the one true source of life, salvation, purpose and everything else we need.

2. Jesus also said, “You are the branches” (v. 5) which means that unless we are connected to Him, we will be absolutely lifeless. Years ago, a small town in Texas had a tragedy when a school burned to the ground because they didn’t have a sprinkler system. They began to rebuild after the initial shock had passed and called in the foremost company in fire prevention equipment to install a sprinkler system. When the new school was opened for public inspection, guides pointed out the new sprinklers in each room, to alleviate fears of another disaster. The school operated without incident for a number of years, then they needed to add on to the existing structure. As work progressed, they made a startling discovery. The new fire extinguishing equipment had never been connected to the water supply! They had the latest in technology and equipment, yet it was entirely useless! Like that sprinkler system, a branch that is disconnected from the vine is a dry and useless thing!

3. Finally, we are told “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (v. 5). A vine laden with sweet, beautiful fruit is a picture of what happens when our connection to Jesus is nurtured day by day. What a picture and what a promise of fulfilment and overflow!

I want to encourage you to get deeply connected to Jesus in 2016. Doing this will involve your intake of God’s Word day by day. The SOAP Bible Reading and journaling method has changed the lives of people around the world. Allowing God’s words to live and remain in you is like putting fertilizer on a garden, everything will grow faster and better. Jesus explained it like this in verse 7: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

Join me in this journey of being Connected to God in 2016!

Ps George

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