September 28, 2020
John 15:5-8
“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.  If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, 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.
New International Version (NIV)
My mom was a Texan.  Her dad was a Texan.  My two older brothers and I were born in Texas.  And then we left for seventeen years.  Wherever in the world we lived, my mom wanted us to be Christians and Texans, in that order, I think.  In a way this led to a kind of destination disease.  We believed, somehow, that the best place, maybe the only place to be truly happy was Texas.  Each time the military moved our family, our whole family prayed that we would move to Texas.  The military never obliged us.  Somewhere it occurred to me, “No matter where you are, there you are!”

As Jesus prepared to leave his disciples and go to the cross, he reminded his disciples that he was the vine and they were the branches.  As branches find their location and fruitfulness in relationship to the vine, so we Christian disciples locate ourselves in relationship with Christ.  No matter where we are physically, when we stay connected to him, we bear fruit.  If we don’t, we won’t.  Not even Jesus’ physical absence can prevent this life-giving connection to him. 

In our back yard we have a trellis with three plants.  Two of them have spread their vines up through the trellis.  For some reason, our dogs didn’t like the other one.  So they chewed it up from the roots.  Its young tendrils eventually dried up.  The branches couldn’t live disconnected from the vine.  God wants us to bear lasting fruit for his Kingdom.  Christ is where he is.  If we are his branches, then we must be connected to him.  Located in living relationship with him, we bear fruit.  But cut off from him, we would dry up and bear no fruit.  As Dallas Willard put it, “If you are going to do nothing, you will have to do it apart from Jesus.”

What fruit will God bear in our lives this week?  The fruit of a Christian is another Christian.  One of my friends led one of her friends to Christ last week.  This is wonderful.  A family led their daughter to Christ.  She is at least the fourth generation of believerS in her family.  Paul wrote, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  If we are branches of Jesus, the vine, these character qualities will flow through us as they did through him, in Texas and everywhere we go.
Pray with me:         
Father, we thank you that you never leave us nor forsake us.  Draw us close to you.  Let us find our life in you.  Help us to bear lasting, living fruit in our world today.  You say you will give us whatever we ask you as we abide in you.  Today we ask that you would give us the people in this city.  Draw them into relationship with you through us today, we pray.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 7:3-4
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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