Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Being Connected

John 15:5

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.

A month or two ago (time blurs together) our church was struck by lightning. We suffered a number of electrical issues. One that seems to be lingering is an Internet issue. We shortly got the main system up and running so that the office could operate – but – the lingering issue seems to be all of the runs around the building. Things are connected – and finding all of the affected connections has been a task. We have replaced a number of connectors and boasters but still have some issues. Everything is connected to the core and if each run of wire or each Wi-Fi connector or boaster is not synced or working – people in parts of the building will not have access to the Internet.

Is there a patriarch or matriarch in your family that holds everything together? My mom and dad were the Lynch pins for our family. Mom and dad drew the family together for most of the holidays. We all wanted to be around mom and dad. It seems like – with them now residing in heaven with Jesus – each of our families are scattered – doing their own thing. We still try to get together – but it isn’t the same without mom and dad. When an arsonist burned down our family home in West Virginia – an era ended for our family. Continue reading

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remaining in the Vine – in Christ – We Live!

John 15:4

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

I think John 15:4 is one of the most significant passages I have ever read.  It falls in the midst of Jesus teaching about Him being the vine and His followers being the branches.  Jesus tells us we must remain in Him to live.

When I think of this passage, one thing that comes to my mind is trimming my bushes.  Can you identify with this chore?  I try to trim my bushes to keep them from getting too large – to keep them from over growing their place in the flowerbeds.  It is an ongoing chore – year after year.

When my daughter and son bought a home recently – the previous owners had not trimmed the bushes in some time.  The bushes had grown so large they were a safety hazard at the front of the house.  You couldn’t see the front door.  You couldn’t see the lower part of the front of the house.  They trimmed them way back and now the front of the house looks way better.

I digress a little.  It isn’t the idea of making things look better by trimming back the bushes that comes to my mind with this passage (that might take us in an entirely different direction).  Rather it is the fact that a trimmed branch will die – it will bear no fruit.  You try to pick up all of the trimmed branches but in a few short weeks those you missed are quite evident.  There – in the middle of your green and growing bush – you will find brown – dried up – dead branches that have been cut from the vine (the trunk).  They are easy to spot.  They were green and full of life but as soon as they were cut from the vine – they began to die and in short order their condition is evident to all.

This passage today speaks of being rooted in Christ – being grounded in the true vine – Christ.  If a pastor – a group of Christians – a church – a denomination – is not grounded in – Christ – they will cease to live.  And it will be very evident.  Fruit cannot be produced on branches that are cut off from the vine.  Read a larger section of the passage again today.

John 15:1-8 – 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes  so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

I pray that I will always remain in the vine.  I pray for those who call Christ their Lord will remain in the vine.  I pray that our church – our denomination – and the Church around the world – will remain in Christ.  If not – it will be evident – quickly.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.


November 29, 2010 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , , | Leave a comment


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