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May 22, 2015 / The Vine Community Church

The Blessings Jar

“It’s a grumpy morning, Grammy. An icky, awful morning. Nothing fun is going to happen today.”

That’s how the story starts, but Grandma has other ideas! With an empty jar in hand, they set out to fill it with things that remind them of God’s blessings.
In goes a ballet slipper for the blessing of a strong body that can move and dance.
In goes a napkin from the ice cream parlor after a delicious triple-dipper ice cream cone.
In goes an autumn leaf, a sea shell, and some sparkling sand that kind of looks like stars.
In goes the bookmark from a favorite bedtime story…
In goes one thing after another until the end of the day when the jar is full of blessings and their hearts are full of joy and thankfulness.
It really helped turn that icky, awful morning around!
The Blessings Jar, by Colleen Coble is one of my four year old’s favorite books and she loves to collect blessings for her own jar. A tattered white feather, a blue glass bead, a sparkly rock, a deflated balloon…a jar full of things that look like junk at first glance, but a jar full of things that remind her of God’s blessings in her life! It’s a great thing to focus on when she gets caught up in all the things she doesn’t have or a scary sound she heard or how unfair life is…for a 4 yr old….in middle class America :)
As an adult, I find an actual jar to be a bit cumbersome and chaotic. Honestly I would probably forget why I put that beat-up feather or grubby napkin in there in the first place! I do, however, think I’ll start a “happiness file” in which I will write down all the happy things and answers to prayer I receive, big or small. I will record the trip to the grocery store where no one fought or cried, I will write down the day we moved into a new house and found God had answered our prayer for neighbors with kind children who would be friends with our girls. I will make a note of the times our family giggled on the floor together, and pizza nights, and getting soaked With rain and puddles. I want to remember the times when things lined up so perfectly that God was the only possible explanation.
Then, on the days when I’m overwhelmed by unexpected moves, warring children, finances, not enough sleep, a sink piled with dishes, terrible things in the news, deployments, or life in general I can look back, see a record of God’s faithfullness in my life, and be encouraged. After all, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is [His] faithfulness. (Lam 3:22-23)
Sometimes I just need some little reminders!
-Jaime Adams
May 18, 2015 / The Vine Community Church

Sin – Sermon, Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 14, 2015 / The Vine Community Church

Killjoys

Recently I have been reading a book entitled “Killjoys”.

Relentless romance. Fierce warfare. Superior pleasure. Our hearts were designed to enjoy a full and forever happiness, not the pitiful temporary pleasures for which we’re too prone to settle. Pride, envy, anger, sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust are woefully inadequate substitutes for the wonder, beauty, and affection of God. They will rob you, not ravish you. They will numb you, not heal you. They will slaughter you, not save you. Killjoys was written to lead you deeper in love with our God and further into war against your sin. The truths, warnings, and promises in these pages are meant to chart a life-giving path to greater holiness and greater joy.

It is  book written by several authors about the Seven Deadly Sins. This Sunday I will be preaching about sin and it’s far reaching grasp on our lives and it just got me thinking about this book.  Although the seven deadly sins are not necessarily from the bible they are biblical in nature. The basic thing to understand is that Sin is real and it has a real hold on all of us. The more we try and deal with our sin individually without help the more trapped we become. It is much like quicksand. The more you move around the deeper you go without outside help. Remember that in your sin you have a Savior, and our Savior wants to help and come to our aid. There is also God’s church that should be ready and available to help and equip and train us in the way we should go.

I believe that since we all deal with some kind of sin we all need to receive help through different avenues so we may be able to handle it correctly while growing and learning from it. I am spending part of my week in prayer for everyone who will be in attendance this Sunday as we discuss Sin and how we are to combat it within our lives.

God bless,

Derek

May 10, 2015 / The Vine Community Church

No Condemnation – Sermon, Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10, 2015

May 8, 2015 / The Vine Community Church

The “Out-of-the-Box” Congregation

This past Sunday, May 3, an awesome event took place that most of you that are reading this are well aware of and even participated in. We held our first worship service in the sanctuary of an existing—yet very small— congregation that had actually invited us to use their building, drastically remodel the sanctuary, turn children’s rooms into offices and empty out and refurbish an unused portion of their building! This meant that a congregation that was averaging around 20 was now welcoming over 400 adults and children into their building. And, we’re not the only ones they’ve welcomed; there is also a small Spanish-speaking group that uses other parts of the building. So, this decades-old building is now home to three different churches and they are very happy about it—as are we!

What a picture of cooperation and unity within the Body of Christ! It is something that you just don’t hear happening very often among Christians, yet it’s happening in Clovis, New Mexico!

As I’ve reflected on this during long hours of painting and hauling pews out of the sanctuary or to someone’s home, I have marveled at the “out- of-the-box” thinking of this small group of older Christians and at their willingness to be risk-takers. Allowing a church of over 400 to come and share their building is a huge step of faith and a very forward-looking venture!

This is exactly the kind of action that Dr. Ron Phillips of Abba’s House (formerly known as Central Baptist Church) in Chattanooga, TN, wrote about in his book, A God-Sized Future. The subtitle of the book perfectly describes what the small congregation of Central Christian Church did: Move out of your comfort zone, embrace change, and discover a new vision for your life!

Does any of that describe what is needed in your life? God is pleased when you and I are willing to step out of our comfort zones—or, as Simon Peter did, to step out of the boat onto the water—and embrace change in our lives. It may seem radical to others, and it might be scary, but it is often the recipe for experiencing the new vision that God has in mind for our lives.

May the small but adventurous congregation of Central Christian Church inspire you to take the steps of faith that you need to take in your life today!

Dan Brown

Associate Pastor

May 4, 2015 / The Vine Community Church

Romans 6:1-11 – Sermon, Sunday, May 3, 2015

April 30, 2015 / The Vine Community Church

Matthew 22:34-40 reads: “But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And ha second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

When we quote these verses, we like to talk about our visible actions. What others may see us doing. But it’s so much deeper than that.

My entire life should reflect those 2 commandments. My conversation should reflect them. How I view others should reflect them. What I say about others, how I treat my wife, family and friends, my attitude at work, how I respond to those that upset me, so many things INSIDE of ME should reflect those 2 commandments. And, recently, I’ve come to realize that I’m not always the person I FEEL or THINK I am, especially when I compare my life to those verses.

We will never be perfect. But, if we are going to choose to come to church and sing and listen to Derek and not allow the love of God to change us, what’s the point? Personally, I’m tired of being afraid to allow Jesus to change me for the better. I want better for myself, my wife, my friends, my church family.

I do love God with everything I have. And, I want my love for others to rival the love I have for myself. That’s never the easy part but it’s what my Lord and Savior requires of me. My prayer is that you feel the same way. It isn’t comfortable to change but, through the aid of the Holy Spirit, it can happen. God wants it for me, for us. And I know it’s time that I need it for myself. I pray that you’d want the same.

Be blessed friends!

Love Jesus, love people, love life!

– Rafer Jr.

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