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July 2, 2015 / The Vine Community Church


I once heard a pastor say, “We’ve become so numb to the presence of God, that we don’t even know when He isn’t there.”

That’s a very scary thought. And more than that, it’s disheartening. We say we surrender all. We say we want the Holy Spirit. But in all honesty, how much of the Holy Spirit are we experiencing every day? How much are we allowing the Holy Spirit to dictate what our lives look like on a daily basis?

Galatians 5:16 (ESV) reads, “But I say, walk in the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

We read it. We quote it. But are we living it? Are we really “walking in the Spirit”? The Holy Spirit was sent to us to keep us connected to God, to give us power in our lives, to comfort us in times of need, to teach us and guide us. Sadly, most Christians today completely ignore the Holy Spirit as a whole. We’ve become complacent in our walks with Christ, not realizing that the Holy Spirit is the One that is our connection to Christ.

Gal 5:19-21 lists the many deeds of the flesh that we CHOOSE to walk in: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkedness, and carousing. There are so many things on this list, that something applies to each and every one of us. The issue isn’t that there may be a struggle here. These things become issues when we DECIDE to WALK in our choice of fleshly deed. We as Christians have to realize that we are made for more than “the struggle”. We have to realize that the Holy Spirit is waiting to be used and unleashed in our lives!

Gal 5:22-23 shows us what the Spirit is ready to give us if we only turned to Him. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. All of these things instantly make us better Christians and better people! And until we choose to fully walk in the Spirit, we will continue to lack spiritual power, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. We have to want more for our lives. We have to become reacquainted with the Holy Spirit. We have to stop showing up to church and missing out on the presence of God.

Our lives can be so rich if we only take seriously the words we sing on Sundays. We need to ask God for a true outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Verse 25 says, “IF we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” That’s a big if, friends. Don’t allow fear, doubt, or anything else keep you from truly walking and living in the Spirit. Jesus has so much for us and we continually pass on the free gift He has so graciously given to us. I encourage you to ask for more of the Spirit. I encourage you to pray to feel His presence. I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to begin guiding you.

I guarantee He will. Walk in the spirit friends.

Be blessed!

Rafer Owens Jr.

“Love Jesus, Love People, Love Life”
June 29, 2015 / The Vine Community Church

The Chain of Faith – Sermon, Sunday, June 28, 2015

Guest Speaker – Sean Martinez

June 25, 2015 / The Vine Community Church

You Are Valued

Something I have been pondering, chewing on and slowly digesting lately is value – my value, your value.

Balance. It is a necessary life skill in nearly all circumstances, yet the hardest to maintain. I will try to keep balance as I share these truths with you as God is helping me balance them in my own mind.

Know something, “you are valuable.” Yes, you! Say it to yourself. “I am valuable.”

You have been created in the image and likeness of God. You have been given gifts, talents, desires, abilities and (insert any synonym here) that God has given you for His glory, the good of others and for your joy!

The word, in Ephesians 2:10 speaks to this and says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

He has a plan and He made you for it! You were specifically designed to accomplish things within the body of Christ to make it function well. Use yourself, what you have been given, to glorify your Father, to bless others and it will give you joy!

I know I do not possess all of the qualities necessary for ministry but together we do!

Oh yeah, balance. “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Romans 12:3

We should remain humble in the exercising of our gifts. They are, in fact, a gift from the Father to us, from His great grace, all for the purpose of His name’s sake, propelling the gospel and for the good of others.

Even in your humility, know your value. The entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 12 is speaking of the body of Christ and our spiritual gifts. You should read it. ;) How important its members are, how they need one another, how the entire body suffers when something is missing, etc.

It’s easy for us to think of ourselves as “replaceable” or to see others that way. I think you are just the opposite. I think you are irreplaceable. One part of the body cannot say to another part I don’t need you. Yes, you could get someone else to do what needs done, and it will get done, but will there be passion? Will there be purpose? Will it be as functional, beautiful, glorifying and joyful as it would be if the person created to do the thing was the one doing it?

I think not.

I just want you to know I value all of you. My fellow staff, members, attenders, visitors, elders, deacons, volunteers or shall I say our Peters, Pauls, Timothys, Barnabases, Lukes, Matthews, Marys, Marthas and Lydias.

More importantly, you are valued by God.



June 22, 2015 / The Vine Community Church

Man Up – Sermon, Father’s Day, Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 18, 2015 / The Vine Community Church

How are you doing?

“Hi, how are you?”

The quintessential greeting.

“I’m good.”

The quintessential response.

Not the truthful one, the normal one. We say we’re good but, deep down, we’re going through something, we’re hurting, we’ve lost hope, we’re giving up!

Why do we do this to ourselves and others? Why don’t we just say how we’re feeling? And, if we’re the one asking, why don’t we care enough to really hear what’s going on?

I am definitely guilty of both. I am not one to share my life with anyone or ask anyone about theirs.

I have a music playlist on my phone called “Walmart” and when I have to go there, I pop my headphones in and avoid eye contact so I don’t have to talk to anyone. I talked to someone not too long ago and invited them to hang out sometime. They’re response was “oh, but you’re just so busy.” So, this, if I’m honest, is no one’s fault but my own.

Something’s got to change! This whole, leave me alone, let me be in my own little world, let me stare at my phone, play my video game, read my book, watch my show mentality has got to stop! (And, I’m preaching to myself here, guys!)

We live in a world where suicide, overdose, depression and self-medicating are running rampant. We are losing too many people to selfishness, because we don’t take the time out of our busy day to say, “how are you really feeling?” So what if it takes an extra 20 minutes out of my day? So what if I’m a little late to that bridal shower? So what if I don’t have advice for their situation? Isn’t their life worth it? If nothing else, I know how to pray and that’s more powerful than anything!

Some of us are barely getting out of bed every morning, our jobs are awful, our marriages are falling apart, our sin is taking over, we’re self-mediating, we’re crying ourselves to sleep at night and we have no friends, no mentors, no one we trust or feel we can talk to.

And what are you doing? I’m wandering through Walmart with my headphones in hoping that you don’t talk to me…

Romans 12:9-10 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Romans 15:1-2 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. It’s not about us. It’s about God. And we have to be willing for God to use us at any time so everyone can see Him. Let’s try this:

“Hi, how are you?”

“I’m good.”

“Good, but, how are you really doing?”

– Whitney

Sledz- copy

June 18, 2015 / The Vine Community Church

This Week from Maurissa

Hello :) I love it here, but there are definitely very high and very low moments and parts of the day. It’s really hard but I’m falling in love more and more every day. It’s the weirdest thing because sometimes I’m so tired that I want to cry and quit, and other times I love it so much and never want to go home. I have been trying to find some time to write something for you to put in the blog, but there are very few down moments here.

– Maurissa

**If you would like to send Maurissa encouraging letters, you can email her at


June 15, 2015 / The Vine Community Church

Released – Sermon, Sunday, June 14, 2015


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