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October 20, 2014 / The Vine Community Church

Defining the Relationship

October 16, 2014 / The Vine Community Church

Differential Diagnosis: The Symptoms v. The Illness

I’ve been watching House, M.D. lately. If any of you have watched an episode of House, you know how they tend to set things up: person gets sick, they go to House, House and his team write down the symptoms and do what they call a “Differential Diagnosis”. Basically, they look at the list of symptoms and call out different sicknesses that the symptoms may elude to. Midway through each episode, the team thinks they’ve found a cure for the sickness, only to find another symptom that throws the diagnosis off. Obviously, until they find exactly what the particular sickness is, treating the symptoms only heal the person temporarily.
It’s the exact same with everything else in our lives. On the simple side, a 2-year-old throws a tantrum and a parent tells them to stop. The child will stop only to continue crying silently. Symptom, taken care of; real issue, the child doesn’t want to share, hasn’t been dealt with. On the more serious side, take someone who always makes jokes about their marriage. You could tell that person to be more serious but, in reality, they make jokes because they may not know how to communicate their hurts, unhappiness, or fears, with their spouse or anyone else for that matter.
When different situations are being handled the same way and things aren’t changing, we should begin to look further than the situation and our feelings. We should take notice of the deeper issues. Because nothing will change or be changed until we begin to look at the root or the heart of the matter.
In Matthew 23, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees about their motives: 25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside may also be clean.
Yes, Jesus was talking about motives but it applies to dealing with our issues as well. If we talk about, pray about, work through our issues, (cleaning the inside of the cup) our outside will be cleaned as well (no symptoms).
The person that is mean or angry all the time may have been hurt in the past and they haven’t forgiven the person who hurt them. The person who can never be serious may be afraid to be vulnerable because someone may have broken that trust in the past. The person that doesn’t want to change may be dealing with fear due to past changes that have caused bad situations they couldn’t control. Most of the time, we operate out of the heart issue via our symptom.
House and his team correctly diagnose the sickness and find a cure by the end of each episode.
In John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
We, humans, are the “they” in that scripture. So, let us take Jesus up on that offer. Let us begin and keep uprooting those things that continue to “steal, kill, and destroy” our lives. Because only then can we fully accept and live out the abundant life.
Be blessed and walk in victory.
“Love Jesus. Love people. Love life.”
- Rafer Jr.
October 14, 2014 / The Vine Community Church

October 13, 2014 / The Vine Community Church

How many times do we tell God, “I need your help. I need you to take care of this situation. I need you to fix this. I need you to guide me. I don’t know what decision to make.” We beg Him & beg Him. Maybe His response to you today is, “Talk to me when you read your Bible.” And maybe all the answers are right there.
October 6, 2014 / The Vine Community Church

Righteous Wrath

September 30, 2014 / The Vine Community Church


I was thinking this week about the beginning of Fall and thinking about how all of us are pretty locked into our schedules and routines of life. Because of this, we tend to get busy and push away things from day to day that are very important.

I am reminded of a recent situation in my life where I was so busy, I totally forgot about a previous obligation I had, all because I was not paying attention to my own calendar. I felt really embarrassed because I let someone down. It is all right to make a mistake, although we should always learn from them and move on, doing things better.

I want to tell you that I am praying for you as God places you on my heart and mind. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thinking and praying for those God has brought into this church. We must never get too busy to be available for God to use us in someone else’s life. I believe that all of us are placed where we are for a reason. I cannot wait to see what God wants to do with His people in regards to His plan. May we all understand His calling on our lives and speak into each other’s lives with conviction and encouragement.

Having said all of these things, I want all of us to be challenged to really step out and get involved in community, both within and outside the church. God has specific plans for each of us and He wants us to do life together. In the busyness of life, my prayer is that we would all take time to slow down and do exactly what God is asking of us. It will be hard, it will be uncomfortable, it will be awkward, yet rewarding in our faith. Take some time this week and evaluate the things you are doing and the reason you are doing them, and then pray to God to guide you in those things as you continue them or get rid of them to make room for what He wants from you.

This church is here to encourage you as you make changes and draw closer to God. May we find our purpose together and serve each other as we do life together.

Love you,


September 22, 2014 / The Vine Community Church

Romans Righteousness: Ashamed


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