Worship at Gloria Dei Saturdays 5:00pm, Sundays 9:00am and 10:30am

Growing in Christ “I Am the Vine, You are the Branches”

Hello Gloria Dei,

When I was learning to drive way back at age 15, my two older brothers, Mark and Dan, took it upon themselves to teach me how to drive a manual transmission car. I was appreciative. Mark drove a Toyota Corolla (or Corona, I don’t recall) and Dan drove a Ford Pinto (anyone remember the Pinto?). Both cars were manual transmission, complete with stick shift and clutch.

As they were teaching me, the number one lesson was to keep my left foot connected to the clutch. My right foot was to be used for both the gas pedal and the brake, but they said to me, “At all times, keep your left foot connected and touching the clutch.”

As you know, if you try to stop at a stoplight and hit the brakes without pushing down the clutch, the car sputters and stalls. If you try and shift gears and your left foot doesn’t push down the clutch, it simply won’t work. So, my brothers rightly drilled into me, for example, when I needed to stop the car, “Clutch then brake. Clutch then brake. Always keep your left foot connected to the clutch… up and down as needed, or the car will stall and die.” I vividly remember my first solo trip in Mark’s Corolla. I was heading to Tower Records. And I stalled the car three times at one stop light. I stayed calm during the honking of horns from other drivers. Either my brothers were poor teachers, or I was a slow learner (I daresay it was the latter).

At Gloria Dei, last week was a fantastic week. We rallied on the weekend and again on Wednesday evening around the theme “LIFT: Living in Faith Together”. And as we live in faith together, we are looking at 5 Core Values that are vitally important to our life together as a congregation. Last Week we began with Value Number One: The Proclamation of the Gospel Happens Here.

This week we will focus on Value Number Two: Growing in Christ is Essential. The Bible text we will use for the weekend is John 15:1-17.

In John 15 verse 5 Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”

In other words, as the branches stay connected to the vine, they grow, flourish, and bear much fruit. But if for some reason the branches get disconnected from the vine, they sputter and die. Just like a manual transmission car will stall, sputter, and die if the left foot doesn’t do its job and stay connected to the clutch, so too, you and I, apart from Christ, simply stall in our growth, and eventually sputter and die.

John 15 is an important text. Read it. Know it. Learn it. Reflect on it. At Gloria Dei we will not compromise on our value of growing in Christ. From infant to adulthood, growing in our faith is essential. I love to see the hundreds of kids, youth, and adults around here, growing in faith. That happens at home too.

The Christian faith is a growing endeavor. I had a teacher once who said that the Christian faith is like that old Willie Nelson song, “On the Road Again.” I think he’s right. We are meant to grow in the knowledge and experience of God’s incredible love and grace in Christ… and we are meant get out into the world having our faith become active in love. “On the Road Again.” The Christian faith is a growing endeavor.

This Sunday Church School classes begin as our kids continue to grow in faith. Come worship and stay connected to Christ, and together, we will all not only live in faith, but also grow in faith together.

Growing in Christ is Essential. See you in worship, either in person or online. And just a reminder that our COVID 19 Q & A Session is happening this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. in the Office Commons Area.

Growing in Christ Together,

Pastor Tim

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