abide

I have a tendency to point out to the people around me when and where the Holy Spirit is moving, and frankly, sometimes I hear it can get annoying. There is a long list of references I could give for you to ask. But it is rare that those tables get turned on me and I am the recipient of moments someone feels led to share something to me through the Holy Spirit.

I was standing in the middle of a night of worship at Agape Christian Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It was the monthly night when several churches around the area would have a joint worship service. It was beautiful, friends, such a beautiful image of the body of Christ as so many different denominations worshiped together. During the last set of worship, the woman sitting next to me pulled my arm down to make me sit next to her in the pew. She says to me: God was showing her a massive tree with an even bigger root system, and that God wanted me to hear that he had built the immovable roots for eighteen years, and for the next eighteen years it would be about fruit coming from those deep, immoveable roots.

Eighteen years, that seems like an odd number, right?!?!

That night was November 20, 2016, and coincidentally, also eighteen years since I had started my journey in becoming a follower of Jesus.

I think about all the things God did in my life over the first eighteen years that I had been a follower of Jesus. It had been a wild, adventurous roller coast. It was not that I felt I was done growing with Jesus or that the adventure was over, those are constant until we have passed from this life. But I felt like God said that night I had obediently followed him in humility, grown in experience and had nurtured the spiritual gifts he had given me to the point that I had a seriously deep root system in him…and that root system would support the weight of a lot of fruit.  

Maybe I could have taken this from the direction of embodying more fruits of the spirit via Galatians 5:22-23, but that is not where my discernment led me. My discernment led me to the discipleship of the local church.

What good am I if I am not sharing what God has grown in me with others?

What good am I if I am not pointing out what God is doing in people around me?

What good am I if I am not leaving people in my spiritual wake that more passionately follow Jesus, are more committed to loving their neighbors and lead others to the same?

One of the many Bible passages that came out of that discerning and processing through what had been said to me is John 15:4-11:

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” [John 15:4-11, ESV]

Abide.

Abide.

Abide.

There is more to this story, and I have a feeling it will continue to get drawn out over Lent this year. God is stirring up memories for a reason, and I am simultaneously scared and excited for why that might be.

And now you have a baseline for knowing why I so intentionally point out what the Holy Spirit is up to around us, because you never know when something is said that will draw someone deeper into following Jesus.

Abide in the love of Jesus, friends.

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