Have you ever been to a vineyard? Have you ever wanted to pick grapes from the vine?
I have wanted to do both and honestly thought I would probably never have that opportunity.
I was wrong!
(Jesus speaking) "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
I love how my life in Jesus parallels with the things of the vineyard. And I just wanted to experience the vineyard first-hand.
The majority of our crew woke up early and loaded into Uncle Jimmy's truck. We drove down the dirt roads a couple of miles and pulled into the most beautiful sight - acres and acres of vines filled with juicy grapes.
(Jesus speaking) "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:1,2
The summer of '09 will go down as a major "pruning" season for me. Though difficult and even painful at times, I am thankful for the growth that comes after the pruning. For the most part, I can say that I walked through these times with no regret. I completely trusted God and walked by faith knowing He was there - step by step. However, there a couple of instances that I made terrible decisions - I allowed my flesh and emotion to take over. I felt totally justified! I know, I know, one always wishes for a second chance or a do-over, but in my case, I see it as a real time of growth. I am glad it happened b/c it allowed God to show me how weak I am without Him and when I try to do things in MY own power - I usually fail!
"If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned." John 15:6 (yikes!)
And besides that, it has given us something to laugh about now. (especially Brian :)
All to say... I loved the vineyard experience. I love the vine and branch analogy. And I love Jesus!