He is Risen Indeed! I did not intend to send anything out over Easter weekend. But tonight, I can not not share with you. (I say tonight because I will schedule this for Easter morning.) My wife found another amazing series and I have to recommend it to you. It’s on PureFlix and it’s called “Eyewitness Bible – Easter” Each episode covers a first person account of the days leading up to and including Resurrection Sunday. The episode that triggered this post was “Maundy Thursday.” Understand that Maundy Thursday was the last supper and the walk to the garden. (By the way, my beautiful bride and I got married on Maundy Thursday, but that’s for another day.) This episode is told by the apostle Phillip and he was particularly touched by the parable of the vines and branches found in John chapter 15. He describes what it is like in September as the harvest is nearing for the vineyards. The large brown vines coming up and spreading into branches holding the fruit yes, but what you see are big beautiful leaves of different colors. There is a balance required between leaves and branches. The grapes won’t grow without leaves, but too many leaves will steal nutrients from the fruit. The vine keeper prunes the branches to keep this balance. Just as we too must keep balance between the distractions of life and bearing fruit. My wife caught the point that he made that the fruit is hidden under the leaves. The vine and the branches that bear the most and best fruit aren’t showing it off, they are simply just growing. This passage talks also about how we must abide in Him. This is so important. We try to do in ourselves and we may look good for a while, but eventually the truth that we can’t produce fruit on our own will become only too obvious. If God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are all one, then when we abide in Christ, we abide in the Father. When as I so often refer to, “Lean In” to the Spirit, we are abiding in God the Father and God the Son. That is where we get the ability to bear fruit. That is where we get the strength to love. That is where we become people whose lives bring glory to God. When I ask people why God made us, a common answer is “to glorify God.” This is true, I can’t argue that. Although, I always point out that we’re made because He wants to be in relationship with us. When most people say that we are to glorify God, I suspect that the first thought that comes to mind is singing His praises around the throne. But how much do we bring God glory by simply and quietly bearing fruit? But again, we can’t do that apart from Him! 1 John 4:19 says, “We love, because He first loved us.” I am so humbled that some of you have trusted me with the things that weigh heavily on your hearts and trusted me with your questions. I don’t consider myself to be a Bible scholar, just a simple country minister. But on the blessed day that we celebrate His resurrection, I invite you brothers and sisters to draw near to the empty tomb. Remember that it is for YOU! Allow yourself to feel the love of the God that knew you before the beginning of time, knew who you would be and still made you and still sent His son. Christ emptied Himself to be like sinful flesh, for you. What an incredible, tremendous, blessing of love from the very creator of our great big universe! And remember, Jesus loves you, and so do I!