Remain in Me!
What do you do when the momentum is lost?
Millions of people are cooped up in their homes with their children. They are playing games, watching movies, creating memories and getting to know each other better. These days provide many opportunities that our normal busy schedules do not allow.
As these days go by, many church buildings remain empty. We are not assembling and as a result, we are not being ‘built up’ and made stronger. We aren’t being encouraged and we aren’t encouraging others. We miss Bible study, fellowship, worship and communing. Church leadership is concerned about the loss of funding and members who may not return.
The work of the church (ministry) is in limbo. Many good ministries and church events have come to a grinding halt or have been totally cancelled. Others are indefinitely postponed.
The question that many dedicated involved church members and leaders are asking is “what do you when the momentum is lost?” In other words, what do we do while we are absent from one another? How do we keep the spirit of the church alive? How may we prevent discouragement during this period of time?
It is obvious that many churches are now using modern technology to bring people ‘together’ digitally and virtually. This is a tremendous means of bringing us and keeping us together. I commend and appreciate church leaders and members who are doing this. As time goes along, such people are becoming more creative in making fellowship possible. They contribute in a very meaningful way to the life and growth of the church. Their attempts, are among many things, aiding the momentum of the local church.
But what does God say? We must remember that God is THE source of all we have that is good and which enables us to live and grow. His counsel is above all else.
If you read John 15:1-8 you will find several things there:
- God owns and takes care of us – we are His vineyard. He is the source of all good things related to the vineyard.
- We are to bear much good fruit – there is no qualification on when or where on this. God does not ‘close shop’ when things and circumstances are bad. We are expected to bear fruit under all circmustances.
- God prunes us – in fact, He may very well be pruning individual Christians and His Son’s church during these trying times – the goal of the pruning is a higher quality of fruit and more fruit. We cannot bear such fruit without pruning and pruning many times is painful and challenging.
- But I what I really want you to see here is this: Jesus says “abide” or “remain” in me. And, then He says for ‘without me you can do nothing.’
The key to momentum or any type of growth, be it spiritual or numerical, is Jesus. We must be connected to Him; HE is our power source. Without Him there is no momentum and there is no fruit.
I am all for suggestions from my fellow Christian leaders and members during these difficult times. I am all ears. We are trying many new things here in Athens to stay connected to each other/the church. Yet none are as important to living and church life as being connected (remaining, abiding in) to Jesus.
What is this word “remain” mean? If you do a thorough study of these words, they carry with them the idea of a personal walk or relationship with the Lord. It’s more than church attendance or even reading God’s Word. It is walking with Him. It is living in His presence. It is living, serving, praying, suffering and communion with Jesus.
In some very real sense our fruit is different. However, it remains “fruit.” And the key once agian, no matter where we are, no matter what our circumstances are and who we are around, the key to momentum is reaming in Jesus.
After all of this COVID 19 virus fear and death are gone, we must continue to abide and remain in Jesus. While there is a place for special events and using technology to keep us connected to each other, let us not forget to ‘remain’ in Him. In Him is ‘lasting’ (eternal) fruit.