And…I’m back! It is great to be back at the helm of our church! What a wonderful gift you gave me in this Sabbatical time away. Thank you for all of your extra work and volunteer hours in order to make it possible. It was renewing and life-giving – all that we prayed it would be and more.
Maybe that’s a quick answer to the question I’m anticipating from you all the most: “So…how was your Sabbatical?” The next question I’m sure you’re wondering is, “So…what did you learn on your Sabbatical?” I know that answers to that question will be coming for months as I process and live out what God has been doing in my heart. But there’s one thing, right off the bat that I’d like to share as we head into the Advent season together…
There was a verse that the Lord brought to me early on in my time away, and I’ve been continuing to put it into practice in my life, again, and in new ways. It’s the first part of John 15:4, and in The Message it reads, “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you.” Other translations use terms like: “Remain in me… Abide in me… Dwell in me…”
Jesus says, “Live in me…like I’m living in you.”
Jesus, the Son of God, with all of the status and authority of the God of the universe, supernaturally came to earth as a baby on that first Christmas. John 1:14 says that He “became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” After conquering the grave, Jesus went back to heaven, and then poured out His Spirit on us, so now He doesn’t just live in the neighborhood, but He lives in our hearts! For all of those who are following Him, trusting in Him for salvation, He has made His home in us!
So I’ve been trying to make my home in Him. It’s essential, and can’t be overstated. Jesus gives me life. I’m living in Him, rooted in His Spirit, connected to God. And there can be no other way to really live!
Living in Him means more than accomplishing good things for Him. It’s more than being a good person. It’s certainly more than putting on an outer façade that might impress other people. It’s more than attending services or even performing religious rituals or disciplines.
Jesus wants to be the source of your life.
That passage in John goes on to say that if you’re not living in Him, you’re not really living. It’s like the difference between a luscious apple tree with scrumptious fruit, and a dry, dead stick. The only life that’s really life is life connected to Jesus.
So, maybe a great way to kick off this season for you is to connect with Jesus. Or maybe it’s more of a re-connection, like it’s been for me. Take the time, maybe today, to dwell on the truth that Jesus came from heaven to earth, not just to move into the neighborhood, but into your heart. He wants to live in you, and He wants you to live in Him.
How will that change your approach to Christmas, your approach to life, this year?
It's made a huge difference for me.
That’s just one little thing I’ve been learning… I can’t wait to tell you more! I’m excited to reconnect with each of you again as we live through this Advent season together!