Wonderment (Part 1) – Sunday Recap

Sorry for the delay of this week’s recap. My MacBook was in the shop getting repaired…thus my first recap with an iPad.

RCBand did another stellar job leading us in I Am Free, You Are So Good to Me, Oh Lord You’re Beautiful / Sing Alleluia, and How Great Is Our God. Then they ripped through What a Wonderful World (a la Joey Ramone) to lead into my sermon.

I opened my message with a video we shot at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard. You can watch it HERE.

Here are my notes for Wonderment Part 1 – Finding God in Wine
(It’s important to note this series was influenced by Margaret Feinberg’s book Scouting the Divine.)

Synopsis: To examine various wine and vineyard metaphors and explain what it means to “abide in the Vine.”
There are nearly 200 references to vines or vineyards in Scripture.

Read John 2:1-11 (NLT) The Wedding at Cana (Jesus turns water into wine)

•Wedding celebrations in ancient Israel were week-long feasts, parties!
•Lots of food and wine
•Jesus’ mother was most likely a friend or relative of the bride or bridegroom
•This is a crisis! Not good!
•Do what HE says, period.
•Notice it was the third day of the wedding (reference to the resurrection)
•“For a headwaiter to acknowledge the host’s wine selection implies a high level of sophistication of the people and palates in those times, which gives even more weight to the role of vineyards and winemaking in various passages.” ~Kristoph (Master vintner interviewed in Margaret Feinberg’s book ‘Scouting the Diving.’)
•Producing wine can take years (not for Jesus)
•John describes this act as a “sign” (semeion) rather than “miracle” (dynamis)
•This miracle/sign uncovers a previous mystery: Jesus is the Son of God

By the way, at my cue and after asking everyone to stand, I had our team in the sound booth crank up I Heard It Through the Grapevine for some sporadic excitement. Only at RC.

Read Matthew 20:1-16 (NLT)  Parable of the Vineyard Workers

•Taken from Scouting the Divine: Different types of grapes and areas of a vineyard pick at significantly different rates, and the workers are paid based on the weight of what they pick. On a given day, one group of workers may work all day and earn $100, while another group earns $300. (So you can see, this is still true today.)

Read Matthew 21:28-32 (NLT) Vineyard owner & Two sons

•“I can have a guy out there and calculate in 10 minutes how much work he did, and then figure out how much he should accomplish in an hour and even and entire day.” ~Vintner from Scouting the Divine
•“If the father went out to the vineyard that night he knew immediately his son hadn’t been there. An area of the vineyard was untouched.” ~Vintner from Scouting the Divine
•Your past doesn’t matter.

Are we working for God?
Are we building the Kingdom or our own empire?

Matthew 9:17 (NLT)
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”

•Ancient vintners would store their wine in tanned animal hides. These wineskins expanded as the liquid fermented until the skin hardened and became brittle. If fresh wine was added, the now inflexible wineskin would burst as gasses escaped, and both the new wine and old wineskin would be lost.
•In modern processing, wine still must have an outlet for the gasses it produces. The principles is still true today!
•Jesus knew that many of his listeners believe the old way of doing things was good enough. Jesus didn’t come to patch up old religious traditions. He was offering a new way of life.

Read John 15:1-8 (NLT) Abiding in the Vine
At the beginning stages the vines look dead, but are really very much alive.
*You have to go below the surface of a vine to know whether it’s dead or alive.

Girdling: The vines are cut each year in a circle around the base.
•The cuts convince the vine to pull more nutrients from the soil and produce a higher quantity of fruit.
•If it’s cut too deep it will die.
•If it’s cut just right it will produce twice as many grapes.
•“It’s the little cuts that are the most important. You can’t come in with a pair of shears and clip like crazy. You don’t just look at what appears to be a dead branch and cut it off, and then look at a branch full of fruit and think it’s fine. Over the course of pruning, you make a series of very precise, strategic cuts that will produce the healthiest, most robust vines.” ~Vintner from Scouting the Divine

You can listen to this entire message via our podcast by clicking HERE.

Abiding in the Vine,


P.S. I must say how proud I am of AMPD Youth for raising nearly $2,000 over the weekend for the 30 Hour Famine! Way to go, guys!

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