“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you…I am the Vine, you are the branches…apart from me you can do nothing…But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you mature as my disciples.” John 15:4-8, The Message
Rachel, Janet, Peter, Mark Nordlund
Our beautiful daughter, Rachel, has been making her home with us for over 18 years. This week, we dropped her off at George Fox University where she will begin making a new “home away from home” for herself.
Much like the life-giving Vine and Branches connection described in John 15, Rachel’s first nine months of living were directly connected to me in every way as she grew in my tummy. Mark and I prayed every day for Rachel and asked God to grow her life and bless us with the gift of her in our home. God listened and acted and Rachel was born healthy, sweet, and gentle.
Rachel’s first years of “living on the outside” continued the pattern of utter dependence on others for her everyday survival, growth, and thriving. It was as if there remained an “invisible cord” that continued tethering Rachel to us throughout every aspect of our daily lives…eating, sleeping, playing, and working. We prayed even more now for God’s help of us as parents as we tried to stay connected to Jesus together with Rachel.
The Holy Spirit helped Rachel make her personal connection to Jesus, the True Vine, at the kitchen table of our home when she was five. Mark, Peter, and I were witnesses and we prayed and talked to God out loud together. Since then we have observed God making His home in Rachel and Rachel making her home in Jesus. One of the clearest ways we experience Rachel’s connected life with The Vine is when we pray together.
As a family when we hear each other talk to God out loud, we get to hear and know how each person experiences their connection to Jesus, what challenges and pruning God may be doing in each heart and mind, and how much God’s word and faith is working to make its home in us. Going to God together in prayer strengthens all of our connections to the Vine and to each other.
Our family is so grateful for our prayer connection experiences in our home, in our GPBC small group, in times of community prayer at church, and as we have prayed with other Branches with whom we serve in various ministries at GPBC.
Praying with all of you is growing our family up in faith! Rachel beginning college allows us to celebrate this significant passage in her life and recognize how much prayer has kept Rachel and us connected to God and to each other. The prayers we have prayed and the prayers others have prayed for us are moving the life of Jesus through us and keeping us connected to God’s Big Story for now and forever. Hooray, we get to keep our connections to Rachel always!!!
This Sunday is Community Sunday and our theme is Prayer. We are going to pray and experience prayer together in many ways.
No one has to pray out loud. We want to invite everyone to enter into this time open to bringing yourselves to each other and to God. We want to exercise and express our connections to God, as our True Vine, in the way John says we are invited to as His branches.
We will have two separate times in the service where all will be invited to interact with three stations to pray individually and together. We will also have a Prayer Team made up of people of all ages from our faith community who are eager to pray with anyone for any reason.
The three stations are taken from John 15:1-8, a significant group of verses in the story of our faith community.
- Unity and Abiding in Christ
- Confession and Pruning
- Prayer as Mission
We are eager to “make ourselves at home with God together” this Sunday and to bring all of ourselves and all of our requests to “be listened to and acted upon” by our Big God.
Looking forward to praying and connecting to Jesus with all of you this Sunday!