For those who followed my kids’ talk journey over the last few weeks, thank you for your prayers. They were beautifully answered. I felt them lift me, particularly when my legs turned to jelly just before I went on stage. Then I saw their fruit when so many hearts and hands responded to the gospel message with decisions for Christ. I thought you needed to know because you were a large part of that. God bless you.
I also thought I’d give those who wanted it, some closure by posting the complete talk today. Warning – It’s a much longer post than usual. You probably know by now, with all that I discovered in the lead up, that there was no way I could keep the talk down to 10 minutes. It was a full 20. Thankfully I wasn’t booed off the stage and the children’s attention did not stray.
For those who are keen to read it, I ask that you pray as you read, for the hearts of all who heard it to be full of good soil, just as I am praying for yours.
Be blessed, be encouraged,
Lots of love,
Every Girl Talk – John 15:5 – Saturday 3rdNovember – C3 Oxford Falls
Speaker Lauren Macdonald
- No PowerPoint Slide
- No costume
Good morning Every Girl! How amazing is this place, did you ever think it would look so beautiful?
I want to honour Pastor Christ & Pastor Bernie who dreamed of this EveryGirl conference 20 Years ago and made it happen, I’m so grateful they did. And I want to honour two of our leaders who were just young girls in this church 20 years ago, like you. Pastor Stacie and Sascha, now two wonderful women grown by God. They both have smiles that could warm up Antarctica! They are both so loving, and they understand and know so much about God. Both of them overflow with love. But you know what I love about these two is that they do all of that with their very own flavour.
Stacie with her enormous and very contagious faith and hugs, and Sascha with gentleness and peace and wisdom all over her.
And now I look at you all, smiling up at me with these warm and encouraging faces, and I Imagine how God will grow you over the next twenty years in this place & I wonder What’s Your Flavour?
- Slide #1 Power Point – What’s Your Flavour?
My flavour is interesting, I am an encourager, I really love to encourage people from the bible. A little story about me -When I was one and a half, my parents took me and my sister on a huge trip in a combi van. We travelled all around the continent of Europe for six months. Since then, I’ve loved to do accents. I also loved doing plays and shows with my sister, it’s something I’m good at. So today, since we are going to study a scripture from the bible together about How God brings out our flavour, I thought I’d add my own special flavour to encourage you.
(Put on gentle English Accent) Like this, when I turn into Bridget, the Librarian.
- Put on glasses, put hair into a bun.
I believe that once we’ve studied this bible verse together you will walk out of here today feeling very safe to bring out your own special flavour, and never feel embarrassed or not think you’re good enough or be worried because you are not exactly like someone else.
This world needs all of our flavours. I want this scripture, John 15:5 to always remind you that God planned you and he really, really likes your flavour.
Here is the scripture;
- Slide #2 – John 15:5
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
- Slide #3 – “Iam”
I am– who is I am? It’s Jesus.
Now as a librarian, I am a researcher. I always want to know more! So, when I read a verse like this I can’t just read the verse, I have to go back and read the whole chapter and sometimes the whole book just to know what is going on. And what was going on here was a dinner. Jesus had just had a dinner with his friends and followers and he was telling them at the table that he was going to die. He was going to die and go to heaven to be with God the Father.
And his friends were worried.
Do you ever worry about that? Do you ever worry that Jesus is in heaven and not here with you?
Well Jesus knew some people might be worried, so as they got up from the table to leave he said these words to encourage them. If you are a friend and a follower of Jesus, then he is talking to you too.
- Slide #4 – “I am the vine”
I am the Vine– what is a vine?
You may have an idea in your head about vines, but Jesus was talking specifically about grape vines. Vines that grow grapes.
But I still think it’s a bit weird Jesus calling himself a plant.
WHAT? How is that encouraging? “By the way I am about to die, but don’t worry I am a plant!”
I don’t get it! Why would he say that?
Well I was a bit stumped by this one, so I thought I might need help from a friend who really loves plants. Her name is Voula. She is Greek which is appropriate because the first grape farmers were Greek.
- Take off glasses, put on wig with scarf, pick up a plant on hip
(Put on energetic Greek Accent) Hallo, I am Voula, I fineing about the grape vine. I look the high. I look the low, and when I no fine anything, I look the internet and see! I fine everything!
- Slide #6 – “I am the vine” (photo with long roots)
Look ee here. I look close with the glass! So much I see.
And you, you, you, what you see in the grapevine?
You! You need the glass for the help get to get the closer?
The roots, Yes – so long, so deep in the ground, and so wide, such a leedle plant such the huge roots. I can the pull, and the pull, and the pull, and nothing, the tree no move at all!
Such good roots!
I see why Jesus he say, he the grape vine! Because o the love. Jesus love, like this root! His love is wide, and deep and it reach everywhere, like these leeddle, leeddle ones. And no matterI pull and the pull it no move. God’s love is the strong love! Like this arm afterall that pulling, His love is the big big muscle love. Like that and that. He give the good cuddles.
- Slide #7 – “I am the vine” (diagram)
And look the root, they join the long stick here. The Trunk. It grow short, but thick, like Jesus. This trunk so strong. When the weend blow, in the life, when the tear they come, and the scary eet come, and the worry they come. None of it knock over the trunk, because it strong, and theeck and eet have the root hold eet down.
That why Jesus say he the vine. He no just a weed in the ground with teeny roots, Jesus the grape vine.
The grape vine is amazing. Jesus is amazing.
- Slide #8 – “I am the vine you are”
- Take off the wig. Put on the glasses.
So I am(that Jesus) the vine(deep, wide roots and thick strong trunk)
You – who is that? Can you remember who Jesus was talking to?
Yes – You is all of His friends and followers, including us.
- Slide #9 – “I am the vine; You are the branches”
So again, we need someone with experience in this field and I have another friend Dixy who has a vineyard in America and she knows all about grape branches.
- Take off glasses, put hair into low pigtails and put on cowboy hat.
- Slide # 10 – “I am the vine you are the branches” (vine in silhouette with horizontal branches trained onto a trellis)
(Put on quiet Southern Accent) Hi I’m Dixy, I’m a farmer and you want to know why Jesus calls us the branches.
Well, do you see the grape vine branches in the picture?
First thing, these are cultivated by the farmer to grow sideways. Now if Jesus is the vine. Who do you think the farmer might be?
Can you work it out?
God the Father. Yes. He is the farmer.
- Slide #11 – I am the vine; You are the branches (three photos)
Take a look at this poor grape vine. What’s happened to it’s branch?
This vine has grown without a farmer and look the branch has fallen onto the ground. Do you know, a grape vine branch can’t bear any fruit when it is on the ground?
That’s why if we are branches we need the farmer’s help. We need God the Father’s help all the time.
Lucky our God is a God who lifts us up. If we are on the ground or sad or feeling down, if life is too hard, God the Father can help. He will come like the farmer and lift us back up and keep us supported. We are not meant to do this alone, like the grape vine branches we need support. It’s the farmer’s job to train the grape vine branches onto a support system. God gives us a support system too, that might be church or our family or our friends. He gives us people around us to help us grow.
Do you know what else the farmer does?
Wait a minute! (Grab fly swat)
The Farmer, God our Father, keeps the pests away from the branches! All those little annoying worries.
Any SWAT worry SWAT you SWAT have SWAT.
God’s got them covered.
Do you know the most amazing way he’s got us covered?
He makes sure we’ve got the best roots! Jesus!
Now here is something that only the best farmers know, are you ready to learn something new?
Not all grape vines have good roots. Some roots are weak, they let pests and fungus and diseases in to the plant and the plant doesn’t grow fruit so well. And the farmer thinks, ‘that is such a shame because I really, really like those grapes.’
For a long time, those grapes would just die but then the farmers thought of a clever idea. They said to themselves, ‘What if we cut the branches off the bad roots, and we attach them to the strong roots!” They discovered that they could attach branches from all different kinds of grape vines into the strong roots and they would bear a lot more fruit that way.
It’s a thing called grafting. They make a small slice in the trunk and slide the new branch into it, then tie it on until they grow together.
When Jesus said; You are the branches. He meant we are like these grafted branches. We don’t start with Jesus as our root. Our own roots were weak. But when we decide to follow Jesus, our own roots die, the bible says “we die to our self” and God the Father grafts us in to the strongest roots of all – Jesus. Now we can grow fruit. Amazing fruit.
Now are you ready for another amazing fact about grape vines? Jesus had really thought about this. He knew all about grapes vines.
Now remember God the Father is the Farmer, Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, but someone is missing from this picture, who can tell me? Who’s missing?
The Holy Spirit.
Where is the Holy Spirit in the grape vine?
In a grape vine, do you know how the branches, and the fruit, and the leaves get their nourishment?
From grape vine sap.
It’s like the blood of the tree.
Who can guess what colour grape vine sap is?
It’s clear like water.
And it flows fast like water, it’s made in the root and it is sent up in to the branches. If you cut the branches off the sap keeps flowing out, like the vine is crying. Look at this picture here. Every year the farmer cuts back 90% of the vine branches. You can see the notches where the branches have been cut away. And the sap flows out of these cuts. People try to catch the sap because it is full of so much goodness. They fill up whole bottles and use it as medicine it is so amazing.
The Holy Spirit is called living water. Just like the grape vine sap the Holy Spirit flows unstopping out of the root of Jesus, the Holy Spirit brings life and healing into us and there is so much living water that it overflows out of us and heals other people who catch it from us.
How about that?
- Slide #12 – John 15:5
- take off hat, put on glasses and put hair back in bun
So, we have God the Father the Farmer, Jesus the son the root, Holy Spirit the nourishing sap and us the branches.
John 15:5 says,
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
If you remain in me, you will bear much fruit. Without me you can do nothing.
Well it is pretty clear that the vine needs it’s root, it needs sap and it needs the farmer. I don’t think a branch could do much without them do you? It would just be a stick on the ground. Maybe it could help build a big bonfire but it wouldn’t be good for much else.
But Jesus said if you remain in me you will bear fruit.
I want to explore that. So, I’ve asked a friend, to come along, she’s an actress, she’s very dramatic and very French.
Would you like to meet her?
Madame La Pomme –
(Put on French, laughing accent)Bonjour, Hello, Ca Va, How are you? Je suis, Madame le Pomme, I am Madame Apple. I heard zis was un parti?
So I dress for ze occasion.
- Put on your gloves
So, I will do a little show for you. A one woman show!!
Grapes – zey grow where the sun shines warm, zey are bazed in light. But ze farmer he is very clever, he does not let ze branches grow however zey like or zey may hurt zemselves, or fall down, et not grow any fruit.
ze farmer waits, for ze winter to pass and ze spring to come. zen he get’s his pruning shears and CHOP CHOP CHOP he cuts back ze branches. Until only 10% remain.
Jesus says, remain in him, do not fall out! Stay zere, zough you are pruned right back.
And ze vines zey cry! Enormous sap tears, like a fountain. Pruning is never nice, but Jesus says, “Stay zere!” Even when tzings get hard, Remain in him, remain in ze root because as the Holy Spirit sap pours out, ze branches are healing and all of zeir energy is being stored up to grow fruit. Fruit fruit fruit!
- Slide #13 – Grapevines with grapes
Wizout the pruning, pha, tiny fruit, bitter fruit.
But wiz ze pruning, zat is when ze fruit grows. So much it can’t stop!
What kind of fruit will your branch bear?
Remember we are all different kinds of grape vine branches, grafted onto one wonderful, strong true root with nourishing life giving and healing sap. We all have ze same farmer but not one of us will bear ze same fruit.
- Slide #14 – Bunch of grapes
Did you know zere are more than 50 different types of table grapes. 50! and even more types of grapes to make wine. Not one is exactly the same. Just like us.
Some are similar, maybe….. zey are both black grapes, with an oval in shape but one has a tight skin and is crunchy to bite in while ze other has a loose skin zat can be peeled off.
Another grape might be completely different, green, tiny and round with seeds on ze inside and a little bit spicy.
zey taste different, zey smell different, zey are enjoyed by different people. But everyone is grown by ze Farmer because he chooses to grow zose exact flavours and he likes them.
What flavour are you? Bridget ze Librarian, Voula ze gardener, Dixy ze Farmer et Moi, Madame La Pomme; we all have different flavours but we have ze same good news, zat Jesus loves you. Zat he is ze vine and you are ze branches and no matter what happens Jesus wants you to remain in him, full of the sap of the Holy Spirit and in ze care of God ze Father, and if you do, you will bear so much fruit for others and yourself to enjoy. Wonderful, beautiful and delicious fruit! (Take a bow)
- Slide #15 – John 15:5
- Remove costume and accents
- Response time and prayer.
Photo by Luiz M. Santos from Pexels
© Lauren Macdonald. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission, from this blog’s author, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lauren Macdonald @ http://godhelpmei.com