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Pastor’s Message




“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes.”    John 15:1-2

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

            I have been learning a little about pruning this year.  Two years ago, we planted blackberries and raspberries in the garden.  The blackberries that we planted are a thornless variety that grow as a vine, and we tie them to a little trellis that we made.  Last year they grew like crazy with giant vines and branches, but we didn’t get many berries, and the berries we did get were not impressive.  It was disappointing.  Last winter, before the start of Spring, Mike Backus came over and he helped me prune them.  Later he came back, and he thought that they needed more pruning.  They were thinned out and cut back much further than I really wanted, and guess what?!!!  We had a nice crop of large sweet blackberries this July and early August!  The places that we pruned them, they sent out smaller branches in different directions and these were laden with large fruit.  After the harvest was complete, Mike came over and we trimmed them again cutting out the branches that bore fruit and trimming back the ones that will bear next year so that they don’t grow all the way to the ground and root in to make more plants.  It wasn’t nearly as hard for me to prune them this time now that I saw firsthand how pruning leads them to bear more fruit.    

            Blackberries and other fruit are not the only things that need pruning to bear much fruit.  We need pruning too.  We pack so many things into our lives.  We often think that more and bigger must be better.  I made this mistake with our raspberries this year.  They had a great crop last year and this year they grew like crazy.  Following Mike’s advice, we thinned them out once or twice, but Mike told me they needed to be thinned further.  This time I didn’t listen.  They looked so big and thick and healthy, and I thought—we are going to get even more berries than last year!  Well, guess what?  We have started picking raspberries and there are some nice ones out there, but there are a lot of small crumbly berries.  A bigger patch with more plants is not better.  Pruning them so that you have fewer canes leads to more productive canes with better quality berries.     

            More and bigger is not better for us either.  The point is not to be the biggest branch out there but to bear abundant fruit.  To that end, as Jesus tells us, His Father prunes us.  Things are taken away from us and removed from our lives that hinder our production.  We may not think that some of these things should be cut off and removed from us.  It may hurt a little when these are removed, but our Heavenly Father knows what He is doing.  Even better than Mr. Backus, He is the gardening expert!  He prunes and removes things from us that may be harmful to us or that may just be a waste of energy and be unproductive.  We can trust Him to prune what needs to be pruned and we can trust that Christ, the Vine, will nourish us and provide all that we need so that we bear abundant fruit.  You may not be the biggest branch, but that isn’t the goal—the goal is to bear fruit.  As you finish reading this, pray that the Father would give you the humble faith to receive His pruning and abide in the Jesus and so bear abundant fruit. 

In Christ,

Pastor Liebich