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. … This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
September marks the beginning of the grape harvest here in Spiesheim. Having lived here for over a year, we have been able to observe the entire grape growing season. After the harvest, surprisingly the grape leaves display all the fall colors. Then the vintners come through the fields and prune the plants down to the main stalk and one or two bare branches that remain tied to the support wires. (The sickly and unproductive plants are completely destroyed.) When spring returns, the vines quickly come to life filling the fields again with lush green leaves. Another surprise…the farmers come through once again and chop off the branches that are growing up and away from the main vine. Now the heart of the vine receives the nutrition it needs for the grapes that are just beginning to appear. The vintners continue to care for their plants and guard their crops from hungry birds. Before long the many varieties of grapes are ready for another harvest.
Living in this part of Germany has really made us appreciate the truth that Jesus is the vine. The vine stem/stalk is thick and strong. It holds the plant in place and channels nutrition to the leaves and fruit. Jesus gives us, the thin, leafy branches the ability to produce fruit. If we remain in him through continual study of his Word and faithful use of the sacraments, we will receive the power we need to bear fruit. Jesus also reminds us that our fruits of faith show that we are truly his disciples and that, in this way, we glorify God the Father.
“I am the vine; you are the branches.” We know and trust that Jesus is the source of our sanctified living. We know that apart from him we will fail. Our sinful nature needs no help in producing anger, greed, jealousy, and a whole host of commandment breaking behaviors. We don’t need to be reminded how to be bad. We do need to be reminded to grow in sanctified living. Knowing this, we turn to our Savior, ask for his forgiveness and his help to lead a life that produces good fruit.
What are those good fruits? In his letter to the Galatians, St. Paul provides the answer. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23). Producing good fruit begins with love—love for God and love for our neighbor. Living in God’s love, our attitude becomes one of joy and peace. Our actions toward our family and neighbors are peaceful, patient, kind, good, and gentle. Finally, we can exercise control over our sinful desires and impulses that lead us away from God-pleasing attitudes and actions and produce true fruits of faith.
Jesus has promised that if we remain in him, we will bear much fruit. He has also provided with his powerful Word so that we can remain in him. May the Holy Spirit guide and direct us as we continue to grow in our sanctified living. May our fruits of faith be a blessing to others and give all glory to our Heavenly Father.
Your gentle blessings, Lord, outpour
On all our labors evermore.
Our hearts with your good Spirit fill
That we may gladly do your will.
Christian Worship 223
News From Our Worship Groups
With great thanks to God for his never ending blessings, our London worship group, on September 5, was able to meet in person for the first time since March 2020. It was a special day as we worshipped and celebrated the Lord’s Supper, and as we acknowledged the baptism of Livia Regel, who had been baptized during the time we could not meet together.
A special visitor was with us from the States. Pastor Larry Schlomer, the administrator for WELS world missions, spoke to us about the possibility and planning for a full-time missionary in London.
Our Offerings in August
€140.00 and CHF410.00 were received in basket offerings. €4061.32 were received as direct deposits to the Chaplaincy bank account.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:7,8
Direct Deposit Information
Please consider direct deposit of your offerings to our ministry.
Designate: John Paul Hartwig
IBAN: DE21 5519 0000 0106 6260 13
If you are reading this on our WELSEurope website and you would like to receive our newsletter every month as e-mail, please subscribe.