Re:Launch Your Life – Belong

We continued our series at Gateway in Austin called “Re:launch Your Life.”

During these last 18 months, we experienced an epidemic of loneliness and isolation which negatively affected our mental health. God created us to Belong. Community and connection are essential to thrive. God’s family allows us to experience His love and kindness through other people.

Discussion Questions:

Work through the following questions and scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.

Next Steps

Message Video:

Messages Notes from Carlos Ortiz:

We all need a place to belong.

Definition of BELONG

  1. to be suitable, advantageous or in a proper situation 

For example – a woman of her ability belongs in teaching

  1. to be attached or bound by birth, allegiance or dependency; to be a member of a club/organization 
    For example – they belong to their homeland 

To  guide us through what it means to BELONG let’s point to scripture.  

Let’s go to John chapter 15. 

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

There’s a progression in this vineyard analogy that we get to participate in to this day.  

  • It starts off with Jesus modeling his relationship with God the Father, and how we are invited into this relationship through the work of Jesus.  
  • God’s love for Jesus, then overflows to a love that extends to us.
    Jesus models obedience to the Father, and asks the same of us.  
  • But instead of us laying down our lives on a cross for the sins of humanity, we are asked to lay down our lives for others because of love, and how that love will pass the test of time.

What do we glean from this passage, this analogy of a vineyard?

  1. We BELONG to the gardener (God)

I Corinthians 6:19-20 – 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. 

  1. There’s an original dream the gardener has

Jesus uses the vine as the model here, but from the beginning God was like a gardener, because he had a relationship with Adam & Eve in the garden.  

Basically ascribing the attributes of the “green thumb” to God.  

His intentions for things he loves to grow. 

This leads to the next two points under this section.

  1. There are tough decisions the gardener has to make
  2. The gardener’s decisions are grounded in love
  1. We BELONG to the vine (Jesus)
  1. Apart from the vine we cannot grow
  2. Belonging to the vine requires obedience
  3. Belonging to the vine brings fruit

Sometimes it is through others in our community that God reveals our blind spots.

Are you listening to those in your life that God has brought to you?

  1. We BELONG to fruitfulness (Others)
  1. Connection to the vine is required before connecting others

According to Airbus, passengers have about 18 seconds of “useful consciousness” if a plane loses pressure at 37,000 feet. That makes it incredibly important to do exactly as the instructions say: 

Pull down on the mask, place it over your nose and mouth, and only then assist others around you.

Connect with God so you can bring life to others.

  1. The vine requires we love others
  2. The love for others requires sacrifice

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