It started out as a passing whim today–I began hunting to find out what had happened to one of my favorite worship blog authors from a few years back.  His posts had slowed to almost none over the last year, and I had caught rumors of a major shakeup in his ministry. It took a little digging to find out what church he had belonged to, since he rarely spoke about his own church in detail.  I finally found the name of the church, and clicked the link to their website.


Nothing. Just an empty screen, and a small error message. Now my curiosity was piqued, since ministry websites usually don’t simply vanish from existence. The more I dug, the more intrigued I became–I pulled up an archived snapshot of the site, and found everything I expected to see. Links to sermon archives…Small Group invitations…..Event Calendars…..Pastor Bio’s…..Building Fund campaigns…..Church Plant praise reports…..Community Outreaches…..the info went on and on.  But it was all dead.

Interestingly enough, all the ministries had vanished right around the same time that my author’s blog had gone dark. No explanation, just–gone. I’ll probably never know what actually happened. What I do know, is that despite all the public signs of thriving life, death had crept up on them in private.

In my devotions recently, I journaled from 2 Kings 25:5. Jerusalem was under siege, and King Zedekiah retreated to the plains of Jericho. There his army was slaughtered by the Babylonians, and he was taken captive.  It struck me that Zedekiah had run to the place where he was within view of the great military victory God had given Israel in the past.  And there on the plains of Jericho, within eyesight of what God had done, they were defeated.

It is not enough to see what God has done. It is not enough to have the right programs, and the right website layout. Not enough to be on the right social media channels, or to have the right attendance numbers on the weekend. We need God’s presence TODAY!

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.

John 15:5 drives this point home. We are merely branches, but life comes from the Vine. A cut branch will stay green for a time, but death is inevitable.

God, help me to keep my priority on my connection to You. Help me to not get so enamored by my own greenery, that I separate from that which gives me life.