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Secrets of the Vine: Breaking Through to Abundance (Breakthrough Series) Hardcover – Special Edition, January 17, 2006
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No one said it would be easy. In the first installment of his BreakThrough series, Dr. Bruce H. Wilkinson urged Christians to find the abundant life through following a simple prayer. In Secrets of the Vine, his follow-up to the bestselling The Prayer of Jabez, the president of Walk thru the Bible Ministries explores compelling images from Bible verse John 15 in support of his message that asking for God's blessings may result in suffering and difficult circumstances. Through Jesus' symbolic portrayal of himself as the vine, the Father as vinedresser, and his followers as the branches, Wilkinson believes that Christians can better understand God's methods for ensuring personal fulfillment, and find a closer walk with him.
Grapes need pruning--and so do Christians, Wilkinson writes. God's "pruning" is painful, but Wilkinson argues that this pruning away of "self" is necessary to gain desirable results. He notes, "Pruning will intensify as God's shears cut closer to the core of who you are." Wilkinson urges Christians not to confuse "pruning" with "discipline," and offers a helpful chart to distinguish between the two. He discusses four levels of fruit bearing, from "no fruit" to "much fruit," and the connection between God's pruning and an abundant harvest.
Wilkinson's warm, personable writing style helps him come across as a confidant and mentor. Even though he admits, "I assure you that I possess no special knowledge in these matters," millions of readers seem to think he does. He lays down the challenge: "If you don't know and apply Jesus's vineyard teachings, you'll never experience the abundant life you long for. There is simply no other way." Christians aspiring to maturity in their spiritual lives will likely sit up and take notice. --Cindy Crosby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
That They Might Have Books More AbundantlyIn The Prayer of Jabez, Bruce Wilkinson took a single passage of Scripture and expounded on it so powerfully that Multnomah has just gone back to press for a total ofgulpfour million copies in print. The publisher is hoping that history will repeat itself with Wilkinson's follow-up, Secrets of the Vine: Breaking Through to Abundance. Here, Wilkinson takes on John 15 and divulges three secrets of "bearing fruit" more abundantly for Christ. Wilkinson has that special talent for making readers feel that his books speak directly and personally to them. Multnomah plans an initial release of 250,000 copiesand after that, who knows?
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
I have read through John15 countless times, with most of the time skimming through the contents with no deep pondering. By reading this book, it shows what I have been missing all along. It focuses on the vines (Jesus), the branches (us), vinedresser (God) and the resulting grapes of harvest, which forms the main essence of John 15:1-8. It helps me to look at a totally new perspective, as seen from a vintner, and the correlation to the biblical verses.
For the vineyard to produce, the branches (us) have to respond to the attentions of the vinedresser (God). In reality, all branches do not respond alike as each branch is unique. Thus when harvest arrives, each likewise will produce a different-sized crop.
Fruits, oft mentioned in the Bible, represent good works such as thoughts, attitudes, actions, etc. Through which, it glorifies God. Inner fruit arises when you allow God to nurture in you a new Christ-like quality. On the other hand, outward fruit is when you allow God to work through us to bring him glory, such as sharing our faith.
This book elaborates on the 4 distinct and different levels of fruit bearing.
 No fruits: Involves disciplining
John 15:2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruits He takes away.
This verse seems to be interpreted commonly as, if one does not bear any fruit, his or her walk with Christ is questionable. This arises due to mis-selection of the correct word. Most bibles render (NIV, NLT, KJV, etc) the Greek word "airo" as "take away" or "cut off", which is an unfortunate interpretation, giving readers a feeling of gloom. A much clearer and better translation would be "take up" or "lift up".
It then relates the behavior of new branches or vines. New branches have a natural tendency to trail down and grow along the ground. Growing along the ground, the leaves get into contact with dust. With rain, comes mud and mildew, ending in sickness and diseases. Instead of cutting these away, the vinedresser will actually "lift this" up, wash and wrap around the trellis or tie them up.
Likewise when branches (us) fall into dirt, God does not throw them away or abandon them, instead He painstakingly lifts them up, cleans them to help them to flourish.
1st secret of the vine
If your life consistently bears no fruit, God will intervene to discipline and guide you.
Disciplining and guidance is God's proactive answer to move us out of barrenness towards fruitfulness.
 Fruits: Involves early pruning
John 15:2 Every branch that bears fruit He prunes that it may bear more fruits.
Because of the grape's tendency to grow so vigorously, a lot of wood must be cut away (pruning). Grape vines could become so dense that the sun cannot reach into areas where fruits should be forming. Thus, at this stage, pruning is the vinedresser's most important task to ensure a bountiful harvest.
The vinedresser's secret for more is less, through pruning.
During such times, preoccupations and priorities in our lives, whilst not wrong, keep us away from more significant ministry of God. There is a need to reduce our lower priority commitments in order to make room for even greater abundance for God.
When certain events happen, questions may arise whether is disciplining or pruning being involved. The book provides a guideline and comparison to discern pruning from disciplining.
2nd secret of the vine
If your life bears some fruit, God will intervene to prune you.
 More fruits: Involves mature pruning, i.e total submission
The vines' ability to produce growth increases each year, but without intensive pruning, the plant weakens and its crop will tend to diminish. Mature branches must be pruned hard in order to achieve maximum yields.
Early pruning is mostly about your outward activities and priorities, while mature pruning is about your values, personal identity and involves testing of your faith.
Our faith in general could be tested in 4 key areas
(i) People we love the most
(ii) Our right to know why God does what He does, i.e giving up self-control
(iii) Our love for monies and possessions
(iv) Sources of our significances
Bruce related his own experience of when God asked him to give up the ministry of Walk Through The Bible, his life's dream. After much struggle, he chose and obeyed God. And amazingly, when he chose to obey God, God blessed the ministry in ways beyond his imagination. Therefore, in order to reach the next level of abundance, we have to completely give back to God what He himself had given us in the first place, trusting only in Him for what would happen next. This is about total submission.
 Much fruits: Involves self-initiated abiding
At this stage, our lives are overflowing with grapes but yet we can feel frustrated, defeated and are in danger of losing the harvest for a lifetime (eg known cases of famous pastors involved in extramarital affairs, etc). We throw even more energy into work, hoping to recapture former fulfillment. And the Walk with Him suffers.
Even though we have a good amount of fruits, and are not being "lifted up" in discipline or being pruned, we are actually caught in 2 opposing tensions - increasing desire to produce an even better yield and decreasing fulfillment in the fruits you are already producing.
With discipline taken in order to remove sins and with pruning in order to change priorities, the vinedresser is the initiator. Here, with abiding in Him, we exchange roles and will become the initiator instead.
3rd secret of the vine
If your life bears a lot of fruits, God will invite you to abide more deeply with Him.
Abiding starts with visible spiritual disciplines such as bible reading and prayers. We need to stretch beyond these dutiful activities to have a breakthrough to have a flourishing relationship with God, by deepening the quality of devotional time with God, broadening our devotional time by not just praying only during specific times, but rather at all times throughout the day.
Abiding helps us to sense God's leading, to tap into all of God's spiritual values, to give us the "rest" we need to produce a much greater yield, carrying with it a promise of answered prayer.
In our spiritual walk, we need to identify at which level of fruit bearing we are at and strive towards the next level, in order to build a strong relationship with our Lord.