V I N E   S T R E E T 
A Village Of Unconditional, All Forgiving,
Never Ending LOVE.
Feeling unchurched? Over-churched? Anti-churched?
So are we.
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H O W   W E   W O R S H I P

Join Us Sunday Mornings

9:00 A.M. Village

Start your Sunday off in a casual, low-key gathering where we share breakfast and chat about Jesus and life. Small groups for all ages – Nursery Available!
This ain’t your old fashioned
Sunday School!
Join us September – May!

10:00 A.M. Worship

“A little something for everyone and a lot of Jesus” is how we worship. Come as you are and experience our energetic, spirit filled service with moving messages and music ranging from contemporary Christian to traditional hymns.
This service is geared for all

Teaching & Preachings

We teach and preach a Jesus that is real and authentic … Taken straight from the gospels with no biased or politics attached. Whether you’re an active participant or a “fly on the wall” listener, we have something for you.
Check out our calendar and see what
interests you!
B I G  I D E A 
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15).
Pastor Bob
C H U R C H   M E D I A

Recent Devotionals

October 2021

Daily Respite_ Day 57 — Oct 4th

“Daily Respite_ Day 57 — Oct 4th”.

Daily Respite_ Day 56 — Oct 3rd

“Daily Respite_ Day 56 — Oct 3rd”.

Daily Respite_ Day 55 — Oct 2nd

“Daily Respite_ Day 55 — Oct 2nd”.

Daily Respite_ Day 54 — Oct 1st

“Daily Respite_ Day 54 — Oct 1st”.

September 2021

Daily Respite_ Day 53 — Sept 30th

“Daily Respite_ Day 53 — Sept 30th”.

Daily Respite_ Day 52 — Sept 29th

“Daily Respite_ Day 52 — Sept 29th”.

Daily Respite_ Day 51 — Sept 28th

“Daily Respite_ Day 51 — Sept 28th”.

Daily Respite_ Day 50 — Sept 27th

“Daily Respite_ Day 50 — Sept 27th”.

Daily Respite_ Day 49 — Sept 26th (1)

“Daily Respite_ Day 49 — Sept 26th (1)”.

Daily Respite_ Day 48 — Sept 25th

“Daily Respite_ Day 48 — Sept 25th”.

F R O M   T H E   B L O G

Recent Posts

<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< THE PATHS ALONG THE WAY <>< <>< <>< <>< <><

A compilation of photos taken during a hike on Fish Hook Trail this week, with comments about the different paths we encounter in life. 

  The comfort & serenity of a wide, flat, smooth and shaded path. If life would only stay like this. 

Sometimes the path may look bleak, dusty & dry, but it’s all good when there is sunlight up ahead.   

    The path can get treacherous, dangerous and very narrow … but the Kingdom lies just beyond.  

Life is good! The way is clear and the path is paved with gold! Happy trails! 

But it never fails. Just when one path seems clear and bright, you look up and there are so many paths in front of you, begging for your attention.     

But no matter what the journey may bring, and no matter what paths you take along the way, it’s always good to be home, wherever home may be!    

Peace & Joy Along Your Path Today … 

Pastor Bob <><

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“When things get back to normal…” By Jackson Silvanik

It’s the refrain that we’ve heard from everyone, everywhere, for the entire past year – the qualifier preceding every hypothetical situation as events get cancelled, postponed and endlessly re-scheduled. At this point, what do we even mean? Normal has come and gone, and quite a while ago, too. 

The scenes of the summer thus far have been pretty familiar; crowds of angry citizens shouting at each other, charts and graphs with arrows and red zones of all sorts, cell phone videos of service workers on the front lines of angry customers upset at just about everything, countless instances of mistrust and bickering over science and medicine – things we thought were settled a while ago.

At this point, the unrest is here to stay. As the pandemic eventually, someday, starts to taper down, the arguments over masks and vaccines will continue. The year(s?) of pent-up negativity seems to have been unleashed all over the country, and truth be told, it’s going to be very, very hard to get back out in front of it. It almost seems as if, in many cases, people just sort of like to fight with each other.

And there’s plenty to fight about. Among the many rippling effects of the pandemic, we also seem to have laid bare many of the uglier wounds that the country has tried to paper over for the last century or so. It’s not really that unusual; in fact, it’s kind of what makes us American.  

History consists largely of constant periods of upheaval, unrest and recovery. “Smooth sailing” is an unfamiliar concept when it comes to our civic nature. The important driving factor as we work through these tense periods is simple: what did we learn along the way?

Usually, it’s not much – or it’s lessons that are quickly and easily forgotten. The human lifetime, as it plays out, is just long enough to touch different eras of progress, but precisely short enough that we mostly compartmentalize our experience, leaving the “big issues” for other people to solve in their own time – if we can’t fix it quickly and easily, someone else will figure it out at some point. 

The past couple of years, though, cannot be time wasted – but it looks like we’re already on that path anyways. The virus numbers are surging again, and they likely will sometime in the future, too. The ebb and flow of at least a partially unvaccinated society mean we’ll see variants and mutations no matter what other precautions we take. As the same headlines about overflowing hospital units start to run once more, it’s worth considering what we spent the last year doing.

Did we press our manufacturing infrastructure into producing more ventilators and life-saving ICU equipment? Did we settle into some simple, targeted messaging about how to eventually squash the pandemic? Did we perfect our remote learning and work technology? Did we make any progress in terms of helping disadvantaged communities catch up in terms of online education, access to healthier food and resources, and basic medical necessities?

It mostly seems like we hunkered down, waited for things to clear up, and pent up some serious anger and frustration. You’d think after a year of limited socializing, missing out on pivotal life moments and skipping simple pleasures, like concerts and movies, we might come out of things with a little empathy – is it really worth your time and energy to berate the clerk at the grocery because they don’t have the toilet paper you like to use? Public-facing workers are saints for what they have to put up with in order to keep things functioning, and if they don’t want to work for pennies as servers at your favorite restaurant, you’re going to have to accept that.

We tend to compartmentalize history into decades-long swaths of facts and trivia. Real life unfolds at a stranger, more disjointed pace. The wheels of progress stop and start and shudder and jerk left and right. It may feel like we’ve hit some potholes over the last few years, but those potholes leave scars for historians to pore over and learn from.

We’re in a historical moment, even now. A century from now, this little stretch may be glossed over as something like “the pandemic years” or the “covid plague”, and they’ll mean it to cover like, 2018-2030. Maybe by then, we’ll have made some progress on the climate, the economy will be booming, wages will be more fair and equitable, and we’ll handle these bumps in the road a little differently. 

It can feel like the pandemic has already lasted forever, though in the larger scheme of things it’s really just begun. The story of Covid-19 is far from over, and the impact that it’s really had is quite a ways from being determined. 

But what have we learned? It’s too early to tell in the big picture, but we can start by having a little more respect and love for everyone that makes the wheels of society grind forwards, bit by bit, and especially the people that make everything you appreciate about our day-to-day life possible.

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<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< WHY JESUS? <>< <>< <>< <>< <><

In 10 simple steps through my life, I explain how and why I came to give my life to Christ. 

1) When I was small and just a boy, I dreamed that God would know how to save me from myself. That God already had the plan and that it was up to me to “find” it. I somehow knew that God loved me so much that God would take care of me somehow. I guess my mom had first taught me that by her words and deeds.   

2) As I grew, I began to come to know God through my experience in the world. Words of unconditional love from folks around me. The sites of beauty and wonder all around me. The inner joy that fills one’s soul that seems to have no direct cause except from above. Clearly, God was alive and present in this world.

3) And then the time came to “grow up,” and, like most, I decided, not intentionally, but by my other decisions, to defer my relationship with God until some later, more convenient, date. It was good to know God was really there, but as for right now, I’ll take control. Then, I will let you know if I need you, God! 

4) Eventually, the time of true desperation came. Not just some little inconvenience or great regret. I was desperate! Which means, I finally came to terms with the truth — that I was not capable of “saving” myself. Rather, I needed God’s help. Indeed, God was the only one who could help me. Hey … remember that dream I had when I was little about God already having a plan to save me from myself?

5) In my most desperate time, I bargained with God. I took a chance that maybe all this was real. That God did have a plan to save me, and that plan was already being implemented and just waiting for me to accept it. Since my faith was new and infantile, I really didn’t know how it worked. Grace? Forgiveness? Mercy? I really didn’t know about those things. I believed I had to prove to God that I was willing to make a sacrifice for God’s love. So … I offered God my life! (That’s desperate!) God didn’t need to bargain with me – but I guess I needed to bargain with God. So, I gave God my life, or at least what was left of it. And Jesus moved in to my heart. And my conversion began. 

6) That’s when I began to know the real Jesus. Not the made-up religious Jesus who loves us so much that He doesn’t want us to change. That’s not the real Jesus. Jesus wants us to change every day, to stay in harmony with God’s daily revelation in the world. Unlike most people, I was glad Jesus called me to change. I needed change. I was glad Jesus could transform me. I needed transforming. I fell in love with this Jesus who embraced this physically diminished and socially and financially bankrupt loser who was looking for a way to stop digging! It was then that I knew Jesus was “saving” me from myself and creating something new. 

7) It was all Jesus’s idea for me to go to seminary. He set the whole thing up. I thought I was going to register for a Ph.D. program in Political Science at the University of Kentucky, and God took my feet, and led me across the commons, then across the street, to the Lexington Seminary (a building I had never been in before) and by the end of the day, I was filling out my application and trying to figure out how to tell my wife! Oh my God … I was going to “God School!”

8) It was in seminary, more than church or anywhere else, that I came to know Jesus as my friend first, then as my Lord and savior. That’s when I could tell Jesus could do for me what I couldn’t do for myself. Not just the addiction recovery. But simple things like doing homework or reading 250 pages in a night, or writing a 10-page essay on the Book of Philemon at 4am for a class at 9am! No way I could that. Alone. But I wasn’t alone anymore. Seminary was also where I learned to pray and meditate. I was becoming a spiritual person living an earthly life. The answer had been found!  

9) It didn’t take long for me to realize that of all the religions in the world, all the churches and denominations, all the spiritual options and gurus, Jesus was all I needed. It was that simple. I needed a savior! Not a judge! He showed me what He could do if I was willing to turn everything over to Him. And that was the hard part! Turning it all over to Jesus. Have you ever tried that? I found that until you give EVERYTHING to God, you never really reap the full benefits of what God has to offer. For me, that was, and is, the hard part. To know what to do was easy. To actually be willing to do it, and then do it, was the hardest thing in the world for me. Still is. 

10) Where are you on the path to turning it all over to God? How has God been working in your life lately? Where do you see God on a regular basis? What is the deepest longing of your heart today? What is your greatest fear? Your greatest desire? These are the kind of questions Jesus and I talk about all the time. And we also talk about you. And our church. And what Jesus is trying to do here. With me. With us. With you. And, in all that I do, I try to heed His word and do His will. And because of that effort, I am alive today, I am here with you, and I am living and loving this new life in Christ. 

How about you?

In His name, as his mangy dirty sheepdog, I am …

Pastor Bob <><

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Meet Some Of Our Team

Bob Silvanik
Beth Jones
Office Manager
Ruth Ann Lowder
Ed Coller
Candi & Bryan Thomas
Cleaning Crew
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Address: 249 S. Vine Street Arthur, IL 61911