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 Messages

March 2019

We Are That Tree!

“Sermon Audio 032419 15 min”. Genre: Other.

Giving Love

“Sermon Audio 031719 2 min”. Genre: Other.

Holy Spirit Power

“Sermon Audio 031019 16 min”. Genre: Other.

Who Am I?

“Sermon Audio 030319 10 min”. Genre: Other.

February 2019

And, If You Have To Brag About It, It Doesn’t Even Count!

ABC123″Sermon Audio 022419 23 min”. Genre: Other.


“Sermon Audio 16 min 020319”. Genre: Other.

January 2019

Who Abandoned Whom?

“Sermon Audio 012719 13 minutes”. Genre: Other.

F R O M   T H E   B L O G

Recent Posts


Before Maundy Thursday and The Last Supper, there was the Banquet in Bethany to Honor Jesus. While 3 different versions of this story appear in the Gospels, I like to merge them together in my mind and come up with an anointing banquet for Jesus that teaches us all how to worship him. Extravagantly!

The next “banquet” that Jesus attends will be in The Upper Room with his disciples, to teach us another lesson about His eternal presence being with all of us even when He is physically not with us. That’s a lesson in spirituality.

But the lesson of the Banquet at Bethany is about worship. In John’s version (12:1-8), it is Jesus’s friend Mary who demonstrates the proper way to worship Jesus. Mary lets down all personal inhibitions and social norms so that her worship of Him in this place, at this moment, is completely free of hesitation and restriction. Mary worships Jesus in a totally unique and extravagant manner in front of all who have gathered for this special occasion.

  For this worship service, Mary chooses to anoint the feet of Jesus with extravagant oils from an alabaster jar. The oils are powerfully pungent and fill the room with an aroma that bombards the senses of all who are there. There is no ignoring what Mary is doing!  

 The first thing that most in the room are thinking is the poor decision to waste such expensive oil on the feet of Jesus. This simply reminds us that monetary cost will always be a human concern when it comes to celebratinig extravagant worship. Judas, and others, make play that they are more concerned with the poor, and the value of those oils could have been much more useful if sold and the profits used to help them. And that would have been a thoughtful ministry. But, as Jesus tells those who put cost first, there are times when extravagant worship is called for … and this is one of those times.

Now that the room is filled with the strong aromas of the oils, and everyone’s attention is centered on Mary and Jesus, she continues her worship of Him. Mary lets down her long dark hair and begins to rub in the oils on Jesus’s feet as she massages them with her hair. You see, no worship is too extravagant for Jesus … in Mary’s mind. It would be impossible to go overboard in her show of praise and love for Him. 

What Jesus knows that Mary doesn’t is that after this week, Jesus will no longer be making visits to see his friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Bethany. After the extravagance of this anointing banquet, Jesus will have another meal, in Jerusalem, on the eve of Passover, to teach another lesson about who He is. Let’s leave that aside for now … but, as for this night, on this Holy Wednesday, these questions are now put before us: 

  • How extravagant is your worship of Jesus? 
  • Why would anything, including cost, social norms, and public ridicule, hold you back from worshiping Him with all you have … just as you love Him with all you have? 
  • What if this Holy Wednesday is your banquet at Bethany opportunity – what would you do of uninhibited extravagance to show all those around you how much Jesus means to you? 
  • If you knew tomorrow was The Upper Room, what would you do today to honor Jesus with your worship?

As for me, today I’m going to check my worship mentality. Is my worship of Jesus more determined by practical concerns and social norms – or am I completely free and natural in my own unique and uninhibited style of extravagant worship?

Why is this important?

Well, Easter’s a comin’ – and I want to get it right this time! 

Meet me at the banquet in Bethany,

Pastor <>< Bob

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A PRAYER FOR MORE … “Ready My Soul, Lord – Your Servant Awaits”

Jesus – My Lord and my God 

I know and believe that in days of old, as recorded in our sacred books, You would become present to people through the use of their physical senses – being visible to their eyes or audible to their ears —

But in these days, after You Lord, as the Son, have walked on the earth and ascended to heaven, and left with us the gift of Your Holy Spirit, I have come to believe that the reality of your presence is now manifested internally, rather than externally, to those such as me who seek and long to experience that very presence — 

I believe that You, God, today will, according to Your will, become known to souls that are intent on seeking You, and that You will lavish love on those who show deep desire and affection for this —

I believe and trust that the sign of Your presence coming into one’s heart is: “A fire will go before You and burn up Your enemies round-about”–

This arson being necessary in every soul into which you come so that every impurity of evil thoughts and works be consumed from the soul, thus securing a sacred place of holiness and purity for you to reside —

When one’s soul becomes consumed with Your fire, Lord, then that is the sign of one prepared for Your coming; as the Prophet says: “He sent fire into my bones” and “My heart was hot within me … while the fire burned forth”– 

And Lord, I have come to believe that a soul such prepared, due to frequent aspirations and continual prayers for your presence, even to the point of being afflicted by those longings, will stir Your will to respond and bring to pass the fulfillment of those aspirations and prayers, allowing one to proclaim “The Lord is good to them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him”–

What I am not praying for, God, nor do I desire, is any form of physical sensory perceptions of You, including images or voices;  but rather I cast my hope in a spiritual unity between You and Your Word with my eternal soul – as the Apostle says, “he that is joined to God is one spirit”–

My Teacher and Master, the union I desire and pray for is the loving descent of Your Essence into my humble but sanctified spirit – joining that which is spirit with that which is spirit — 

Yes, the union I desire and pray for must be made with me in the spirit, because You are Spirit, and it is in Your nature to be joined to only that which can embrace the divine love that originates from You alone, which is Beauty and Truth pure —

Nor would I Lord., nor could You, be attracted to or become united with any urge that originates in the lusts of the flesh —

Now Lord God, I pray, fill my heart with that divine love of Yours so that my preparation may become complete —

For a soul in such a condition, with irresistible and overwhelming feelings of devotion for You and You alone, will know not to expect a common occurrence such as those routinely and ritualistically witnessed to by Your church faithful, nor even fathom that You will come in dreams, or sensory visons or voices —

Rather, O God, this pure soul drenched in Your divinity longs to achieve that special privilege of Your direct ascension from on high into that welcoming soul that has been lovingly prepared by You , and which anxiously awaits You, as You soothe all those deep affections and center Your Spirit in the very depth of this heart — 

Know that there is, on my part O God, a lack of longing to experience any semblance of You in an outward fashion, but indeed just the opposite, to have You poured directly into me, so that this is not merely a physical experience that excites my fleshly senses, but rather, what I ask for today is that You take complete possession of all my inner faculties and transform me from the inside out — leaving my happiness so much the greater for each brief shining moment that this heart transplant lasts. 

O God, ready Your Lenten Pilgrim for this coming day of Beauty and Truth, 

Your humble servant and vacant mystic – Pastor <>< Bob

 (Pastor Bob’s prayer inspired by a description of “the contemplation of the heart” contained in “Sermons on the Canticle” by Bernard of Clairvaux.)

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Something very important happens to a church and its congregation when the symbols inside of a church start to become signs of a bigger reality. We have symbols all over our lives, but in the church these symbols can take on very sacred meaning when we begin to see the mystical reality of God’s presence that they point to. 

Let me show you what I mean. You probably haven’t been inside your church in a while. So let’s take a quick walk through it and, as we do, I’ll point out some of the symbols that you’re used to seeing in there that have begun to point to a higher truth in our faith lives. 

STOP 1: The Lenten Wreath just inside the main door. Do you remember seeing this? It’s our Lenten symbol that Debbie Howell and I placed at the entrance table. It’s still there!  Can you see how the dried stems have been made into a wreath, signifying the wilderness of Lent that we are entering, but also will be coming through? The little nest is there to remind us of new life that our Lenten journey will lead us to … and the “Amazing Grace” sign tells us that we will make it through not because we deserve it or earned it – but solely because of the “amazing grace” of our God. And, of course, the wooden plaque in front is what our journey is really all about … More Jesus in our life by Easter 2020! 

Stop 2: The Amaryllis plant at the top of the stairs. Do you remember this? It all began with a memorable (infamous?) Children’s Moment during Advent last year. The Village Kids planted this during church and we vowed to wait and watch as it grew, just as we wait and watch for Christmas and the arrival of the Christ child. Well, it finally did bloom, sometime after Christmas – in God’s perfect time! – And now it sits in dormancy as we wait for the next flower to appear. By the way … I put a little water in the pot as I walked up to it yesterday. God is always moving and growing in our lives. I wonder when the next big flower will bloom.

Stop 3: At the entrance to the Sanctuary. What a beautiful site! Do you remember what this looks like? Even in the darkness of midday, with only the chancel lights on, God’s radiance fills or Sanctuary with the wonderful and unique green hue of peace and comfort and joy. Can you find your seat? Let’s all take a moment to find our seats and sit together for a few minutes … as we will do again when the crisis passes. This is the House of the Lord! Amen! 

Stop 4: At the foot of the Lord’s Table. I hope you haven’t forgotten about our display of shoes! These shoes are more than symbols. They point to the spiritual reality of the journey we are all on together. All these different types of footwear representing all the different types of people we are – and yet, each and every one of us walking to commune with Jesus at this Table. That is our life’s work and our daily walk. Together. One flock. One Shepherd. One Journey. Vine Street Christian Church! 

Stop 5: Home Sweet Home. And now we rise from the journey to the destination. From the shoes that represent our daily walk together, to the culmination of our life of faith together – to commune with Christ our Lord. Is Communion only a symbol to you? Or, is it the real thing? The reality of this Table is different from any other table on earth. It is at this Table where our faith comes alive! Where the Bible becomes Living Word! Where Jesus meets us, and loves us unconditionally! And where His sacrifice continues to be made so that we can be free from sin and plan our next life in eternity with His Father. Don’t settle for this Table as only a symbol. There is too much truth here, and too much love.   

Stop 6: Lord, Hear Our Prayers. As we leave this sacred space together, we stop in the Loft to pause for prayer. As you’re reading this right now, let us all do that. Hit the pause button on your mind, and enter into the quiet beauty of silence and solitude. Wait. Wait. OK … There it is! Now let us join our hearts together as we pray – Lord, thank you for Vine Street Christian Church. Thank you for the variety of people it has brought into my life. Thank you for my church family and the love I experience here. Thank you for turning these various symbols of our faith into signs of the reality and truth that you are with us today. Our church is a living sign of the reality of God in the world … and the Body of Christ among us. Finally, thank you for this prayer … it reminds us of all the goodness and grace that one small group of people can hold together. As it is right now – holding us together, even when we cannot be together. Amen. 

Let Peace Abound & Keep Hope Alive! 

With Love for All … 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