Apart From Me You Can Do Nothing

2015 RightNow Conference


There is a temptation in leadership to lean into the talents and gifts God has given us in order to exercise biblical leadership. The pitfall is that we can begin to lead with God’s gifts, but end up relying on our own strength. In this 39-minute session from the 2015 RightNow Conference, Pete Briscoe digs deep into John 15:4–5 to remind us we can do absolutely nothing of eternal significance apart from Jesus Christ.

Pete Briscoe has been the Senior Pastor of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship, a multi-site church based in North Dallas, since 1991 during which the church membership has grown ten-fold. 

As you watch this session, take notes and write down thoughts about how this session can impact your role.  


John 15:4-5 (ESV)

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


From this passage, Pete reminded us that Jesus Christ is the source, we are merely the conduits. “We bear fruit, we don’t produce it.” But many times we live like we are the ones doing it. In what areas of your life are you trying to produce fruit rather than bearing the fruit that Jesus produces? What is being produced? Who is glorified?
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Pete read a paragraph, without revealing the subject, and it made no sense! When he revealed that the subject was a kite, it made perfect sense. Mystērion— (Greek) a hidden or secret thing, not obvious to the understanding that has now been revealed. Pete illustrated that “a life without a subject does not make sense” as he shared the thinking that “got to the end of where my flesh could take me.” Is there a relationship in your life that makes no sense right now? Could it be that it lacks the subject of Jesus Christ? How can Christ love through you?

Colossians 1:15-19 (ESV)

The Preeminence of Christ

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.16For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.17And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.18And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Like the hand in the glove, “this full one dwells in you” (vs 19). Apart from Jesus, we are like a limp, lifeless glove. Our prayer should be that Christ would take full control. Take a moment to reflect, before you give a quick, “correct” answer. Is Christ in full control of your life? What do you need to depend on Him today?
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Colossians 1:28-29 (ESV)

28Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.29For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Paul reminds us that we do struggle in our work, but we struggle “with all His energy that he powerfully works within me.” What happens when you work in your own power? Like Pete, are you so busy doing life and ministry you have forgotten that Jesus empowers you? What are you doing in your own strength? How has that affected your family, life and work? Where is Christ leading through you?
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1 John 4:4 (ESV)

4Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Pete gave several examples of what happened when he simply rested in Christ and followed His prompting. He was simply the glove. It still wasn’t easy because the Holy Spirit was nudging him outside his comfort zone. How have you seen Christ work in your family, life and work when you followed His promptings?
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May this be your prayer to to live, love, lead in His power. You live in me, live through me. You love in me, love through me. You lead in me, lead through me this day. I’m yours. 


Pete referred to the Francis Chan’s RightNow Conference session: Rooted in Christ, Not Just Faking It. You can find it here

For information about the upcoming RightNow Conference, visit rightnowconference.org