Sunday, October 30, 2016

Healthy Roots, Healthy Shoots

Your faithful blogger was unable to be present this morning, so Pastor Terry White sent this summary of the message that was shared. As you who have been attending know, Terry raises Bonsai trees. Bonsai is a traditional Japanese art form using trees grown in containers. Bonsai uses cultivation techniques like pruning, root reduction, potting, defoliation, and grafting to produce small trees that mimic the shape and style of mature, full-size trees. 

Healthy Roots, Healthy Shoots

The number one thing I have changed in my bonsai hobby in the last 12 years is soil. My trees are more eager to grow, less disease, more certainty about corrective measures I need to take. Healthy roots, healthy shoots, when you take care of the part you can’t see, the part you can see will do very well.

This same attitudes lives in us as we place great trust in some of Christian heroes, new, old or ancient. Because they had great roots, there was fruit born in their lives. It’s easy for us to mistake taking some of this fruit for ourselves and thinking it means we have grown our own roots.

Sometimes in the spring, I get fooled about the health of a tree because I see some growth, sometimes that last bit of growth that a tree tries to put out is it’s last ditch effort to survive. There is no lasting fruit apart from the tree. John 15:5 "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."

Much of this discussion about roots seems a lot like our consideration of the heart. The difference is the link that that the Bible makes between this unseen root. We see people, we make judgements/assumptions based on what we see, we don’t think much about what lies beneath the surface, without roots we have nothing. But there is this link between roots we don’t see and the fruit we do see.

Ezekiel 31: 1-9...   not unlike a more familiar verse:
Psalms 1:1-4 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

Two steps to this well-rooted tree:
1. Guard your heart, don’t walk in step with wicked, get in way of sinners, be in good company with mockers.
2. Delight in God’s way of seeing the world, meditate on that so it becomes your way of seeing the world around you.

Over time, the branches get bigger, the roots grow deeper, fruit grows, not only does our life change, but we end up as part of the resource for the lives of others.

Luke 13:6-9 A parable of roots and fruits: What we all need in this journey…
Truth: Fig trees bears figs.
Grace: A plan, here is what we need, don’t write it off, give up.
Time: Fig trees provide two crops per year, this is more grace and time than we might be expecting.

Our roots feed our lives. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

The Bible speaks about these roots:
Ephesians 3:14-21 I pray that you being rooted and established in love… may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide, long, high and deep is the love of Christ

When I transplant/gather trees we talk about three seasons in getting established. Survive/ Alive/ Thrive. When that tree is established it really begins to take off. What does it mean for us to be established in love, this root of ours sunk into the love of God?

As a contrast, Hebrews 12:15 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

This root of bitterness. It’s possible that we allow other kinds of roots to feed our life. What happens when you and I allow a root of bitterness, a root of anger, a root of shame, a root of envy, a root of pride, to feed us. Roots feed us. Part of the discipleship process is to eliminate those other roots that are feeding our hearts.

From a plant standpoint, there are root I want to get rid of, roots I encourage. What happens when I take away the thing that feeds me?

Some people get used to chaos, feeding their life, if they don’t have it, they’ll manufacture it. Some people allow their busyness to feed their life, if they don’t have enough to do, they make more to do. Some of us have allowed our shame about ourselves to feed our life, when we cut that root out of our life for a time, it seems to grow back and we say…”hello old friend.”

God’s invitation to you and I is to be rooted and established in Him. That the life God offers to us would be received by us, this picture of a tree growing strong and mighty would reflect these fruits of the Spirit and we become blessing to the world around us, and all of this would all be for the glory Him who is making it happen in us.

Here’s the question for you this week… What roots are feeding your life? How are you helping your kids, friends, fellow church members develop deep roots in Christ? What would it look like if our roots were established in Christ and we were thriving?

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