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TYING OFF THE TAP ROOT
The Japanese introduced a tree to the world that is called a Bonsai tree. It is measured in inches instead of feet as other trees are measured. It is not allowed to reach anywhere near its full growth potential but instead grows in a stunted miniature form.
The reason for it growing in stunted form is that when it first stuck its head out of the ground as a sapling, the owner pulled it out of the soil and tied off its main tap root and some of its branch feeder roots and then replanted it. By doing this, its grower deliberately stunted its growth by limiting the roots ability to spread out and grow deep and take in enough of the soils nutrients for a normal growth.
What was done to the Bonsai tree by its owner is what Satan has purposed to do to the believer, if he can. He is going to try to tie off our tap root of prayer. He wants to limit our receiving in prayer what God supplies for our spiritual growth.
(From a sermon by Ajai Prakash, Rooted in Jesus, 4/29/2011)
The Japanese introduced a tree to the world that is called a Bonsai tree. It is measured in inches instead of feet as other trees are measured. It is not allowed to reach anywhere near its full growth potential but instead grows in a stunted miniature form. The reason for it growing in stunted form is that when it first stuck its head out of the ground as a sapling, the owner pulled it out of the soil and tied off its main tap root and some of its branch feeder roots and then replanted it. By doing this, its grower deliberately stunted its growth by limiting the roots ability to spread out and grow deep and take in enough of the soils nutrients for a normal growth. What was done to the Bonsai tree by its owner is what Satan has purposed to do to the believer, if he can. He is going to try to tie off our tap root of prayer. He wants to limit our receiving in prayer what God supplies for our spiritual growth.
FALSE TEACHING: SINLESSNESS
The Apostle John wrote:
"My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One."
Now I want to digress for a moment and address a false teaching that has arisen out of this issue. Some have taken passages like this, which say we don't have to sin, and have come up with the false doctrine known as "perfectionism".
"Perfectionism" is the false teaching that says Christians can reach a point of ultimate and unchanging sinlessness. From that point on in their lives they NEVER sin.
I know of at least one denomination that has made this a central teaching of their churches. And I know of at least 3 or 4 of our brotherhood's preachers who've taught this.
It ain't true.
It never was true.
It's built on a false understanding of Scripture.
It's a very appealing doctrine, but it can't stand up to real life application.
ILLUS: One of my preacher friends who taught this false doctrine invited me out to eat with him years ago. Now, I was there to eat. He was there to talk doctrine. But I knew I was in for a long theological debate when he asked me "Jeff do you believe that you can ever be sinless?"
Of course I knew what he was asking. And I knew WHY he was asking it. He wanted to enlist me in his cause.
I just wanted to eat.
I didn't want to get into an argument at the dinner table.
So I cut to the chase.
"Well Fred (his name wasn't Fred by the way) have you reached that point of sinlessness in your life?"
He thought about that for a moment and then quietly said "No, I haven't reached that point in my life."
"Well, Fred, do you know anyone else who's reached that point of sinlessness in THEIR lives?"
Again he gave it some thought and finally said "No" he didn't know of anyone who was sinless either.
"Well, I tell you what Fred, when you find someone who's reached that point in their lives, you come talk to me again about this and we'll discuss it."
That ended the discussion... and allowed me to finish my meal.
My friend was being honest with me.
A pure life where a person NEVER sins is a pipe dream.
No one manages it, and those who do drive themselves to distraction because they can't attain it.
But now, if we can't attain total sinlessness, if we can't reach a point in our lives when we never sin again... what did John mean by saying:
"I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One."
Well, John meant that our aim in life should be to avoid sinning.
ILLUS: I have often had conversations with people who want to be baptized into Christ, but they're afraid that after becoming Christians, they'll mess up and sin again and it will all be for naught. This is a real stumbling block for many people.
Years ago, I came up with a way of helping people to understand what Christianity is all about. I say, "here's the deal. The more you walk with Jesus, the less you're going to sin."
And I ask them if they've ever skated? (yes, they'll say)
Did they ever "fall down"? (yeah a lot)
If they skated again today, would the fall down as much as they did to begin with? (no)
Then I talk about professional ice skaters.
Do they ever fall down?
Well, yeah, but a whole lot less than you or I would if we tried those stunts.
Why don't they fall down as much as we do?
Because they've spent more time on their skates than we have.
In fact, they've spent so much time on their skates that's it's almost like walking for them. But they still fall down -- once in a while.
John tells us he wrote his letter so we wouldn't sin.
The more we walk with Jesus in His light the less we're going to fall into dark behaviors.
But if we do sin... we have an advocate with the Father -- Jesus
You see, all this starts when we become Christians.
Paul writes in Romans 6:
"...don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- BECAUSE ANYONE WHO HAS DIED HAS BEEN FREED FROM SIN. Romans 6:3-7
“A Gold Mine of Opportunity!” Genesis 41: 1-14 Key verse(s): 14: “So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.”
There once was an old Dutch farmer who owned a farm in a semi-arid part of South Africa which had, over the years, gone from semi-arid to arid. Even though his crop was wheat which required little moisture to grow and his few livestock did not require much in the way of feed and forage, as the land grew more and more arid, it was not long before the wheat that he did plant was stunted and fruitless while his livestock, bereft of adequate pasture, had to be sold. He loved the land. It had been his father’s and that of his father before him. Yet, he slowly became convinced that his was the last farm on the land. He would have sell and move on. It would not be an easy thing to do since the land was no longer fit for farming or even grazing. Who would buy it? Day after day he rode his horse out to a ridge in the center of his land, the highest point on his property. From this vantage point he could see his entire ranch, the abandoned fields and the dusty roads leading to and from his ramshackle barns. In the distance he could hear the mournful lowing of the few cattle he had left. It was his custom to ride out to this point, a rocky granite outcropping in the middle of nowhere, dismount and sit. As he sat he cried.
One day a man drove up from the city. He had seen the ad in the paper for 400 acres of land for sale. The price was right, only $25,000. That came to less than $70 an acre. He seemed all too happy to make the farmer an offer and the farmer was all too happy to accept the money for land that had little or no value to it as it was. Several weeks later, after the farmer had moved family and goods, the new owner came back to the land. But, this time he did not come alone. He brought with him a geologist and a small mining crew. Less than a month later news had quickly spread that a great discovery had taken place on an old farmstead near Durban, South Africa. One of the richest gold mines in Africa had been discovered on a rocky outcropping in the middle of an arid plain. The spot marking the site of the first test core drilling was exactly the same spot that the old farmer used to used as his place to sit, cry and mourn the uselessnes...
The Japanese introduced a tree to the world that is called a Bonsai tree. It is measured in inches instead of feet as other trees are measured. It is not allowed to reach its full growth potential but instead grows in a stunted miniature form. The reason for it growing in stunted form is that when it first stuck its head out of the ground as a sapling, the owner pulled it out of the soil and tied off its main tap root and some of its branch feeder roots and then replanted it. By doing this, its growth was stunted limiting the roots ability to spread out and take in adequate nutrients for normal growth. What was done to the Bonsai tree is what Satan has purposed to do to you. He wants to limit the provision we find in God. (Contributed to Sermon Central by Bill Lobbs)
"… we all have adversaries or opponents toward whom we feel animosity.
He may be the owner of a competing business who’s stealing your best customers, and if you’re honest, you’ll admit that you hate him for putting your livelihood in jeopardy. She may be a colleague who’s fighting against you - all too successfully - for bonuses and advancement. He may be a midlevel executive who’s firmly entrenched above you in the corporate structure, and you resent him because he’s blocking your way to the top.
If you’re management, your adversary may be the union, or vice versa. Your enemy might be people who hold opposing views on abortion or homosexuality, and you’ve gone beyond disagreeing with their opinions to despising them as people. It might be a teacher who refuses to cut you any slack. Or the girlfriend who broke your heart. Or the father who stunted your self-esteem. Or a former friend who broke your confidence and spilled your secrets to the world. Ot the ex-spouse who trashed your marriage. Or the recalcitrant employee who just won’t get on board with your policies. Or the classmate whose popularity eclipses yours. Or the colleague who is reaping all the recognition that you deserve."
Lee Strobel, God’s Outrageous Claims, pp. 10-11
I was reading an article this week about some of the dangers that face our young people simply because they imitate what they see. The article told about the Reebok company pulling an ad which showed an athlete jumping over an oncoming car—because some teenagers in Kentucky were trying to do the computer-generated stunt for real. One of them broke his leg and ankle trying to perform the daredevil stunt. Other problems have arisen from teen imitators of stunts performed on an MTV show. The stuntman there tried, among other things, lying on a barbecue in a fire-resistant suit hung with steaks. A 13-year-old in Connecticut suffered second-degree burns when he tried to imitate the trick.1
The sign next to the expressionless face said: “The Motionless Man: Make Him Laugh. Win $100.” So several people gave it all they had. For hours they pulled their faces into strange contortions, told jokes, made fun of him, did stunts — but nothing worked. He was totally unmoved and his face showed no expression. Bill Fuqua, the Motionless Man, is the Guinness Book of World Records champion at feeling and doing nothing. In fact, he appears so motionless during his routines at shopping malls and amusement parks that he is sometimes mistaken for a mannequin. When I heard about Bill Fuqua, I thought of a lot of church folk I know. They have mastered the art of feeling nothing and doing nothing. Someone told them a long time ag...
Pamela Anderson is leading a charge to remove a bust of KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders from the state Capitol.
The actress called the Kentucky native’s likeness "a monument to cruelty" to chickens in a statement issued by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the animal rights group.
The statement did little to ruffle feathers in Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s office.
"Colonel Sanders was one of Kentucky’s most distinguished citizens, a great entrepreneur and a fine charitable man of faith, and he certainly has a place in Kentucky history. We believe he warrants appropriate recognition as such," Fletcher spokeswoman Jodi Whitaker said.
Anderson has been involved in a campaign to raise awareness of conditions in processing plants that supply poultry to the Louisville-based chicken chain.
In a letter to Fletcher, Anderson detailed alleged abuses of chickens by KFC suppliers. Among her claims, she said workers in a slaughterhouse in West Virginia have been filmed tearing the heads off live birds, spitting tobacco in their eyes, spray-painting their faces and slamming them on the ground.
KFC spokeswoman Laurie Schalow called the move to oust the colonel "just another misguided publicity stunt by PETA in their attempt to create a vegan society."
Some of you might remember a family of tightrope walkers. They were billed as ‘the Flying Wallendas.’ One of their special stunts was to use members of their family to make a four level pyramid - high atop a platform that they would then cross the tightrope with. They performed this stunt for several years.
But one night, about ¾ the way across, one of the young men of the family was on the bottom row of the pyramid and he yelled out, “I cannot hold any longer.” And with that, his knee buckled and the entire family fell the pavement below. Many were crippled for life and one died. All because the pressure was so much on one person that his entire world around him collapsed.
Have you ever felt like you were under such a great pressure that your world could collapse at any moment? Whether it be the pressures of schoolwork, a job, family pressures, or anything else, have you ever felt like yelling, “I can’t do this any more!” That is the exact moment you need to call out to Christ, and say, “I can’t do this any more – without You, Lord!”