Sermons

Summary: To pass on our legacy of faith to and through our children, we must Know God and Make Him Known to them.

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1. OK City Survivor Tree

The most-sacred symbol in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is a tree: a sprawling, shade-bearing, an old American elm. Tourists drive from miles around to see her. People pose for pictures beneath her. Arborists carefully protect her. She adorns posters and letterhead. Other trees grow larger, fuller—even greener. But not one is equally cherished. The city treasures the tree not because of her appearance, but her endurance.

She endured the Oklahoma City bombing. Before the bombing, the tree was important because it provided the only shade in the downtown parking lot. People would arrive early to work just to be able to park under the shade of the tree’s branches.

Timothy McVeigh parked his death-laden truck only yards from her. His malice killed 168 people, wounded 850, destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, and buried the tree in rubble. No one expected it to survive. No one, in fact, gave any thought to the dusty, branch-stripped tree.

But then she began to bud. Sprouts pressed through damaged bark; green leaves pushed away gray soot. Life resurrected from an acre of death. People noticed. The tree modeled the resilience the victims desired. So they gave the elm a name: the Survivor Tree.

Cuttings of the Survivor Tree are growing in nurseries all over Oklahoma. Owners of landscape nurseries, arborists, urban foresters and expert horticulturists from across the state and country have come together to work and preserve this piece of history. None of these people have ever charged the Memorial for their work. Each year, the Facilities and Grounds crew at the Memorial provides Bays and the nursery men hundreds of seeds. They plant the seeds and distribute the resulting saplings each year on the anniversary of the bombing. Today, thousands of Survivor Trees are growing in public and private places all over the United States. It has a lasting legacy in its off-spring.

2. Abraham planted a Tamarisk tree in Beersheba (Genesis 21.33) – Tamarisk symbolizes Abraham

Genesis 21.33 – 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the LORD, the Eternal God.

• God promised Abram the land of Canaan – in Beersheba, the city of God’s faithfulness, on edge of desert he planted a Tamarisk tree –

• He did not own land; would not shade him or Isaac – by faith he believed he would own the land and would bless his descendants

• Needs to be tended/watered

• No fruit, only shade

• Slowest growing tree

• Planted for future generations [not for selves but for Great-Grandchildren

• Bedouin families want Tamarisk trees and show off their flocks, wives and Tamarisk Trees

3. God Knew that Abram was far-thinking in his approach to life and would teach his children – Genesis 18.19 19 For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.

• So much of life is about the Now and the Me. We seek comfort, enjoyment, etc., but how much will we bless people in generations to come?


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