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When Your Flippant Faith Stinks


01.01.2008

I saw Bradford Pear trees along the streets of Atlanta years ago.  I asked a few locals if the pears from the trees tasted good, they laughed at me. “They don’t bear fruit,” they said, as though I was the village idiot. My question was, “Why call them pear trees if there are no pears?”  I may not be the sharpest guy, but I thought it was a good question. When we lived in Tennessee, we loved looking at our five huge Bradford Trees, but hated managing them. When we sold the home, the buyer actually required me cut them down (and pay for it!) in our agreement.  Smart fella. In moving to Texas, my wife told me she’d found the house she wanted.  My first question was not about price or location or taxes.  It was, “It doesn’t have any Bradford Pear trees does it?” “Only one,” she said, “and it’s cute.”  …Won’t be for long, I thought. I’ve spent so much of my home owner’s life pruning, repairing, raking the leaves of, and generally detesting the trees we’d had in Tennessee. Downsize to cute, and still I remain with truckloads of crashed leaves and branches, my chainsaw, and more pruning –even a damaged roof! The Bradford Pear is as troublesome as an undisciplined child.  It just won’t do anything right – and it gets more complicated with age. According to my friend, Steve McCary, the Bradford Pear is like sinful flesh of a not-so-serious Christian.

  1. It looks beautiful when in full leaf, but never bears any fruit – never.
  2. In the Spring, it stinks when the leaves come out – the stench of it’s own glory is nauseating.
  3. If it is not pruned, the branches grow into a complex system, rubbing against one another in conflict and friction.
  4. Left alone, the branches become heavy enough to split from the trunk.
  5. The upper branches can only bear their own weight.  No ice, snow, or wind with rain.

There are times when those who say they are Christians are eerily similar to this fruitless pear tree.  Jesus said something about trees like that.  Concerning a fig tree that was supposed to bear fruit, Jesus said, “…if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.”  Luke 13:9 Don’t be a Christian in name only.  And don’t buy a house with a bunch of Bradford Pears. So now you know.

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Knowing what God thinks: Finding Our Rest and Purpose in the Storm


20.10.2007

Sickness happens. We’re sure of that.

The question is: at whose hand does it happen? Is sickness merely part of the human condition in which all of us are victims? Is my sickness caused by sin, present or past, and a consequence for what I’ve done or failed to do? Is it the diabolical curse of Satan that brings us into physical ruin and weakness? Or is sickness from God, a part of His sovereign purpose and plan that is brought for my good and His glory?

The answer is Yes.

…more

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