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Can't Stand Alone

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted November 27, 2013

RELIGION – One of the things I am thankful for this week is the wonderful people in our church who do our weekly Children’s Sermons. I am always amazed that in five minutes they can make a better lesson than I can in 30 minutes. No, that does not mean that we are canceling preaching! Just that if you come to Antioch you are double blessed!

One of the people who teach regularly is a buddy of mine who is one of the foremost tree scientists in our area. He is super tall and does an excellent job every time he teaches as do all the teachers. I run all my sermon illustrations involving trees by him. I did not call him on this one, but Google agrees with me.
I was reading about the giant Redwoods in California some of which tower 350 feet into the air and are more than 2,500 years old. I have always been taught that a tree’s height was determined by the depth of its roots. So it would seem to me that the Redwoods must possess an enormous root system extending hundreds of feet into the ground underneath. But actually, I was wrong. In fact the roots on a Redwood are extremely shallow—no deeper than six to ten feet. This then begs the question how do these massive trees stand a chance of staying upright for even ten seconds, much less thousands of years?

What I learned is that the strength is not in the depth of the roots but in their interconnected nature. Because the trees grow close to each other, their root systems become all wrapped up around each other. This means that when the storms come and winds blow, as is common in that part of the country, the redwoods stand strong because they’re not standing alone. Each of them supports and protects the other. That is pretty neat.
As I look at things I am thankful for this week, my church and community come to mind. We are not a perfect church and Edgefield not a perfect town, but I believe both are special! One of the things I would love to see is all of us doing a lot more of Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”

Notice, the verse says consider. That means to think long and hard about how to encourage people to be the best person that they can be, which is who God made them to be. How different would lives be if our first response was to think how could I encourage and express thanks and gratitude to this person and not how can I criticize these actions?
These Redwoods show a great picture of our needs and the interconnectedness of our lives. Nancy Demoss writes that “We were designed to grow in community together as believers, not in isolation but having our root systems intertwined with each other, providing mutual nourishment, protection, and support.”
So this Thanksgiving, just stop being a hater. Stop being so critical of everything and everyone! The most critical people in the whole Bible were the Pharisees and they killed Jesus!

Tell someone you appreciate them. Get to know someone better. Get involved in church. God’s design is that the lives of believers—particularly within the local church—should be characterized by this kind of interdependence, not merely present in body but actively involved in sharing and giving and serving and learning—together. We need accountability and encouragement from each other if we expect to grow into God has us to be. One Redwood alone would not make it so for us It’s not an option; it’s a matter of survival.

Thankful to live in a Good Town! Now go encourage someone on Thanksgiving Edgefield!


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