On Saturday, April 9, 2011, several members of The Tree of Life Church met in front of Big Lots to give out hugs. It was amazing how that simple gesture of kindness brought forth such an abundance of smiles and overall love. Sharing God’s Love Through Simple Acts of Kindness.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 3:16, 17
I was in Wal-Mart today and there was this giant section marked EASTER, and in it were aisles and aisles of candy, chocolate, bunnies, baskets and egg decorating supplies. They had bags of candy for baskets, candy for dishes, candy for kids, candy for adults, lollipops, M&M’s, peeps, bunnies and jelly beans in every flavor you could possible imagine including popcorn and cotton candy. It was truly amazing, and as someone who really enjoys chocolate, almost more than even I could fathom. There was chocolate in every variety, shape and size, even a giant solid chocolate bunny, at least two feet tall!
But as I walked up and down the aisles, I saw no sign of Jesus.
Somehow, the story of our Savior’s death on a cross and subsequent most amazing, most wonderful, rising from the grave three days later, has turned into a story of a big white bunny that brings baskets of colored eggs and candy to kids. But sometimes he doesn’t fill the baskets but rather hides eggs filled with candy all around yards and the kids have to go in search of the eggs. And it becomes this amazing adventure to see who can get the biggest basket of eggs and little kids actually beat each other up trying to get the most eggs in their basket.
As much as I enjoy bunnies, they are soft and cuddly, they don’t lay eggs. They have nothing to do with eggs. Chickens lay eggs. If you want to be technically correct on this whole egg deal, there should be an Easter Chicken. At least that would be a little more realistic. A chicken should be delivering these eggs. And no one loves chocolate more than I do but where does it really fit into this whole bunny – egg scenario?
Tonight at church I gave away chocolate in little colored eggs, I don’t have a problem with candy or eggs, but we didn’t go to church tonight to eat candy or hunt eggs. We went to church to celebrate our Risen Savior, Jesus.
This is the real story behind Easter: God wanted us to know how much he loved us. So he sent his son, Jesus, to the earth, to live as a man, to teach us about God, to help us understand God’s great love for us. But some of the people didn’t like Jesus; they didn’t believe he was the Son of God. And they beat him to a pulp and nailed him to a cross. And Jesus died, but on the third day, he rose from the grave.
We celebrate the fact that Jesus overcame death, and in doing so, gave everyone the same opportunity. If we believe in him, if we surrender our lives to him, we will live forever with him. For me, that is cause for celebration!
So, I don’t want you to think I have anything against chocolate or bunnies or eggs, because I don’t. But as you pop another little chocolate egg into your mouth, remember who really is the reason for this amazing celebration!
Father, words cannot express the gratefulness in my heart for your selfless act of surrender on the cross. You gave your life, so that we could live forever with you. Father your death was a time of sadness but very shortly there was joy in the city as they realized that you were alive! It may have been Friday Jesus, but Sundays here!
I love you Jesus.
In your name I pray,
God’s Blessings Upon You
The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
On Sunday, April 3, 2011, Pastor Andrew gave us The State of The Tree Address, sharing all that God has done at The Tree this past year, what he is doing now and what will continue to be done. It was a great reminder of how faithful God is, and a wonderful example of the fishes and loaves story. We gave God the little we had and he blessed it and increased it immeasurably! Thank you Jesus for all you are doing at The Tree of Life Church! Different ministry and servolution areas were set up, it was a fun atmosphere and a great way for everyone to be involved.
Click Here to read all the statistics from this past year at The Tree of Life Church!
The Tree of Life partnered with Harry Chapin on Thursday, March 24, 2011 to give away food to those in need. We gave away several thousand pounds of food to 283 families. Hands on sharing of the love of Jesus in a tangible way.
On March 23rd we celebrated Robyn’s birthday. Robyn is an intricate branch of The Tree. She heads up our card ministry, sending birthday greetings and words of encouragement to all. She also leads a ladies group and helps out in the office with answering the phone. Robyn is a prayer warrior and has a servant’s heart in all she does! Happy Birthday Miss Robyn!
The other night at Bible study we got onto the subject of faith … crazy, huh? Imagine talking about faith at a Bible study, but that’s just how we roll! Someone mentioned that they weren’t seeing a positive result in a situation but that they were still going to have faith. A couple of weeks earlier I heard someone make a similar statement, they weren’t experiencing the outcome they wanted but that they would still have faith.
The Bible says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:10). If we are seeing proof we don’t need faith.
The author of Hebrews goes on to make a list of those heroes of the Bible who kept believing, regardless of what was going on around them. A couple of my favorites: Noah, who was warned of a great flood, when it had never rained before, spent over one hundred years building an ark to save the world, but no one wanted to get on his boat. When the rains came, he and his family were safe. It had never rained before people, and the guy spent 100 years building an ark … that is wild!
Then there’s Abraham. His life is amazing. He starts off being called by God to leave his home. So he does. Without knowing his destination, he took the journey. Then, at about age seventy-five, God promises him that he will have more descendents then the stars in the sky or the sand at the shore. Only problem with this, Abraham and his wife are childless and quite old. But hey, God keeps his word, and at age 100, Isaac is born. Then, God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Come on now, really? But what about the promise? Not to mention, how do you kill your own son? The one you’ve longed for your entire life? But Abraham trusts God and so he takes Isaac off to do the deed and just in the nick of time the angel of the Lord comes to him and stops him and God provides a lamb for the sacrifice. Wow … that is some faith!
There are more … look at Moses. He starts his life out floating down the Nile in a basket, his mom’s plan to save him from being killed cause the Pharaoh doesn’t want any more little Hebrew boy babies around. He becomes the adopted son of the Pharaoh’s daughter, tries to help a Hebrew slave and in the process kills an Egyptian. So he runs for his life and ends up in the middle of nowhere, tending sheep until one day God talks to him through a burning bush, and commands him to go back to Egypt and free the slaves, who just happen to be God’s people. Moses is not so sure he can accomplish this task, although having a burning bush talk to you should give you a pretty good indication that if God can do that, he can surely help you accomplish anything. And in the process, a staff turns into a snake, all sorts of wild things happen in Egypt and then the grand finale involves the Red Sea actually parting and the Hebrew folks trotting across it as merrily as you please. But when the Pharaoh and his army come after them, boom, the water goes back and all the bad guys are killed. That’s some pretty wild stuff.
Noah built an ark on faith and saved his family. Abraham believed and God blessed. Moses stepped out and God stepped in. The list goes on and on. These guys took action first … they walked by faith, believed God and as a result, God blessed them and he blessed their families and their descendents.
So … what are you believing God for? Step out in faith, let God do the rest! And be patient, remember, God’s timing is always perfect.
Father, thank you for lessons in faith, I love these men who took action when there was no evidence. They truly were men of God. Lord, increase my faith. Help me to not look at what is going on around me, but to keep my eyes focused on you.
I love you Jesus,
In your name I pray,
God’s Blessing Upon You!
Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones
But Words Can Kill My Spirit.
The Lies That Get Stuck Inside.