Posts made in May, 2012

Empty Effort

Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Quotes | Comments Off on Empty Effort

Empty Effort

“Oftentimes we do what we think is good and spiritual without knowing the Lord’s mind,

consequently we feel empty afterwards. It is only when we follow the Lord that we achieve satisfaction.” 

Watchman Nee, from message given in 1940

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John 15: Its All About the Roots, Part 2

Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Articles | Comments Off on John 15: Its All About the Roots, Part 2

Christians are very concerned with sin.  We see its damaging effects and it seems only natural to assume that sin is the problem. But like the rust fungus I described in Part 1, sin is only the symptom–the expression of our root nature.

This is important so I will further the metaphor of the rust fungus. When the fungus is present, the vine can’t help but expose its presence when the leaves burst forth come spring. It might try, if it could,  to repress it but it’s irrepressible. It’s there–always there.

In both the case of the infected vine and our sin nature, the remedy is the same: start new. Seems like a lot of work and it would be an impossible task had not Christ done the work for us by taking our root nature to the cross.

When we choose life through Christ, our old nature is not only dethroned, we become partakers of His nature–a pure root stock without disease. What comes from this new root stock of Christ’s? The fruits of the Spirit: love, joy peace, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, patience and self control.

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7 NLT

I recently returned to the berry farm I visited last year and the rows of berries were gone.  Every last olallieberry vine had been uprooted and destroyed–the only remedy.

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John 15: It’s All About the Roots, Part 1

Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Articles | Comments Off on John 15: It’s All About the Roots, Part 1

It’s almost Olallieberry season on the central coast of California!

Last year, my lovely daughter-in-law, Stacey, and I drove  to a local berry farm in search of the luscious, purple jewels. We took the tractor pulled hay-ride out to the rows of vines and began the prickly business of picking.

I hesitated. The leaves on every vine were covered with powdery orange rust. I knew what it was but only because I’d seen it many years ago infecting our sod lawn.

Stacey and I agreed that the berries themselves appeared unaffected, so promising ourselves we’d rinse the berries before freezing them we went ahead and in a short time we had picked through several rows. We came away with quarts of  some of the largest and juiciest olallieberries we’d ever seen.

When I got home, I went right to my favorite search-engine! First, I was very happy to find out the berries were safe to eat. Second, I was very sad to read that the vines were in deep trouble and that the only solution was the worst solution.

From the adirondackalmanack I read:

“In the winter, the fungus hides out on the new roots underground, just waiting to reappear and spread the following year. You will know your plants have it when in late May and throughout June you find the undersides of your berry leaves coated with bright orange ‘stuff.’ The cure: destroy the infected plants. Rip (dig) them up in the early spring (before the pustules erupt), get their roots, and destroy them. ”

Like most things in life, it’s not a leaf problem at all; it’s a root problem.

See Part 2, “John 15: It’s All About the Roots”


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Bill Myers at the 2012 Orange County Christian Writers Conference

Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Articles | 3 comments

Bill Myers at the 2012 Orange County Christian Writers Conference

Bill Myers

Bill Myers looked as if he’d come from a backyard gathering. Dressed in jeans and a jersey-style knit shirt, he took the platform Friday night at the Orange County Christians Writer’s Association with a mischievous grin. What the next hour held for his listeners became a humorous but life-changing message few Christians will ever embrace: in the end, it is the weak who win the race.

We know that verse about weakness, right? It’s the one which says, “When we are weak, then we are strong.” Yeah, that verse. The one creatives have a hard time with.  The verse we paste over with the one we’re more comfortable with–the verse about talents.

Bill didn’t hold back; his vulnerability took the form of a king who knows he has no clothes and is happy to say so. He admitted his fears, and his extraordinary inadequacy for every job opportunity that ever came his way.  But like the Apostle Paul, Bill found Jesus met him in his fear and trembling. And to his further surprise, Jesus blessed the one thing Bill did have to offer—his obedience.

Bill exhorted the attendees, “We can write millions of words and never leave behind anything memorable.”

A poignant object lesson about inspiration finished up the night. Bill took a small cup and filled it with water from a large pitcher until it overflowed into the plastic bowl underneath. Bill kept pouring until the stream of water was a continuous flow in and out of the small cup and into the world-bowl below.

On Saturday and Sunday, Bill took leave of humor and became a professor of Spirit-led writing.  He didn’t sugar coat the need for our gifts to die before they can bear fruit. He talked about dreams resurrected and how we can rest in the Biblical process:   

First, we are given a promise from God.
Second, the promise will be laughed at.
Third, we will be tempted to take a short-cut to help God along.
Fourth, the dream will go to the cross and die.
Fifth, and finally, the dream is resurrected and fulfilled in a greater way.

Often, Bill reminded us of Christ’s great love for His bride—the bride He is eager to present to the Father. The same bride dressed in white in Revelation 19:7-8, “Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” KJV

For me, Bill’s part in the 2012 Orange County Writer’s Conference was as vital as the meals we were served by the wonderful Newport Beach Radisson staff. His words nourished the idea that our calling is intended to reign over our giftedness just as our spirit is intended to reign over our flesh.

Binsey Cote
Tree Thoughts Contributor

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Doing Good Stuff for God

Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Articles | Comments Off on Doing Good Stuff for God

Doing Good Stuff for God

It’s easy. Think of a good idea, get excited enough to do it and do it! It’s all good, right? Wrong.

Binsey Cote will tell you all about it. When Binsey was twenty-two she started a crisis pregnancy center, recruited an all volunteer staff, bought a 24-hour hotline service, rented office space and on and on. Four years later, she was disillusioned, exhausted and having anxiety attacks night and day. She barely got through the all day conference she planned and hosted for community healthcare services on pro-life support systems.

What followed changed her life forever.  The Lord she felt had let her down said, “Both the knowledge of good and evil lead to death.”

Twenty years later, Binsey is not the same driven, trying to please, busy Christian. Using the structure of the cross as a visible example of how life in Christ is intended to work, Binsey exhorts and encourages others to live for God eating from the other tree–the Tree of Life.

“Using our knowledge of good and evil to serve God is not just disobedient, its deadly spiritually, ” she says. “For a season things may go well but eventually the Lord will re-direct and that process will almost always blow us out of the water!”



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