Unless you’re a tree enthusiast, you probably don’t think about planting, growing, or celebrating trees very often.
I know I don’t.
I used to think that only people who knew about trees (like John Muir) would plant them. I recently learned that some 7,000 trees are planted… every minute. That’s 5 million trees, everyday - 158 million trees, each month.
That’s a lot of trees.
The same is true about faith.
I think sometimes we think that only people know a lot about God, Jesus, and faith can “plant” it in somebody else. If that’s the case, then planting would be slow-going. But, I wonder what would happen if everyone who had an ounce of love for Jesus or a nugget of knowledge about faith would pass it onto someone in another generation - older or younger.
In other words, what would happen if we planted, nurtured, and celebrated a Tree of Faith, everyday?
Afterall, Mark 4:32 says a tiny mustard seed, “grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
So, confession - every tree I’ve planted by myself has either died or uprooted in a midwest windstorm. But, I have learned a thing or two about planting tiny seeds of Jesus Trees.
Here are four things I have learned along the way (and how you can join me in planting a Jesus Tree).
Seeds take a long time to germinate. Whether they’re your spring garden seeds or seeds of Jesus’ encouragement sown into the heart of a loved one - seeds take time to begin to sprout. Sometimes, they take root and it’s weeks (sometimes years) to see anything pop out of the ground. And, that’s OK. Be patient.
I often think about how patient Jesus must be with me.
Jesus Trees take time to grow - at least trees that are deeply rooted in Him.
If you're not gentle with seedlings, they will die. When you begin learning how to use a garden tool, you must use it gently. Small movements. You learn how it works so that you don’t hurt yourself or the plants you’re tending to. The same is true with God’s Word. I think sometimes we handle God’s truth like a sword. And while it’s true that God’s Word is like a sword, a tool (or weapon) that is not properly used hurts everybody in its path.
I recently had some very “real” conversations with a group of Christians about some very “real life” things. They know the truth. I learned that in their past, they’ve been beaten down by the truth. They didn’t need another sword to cut them down. They needed the watering can of grace to know that even in their searching for their “true” identity (in Christ!), they are unconditionally loved and completely accepted in the love of Jesus Christ. Not even the confusion and brokenness in that part of their lives can keep them from the reckless love of God. I needed to be gentle… and I’m guessing you might need to be gentle (and yet bold!) with God’s Word, too.
It’s not a matter of life or death.
The poles of whether a tree lives or dies are pretty draconian. There is a lot of life that happens between the time a seed is planted and when a mature tree is cut down, harvested, or dies.
I think sometimes when we are growing Jesus Trees, we get tricked into believing everything is an urgent matter. A situation where repentance needs to happen right away.
We need to remember that growth takes time. Resolution and reconciliation does not always happen after the first, second, or even fifth conversations. And afterall, resolution and reconciliation does not determine life or death - the grace of Jesus has already determined that! We simply get to be part of giving nutrients to the Jesus Tree. Nutrients like the grace, love, forgiveness, and loving exhortation/encouragement to live a life like Jesus that has first been afforded to us through God’s Holy Spirit that is alive in us.
Take the pressure off.
It’s easy to put our sense of success and failure into what we do. I mean, if my garden doesn’t produce the yields that I expect, I beat myself up over it.
The same is true with Jesus Trees.
Some of us beat ourselves up over looking at our kids, grandkids, parents, and friends and wonder if they’re going to ever get to where we expect them to be in their relationship with Jesus.
I’m reminded of Genesis 2:5: The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
Take the pressure off. God’s got this. Your success or failure of planting, nurturing, and growing Jesus Trees is not all on you. It’s never been on you. You’re simply asked to tend to it.
So, what are we waiting for?
Let’s go plant, nurture, and thank God for the Jesus Trees around us - older and younger ones!
And most of all, I thank God for you being a Jesus Tree… planted exactly where God wants you to be… to share your fruit in God’s time… so that you can plant, nurture, and celebrate more Jesus Trees in the days and years to come.
Sundays, May 2- June 27
Families with children will connect together in worship with family in singing, the creed, communion, prayers, kids’ message, etc. After this, kids in preschool through 5th grade will meet their Shepherds in the Lobby, and head to the Fellowship Hall for Kids Connect, which is age-appropriate teaching and activities led by trusted adults in a safe environment while adults remain in the Worship Center for their own teaching time and closing song. When service ends, parents will pick up their kids in the Fellowship Hall
Why are we making this shift? We dream that every young person would grow and continue in their faith long after their early years at OSLC. Research shows that intergenerational worship and informal faith conversations are two of the most impactful elements for young people in their faith formation. To learn more about this research, click here.
We are so excited to see all your kids in this new experience!
How Do I Register My Child? Registration to attend worship opens Monday at 7:30am for the following Sunday at our central hub oslc.com. You must register your family for worship and then follow the prompts to register your child for Kids Connect. If you are unable to reserve a spot, please consider signing up for a different time or reserve a spot on the waitlist.
Contact Dereem if you have any questions.
If you would like to be added to our Kids emails on Sundays please contact Angela.
It has been a week after we celebrated God’s Easter peace that we receive through Jesus’ resurrection. How is God continuing to give you peace and restore your soul?
For me, it is driving my in-law’s car from Indiana to California (they’re moving later this spring). So, instead of writing much more, I’m going to share some pictures of how God has reminded me of Jesus’ constant peace in my life - even as He restores my soul with so many good things.
Me and my parents at their new home in Nebraska - a place of constant love, encouragement, and acceptance. It’s the first time we’ve seen each other (in person) since July 2019!
As I pulled off by Exit 59 in Western Nebraska, I’m thinking about and thanking God for all my friends I’ve made over the years... especially those from Nebraska and Wyoming (you know who you are!).
I didn’t get a picture, but I got to hang with my sister and her family (including their 3-week old son!).
I got to pull off and snap this picture near the Wyoming/Utah border. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19) and “look, I’m doing a new thing” (even in Wyoming and Utah).
I’m in Salt Lake City tonight (as I’m writing this). The solitude and silence of a solo road trip has reminded me of Jesus’ constant and faithful peace and work in my life and in our world. . . And I can’t wait to share that same constant and faithful peace with you.
Because that’s how Easter peace works.
God gives His peace to us in Jesus.
We experience Jesus’ Easter peace.
We give that same peace away to others.
I’m curious how God continues to give you peace and restore your soul in these days and weeks after Easter. Send me a note and I’ll respond back after April 18.
I recently read a BBC article about why Good Friday is called Good Friday.
I found it interesting that some would say that linguistically, “Good” is a corruption of the word, “God’s” - so it was originally God’s Friday.
I also learned that “the earliest known use of "guode friday" is found in The South English Legendary, a text from around 1290, according to the dictionary. According to the Baltimore Catechism - the standard US Catholic school text from 1885 to the 1960s, Good Friday is good because Christ "showed His great love for man, and purchased for him every blessing".
It's also interesting to me (maybe not to everybody) that both Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions often refer to the entire week between Palm Sunday and Easter as “Holy Week” - hence, “Holy Friday”.
I’m reminded of something I learned in one of my seminary Biblical Interpretation classes: words are just combinations of symbols to communicate meaning.
My point is that whether you call it Good, Holy, God’s, or just “Friday” - the meaning is the same. For Jesus followers, it’s “all the above”.
With that said - here’s why I think it matters for Easter Sunday…
And that’s why God’s, Good, and Holy Friday matters to Easter. It’s a mystery. It cannot be explained. It cannot be reasoned.
And Jesus did it all for you. So that however we experience the brokenness of our human experience, the mysteries that make today God’s Friday… a Good Friday… a Holy Friday… matter because to get to the supernatural and mysterious reality of Sunday’s hope, peace, and joy - we must experience the mystery of Friday.
The OSLC ministry team is a growing collection of women and men who live as a family on mission, leading the OSLC family in connecting an unchanging God with a changing world by loving God, loving people, and living like Jesus.