Rooted in Faith
Are you in a soil that can give you life and weather any storm?
WE’RE ALL PLANTING OURSELVES SOMEWHERE
Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor of Renovation Church.
We’re all trying to plant ourselves somewhere…and find meaning somewhere.
And so we plant our roots in all different types of soil.
Hoping that by putting our roots down there…we’ll find life, and be “somebody,” and be anchored to something.
And this can happen in a thousand different ways.
One of the easiest places to see this is with teenagers:
At that age, you’re still sort of experimenting with where you’re going to put your roots down.
Are you going to join a sports team, pursue academic success, star in the musical, try and be homecoming royalty!
Everyone’s trying to plant their roots in a certain soil…hoping to find identity there.
And as soon as we graduate high school…we never do this again.
Except, not really
When the soil we’ve been planting our roots in doesn’t give us what we really hoped it would, we just try some place else.
So in college or young adulthood…many try going to parties and drinking, or sleeping around…or making the most friends, or finding the best study abroad destination, or getting the best internship.
But finally when we’re adults…we stop doing this.
Except, not really.
I’m not even sure we’re even any less conspicuous about it either.
Many adults clearly want people to know that they are doing well… that they are ROOTED in their careers.
“Look, I must have a nice job and be successful, and you can tell…by my shiny new SUV!
Or, others are trying to find life by putting their roots down in having the perfect family.
And how do you show off your family nowadays?
You put a really nice stick-family on your car window!
My favorite was once I saw a sticker like this one:
(Show zombie family eating stick family)
Or this one: (Dinosaur Stick Family)
Which…I love the grammar on this sticker…”Your Stick Family Taste Delicious”
He’s a dinosaur…don’t be too hard on him.
(Rooted in Faith slide)
We’re all trying to plant ourselves in some type of soil, and put our roots down into something that will give us life, bear fruit, and hold us firm.
We want so desperately to be rooted in something that will give us life, we act like real roots.
See, roots of a tree will keep spreading out under the ground…searching and searching…until they find water & nutrients to give the tree life.
But what if you’ve been searching…and you’re not finding what you’re really looking for?
Many people just switch soils.
When I was 14, I thought...it’s going to be so amazing when I’m on the varsity basketball team and everyone’s screaming my name
Except two years later…I sat on the end of the bench…because I couldn’t ever drive to the basket with my left hand.
Then I thought, I’m going to be the smartest kid and school.
And I dedicated myself to being valedictorian of my class.
And I thought about it every day, for the next few years
And I did it.
But here’s the hard truth.
I gave my speech, got my diploma, and 24 hours later…it was over…no one cared anymore…except my mom.
It was the biggest let down of my life.
I felt like I had dug my roots down so deep into the soil of academics…and 24 hours after it was over, the tree just plopped right over
There was nothing to the soil that I was in.
And so I was onto something else.
I’d try my roots in some other soil.
And many people continue like this their whole lives.
It’s often why so many people have a mid-life crisis, or an affair, or randomly move across the country, or have wild career swings
Because the soil they had planted themselves in wasn’t doing what they had always hoped it would!
And sometimes that’s a gradual realization…you discover your tree is slowly decaying…
Or sometimes the storms of life knock you right out of the soil you planted yourself in.
The rich person stakes their whole life on being rich…yet, when their business goes under, they feel not just financially, but holistically, like a complete failure.
Not all types of soils are suitable for growing a strong tree
ROOTS PROVIDE LIFE & GROWTH IN CHRIST’S SOIL
And so instead of looking for life in those ways…let me ask you a question:
What would it look like…to be rooted in faith?
To try and grow your roots down into God.
Which would mean…to find your life in Him, and let Him be the one who is the anchor to your life (not your money, or career, or family’s reputation…which you can’t control)
What would it look like to be rooted in faith?
For one, I believe that if you’re rooted in faith, it will provide you LIFE & GROWTH like you’ve never experienced before.
I want to look at a number of passages in the Bible today that flesh this concept out.
If you want to follow along, you can on the screen…or if you download the Renovation Church App, you can see all the verses in there as well.
Just tap Bible, and Weekly Verses.
This is what the Bible says will be different when you’re Rooted in Faith
(Jeremiah 17:7-8) – NIV
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
See, when you begin to be rooted in faith:
That is…You begin to spend more time with God (talk w/ Him every day)…
You start living for Him instead of another pursuit of your own…
What you will find in the great irony of life, is that when you start living for Him instead of You…your roots finally start to hit those streams of living waters.
This is what real roots are supposed to do: pump up water and nutrients that they take from the soil…thus moving life into the part of the tree you see above ground
And when you’re in the “Soil of faith,” you experience real LIFE because you found the SOURCE of life!
And you start to come alive.
ROOTS PROVIDE FRUIT IN CHRIST’S SOIL
Jesus talked about this type of thing when He was on earth.
He loved to tell stories, called parables.
And one of his stories was called the Parable of the Sower.
In this story, He said…a famer went out to sow his seed.
Some seed fell along the hard path, some on the rocky ground, and others among thorns.
And yet all of these seeds couldn’t grow, and Jesus explains that one of the MAIN reasons was that these seeds couldn’t grow roots in that type of soil (rocky…thorny…hard)
But then he says this:
(Luke 8:8a) – NIV
Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
Here’s what he’s saying in that parable: If you are rooted in the right soil…“soil of faith,” not only will you begin to find life like never before, God will also start to grow fruit in your life.
Things will start to happen. You will start to change. People will notice.
That’s God’s promise.
How healthy a tree appears to you above ground, is the merely the evidence of how healthy its roots are below.
And if you’re rooted in faith…and your life becomes more and more about God…
God PROMISES you…He will bear fruit in your life.
In fact, in one of the letters in the Bible to new Christians, the Apostle Paul tells them that if they are rooted in faith…they will see fruit.
If they’re rooted in God (which he calls the Spirit)…they will see fruit.
(Galatians 5:22-23) – NIV
2 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
When your tree’s roots are planted…not in the soil of “money making you happy”…not in the soil of “a relationship (or being a parent) giving you identity”…but when your tree’s roots are planted in God…
He will grow fruit in your life.
In fact, because I believe that promise to be true, I want you to consider doing something.
I want you to consider taking something we’re calling the 3-Week Challenge.
(put up 3-week challenge slide)
The “3-Week Challenge” is this: What if you committed…to coming to church…3 weeks in a row?
Not just today…which of course is going to be a blast…as we have a beautiful day outside.
But what if you said, “It’s time for me (and my family) to put our roots down deeper in faith”
And I want you to try this…
Because I believe that God is so powerful…so real…that if you take this challenge…you come 3 weeks in a row…you will notice God either awakening your heart for Him…or even growing starting fruit again.
Would you do that?
Think about it.
(Back to Rooted in Faith Slide)
Because I’ve seen God do absolutely amazing things when people have given Him a chance.
I’ve seen people who were so far away from God…have their lives completely turned around.
I’ve seen God do incredible things with entire families when they’ve given Him a chance.
I’ve seen marriages restored.
I know couples, in this very church, who got serious about following God…and when they put their roots in His soil…God restored their marriage.
I’m not saying it’s easy, but I am saying that if anyone has the power to do it, it’s Him.
In fact, next week, as we continue in our Rooted Series, we’re going to talk about how to “Deepen the Family”
Whether that’s in a marriage…or in parenting…or even with your own parents/extended family.
Be here…see what God can do!
ROOTS PROVIDE AN ANCHOR IN CHRIST’S SOIL
When you’re rooted in the soil of faith, you have new life coursing through you and fruit growing in your life…and one more incredibly important thing happens: you’re finally anchored in something firm.
This is one of the most amazing things about trees…the fact that their roots allow them to keep standing through so much adversity.
When I was in South Carolina a few years ago, I had the opportunity to see Angel Oak Tree.
(Show Angel Oak Tree Picture)
It’s over 500 years old…one of the oldest trees on the East side of the Mississippi.
This is not actually the picture I took
We got there, the tree was closed, so my picture was through a chain link fence…shout out to Google for this photo J
But how does a tree like that live for 500 years?
Think about how many hurricanes that three has probably survived…just minutes from the Atlantic coast over the last 5 centuries?
How is it still standing?
“It’s roots in the right type of soil…are its anchor.
And this is the kind of anchor you will have if you’re rooted in faith.
Jesus promises this through the use of another metaphor…the rock.
(Matthew 7:24-27) – NIV
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Now you may say, “How do I know that’s true?”
I can tell you this: In the 16 years that I have been a Christian, I have seen “people who follow Jesus” stand through the fiercest of storms because of their faith in Christ.
I know many people who are believers in God…and have faced cancer.
Some have lived…some have not.
But the thing they have in common…is the storm did not knock them over.
Because the “soil of faith” in a God that loves them no matter what allowed their roots to go down so deep…that not even death was to be feared.
I know some who are believers in God…who have lost a child (one of the worst experiences imaginable)…and yet…
They are not broken…they are somehow still standing.
Because this is what the Bible promises if you’re rooted in the soil of faith:
(Ephesians 3:17 – NEW LIVING TRANSLATION!!!!!)
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
When I was in Rwanda, in Eastern Africa last month…many of the people we met had lived through unspeakable tragedies.
In the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, 1 million people were murdered in just 100 days.
One of our translators, who was a passionate believer in Jesus, lost 28 of his family members in 100 days. 28 siblings, cousins, parents, uncles, grandparents. 28.
Most of us couldn’t stand through 1 family member being murdered.
And yet, here he was, and many more like him, still standing…and more amazing still…bearing the fruits of joy, and love, and forgiveness…
Because He was ROOTED IN FAITH
Not in money.
Not in success.
Not even in relationships.
Because every single one of those can fade away.
But faith…will never end
It’s the ultimate anchor.
If a tree takes root in good soil, you can bring ice, you can bring heat, you can bring wind, you can even bring a hurricane…but THAT tree…will stand.
That’s the soil of faith.
HOW TO SURVIVE THE ULTIMATE STORM: DEATH
Which brings me to my most serious question:
We all will face different storms in our lives, but what will you do when the ultimate storm comes: Death.
Some time ago, I spoke with a woman who had gone through a lot in her life…and she was now facing an illness that was perhaps going to take her life.
She was organized and thorough individual, so she had thought of almost everything.
She had a plan for who needed to be contacted.
A plan for what should happen at work if she was gone
Her investments were all designated to go certain people
And of course a very thorough will.
She had planned everything, except the most important thing.
What was going to happen to her when she died?
Because, reason w/ me for a moment, if God is real…and eternity does exist…
than rationally this life is just a tiny moment in time, and then eternity continues.
And so here’s the question: Are you rooted in the right soil…so that when your life should end… you can weather the storm of death?
Do you know for sure where you are going when you die?
It’s kind of silly: We prepare for everything else!
We get the right health insurance, life insurance, and prepare for decades for our retirement…making sure our roots go deep enough to weather any sort of financial adversity…
But why prepare for a retirement of 15 years, and not the after life, which will be trillions upon trillions of years?
It’s a good question.
Maybe because we don’t want to think about it…I don’t know.
But you’re here…so I encourage you to ponder it.
Are you ready? If you were to die in an accident tomorrow…are you ready?
Are your roots in the right soil to face the storm of death?
Because this is what faith is all about….Here’s the greatest story ever told:
It starts, like any good story, with a problem.
When it looks like all hope is lost.
And that problem, is what we call sin.
We all sin. All of us. All the time.
We don’t follow God who created us, we say hurtful things, we damage the people around us, we make bad choices…every day.
(Romans 3:23) – NIV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
What does that mean? Well for one, it means that God is just.
God can’t ignore sin.
Would you want God to ignore Hitler’s sin?
If God didn’t care about what he did…He wouldn’t be God because He wouldn’t be “JUST”
And so there must be punishment…justice for our sins.
And that the Bible says…is an eternal separation from God…in hell.
There is no way we can be present with a perfect God when we are so sinful.
And the story is now at its darkest.
And hope feels lost.
But this is what makes the Good News so good in this story
…but it’s in the darkness when the light shines through the best
See God isn’t only JUST…He’s also LOVE.
And God is SO in love with you…He’s so crazy about YOU…that He couldn’t bear being a part from you.
And so here’s what He did.
He sent His only Son Jesus to earth…on a rescue mission…to die on the cross…in your place.
This is WHY Jesus died.
He’s taking our punishment…because justice must be done!
And the Bible says, that if you BELIEVE in Him…you believe that He died for you…and you want to now follow Him as your God…you can be forgiven.
When you believe in that, the Bible says that God will take the punishment off of you, and onto Jesus…and you will be clean in God’s eyes.
This is why He sent Jesus!
But this forgiveness is not automatically given to everyone.
We must believe in faith.
Hear the challenge of Jesus:
(Matthew 15:13) – NIV
He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.
No other soil besides the soil of faith in Christ can survive death.
God doesn’t care how much money a person has, how successful they were, or even how nice they were to their neighbors.
He’s not looking for you to rescue yourself…He wants to know: “Will you accept my Son’s rescue?”
It’s the only way.
The only way our tree survives death…is if God has planted our roots in His soil.
If we ask Him to forgive us of our sins…and we believe He sent His son for us.
If we do that…He will take your life (and your new faith) and plant your roots down in His soil.
And He’ll not only save you…but begin to change you, give you life…and grow fruit.
And so right now…I want to give you an opportunity to let God put down some amazing, death-defying roots in your life.
In fact, let’s just have everyone bow their heads and close their eyes as I want this to be a special moment between you and God.
If that’s you…and it’s time for you to believe in Jesus…to put your life in the soil of faith…in a moment…I’m actually going to ask you to respond by quietly standing up right where you are.
It’s a symbolic way to say to God, “Here I am. I believe in faith. I believe you died for me. I want to follow YOU”
NO ONE will be looking at you…no one (don’t even think about that!). This is about you and God.
I just want to give you an opportunity to draw the line in the sand.
So wherever you are, if I’m talking to you.. and you’d like to become a follower of Jesus Christ, to enter into a relationship with Him, and accept his gift of forgiveness, I want you to stand up wherever you are.
If God is nudging your heart in this…that means He’s talking to you. That means…it’s TIME. If you feel it in your pulse…in your heart…that’s God. Accept His forgiveness. Start a new life with Him. It’s amazing!
If you’re standing up, would you pray this prayer with me?
It’s not a magic prayer…but just a prayer to tell God where you’re at… the Bible says, we 1) believe in our hearts and 2) confess with our mouths.
So I want you to say it out loud with me. Repeat after me
IN fact, there are a lot of other believers already in the room, and this is what we believe.
So, let’s all say it together with these new believers.
Repeat after me
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life.
READ INSTRUCTIONS FOR NEW BELIEVERS ON THE NEXT PAGE!!!!!
As everyone else still has their eyes closed, I want to talk to those If you are standing for one second.
I need you to do one more thing for me.
It will only take a few small minutes of your life, but I believe these are a few of the most important minutes of your life.
You’ve just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe in any scenario, that requires some more information…
So here’s what we’re going to do…In just a second, I’m going to pray, but right before I do that, I need you to quietly sneak out of your row, and head towards the hallway where it will be quiet.
Members of our follow-up team are standing there to talk to you right in the hallway, and they want to give you some extremely important resources & next steps to get started on the most important journey in your life.
I promise you’ll be able to sneak right back into the service & your seat in just a few moments.
But for now, would you please had out there.
Go ahead. You can all go together. Thank you.
Let me pray.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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