from Sunday, January 29th~
   A couple of weeks ago, a boy from the neighborhood asked to pick some of the oranges off of our orange trees. I warned him that the fruit, while pretty, was also sour and full of seeds. He wanted it anyway, so I let him take it. I hope he just needed it for a school project and wasn't planning on eating any. 
   Our orange trees always bear a big crop and look and smell beautiful. It's sad that the inside of the fruit is inedible. In the end, they are diseased, make a big mess and don't serve any purpose. If we were handier, we might just chop them all down.
   I think of our trees when I read Matthew 12, specifically verse 33, "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit." We American Christians are so stinkin' good at looking right and playing nice. We like big churches, big programs, big numbers. Even personally we're fans of big bank accounts, big houses, big cars, big friend lists, maybe even big hair. That's the American way! But I think we really need to be concerned about what the fruit of all that big stuff is.
   If our actions and what comes out of our mouths is bitter, judgmental, and a little seedy, we are still bad trees, no matter what other image we put out. The good news is, we are not doomed to stay bad trees. The hope and pursuit of being like Christ changes us at our core. That relationship and where we choose to take it makes all the difference.

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