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The 2x4 and the Hammer

Many of you know my dad...

Or have heard about his wild escapades. My dad has an extremely high energy level and is always looking for something which will physically challenge him... you know... things like cutting down (and cutting up) 7 trees to clear a path for his DirecTV satellite dish. But that's a different story for a different lesson. The story coming to my mind this week about my dad involved a grapefruit tree at his place in Florida... more specifically... a grapefruit tree needing pruning. So... out came the chainsaw... and the "Dutch Energy" to get this tree under control. It didn't take long for dad to get the tree pruned to his satisfaction. However... over the next few weeks and months following, dad discovered the tree was producing blossoms, but had stopped producing grapefruit... just a bunch of beautiful blossoms and leaves. Not knowing what to do about it, he decided to wait until he returned the next season, hoping the tree would come to its senses and start producing fruit.

The next year...

When mom and dad arrived in Florida for the winter, dad’s hopes were dashed when he went out to inspect the grapefruit tree, to be greeted once again with a bountiful crop of very strong blossoms and leaves. As he was standing by the tree, trying to ascertain his next step of action, dad's neighbor came over and asked, "What's up, Dutch?" Dad then explained the situation to him, to which the neighbor quietly responded, "I'll be right back..." Dad could hear his neighbor scrounging around in his work shed next door and watched inquisitively as the guy came out of the shed with a 2x4 slung over his shoulder and a hammer in his hand. He walked right past dad, walked straight up to the grapefruit tree, laid the 2x4 on the trunk of the tree and hauled off and smacked the 2x4 with the hammer as hard as he could. Then he turned around and told dad, "There... that should do it. You over pruned the tree last year and put it into shock. We needed to shock the tree back into producing fruit. Smacking the tree with the 2x4 and hammer should do the trick". Sure enough... the tree started to produce beautiful grapefruit once again.

Things will happen in your life...

Which make you feel like you've just been smacked with a 2x4 and hammer. This just happened to me last week, when some very dear people in my life informed me they were moving to Florida. My wife and I both felt the same familiar feeling we felt when our kids told us they were moving out of state... like the wind had been knocked out of us. I really believe the Lord reminded me of my dad's grapefruit tree story to show me His desire for my wife and I to bear greater fruit... this situation is a wake-up call to move into greater positions of ministry... to position ourselves in the place of greatest potential and watch God use us to bring His Kingdom here to earth. Maybe I had gotten a little complacent and needed to be "shocked" back into a new revelation of God's call on my life. Our human nature has a tendency to settle into something which feels comfortable... to settle for our daily routines... to settle for a lifestyle that isn't passionately burning with the fire of God. I've recognized this week I've done this... I've settled. I needed to be stirred up in my most holy faith. I needed to have my spiritual trunk smacked!

Feel like you've been smacked lately?

Don't lose hope! You're about to produce an abundant harvest of fruit which would not have been possible if you had not been introduced to the 2x4 and hammer of your current situation. Pray the Lord of the harvest will produce in you a 100 fold return.

Oh... I almost forgot...

My favorite part of my dad's grapefruit tree story. My dad's story got back to his barber. The next time my dad was due for a haircut (on a head that produces very little hair, I might add), the barber went to the back room and came back with a 2x4 and hammer in his hand... telling my dad, if he smacked him side of the head with the 2x4 and hammer, maybe... just maybe...

Mark 4:8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!

John 15:1-5 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

Luke 8:15 And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.

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