Below is the intro to a study I wrote entitled “Roots: Anchoring Your Soul in Turbulent Times.” This study (for individuals or small groups) is available for free in download form (or online) at http://www.wildwoodchurch.org/Bible%20Studies/Roots%20Study,%20internet%20version.pdf
If this intro entices you, and if you (or your small group) are interested in a resource to help you get into God’s Word this fall, then check it out! Incidently, if you are using the study, let me know. It would be helpful to me to know how the study is being used. You can leave a comment here or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sitting alongside the cliffs and canyons inside Yosemite National Park stand a grove of trees you simply have to see to believe. The Giant Sequoia trees of Mariposa Grove are more than 30 feet wide and nearly 300 feet tall. When you gather a few dozen of these trees in one valley in the Sierra Nevadas, you have what amounts to nature’s Manhattan skyline. It is simply awesome to behold.
Part of what makes these trees so impressive is their age. Growing 300 feet tall takes time . . . lots of time . . . 2,000 years and counting. In their 2,000 years of life, these trees have seen it all. They have survived blanketing snowfall, sweeping avalanches, strikes of lightning, high winds, human expansion, forest fires, the logging industry, and the gold rush. Heck, when these trees were saplings, Augustus Caesar was calling a census that would take Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.
So, what is the secret to the longevity of these giants who seem to get more beautiful with age? These beauties were designed by God with many enduring qualities (including fire resistant bark and a natural preservative in their wood), but perhaps their most amazing feature is their intricate root system.
The roots of the Giant Sequias do not grow particularly deep, but they do grow incredibly long. A 300 foot tall tree can have a root system that spreads as far as 300 feet from its massive trunk. This wide base rooted in the mountain soil gives the tree its “staying power” during the harsh weather days of the high country.
2,000 years ago, when the Giant Sequoias were growing their first branches, Jesus came to this planet and died on the cross for our sins so that we might have an enduring life . . . an eternal life with Him in heaven. As we live out our lives on this planet, however, what is the key to our longevity? How do we remain standing tall in this life amidst the forces that attempt to take us down? How can our faith survive persecution for our faith, rejection from those we love, and a general sense of uncertainty? For answers to those questions, we need to look to the book of 2 Timothy.
2 Timothy is a letter written from the Apostle Paul to his friend and co-worker Timothy encouraging him to stay anchored amidst turbulent times. At the time Paul writes the letter, he is in a dungeon in the city of Rome, awaiting his execution because of His faith in Christ. The Roman sponsored persecution of Christians which placed Paul in chains had shaken Timothy and a number of other Christians. Though Timothy’s eternity was secure, Paul wanted Timothy to stand tall to the very end of his earthly life. Therefore, Paul writes this letter to remind Timothy of the secret to weathering the storms that come in life.
Like the giants inside Mariposa Grove, Paul wanted Timothy to know that the secret to longevity was found in the roots. For believers in Jesus Christ, our root is the Truth given to us by God and recorded in the Old and New Testaments. By anchoring our souls in the root of God’s Word, we have the broad support of God’s wisdom for our lives that equip us for every good work and reminds us of the deeper reality of the world in which we live. As you work your way through this study, I hope and pray you will be encouraged to root your life in God’s unchanging Truth.
As you work your way through the nine weeks of this study, you will notice that each week is divided into six days of guided questions. Day one of each week invites you to read the entire book of 2 Timothy. That may sound intimidating at first, but realize that reading the entire book is not a time consuming activity. After all, the whole book is only a couple of pages long in many Bibles! Reading the book in one sitting will help you understand how each part of the book relates to the whole. Day two of each week has you read and make general observations on a particular section of the book. Days three and four include guided questions and commentary for deeper understanding of the meaning of this book. Day five of each week is a devotional highlighting one truth from the verses you have been studying. Day six of each week is a review. At the conclusion of each week, you will find a page entitled “For Further Application or Group Study.” This page provides one key applicational project for each week, as well as some questions for small group interaction if you are working through this study with a small group.
Of course, I would love for each of you to work your way through every part of this book, but I know that will not always be the case. Don’t worry! Go at your own pace and do whatever you can do. The goal is to get to know Jesus Christ better, not complete every blank in a book. My prayer is that you will be as blessed working through this book as I have been writing it.