What Lies Beneath?

Dear Friends: 

Last week, I viewed a video that began with the question, “Do you realize that a tree grows in two directions at the same time?” Well, for some reason that piqued my interest. The speaker in the video provided a lengthy and scientific explanation that I will not recount here. Simultaneously, trees grow due to “gravitropism,” because they grow downward due to gravity, and due to “phototropism” because they use light as a source of energy. So, trees grow up above the soil and down below the soil at the same time. Trees that lose one of these growth systems may survive for a short time but will die eventually. Interestingly, while the tree may appear to be healthy when viewed above the soil, it may be dying below the soil due to a lack of proper nourishment.  

The immediate application of this fact is obvious as we apply it to our spiritual walk with Christ. Our vibrant private time alone with the Lord will result in our public time before others become beneficial as we are Christ’s witnesses to the world.  

How a tree grows is applicable in the world of Network211, as well. People around the world are so engaged online as “Internet Users” that it is difficult for them to distinguish between activities in the “real” world and the “virtual” world. The challenges and experiences in their public lives drives them to the anonymity of the online world to find help, answers, and hope. Unfortunately, even our experiences are proof that people tend not to engage consistently on the Internet for noble reasons and excellence but often fall prey to ignoble activities and engage in the lowest common denominators.  

Yet, the challenges of Internet Users are amazing opportunities for Network211 to share the Gospel. A man raised in a religion other than Christianity and steeped in its traditions has a public persona of being a hard path, thorny ground, and even rocky soil (Luke 8). But, simmering in his heart privately, and unbeknownst to those in his public life, the Lord’s wooing is moving kindly and gracefully and calling him into a relationship. So, he goes online, feeling safe with the cloak of darkness and with the anonymity and security of the Internet, and does a Google search, “Who is Jesus?” He discovers Network211’s and feels the gentle, yet powerful, move of the Holy Spirit that draws him to Christ. He prays the prayer for salvation and writes to Network211, “Please help me.” Our team responds immediately with words of encouragement, Scriptures, and further content from  

The moral of our tree story is that we must never neglect the opportunity to minister to people beneath the “soil” of their public lives and share the love of Christ. Truly, ” People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7). When we observe people, we see what they want us to see. But, only God knows the desires of their hearts and what lies beneath. 

The impact of this is that we must not grow weary of doing good (Galatians 6:9) or we will abdicate our responsibility to share the Good News online. People are searching consistently for content to feed the souls of their private lives and they will be fed. The question becomes, who will provide their nourishment? We, as followers of Christ, must be online and ensure that we are there to feed them with the Bread of Life. 

Thank you for praying, for giving sacrificially and strategically, and for your partnership. Together, we are seeing lives changed for eternity and for God’s glory. 



Dr. Mark Flattery
Network211 President