Before we turn to last Sunday, I invite you to turn out in full force this Sunday for: our Children and Youth-led Worship…our first Fifth Sunday of the year…and our Congregation Conversation on Organic Outreach! Worship will offer a special experience and Message, followed by lunch (with youth-provided child care), and 30 minutes for your invaluable input of your experiences so far with Organic Outreach and your ideas for how we keep the momentum going for this life-changing and life-saving initiative!
And last Sunday, we celebrated the life-changing initiative of our Fifth Sunday Offering so far, burning our first mortgage and already taking strong steps to move us to debt free!
But the most life-changing movement for all of our lives comes from our choice between the two voices Jesus laid out…
The Voice(s) – The Winner Is…
On Sunday, Jesus called us from lives built on sand to build on rock – by living his words that we hear; dig out the garbage that gets in his way; build up by making a practice of at least some word; get the help he offers. (Luke 6:46-49)
- Jesus urges us to build our lives on the rock of his words so that our lives will be full of his blessings, and to protect us – like the cry that goes out when the Panther’s are in danger, “We will protect this house!” We are in danger of our houses, homes, relationships, lives, collapsing when we listen to the sinking sand voices of the ways and values that are not his…but we will not be shaken, we will be built up, when we live the words he give us.
- We know we are listening to sinking sand voices when: We hear Jesus, “Be kind, be merciful,” but we are angry, fault-finding; we hear his, “forgive, pray for those who persecute you,” but we hold grudges, fail to see and ask forgiveness for the log in our eye; we hear his “Do not be anxious, but focus on putting God and His ways first and He will give you peace,” but we seek the “be happy” ways of our culture; we hear his “Give, do for others as you want done for you and yours,” but are self-centered, live for “me and mine”…
- When we do not live the solid rock words of Jesus, we do not need for the storms to come and shake and sink us – we are creating and inflicting them on ourselves.
- Jesus shows us how to protect us from sinking sand lives and relationships, with Rock Solid Strategies – The 1st: Dig out the garbage between you and Jesus…“The wise person digs down deep to lay their foundation on rock.”
- Too often we ignore the garbage, cover it over, get so used to the smell that we no longer realize that it is undermining the life that could be. But any building built on garbage will eventually sink and collapse. That is why the builders of skyscrapers dig so deep. They know the deeper we dig, the more rock-only foundation we have, the higher we can build…
- And the way to build up is Jesus’ 2nd Rock Solid Strategy: Practice his words we hear…“The wise person practices my words!” The Greek word for “practice” means “work at repeatedly until proficient, becomes a habit.”
- We practice Jesus’ words by finding in God’s Word what can help dig our garbage out and give us rock solid guidance; pray it at the beginning of every day; say it and obey it whenever we smell the garbage, start feeling our foot sinking; review at the end of the day how well we practiced it…and get a “rock solid trainer” to help us, hold us accountable.
- Experts say it takes 65 days to form a new habit. If we started Sunday, at least part of our life will be on new rock solid ground, will be soaring to new heights two days after Easter. What a resurrected life blessing that would be…not only for you, but for all of the lives around you!
- Yet there will be times when we are lured away by sinking sand voices to just hear Jesus’ words but not live them. That is when we need Jesus’ 3rd Rock Solid Strategy: Let him give what you need to get your life back on solid rock! It is what the builders of the Chase Manhattan Bank did when they discovered they were about to build on sand. Chemical experts added a sodium compound, and in just six weeks, the sand had become solid rock.
- Within us is a picture of what Jesus offers – It is the life-giving protein that holds our bodies together, puts cells together where they need to be. It is called “laminin.” Without laminin, our bodies, our lives, would be a deadly mess. And the shape of this life-giving laminin? A cross…
- What the laminin cross does, is what Jesus did on his cross, taking away our sins; setting us free from our sinking sand; guiding the way to put our lives back together the way they can be. So, confess to him some sinking sand sin; ask him to take it away; let him give you his words that can guide you to build you up; and lead you to a person to help you…
- This is the story of two men whose lives intersected at sinking sand, and ended up on solid rock – Dick Ranson reached out to Russ when his sinking sand sin seemed to have ended his life, with prison. But Dick lived solid rock words of compassion and kindness for Russ, visiting, encouraging, to see that he could get the garbage out and let Jesus build him up again. As Russ later said, “I can never repay Dick for what he did for me; he saved my life…”
- In the last months of Dick’s life, he gave me these solid rock life words, “Whether I live or whether I die, I am with Jesus. In the meantime, I am going to ask him how much good I can do for others, especially others who everyone else has given up on, who have given up on themselves.”
Connection for the Week: You and I do not know how much time we have to live; but, in the meantime, Jesus calls us to get the help we need to get the garbage out, to make his solid rock words our life habit…and to pray for Jesus to send us someone who will someday say, “I owe my life to you!”