Last year when we were tasked with finding a new children’s minister, our personnel committee did some interviews but could not find the right person for the job.
Meanwhile, Alison Lambrechts and Brinna Gamblin were doing a great job and convinced us that they felt called to continue the work as a team.
With their educational backgrounds and experience with children, they had ample qualifications, and they had life experience as parents.
It’s been almost a year since they took over the job and what they are doing is remarkable. They have just conducted the first-ever virtual Vacation Bible School at our church! That wasn’t something anyone saw coming but they adapted and made it happen. Because of their hard work over 100 children were able to learn about Jesus in their homes this week!
I also want to thank Hugo Lambrechts and Stewart Gamblin for helping their spouses with some of the work.
I also want to thank every parent that has taken the time to help your child with their crafts, Bible lessons, videos, and songs.
Children, we thank you for taking the time this week to learn about Jesus.
This year’s Vacation Bible School theme is Concrete and Cranes. Obviously, t’s a builder’s theme.
I think most people know that Jesus was a carpenter.
We are told that in Mark’s gospel, chapter 6.
The Greek word that is translated “carpenter” is the word “tekton.”
A tekton is more like a construction worker, a builder, or a craftsman. (https://www.quora.com/What-kind-of-carpentry-tools-and-techniques-would-Jesus-have-access-to-would-they-be-similar-to-Japanese-tools-for-manual-woodworking)
However, Jesus was not a carpenter in the way you might think.
If you were to go to Israel, you would discover that there are a lot more rocks there than trees. Most likely, Jesus worked more with stone than with wood. (Ibid)
When Jesus talks about building a house and anchoring its foundation to solid rock, you can be sure that Jesus knew what he was talking about from experience.
He had seen the difference between those people that had taken the time to build their house the right way and those who had cut corners and thought their house was just fine where it was until it wasn’t.
Early on in Jesus’ ministry, he taught a large group of people on a Galilean Hillside. On that hillside, Jesus gave them many of the building materials that they needed to build a solid life.
He told them that they needed to
- Forgive others of their trespasses
- Do to others as you want to them to do unto you
- Love your enemies
- Pray for those who persecute you
- Turn the other cheek
- Go the extra mile
- Do not lust after another person
- Do not stay angry with your friend
- You are the light of the world
- You are the salt of the earth
- Do not swear at all
- When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets
- Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also
- Do not worry about tomorrow
But it takes more than just having to right building materials. You have to use them to build your house.
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27 NIV)
We can’t just wave a Bible around and declare ourselves Christians. We can’t say we belong to a church and call ourselves Christian. We can’t just contribute a little money to the church and call ourselves Christian.
The Gospel tells us that our lives must be built on the rock. Jesus must be the foundation of our lives because if we build our lives on anything other than the love of God, there’s going to be a collapse of values and faith, and we will be faced with a crisis that will threaten to consume us.
The Gospel of John uses a different metaphor. John says that we must be connected to the vine. Jesus refers to himself as the vine. He said God the Father is the gardener, and we are the branches. He says that the gardener will cut off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. Jesus encourages us to remain in him, as he will remain in us, for “apart from me,” he says, “you can do nothing.” (John 15:1-5)
Yet that is one of our major problems. We disconnect ourselves from Jesus and go our own way.
We go our own way with our mouth, attitude, plans, money, and desires. We go our own way and seek revenge, harbor grudges, and allow anger to build up and overflow like a volcano.
All of these things happen because we disconnect ourselves from Jesus.
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says we have to anchor ourselves to the Rock.
How do we do that?
Jesus said we must “Hear (his) my words AND put them into practice.”
If we put his words into practice, our lives will become solid, like a rock.
It’s not enough to know the words. It’s not enough to hear the words. It’s not enough to have a copy of the words. We must hear the words AND put them into practice.
If we do not put them into practice, our life will collapse when times get challenging.
A construction worker wears a hardhat because things sometimes fall from above, like tools or pieces of construction material. The hardhat can keep the worker from suffering a serious head injury. But it does little good if the worker isn’t wearing the hardhat.
On a construction site, heavy equipment sends out a beeping noise every time the operator puts it in reverse. If you are on sight and hear that noise and don’t pay attention and don’t get out of the way, you could get killed. You must practice good safety habits.
Just hearing what Jesus said about anything does us no good unless we DO what Jesus said.
The Bible tells us that even the devil can quote scripture. The devil quoted scripture to Jesus. Knowing the Bible is no good unless we live the word of God.
Knowing the building code is no good to a builder or a homeowner unless the builder practices building a house to code.
Jesus said that putting His words into practice is like the builder that anchored his foundation to bedrock instead of building a house on the sand.
It’s very tempting to take shortcuts when building. Shortcuts save money and time.
You can build two houses just alike and put them side by side. From the outside, the average person cannot tell them apart. You cannot know which house was built by code and which one was built with shortcuts.
You will only know when the house is exposed to some kind of stress, like a power surge, or a storm, or a few years of living under normal stressful conditions, and then things begin to break and crack.
When life is easy, we are tempted to take shortcuts in our spiritual lives.
We do not take time for spiritual disciplines. Our prayer life slips. Our quiet time slides. Our devotion to scripture falls away.
Sharing our faith is not a priority. Being a good steward of our time and our money becomes less important. We allow the temptations of this world to slip in like an unguarded city.
When the rains come, when the streams rise, when the storms howl, when winds blow, will your life be anchored to the Solid Rock, Jesus Christ our Lord?
It’s not a matter of “if,” but “when” the storms will come. You will not escape them. When they arrive, if you are not anchored to the Rock, you can get swept away.
You can be certain that trouble in this life will come, and the grief of this world will eventually touch your life.
When they do, will your anchor hold?
Many of you have heard the traumatic story of Horatio Spafford. His two-year-old son died in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that killed more than 300 and left more than 100,000 homeless.
Until then, he’d been a successful lawyer, but because he had property investments that went up in smoke, the fire left him in financial ruin.
As the economy went from bad to worse, he turned his interests to Europe. He sent his family ahead of him while he finished up some business, but the ship they were on sank.
He received a telegram from his wife with the news that she alone was saved. Their four daughters drowned at sea.
As Spafford made his way over the ocean and he came to the place where the previous vessel sank, these words came to him:
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Is_Well_with_My_Soul
I ask you, could he have written those words if his life had not been anchored to the Solid Rock?
Can any of us find peace or direction unless our lives are anchored to the Solid Rock?
Storms will come. Storms of uncertainty, temptation, despair, frustration, and grief will come. Storms that cause fear, heartache, and anger will come.
The question is, “Will your house be swept away?”
We have all heard that you can count on two things, death and taxes.
You can count on something else: adversity, trouble, and struggle.
Streams will rise.
We all continue to struggle with Covid-19. It hasn’t let us go yet.
The U.S. economy went from less than 4% unemployment to the worst since the Great Depression in less than two months.
Just because things are going great for you one minute, does not mean your life may not be a chaotic mess tomorrow.
Don’t think your house can’t fall.
That’s why we need to build our lives on something that’s eternal and not something that can be here today and gone tomorrow.
Paul said this to the church of Corinth:
“You are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually, there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely.” 1 Cor 3:9-15
In these verses, Paul reminded the church at Corinth that when he founded their church, he laid the only foundation for the church that could be laid—the person and work of Jesus Christ.
He knew that others were going to come after him and build on that foundation.
He was asking the members of that church to think carefully about the materials they were using to build on the foundation because God was going to test their work.
God is going to test ours too.
In case you are looking for some building materials to build your house, let me suggest a few:
Is your house anchored to the Rock?
Is Jesus Christ, the cornerstone?
If not, you may not feel any great need to make a change in your life, but that may be because you don’t have any heavy rain, wind, rising streams, or storms blowing.
Why wait until life is washing you away before you cry out to God?
Invite Jesus into your life now and anchor yourself to Him.
You may have Jesus as your foundation, but you realize that you need to do some renovating to your house. You may have strayed from some of the disciplines of maintaining your house.
The Bible tells us that there is an inspection day coming.
If we use inferior materials, the Inspector will know.
If our lives are anchored to Jesus, even in the most difficult of times, I don’t have to worry because I know that Jesus has a stronghold on me.
I also know that this house, this body is temporary. But the Lord has promised me a mansion in heaven when this one wears out.
Can you lay hold of that promise? Do you have that assurance?
Can you say that your life is built on the Rock, on the life and message of Jesus Christ?
If you would like to place your life on that foundation and be baptized in the Christian family, please pray with me right now.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, come into my life. Anchor me to your ways and your love. Live within me. Give me the gift of your Spirit. I acknowledge my sin and my need for you in my life. Grant me the gift of heaven and use me to share your love with others. Help others to see evidence of the building materials of your Spirit in my life as you live through me. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, please text us, at 706-480-8643 and let us know that you are a new Christian so we can reach out to you and help you on your journey with Christ.
Photo Credit: https://biblicalcounselingcanada.ca/2017/03/18/build-your-house-on-the-rock/