I spoke at church on Sunday night, so for 99.99% of the planet who was not there, here are the notes.
How can one build a life that is solid? Where the stresses and strains of life don't crush you? Where temptation does not ruin you? Where catastrophes and rough times do not cause you to collapse or lose hope? Where the pressures of life and the world we live in won't carry you away with them? Where you stand solid no matter what comes at you and bad times bring out the best in you instead of the worst? Here are 4 things I have found helpful in my quest for the solid life.
1. all in (James 1:2-8)
Faith is your friend. Doubt is your enemy. Doubt is keeping your options open instead of putting all your hope in God. Who or what are you betting on? Are you waiting for a better hand in life or will you go all in with what you have right now? Trust means there can be no back-up plan if God does not come through. The greatest thing I can do every day is to submit myself to God, to go all in. Faith is always a risk and God LOVES faith.
2. online all the time (John 15:4-14)
Develop a lifeline to God. Get a plan (daily, monthly, by the minute). Don't go anywhere without your Gphone (God connection). Can God always reach you? Do you answer when he calls? Do you read his text messages? Do you have long meaningful conversations? Do you download the stuff he makes available? Do you turn off your Gphone sometimes because you are too busy? Do you forget it at home? Do you get annoyed with his constant desire to keep in touch? Do you block sender? Do your spend more time with your Gphone than with your iphone?
Every well-built structure needs scaffolding to make sure it goes up straight and strong and to provide a way for all the necessary equipment and materials used in building to have access. Set some good scaffolding in place in your life, structures to help you grow straight and strong.
a. have friends who encourage you to make the right choices
b. practice practice practice
How do you become good at anything? How does a great musician come to play skillfully? How does an athlete qualify for the Olympics? Practice practice practice. Make time to get to know this God. Study the stories of his interaction with us. Talk to him, listen to him, worship him, submit to him. Be part of a learning community. Let people into your life. Show up. No one feels like going to school every day, but you still show up because this is how you graduate, get your degree, become a doctor or teacher or lawyer. And those days when you don't have the energy or the desire, someone else in the class will, and you can be inspired by them. But that can't happen if you don't show up.
Work God's words into your life. Embody them, live them. Hammer them in so that they are a part of you, not just an external decoration that flutters in the breeze and washes away with the rain.
These words I (Jesus) speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are a like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit - but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards. Matthew 7:24-27 (the Message)
Have you made a deliberate change in your life in the past month? Either in your actions or attitudes? How many times have we heard something challenging and true and said, "Yes, that's a good idea, I should do that, I want to work on that in my life," and nothing ever comes of it? These "heard it but did nothing about it" areas are where we will be vulnerable in a crisis, where we will make mistakes and trip up again and again until we learn to incorporate the truth into our lives and make a change.
Beloved, let us build something solid with our lives.
Random photos from the internet. Thanks, www.