Building a strong foundation
Before 1 world trade center (freedom tower) in Manhatten could be built a foundation of planning and preparation took 4 years then another 18 months went into the construction of the physical foundation before anything could be built.
Without understanding all of the needs of the building the building would collapse, without a physical foundation prepared to handle the building it would take very little vibration, wind, or weight to cause a collapse no matter how great the idea without a firm foundation something that is not seen but is the core to the strength of the building…nothing will stand for very long
Last week I talked about tearing down the walls of gender, race, impossibility, sin, and the presence of God. This week I want to share three keys to having a strong foundation
- Be the church God wants you to be
The church is not a building…the church is you and it is the gathering of believers too!
It is easy for us to feel, hurt, alone, rejected or complacent about being with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Elijah got caught in that trap
Elijah felt afraid, exhausted, alone he had just defeated the prophets of Baal, but the enemy had convinced him he was a failure so he ran away and hid in his cave
Don’t be critical of Elijah many do this, they get hurt by someone in the church, they get too busy with things with the kids, they either begin to believe they don’t need others, to be in church that they are better off without it….In Elijah’s case, God catches up to him
1 Kings 19:1
But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
14 He replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
18 Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!”
Yes, God uses great men and women of God but it is always the whole church that he uses
Everyone who wrote our New Testament was grounded in a local church they had their roots deep and were connected in order to grow to feel connected….nothing lasting is built on a shaky foundation
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another,
The early church gathered every Sunday together and sometimes everyday…we need each other…we are quickly picked off by the enemy if we are not in fellowship with other believers
If children are not in church the possibility of their coming to Christ drops to less than 5%
Gathering together is
– Brings healing and strength from the previous week’s walk
– Gives us what we need for the next week’s walk
– Enables us to use our skills and talents to minister to others
– Enable us to receive from others
– We need community to grow (can can’t stir up ourselves)
– Worshiping together is powerful
– God says we should
2) Vision –
Where there is no vision, the people perish
– if you don’t know what you want, what you are pursuing, if you have no vision…. you will settle for what you can get…a job you hate, a relationship that is bad, even a bad meal at a restaurant
– if you have a vision – it pulls you through trouble, heartache, problems, and pain…it keeps you moving forward
– it can be broad or narrow but whatever it is you must know it and believe it
– rules don’t create discipline, vision does
when you are pursuing a vision it drives you to do what you need to, to accomplish it
whether it is vast like being all Christ has called you to be, or raising Godly kids or smaller like learning a new skill, developing a new hobby it doesn’t matter… having a vision will cause you to discipline yourself to fulfill the vision.
Paul challenges us with this simple verse from Colossians 3:2
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
What has the Lord spoken to you about?
Your answer might be will the Lord will just lead me
He has already said without a vision you will perish? God desires for none to perish so He has given you a vision start following it
Would you fly on a plane if the Pilot came over the intercom and said we don’t know where we are flying today we are just going to let the Lord lead…I suppose that’s Ok if you don’t have a destination but if your destination is London and he doesn’t felt lead you aren’t going to get to your destination
What has the Lord placed in your heart and mind?
What have you been created to do, look at your skill set, your personality, what the Lord has been training you to do all along!
Our destination is freedom, anointing, Father’s heart as individuals and changing the world for Jesus’ sake as a church corporate
3) Guard your heart –
Matthew 12:35 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”
Jesus is telling us that we build a world around us, a future and a foundation based on the purity of our hearts
Where you are today is where your heart has gotten you….the choices you made to be where you are have been based on your heart, the successes the things you feel are strengths, and the fears and rejections you battle, the confidence or defiance you feel because of all that is in your heart
Cynicism, sarcasm, pessimism rule our culture, poison it, and have helped to create the extreme negative environment we live in today
It is easy for those things to invade our hearts and create disillusionment, wound us, and create a hopelessness
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.
If your heart is sick you can not help others
If your heart is sick your focus is only on you either wallowing in your misery or on the positive side focusing on getting better
If your heart is sick you can’t fight battles
If your heart is sick you can’t effectively minister to others
Neither will God ask you to engage in battles to stand for other
However, if your heart is good
God opens doors and you prosper
You will come under attack, disappointment will try to come your way but we will be able to fend it off
You will shine in all you do
You will overcome, conquer
You will see things through God’s eyes
You will even remain healthier because the Lord promises
“A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.”
How do we guard our hearts? Love, faith, peace
– Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, Israel hardened their hearts many times in rebellion against God, His word, or His purpose. They hardened their hearts because of a lack of love. It is like cholesterol, it hardens the arteries of our hearts this lack of love is rooted in pride, hurt or other things…ask the Lord to reveal where your heart is hardened and why!
Ask Him to flood you with His love and heal you before you have a spiritual heart attack. Love covers a multitude of sin and keeps your heart soft, and heals it even when it has been hurt
– Heart murmurs are abnormal flow patterns due to faulty heart valves. Values prevent the backflow of blood. Having a lack of faith in what the Lord can and will do causes spiritual heart murmurs of complaining, gossiping, grumbling these things cause our spiritual hearts to have their flow disrupted because we have forgotten what God has done and can do. We act as if he either isn’t real, doesn’t care, or isn’t there
Ask Him to remind you of all He has done for you. Let Him show you that He is in charge and has our world, our communities, our church, and our lives in the palm of His hand when we return to him with a heart of repentance for our lack of faith in Him!
– Congestive heart failure is due to the weakening of the heart and surrounding vessels due to things like high blood pressure and others the heart is unable to pump blood the way it should the kidneys begin to work less efficiently and water is retained. Blood is still moving through the heart but at a much slower rate. A lack of peace causes this in the physical and so it does in the spiritual, anger, surrendering to temptation, and pride are keys to this condition spiritually there is a general lack of peace. Each of these acts like a poison on the body, both physically and spiritually, and makes a believer more vulnerable to the temptation to hurt others with our actions and words.
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Being aware of these things and choosing Love, faith and peace will cause your heart to be protected and lay a firm foundation for your growth.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Make the foundation strong
– making a commitment this year to be in church as well as be the church and become part of it and grow with us
– follow the vision the Lord has given you even if it is just a beginning you will watch the Lord keep opening doors as you walk by faith following His vision
-Guard your heart keep it in line with his heart don’t allow the enemy to deceive you into thinking certain attitudes and things are OK they will harden or stop your heart and limit your prosperity in the Kingdom
Reasons for “going” to church (Note for the screen just app and notes)
The biblical pattern for church is this:
- Every Christian should gather together to hear the Scriptures and worship Jesus with other believers weekly (see Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Acts 2:42; Col. 3:16; 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Rom. 16:5; Acts 20:20; James 2:2; Ps. 84:4; Ps. 37:17; Ps. 92:13).
- It is also good to meet for smaller groups of the Christian community in each other’s homes regularly (see Acts 2:46).
- It’s good to have leaders oversee the work and needs of each local church. Not all of us are called to church leadership, and so we should submit to and serve whoever God has called to lead at the place we find ourselves (see Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; Heb. 13:7, 17; 1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Thess. 5:12-13; Phil. 1:1b; Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Cor. 12:28; 1 Peter 5:1-2; Acts 20:17).
- If there are believers who are unable, for physical reasons, to attend a church weekly, they should find a church or believers who will gather together with them regularly for worship in their own home (see James 5:14; James 1:27).
Here are four powerful reasons you should attend church weekly, and why church attendance can change your life:
- God says so.
God tells us in his Word to “not give up meeting together” (Heb. 10:25). Paul even goes so far as to call the church the “bride of Christ.” If you love Jesus, you will love the things that he loves—and he loves the church like a husband loves his bride. The church is important to God, so it should be important to us.
God didn’t call us to gather and worship to burden us but to bless us. Church attendance can become one of the greatest blessings in you and your family’s life.
- Worshipping Jesus together is powerful.
Jesus lives inside of us by his Spirit when we believe in him. This is a profoundly incredible truth! But there is also something biblically powerful about gathering together with other believers to worship. Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matt. 18:20). So he not only lives in us by his Spirit, but he is in the “midst” of us when we gather to worship him.
- We need Christian community.
All of us long for community and connection with others. God has given us this gift in gathering together for church, and in smaller groups in each other’s homes. It fulfills something inside of us to do life with, encourage and be authentically involved in each other’s lives.
Christian TV, podcasts, books, and conferences are wonderful additions to our spiritual lives, but nothing can take the place of consistent Christian community through the local church.
- We grow more together than alone.
It can be messy when we step into each other’s lives. We are all human, and no one is perfect. So it requires effort and intentionality and grace from God to do life together, even as believers.
Gathering regularly with other believers becomes a refining process whereby we help each other, pray for each other and encourage each other to want to follow Christ more wholeheartedly. It is a beautiful thing.
Don’t let any excuses stand in the way of what you know God is calling you to do. God will strengthen you and empower you to do what he has called you to do. If you have encountered past wounds from leaders or from church members, I’m praying for you—that God would bring healing and grace to you as you seek to follow him and love his church.