Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Building Wisely: Laying the Foundation

Good morning, I trust you’ve had a great week!

We’re going to take a few minutes and look at 1 Corinthians 3. It’s an essential passage, and we’re going to read several verses beginning with verse 9.

Apostle Paul is writing, and he says, “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.” Of course, Paul’s talking about the fact that he’s an apostle and also referencing others in ministry such as teachers, instructors, etc. He is drawing the simile regarding the way God views the lives of people being like a field that is tended, nurtured, and cared for. He’s also making the comparison that it is like building a building, and in order to construct a structure properly, there has to be a secure foundation in place. You don’t lay the block before the foundation has been laid. You don’t put a roof on before the walls go up!

Apostle Paul continues in verse 10, “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it.” God desires that you and I function as wise master builders who understand how essential it is to have a great, solid foundation. Listen, not every foundation is suited for every building!

A foundation must hold the entire building. It’s an amazing thing. If all you’re doing is building a house on a concrete slab in Florida, the foundation on that type of structure is only about a foot deep! You don’t have to dig down very far, and then you pour the slab. You cannot use the foundation of a residential home in Florida for a power plant or an apartment building! Those would both require pile-driving and concrete being poured many feet into the ground . . . deep, deep, deep.

We would be wise master builders if we'd check our foundation every once in a while! The footing, or footer, is essential. The block layers will come behind the concrete workers that have set the footings in place. The next thing you know, if the footer is not plumb and true, the walls will not be straight! If that happens, then you'll end up with a building that is out of whack.

That is why there might be a lot of wacky Christians in the world today. I’m not judging you; I’m just saying, there’s too much wackiness in the Kingdom. A lot of foundations have not been set properly in order, and a building can only go as high as the foundation is strong to hold it up! Are you with me?

We can’t try to build a skyscraper on a residential foundation. If the foundation is not deep enough to bear the weight or stress of your building, then you need to go back and put in a deeper foundation.

Paul regards himself here as a wise master builder, but then he makes a very important statement in the second half of verse 10, “Let each one (you and me) take heed how he builds on it.” In other words, it is up to you and I to pay attention and to give thought to how we build upon the foundation. He has already told us that the foundation that is set is Jesus Christ. He is the One upon which eternity rests.

Let’s consider the doctrine of Christ as found in Hebrews 6:1-2. Many Christians don’t even know what the doctrine of Christ is! Oh, they know Jesus, but they don’t know the foundational principles according to the Scripture. Many of you are saying, “Gosh, I don’t even know what they are.”

Therefore, that is your homework for this week! Open up your Bible to Hebrews 6, verses 1 and 2, and you’ll see that there are six foundational principles listed. If you already are aware of the basic principles as found in Hebrews 6, then I encourage you to read through them once again and refresh your memory as we’ll pick up right here next week.

May God bless you today in all that you do. Vickie and I send our love and prayers, and as always, we look forward to hearing from you.

Grace and peace,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Building Wisely

Greetings from the beautiful Dominican Republic!

Today I want to talk with you about something that is important in each of our lives and that is in regard to how we build. We are all involved with building something. God has created us to be builders! He put within every one of us—whether we are male or female, young or old—a desire to be productive, to achieve, to succeed, and to build. That desire is part of who we are because it is part of who God is. 

So today I would like us to consider not only what we are building but also how we are building. Just because we are building something doesn’t mean that we’re using wisdom, and it’s easy to think that we’re being wise wherein we may actually be proceeding ahead foolishly. In order to have a proper perspective, I want us to go right back to our creation. We should ask ourselves: “Why am I here? What is God’s ultimate purpose for giving me life?” 

We could study the Westminster Protestant Catechism, and find that they have cooked man’s existence down to two principal points:

1.     To glorify God

2.     To enjoy Him forever

Sometimes we get hung up on the “enjoying” part! We don’t think God exists for us to enjoy Him. God wants this to be fun! We would do well to ask ourselves this question every once in a while: “Am I having fun yet?” God does not want this to be drudgery. I know that there’s something to be said in regard to the “baptism of suffering,” but even in that, we are supposed to count it all joy! God wants us to enjoy this Christian experience, this journey, and He wants us to be reminded of why He has given us life. He didn’t have to do that; He was very sufficient in and of Himself. He chose to create you and I, to give us life, and to place us on this earth for such a time as this! 

We exist for a purpose, but ultimately, before we can break down all the bits and pieces of that purpose, we must understand that it is for His glory and that He would have us to enjoy Him forever. God’s not a mean old Daddy; He’s a good, good Daddy! He loves us and wants what is best for us, and He knows what that is better than we do ourselves!

With all of that in mind, each of us is called and placed here on the earth to work, build, and to do so according to the purposes and plans of God. We all have the desire to build, but are we doing so according to the plan of God? I think the most essential part of what we’re talking about is that it’s not what we build that is of the utmost importance, it is how we build. 

In the Kingdom of God, motivation is everything in regard to pleasing Him. Now, we being human, we judge nearly everything on what we see, what we hear, and how we feel. We determine what’s good by those three factors. We tend to follow the proverbial saying of, “I calls them as I sees them.” 

We judge based on appearance and what we think we hear, when many times what we heard was not even what was being said. We will immediately think we heard something and then begin to quickly judge the motivation of other people as though we are able to see his or her heart! We would never stop to consider that what we heard them say was not even what they said! 

There’s example after example in Scripture of this in action. In fact, wars have been waged, blood has been shed, and lives have been lost . . . all based upon misperception and bad judgment. We find people judging people and their motivation and half the time we don’t even know our own! Come on, somebody. 

We think we know our hearts. “I’ve searched my heart.” Well, it’s about time you let God do that. He may have a different determination. 

This really is a positive message, and we will continue on with it in the next blog. It is certainly valuable to consider this topic of how we are building. We’ll be looking at this in greater depth and hopefully be able to accurately evaluate if our building has the proper foundation needed in order to support God’s purpose in our lives. In the meantime, may God bless you abundantly in everything you put your hand to, and I’ll be in touch again next week. 

Grace and Peace,