Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation.
I’ve been to Hawaii once in my lifetime.
Admittedly it wasn’t the best of circumstances.
I know what you’re thinking…when is going to Hawaii ever a bad thing?
Well, it was in the spring of 2005, and we had gotten word that my wife’s Grandpa who lives in Hawaii was passing away.
So her family and I set off for Hawaii to see him one last time.
While we were there, it’s not like you go to Hawaii for 24 hours…we were there for a week, and tried to make the best of a difficult week.
To pass the time one day, since you can’t just sit at a hospital all day, we went north of Honolulu to the Dole Pineapple Plantation.
And, that might sound like a boring place to go, but they have the World’s Largest permanent maze there.
It’s a 3-acre maze, and takes the average person around 45 minutes to an hour to complete.
It was the first time in my life I ever did a maze that wasn’t just short and stupid.
It was hard…it was frustrating…
You’d think you were getting close, and then you’d hit another dead-end, and you’d lose hope.
But at other times it was incredibly rewarding…you had to find 8 secret markers along the way, and when you found one, it was incredibly rewarding.
I’ve determined that if I ever go back there, I’m just going to use my iphone locator map, and track my way through from the sky. J
But the maze reminded me a lot of families. A lot of relationships.
They’re hard. At times they’re incredibly frustrating. At times you have no idea where to go.
Sometimes just when it looks like you’re making great strides in your marriage…you hit a dead end.
And at other times, they’re some of the most rewarding things in our lives.
It’s a maze. A relationship maze.
I mean, life is hard enough the way it is. There’s a lot of rain, wind, and storms that we have to deal with on our own…
But when you throw in other people…
You throw in a serious girlfriend or boyfriend for the first time
Or a marriage.
Or a family with kids.
And navigating a maze…navigating through the storms of life…is that much more complex.
Jesus gives us some brilliant advice on weathering adversity in the Bible.
Check it out on your SmartPhones
Or under your chair... PAGE 788. Keep the Bible if you need it.
(Matthew 7:24-27) – NIV
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.”
Notice…and this is really important in studying this passage…that in both scenarios…the rain came. The storms came.
Whether you’re the most devoted follower of Christ in the world…or the world’s leading atheist…the storms will come.
The question is: What is your house built on? What sort of foundation is your family built on?
Quick aside before we get further into this:
I realize that not everyone sitting here this morning is a married person with kids.
The average age of Renovation Church is 30 years old. So, many of you are married with a kid or one on the way.
That’s kind of the average demographic.
But 50% of you are older than 30.
And 50% of you are younger.
Maybe you’re thinking…oh here we go…stuff about families. I’m not even dating anyone!
Well, then I can’t think of a better time for you to hear this message.
See, there are going to be some people in the room today that are much older than you…and they would tell you…the more they could find out about this stuff beforehand….the better. Good to be prepared.
And this is a diverse church…some of you are single, married, married w/ kids, married and don’t want kids, divorced, single parents, blended family, etc.
Obviously not every point of this series is going to apply directly to you.
But I think the principles are pretty far reaching regardless of your situation.
Jesus tells us that if we’re going to weather the storms of life, and with families…there’s a lot of them…we’ve GOT to be on the right foundation!
But a lot of us…if we’re deeply honest…our families are more like, what I would call, “Sandcastle Families”
Meaning…their foundation is not truly built upon Jesus. They’re built upon sand.
It’s like…you ever see a real sandcastle?
I’m talking one like this:
(SHOW SANDCASTLE PICTURE)
When we look at that, we say, “That’s amazing! Wow! It’s beautiful. So perfect!”
But really…it’s not that great. It’s not functional. If you blew it up and made it to a larger scale. Your family can’t live in it.
And all it takes is just a little rain, and the thing is ruined
“And I think it’s a sad but true metaphor for the typical American family.
Looks great on the outside…but doesn’t work so well on the inside
Many of you are pretty good at making your families look good from the outside
You take cool family photos…like the maternity photos where the dad and the kids all make the heart on mom’s stomach…
And then you post ‘em to facebook, so everyone can see how happy you are. Even though you fought the whole time you took the pictures.
You dress your kids in the hippest clothes…and they look happier AND more stylish than everyone else in their first day of school photo
Also…posted to facebook so everyone can see how happy you are
You and your spouse took the “perfect” vacation together to a bed and breakfast…and you posted the pic online as your new profile pic…because you 2 looked so happy in it…
Even though you made him sleep on the couch the night before because you were so upset at how things were going in your marriage.
In this internet age…We’ve become…almost TOO good at crafting our family and relationship images.
But is your family a sandcastle family? Is it?
It might look really great on the outside…but what about when the storm comes?
Can you handle it? Can your relationship, your marriage, your family navigate the maze of life?
And if you want to build the right foundation…a lot of it comes down to how you spend your time
There’s a century old story told about 2 paddleboats that were traveling down the Mississippi River from Memphis to New Orleans.
As they traveled side by side, they started taunting each other about their snail’s pace.
One competitive joke led to another, and before they knew it, they were in a fierce and vicious race w/ each other.
One boat began falling behind due to lack of fuel. There had been plenty of coal for the trip, but not enough for a race.
So as they were falling behind, they decided to take some of the ship’s cargo and tossed it into the oven.
When they saw that the supplies burned just as well as the coal, they decided to fuel their boat with all of the material they had been assigned to transport.
They ended up winning the race to New Orleans, but when they got there…they had burned all of their cargo they were tasked to transport.
It’s no different with us. God has entrusted you with cargo. If he hasn’t yet…he will.
Your spouse. Your kids.
Our job is to do our part in seeing that our cargo reaches its destination.
But often, in our fast paced, goal-driven lives, our relationships get burned up along the way.
They get blown away in the storm. They get lost somewhere in the maze as we try and make sure we win the race!
And I think that’s where the sandcastle families come from. We don’t have the TIME to really build strong marriages and families…so we just slap some quick cover-up and hope no one notices what’s really underneath.
But how do you build a strong relationship? A strong marriage? A strong family?
Maybe you’re thinking, “Dangit David…stop asking questions and give some answers..”
Ok. Deal…but let’s look to God’s word for answers.
Look again at the first part of our passage. How do you build a HOUSE for your family on a rock?
(Matthew 7:24) – NIV
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
Jesus says…everyone who HEARS these words of mine AND puts them into practice.
I don’t know if you caught it or not, but in the sandcastle family, they HEARD the words too…they just didn’t put them into practice.
See, you can be a nice church-going family…and hear the words of Jesus…but still be a sandcastle family.
This morning, I want to look at FIVE different things you can do (where you can put the WORDS of Jesus into PRACTICE) to build a Godly foundation for your family: Present or Future.
If you want, you can even take notes on our new bulletin as we have a section for that.
1) FIND A SPOUSE WHO LOVES JESUS
Okay: The first foundational thing you can do is this: “Find a Spouse who Loves Jesus”
Let me talk to the single (or divorced people who want to get remarried) in the room… Do we have some single people in the room?
I know we do. Decent amount at this church.
This seems like such a simple thing…but often for single people…it’s looked over
It’s like single people have a list of what they want in a future mate:
Good looking. Smart. Funny. Good looking. Educated. Good looking. Loyal. I suppose a Christian. Good looking.
But I want you to think out to your future: Think out 15 years w/ me.
You’re married. You have an 8 year old, a 5 year old, and a 2 year old
At least one of them is named David cuz you love your pastor so much.
But what do you want? Do you want a spouse who will teach those kids to love Jesus? Tell them Bible stories at night? Love them like Christ loves you?
Or, do you want to drag all 3 of them to church yourself every Sunday, while your spouse sits at home to watch football or HGTV because they think church is a waste of time.
I can not even begin to explain to you how hard it is for people when their spouse, the closest person to you…doesn’t agree with the thing that is most important in your life.
First thing you’ve got to do in setting a foundation for a house, is to find a Godly man or woman to marry.
The Bible challenges single people to this:
2 Corinthians 6:14 - NIV
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
Yoked…it to be yoked like oxen. It’s saying…the closest person to you….has to be a strong believer in Jesus.
And for those of you married to an unbeliever right now….Read 1 Cor 7…
Great advice in there. Keep serving. Keep loving like Christ. Keep praying. There are some incredible stories of redemption. Even in this church.
BUILD YOUR MARRIAGE AND FAMILY ON THE BIBLE
Okay, second principle to building a Godly foundation for your family: “Build your marriage and family on the BIBLE!”
As Colossians 3 says, Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.
(Deuteronomy 6:6-9) – NIV
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
There is so much wisdom in God’s word. It’s not just about all of these rules that we should obey.
But his wisdom provides you LIFE. Great life!
And it’s what we should build our families on.
How can you do this? How can you build your family more on the Word of God?
Start w/ talking about God more
If you’re married…do you ever talk to your spouse about their relationship w/ God?
Ask them how’s it going? What’s God teaching you? What are you learning? Etc.
Teach your kids Bible stories.
Get a kids Bible if you have little ones…and read them the stories.
Do a devotional with your spouse.
One of my good friends has often told me the story of getting up every morning, and seeing his dad drinking his coffee and reading his Bible at the table.
What kind of impression do you think that makes on a young man?
That’s building children on the foundation of truth….not just growing them on the foundation of TV and a video games
You can do this. It doesn’t take a lot. And you will see changes.
You have an opportunity to build your children…or your future children’s…lives on the ROCK.
YOU have the opportunity to prepare them for the storms that WILL most certainly come…in high school…in college…and beyond.
(Proverbs 22:6) – NIV
Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it
What are you doing to build your family’s lives on the foundation of God’s word?
How can you own this yourself?
Remember…you’re building your house. The church can’t come to your house and build it for you. This is why we talk about OWNING your faith a lot.
I think we get lost in the maze on this one sometimes.
We’re so frustrated about how difficult it is to navigate through…that our kids sometimes get left behind.
And when it comes to their spiritual development in the maze…we just drop them off with the church and say…”Hey Pastor Rachel…teach my kids about Jesus!”
And we will do everything we can to teach your kids about Jesus.
But you have the power to have a 95% greater impact than we do.
We’re just building the foundation of a place they visit once a week…you’re building the foundation of their house!
Can I talk to the men for just a moment? Men…the Bible calls you to be the spiritual leader of your family. To be the spiritual influencer.
You want to know why? Because you have INCREDIBLE influence.
I love stats more than anyone on earth, but I think for years this has always been one of the more shocking stats I’ve ever known
When a wife comes to Christ…and her family doesn’t know Jesus…17% of the time, her family will follow her to church.
When a husband comes to Christ…and his family don’t know Jesus…93% of the time, his family will follow him to church.
Men…you have spiritual influence like you wouldn’t believe.
Own this. Be a foundation builder in your family. On the Word!
HAVE PEOPLE AROUND YOU THAT CHALLENGE YOU
Third principle to building a Godly foundation for your family: “Have people around you that challenge you spiritually.”
If you want your marriage to grow spiritually, your family to grow spiritually, you need people BESIDES your wife…BESIDES your husband…BESIDES your parents…to challenge you spiritually.
This is what the family of God is all about.
I think one of the main reasons there are so many sandcastle families out there is because even Christians have isolated themselves to such a degree that we don’t have anyone around us to say to us anymore…”Hey…you know you’re living in a sandcastle, right??”
If we’re honest…most of us are just surrounded by a bunch of acquaintances…not Godly friends…and acquaintances…they won’t tell you that you’re in a sandcastle…they’ll just walk by smile…and gossip about you later.
This is why something like House Groups is so important.
Our House Groups have 20-30 people in them, meet every week, and sign-ups start today.
And they are a PHENOMENAL way to meet Godly people who can encourage you spiritually. And your family.
I think one of the greatest things we can do for our kids…is to have OTHER Godly people besides ourselves around that will challenge and influence them.
I LOVE when I see the family aspect of house groups when you get to know each other.
And I see other adults talking to their friend’s kids at church.
I LOVE when I see our youth group kids talking with their leaders at church…because there are other adults…to challenge them to build a foundation on God.
So let me ask you:…Who’s challenging you spiritually right now to build your foundation? If the answer is no one…take the leap…sign-up for a house group.
Ok, the fourth principle to building a Godly foundation for your family: “Be a Servant.” Live out servanthood.
We’re going to talk more about this in week 3 with our message entitled, “No…I love YOU more!”
But do you want to know the secret of really raising Godly kids? Live it out.
Don’t just speak it. Live it.
There are a lot of Christian parents who are always telling their kids: That’s wrong. That’s not what Jesus what do. The Bible tells us not to lie…. The Bible…
But, they don’t live like Jesus died on the cross for them
Live it out. Live like Jesus changed your life.
If your kids see you LIVE like it matters (not just talk) they will believe and follow in your footsteps. You can’t just talk the talk.
How are your kids supposed to believe that serving God is the most important thing…when you don’t even volunteer at church?
I love when I see families staying after church….and their parents are putting away chairs…and the little kids are helping pick up pens.
You are BUILDING a foundation in that moment. For your kids. This matters. People matter.
That’s 50 times louder than anything you will tell them.
Let your kids see you pay for someone else’s meal… Bring your kids with our church to Feed My Starving Children this Fall…Dad’s let your kids see you step in and wash the dishes when mom’s had a hard day.
These are things that are going to deeply build a Godly foundation in your kid’s lives.
How can you do this? At church? AT home for your spouse? For your kids? Live out your faith.
Fifth and final principle: Live grace.
The thing about walking through a maze…is sometimes you go the wrong way…or someone in your group leads you the wrong way…and you can get mad…really, really mad.
“We spent ALL this time…and we’re right back where we started!”
Sometimes…..Christians get so caught up in trying to do everything right…
(frantic voice) Don’t build a sandcastle family…read Bible stories…pray…go to church…go to house groups…do your homework…don’t date that boy…God doesn’t like that…God doesn’t like a liar…We want to honor God…. Cleanliness is next to Godliness!!!
We get so wrapped up in building the PERFECT family on the rock…we forget that we’re not perfect.
In fact, you’re pretty messed up. If you’re married, so is your spouse. And, no offense, so are your kids.
Building a foundation on Christ isn’t about being perfect…
It’s about NOT being perfect…but He loved us anyway.
See, building a marriage…a family on Christ…is about being a people who accept that they’re…well…kind of a messed up family…but boy does Jesus love them. And man, is His wisdom good. It’s life.
That’s building on the ROCK.
It’s not striving for perfection. If you strive for perfection too hard…you’re just going to take the backdoor into being a sandcastle family again.
Nah…that’s not it.
Just fall in love with Jesus. Fall in love with your spouse. Fall in love with Jesus together. And introduce your kids to that same love.
And then…you’re going to be on some pretty solid rock!
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.