Love God and Love People

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Treasures in Heaven
In psychology, the Law of Exposure says that the input you're most frequently exposed to dramatically shapes how you think, feel, and act. So, your foundation, whether you want it to or not, is largely determined by the Law of Exposure. When you listen to a sermon message, you are exposed to God's Word, and you're exposed to the blueprints and the foundation for the kind of house God wants you to build. But nowadays, there are so many competing voices, and the Law of Exposure would say that we're all going to be exposed to all kinds of different information that is pointing us to other foundations. Whether you want it to or not, these things are having an impact on you, and they are laying a foundation for the house you build.  So, the question is: What is your foundation? What is the worldview that you're building your life on? Is it a political platform? Is it your career? Is it your financial portfolio? Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 that one day everyone will stand before him and find out their eternal home, their eternal destination. In this passage, Jesus is talking about the day of judgment, when the only thing that really matters is the foundation that you've been building your life on. Take a breath and ask some hard questions to consider where you're building your house and what kind of foundation you're using, because a storm is coming and it's an apocalyptic storm. It's a storm that's different than anything you would experience here on earth. When that storm comes, those winds blow and those streams rise, your foundation is the only thing that will save you. It's Jesus who does this for us. It's God's grace that's the foundation, and it's Jesus who builds that. We align our lives, we submit ourselves to him, and we let him build our homes.  Reflection/Discussion Question: Is the foundation that you are currently building what you want to be standing on when the day of judgment comes?
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What Foundation Are You Building On?
You may have built your house on the wrong foundation in the past, yet it’s been able to stand up and withstand some small storms. But things can look drastically different when the storms rage for long periods of time and continue to deliver consistent powerful hits; your house may not withstand this type of storm if it's on the wrong foundation. In Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7, Jesus tells us that you can build your house upon the foundation of Scripture or you can go your own way – but a storm is coming. When the storm comes, you need to decide which of these houses do you want to be living in. Jesus, in verse 24, says, “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.” In this passage, Jesus is defining for us a biblical worldview where you take teachings of Jesus and use those teachings as a lens through which you're going to see the world and make your decisions. It's not going to be based on what other people are saying. It's not going to be based on what is culturally popular. It's going to be based on the words of Jesus.  As a community of believers, we want to our homes and our lives on this firm foundation where we take the words of Jesus and we apply them to our lives. We help each other, we encourage each other, and we challenge each other. And we pay attention to one another's foundations because they matters. The foundation has immense value because it defines the outcome when a storm comes. Reflection/Discussion Question: How can you lovingly encourage a friend or family member to examine the foundation of their life?
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Every House Faces a Storm
Sometimes the storms we go through in life are just a light sprinkle, where things are inconvenient but not too bad. But others can feel more like a category five hurricane, where things are overwhelmingly difficult and seem impossible to get through. Every house, or life, faces a storm; it is inevitable. But what we discover is that the storm we go through reveal what a house is made of. Storms reveal the foundation your house is built on; they do so when suddenly you go through something difficult or hard. If you've been building your life on something other than Jesus, it tends to surface during a storm more than any other time.  Maybe you or someone you know has built their life on something other than the foundation of Jesus, a storm has come, and their house has collapsed. Or maybe you’ve discovered that you didn't even realize you were building on the wrong foundation until the storm came. Many people have experienced this realization in the last few years. When you step back, you see that so many people just feel overwhelmed with anxiety nowadays. It's because oftentimes the house they built isn't standing up to the storms and they're not sure what to do because they've never really thought about it until the storm hit. They just started building, now the storm has come, and it's exposed that the foundation isn't good or strong. Reflection/Discussion Question: What storms in your life have revealed truths about the foundation that you've built your house on?
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Everyone Builds a House
Some of the teaching that we read in Scripture can seem simple on the surface level, but they are not necessarily easy to live out in our day to day lives. One example of this can be found in Matthew 7, where Jesus is preaching the infamous Sermon on the Mount. When you read this sermon, you see that Jesus was giving people a lens through which to look at life, a foundation for them to build their life on, and showing them what it looks like to live for the Kingdom of Heaven. And it wasn’t super complicated. Jesus's teaching was simple, and he used relatable stories to help people unpack it and understand it. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, in verses 24 through 27, Jesus discusses the difference between two men who choose to build their homes on different foundations; one on rock and one on sand. This parable is a metaphor for what we choose to build our life upon. It may seem like a simple decision to build our lives on Jesus, but, in practice, it is much more difficult.  Our everyday decisions matter and make a difference in the stability of our “home”, whether we realize it or not. Many of our choices don’t seem that significant in the moment, until we observe how quickly they have added up. Each time you respond with defensiveness and criticism, you're putting a brick in the house that you live in. Each time you decide to forgive and let go of bitterness, you’re adding another brick to the house. Our habits shape our existence and our future. It’s the invisible architecture of daily life, and it’s the little things that you do consistently that end up having a pretty determinative effect on the house that you're building, whether you want them to or not. Discussion/Reflection Question: What is a habitual decision that you need to change in order to build a life that can withstand a storm?