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Summary: How can we storm-proof our life and future destiny? How can we make the most of the rest of our lives? (this sermon is linked to Alpha course)

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Faith on the rocks/”how do I make the most of the rest of my life”(Alpha Sunday) WBC 28/3/04 am Mat 7:24-29

INTRODUCTION

Video clip ‘inafrica.mpeg’

Well, this morning’s question is ‘How do I make the most of the rest of my life’

- unlike this gazelle

- > hear some sound advice in the ‘words of Jesus’

MT 7:24 "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."

MT 7:28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

In 1174 the Italian architect Bonnano Pisano (pç-zäʹnô) began work on what would become his most famous project: A separately standing eight-story bell tower for the Cathedral of the city of Pisa

(PPT image of tower)

. The tower was to be eight-stories and 185-foot tall. There was just one "little" problem: builders quickly discovered that the soil was much softer than they had anticipated, and the foundation was far too shallow to adequately hold the structure! And sure enough, before long the whole structure had begun to tilt... and it continued to tilt... until finally the architect and the builders realized that nothing could be done to make the Leaning Tower of Pisa straight again. It took 176 years to build the Tower of Pisa and during that time many things were done to try and compensate for the "tilt." The foundation was shored up; the upper levels were even built at an angle to try to make the top of the tower look straight. Nothing worked. The tower has stood for over 800 years, but it leans 18 feet away from where it should be (10 degrees from the vertical, for all the engineers). One day, experts say, it will fall all because it wasn’t built on the right foundation.

From Two Builders - Two Foundations (Matthew 7:24-27) by Joey Nelson on www.sermoncentral.com

How do I make the most of my life… storm proof my life.. . invest for eternity?

- build on the rock, Jesus says. (could have called this ‘faith on the rocks’)

STORMS

Because this passage..,.. Jesus… life tells us ‘storms will come’

- ‘stuff happens’ (to put it in the vernacular

- PPT show swine.jpg

And what’s notable is- storms come to ALL. To both builders in this passage

- “floods”, “rains”, “streams rose”, “wind blew”

o real image to those who have flash floods in desert

o real image to us (remember 1988?). Poltimore.

Just note a few things about these storms and floods

- nothing to do with the PERSON at all- whether they are nice or bad… godly or ungodly

o simply happens to all. A part of being in a fallen world

o Or, to use Alpha terminology, result of ‘Pollution of sin’

- Also- we’re very concerned about the storms

o Ask questions like- ‘what’s the source of these storms?’

o ‘why?’. “doesn’t seem right… fair”

 (the very fact we know this shows there is a God-given sense of rightness & fairness built into us)

o But these things don’t concern Jesus.. He knows it’s ‘not fair’. Not concerned with the ‘source’

- … rather: whether you can STAND the storms

- he’s concerned with your FOUNDATION because THAT determines whether you can stand or not

Lots of people have ‘deep theology’… ‘religion’ etc

- but to me (and Jesus) what matters is:

o whether it’s applied

o whether it WORKS

o (because it works if applied)

Are you building something that can stand? Will YOU stand? Seriously!?

- in fact (taking it further than the parable here- this is practical, working wisdom… as well as explained elsewhere in the Bible)

- if the FOUNDATION is good- storms aren’t necessarily ALL bad (Roms 8:28- all things work for our good!)

For two years, scientists sequestered themselves in an artificial environment called Biosphere 2. Inside their self-sustaining community, the Biospeherians created a number of mini-environments, including a desert, rain forest, even an ocean. Nearly every weather condition could be simulated except one, wind. Over time, the effects of their windless environment became apparent. A number of acacia trees bent over and even snapped. Without the stress of the wind to strengthen their wood, the trunks grew weak and could not hold up their own weight. Though our culture shuns hardship, we would do well to remember that God uses it

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