When the Wind Blows

Build A Strong Foundation By Placing Jesus At The Center Of Your Life

Dan Franklin
Jul 16, 2023    42m
The Book of Matthew teaches us that it is wise to build your foundation by placing Jesus at the center of your life. We learn what separates the wise from the foolish is how we respond to Jesus and his words. Having that knowledge doesn't make you wise it is acting on the knowledge that brings wisdom. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Steve: [00:00:19] Today's reading is from Matthew chapter 7:24-29, “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. 25The 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. 26But 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. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.". This is God's Word.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:35] Amen. Thank you so much, Steve. You all can take a seat. And as I'm talking here, you're going to see some scurrying around behind me because we're going to be doing the message today a little bit differently. I'm going to be joined in a moment by some friends. And what we wanted to do is we are today in the last passage in the Sermon on the Mount, and you just heard Steve read it, that's how we wrap up these three chapters that are the longest recorded extended sermon of Jesus that we have in all of the New Testament. And what we have throughout this passage is really Jesus laying out a picture of what life looks like if we treat Jesus as king. And so what we're going to do today is a couple of things. First of all, we're going to talk about this passage, this sort of final parable that Jesus uses to wrap things up. But we're also going to reflect back on the entire Sermon on the Mount and do this as a sort of recap to remember some of the things that Jesus said. And as I thought about how I wanted to do this, I said, well, yeah, I can do it on my own. But we like to do things in teams, and sometimes more voices are better than just one voice. And so Dalton and Troy, a couple of our elders are going to come and join me here and grab a seat, and we are going to talk through this together as a team. And really our hope, I'd say we have two main hopes as we do this today. And the first is just that we would really make sure we understand this great passage that we start with, but then also that we would be able to see what the next steps Jesus are is calling each of us to. Maybe for some of you, maybe this is your first time here or your first time in a while and you're like, this is not a recap for me, this is my first time in this series. That's okay, you're still going to get in on some things that happened before this. But especially if you have been here in different weeks as we've read and taught through this extended passage, we didn't want to just move on, we wanted to pause and say, how is God leading each of us to respond to this?

Dan Franklin: [00:03:37] So before we get into it, I'll put the passage up on the screen because we'll have it up there for kind of the bulk of our time. But if you're around here a lot, you get to hear from me, you get to hear from Troy a decent amount, Dalton has been one of our elders for three years now. A lot of you will know him and know his family personally, but especially for those who don't, Dalton, maybe you could take a minute, and introduce yourself. Your lovely family was here last service but tell a little bit about your family and your involvement here at the church.

Dalton Sweaney: [00:04:07] Yeah, sure thing. We've been here for about ten years, my wife Allie, is involved with women's ministries. We lead a life group together. I've got four wonderful children, twin girls that are seven. Abigail and Delilah, a boy who is five named Gary, and then another little boy named Peter, who is three. I'm a CPA and do accounting as a profession.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:29] Yeah, and Dalton, in many ways, this wasn't the reason why we asked him to be an elder, but just flawlessly slipped into really helping us in the financial area as a church, which is so important to us because we want to be faithful with what God's given us and good stewards. And Dalton has served in many ways, but that has been a real gift to our team. And Troy, again, people get to hear from you somewhat regularly, whether it's up here or in different ministries, but maybe you can just give a little bit of an update on your family because you're at a different phase with where things are at with you and Heidi and your kids.

Troy Spilman: [00:05:07] Yeah, so our kids are adulting. So our oldest, Caden, 22, he's helped out with the kid's ministry here for years. Our daughter Ariel, who's 20, and has two more years ahead of her in college. And then our youngest is 17, one more year of high school. So yeah, we're getting to that stage like heading toward empty nesters.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:29] That's right, you're paving the way for me. I'm kind of watching what you and Heidi are doing, as Matt just graduated and as we get a little bit more into that phase. But I'm privileged to get to serve with both of these guys on the elder team, obviously with Troy very closely on the staff also. We have a great team of elders that love this church and pray for this church. And so as I said, we're going to talk through this great passage. In a second, actually I'll read the verses that you see up on the screen just so that we can kind of reset. And then what we're going to do is I'm going to have each of us just talk a little bit about what we're seeing at the center of what Jesus is doing in this.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:06] But let me just read verses 24 through 27 to kind of reset us here, “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. 25The 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. 26But 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. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” So let's just start there before we look back at the Sermon on the Mount as a whole, let's just start with these words of Jesus. And Dalton, I'll ask you to start us off, just what do you see in what Jesus is doing through this parable?

Dalton Sweaney: [00:07:01] Yeah, the first thing that stood out to me is that Jesus does what he often does and he kind of flips what you think is your understanding on its head a bit, so he defines wisdom. I mean, I think of wisdom, I think of somebody really studious, educated, with a ton of experience, a lot of knowledge. But Jesus says that's not what defines wisdom, wisdom is actually the action of doing what you know and what you believe. I'm reminded of James 2 where James writes, that even the demons believe that there is just one God. And certainly, we wouldn't believe that the demons are wise. So just having that knowledge doesn't make you wise, it's actually acting on the knowledge that brings wisdom.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:42] Yeah, absolutely. That key is in the center thereof, here are these words of mine, and puts them into practice. Troy, how about for you, what really stands out to you in what Jesus is going for here?

Troy Spilman: [00:07:54] Yeah. Having lived near the beach, we built a lot of sandcastles, and you build them fast and they also get taken apart real fast, right? It was one wave knocks them down. So just this idea of sand versus the rock, what are we building our lives upon? And just the idea of building on the rock, that we're to be doers, you know we're actually to do the work. So talk is cheap, action speaks, right? So it doesn't matter as much what you say as long as it needs to be backed up by your actions. So it's been said that you only believe the parts of the Bible that you actually do.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:27] Yeah. And going right along with what you were saying, Troy and Dalton, when we talked earlier this week, I felt like you brought up a really helpful point. Because sometimes we look at something like this and we can say, yeah, obviously building on the rock is better than building on the sand. I thought you brought up a good insight of why somebody might build on the sand even knowing it's not the smart move.

Dalton Sweaney: [00:08:49] Yeah, I mean, you think about building on a rock, there's a lot of work that's involved before you see any real benefit, right, you've got to drill down deep, you've got to set anchors. But as you set each one of those anchors, it's solid and it's not moving, so there's strength very quickly. If you think about sand, you can put it anywhere, drive a stake down, it's there. But at no point is it solid, right, at any point the wave could come and crash down the sand and you're left empty or broken. So I think the rock, we know that it's solid, but the sand, it's so much easier, right? You might go for a week or two, maybe a month or two on the rock, and not see any real forming of a building. But on the sand, you can quickly get something sculpted pretty quick and see it.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:37] Yeah, I thought it was a great point, just the ease. So many times we compromise not because we're looking to actively be defined against God, but just because of the path of least resistance. Sand is the path of least resistance, but it doesn't last; the rock you're putting in the work at the beginning for the payoff later on. And something else that I wanted to make sure we caught in these opening words is just, we can pass over the sheer audacity of what Jesus is saying here about himself, because Jesus says the test of wisdom is if we hear these words of His and put them into practice, Jesus doesn't say you should listen to all of the wise people who have come before you and generally follow their lead. He says the test of whether you're wise or not wise is, have you listened to my words and put them into practice? Which really goes along with what Jesus has been doing throughout the Sermon on the Mount, where way back earlier in the beginning of chapter 5, over and over again, he keeps saying, You have heard it said, but I say to you, as he sets himself up as the one that we should listen to.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:54] In fact, for a second, I wanted to put verses 28 and 29 up here because this is the reaction that happens after not only this parable, but after the Sermon on the Mount where it says, "When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law." And so I think it's worth noticing that the main reaction is not just that they were amazed that his words were so good or so wise or so thoughtful, but they were amazed at the manner in which he spoke, that he really expected that we should listen to him. And when it says that he taught like one who had authority, and not like the teachers of the law, the normal practice of the teachers of the law was a little bit like if you sometimes look at how court cases are decided, and people talk about precedent. So a lot of the teachers of the law, when they were looking to cite what we should do, they would say, hey, we'll cite precedent, here's what a former Jewish scholar said and he was quoting him, and we'll go back over here, and we have a legal case now. But Jesus didn't do that, he just said, here's what I'm saying to you. Jesus tells us that the test of wisdom is not just if we listen to wise people, but if we place him in the preeminent seat and listen to him and do what he says.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:19] So with that in mind, we have three chapters of Jesus giving us his teaching, giving us His word so that we can respond to that. So let's take a little bit of time and reflect, there's a lot of content in the Sermon on the Mount, and there are a lot of themes that Jesus covers during this section. Central to all that Jesus is doing in this section is that he's setting up, the way I like to think of it, a sort of an inside-out righteousness, not the idea that Jesus is saying buck up and try harder, but that he is really setting us up for having a transformative reality where our outside flows out of the inside. It's a little bit like anybody ever had a car breakdown and you had to push it for a while. Yeah, like you can do that for a little while, it's not pleasant, but you can do it. It is not the best way to travel. Too many of us, we listen to Jesus' words and we're like, great, we put the car in neutral and we start pushing it and we run out of steam. And we start snapping at people who are like, why are you talking to me right now? I'm working hard at this. Jesus is calling us to ride in a car empowered by his presence and by the Holy Spirit, not simply to get out and try to push, there's an inside-out that's happening here. So in light of that, Troy, you had an area when we were talking earlier, you kind of highlighted one specific area that Jesus talks about as one that you felt like this is worthy of us spending a little bit of time on.

Troy Spilman: [00:13:49] Yeah. So it's about worry, none of us struggle with that, right? So in Matthew 6:26-27, Jesus says this, "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" We know that to be true, right, like worrying won't add to our lives, but it might take away, it might take away the quality or even the quantity. Seriously, one study that I actually looked up talked about in the last few years, 53% of adult Americans struggle with some kind of mental health issue. If you just think of it like our culture, we're just plagued by anxiety and worry. It's just almost like a given, right, it's just kind of like that's just kind of the bare standard. And so I just kind of think of it, if worrying were a professional sport, a lot of us would be professionals. A lot of us, we wouldn't be amateurs any longer, like we're working our way up the chain, right?

Dan Franklin: [00:14:55] We made it.

Troy Spilman: [00:14:58] So we just live in a stressed-out culture. Years ago, I was a little stressed, there was an upcoming event that I was responsible for. So I was lamenting to a good friend of mine who happens to be one of the pastors as well, and I thought he was very sympathetic because I was kind of talking through, here are the struggles, and here are things that aren't working right. And he just kind of stopped after a while, and he looked at me and said, Troy, have you prayed about this? And I just had that look like, oh, crud. I didn't even think of it, like, this is my job, right? And so I didn't stop and pray about it. And he looked at me like, hey, maybe that's where you should start, let's do that. You know, like, hey, that's a good idea, let's do that. And so it's one of those areas that, hey, am I willing to cast my cares upon Him because He says that He cares for us. But I acted like it was all on me, but it wasn't, he asked me to do this. I believe the Lord put that event and that job and that role upon my heart, and so I trust that if I act in faith, he'll give me what I need.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:03] Yeah, and the worry thing, obviously, that hits so many of us in so many ways. I was talking, after I did the sermon on the passage you alluded to, which if any of you were like that passage on worry, I probably need to spend some time on it. That's Matthew 6 verses 25 through 34 where Jesus zeros in on the whole thing and over and over again talks to us about worry. And somebody came up to me after the sermon and said so is worrying a sin? And it was sort of like, you know, maybe the short simple answer is, well, yes. But it's more complicated, it's not as simple as being like, all right, I'll put that on my list of one more thing to sort of try to work on. Especially if, some of you, I won't ask you to raise your hand if you're a worry-plagued person, but if you are, if you're a worry-plagued person and then Jesus comes to you and says, by the way, worry is a sin, what are you going to start doing? You're going to start worrying. Like it's just going to happen. If it's as simple as like, hey, just try harder not to worry. It's like, try harder not to think of pink elephants, you're just automatically going to do it. And so I don't want to minimize, I don't want to take the teeth out of the fact that Jesus really is, the commands not to worry are commands, they're not suggestions, he is telling us to do this. But I think we can also see this as an invitation because Jesus spends that passage giving us reasons why we don't have to worry.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:30] You know, Troy, you read a couple of them. One of them, just being, it doesn't help, it doesn't add an hour to your life, or a foot to your stature, it doesn't add to you. But when we take in the reality that we don't have to worry because we have a father who's caring for us, and some of the things folks, some of the things that we pray and that we sang earlier are those centering reminders that we have the God of the universe who loves us enough that he sent his beloved son for all of us. It's not only that we can say, you're not supposed to worry, it's that we can say, I don't have to worry, I don't have to live in bondage to that. And if I'm looking to take Jesus' words and put them into practice, I'm living in that reality of God's love. Which is a countercultural reality, and, Dalton, that was something you really zeroed in on, just the countercultural nature of what Jesus is calling us to.

Dalton Sweaney: [00:18:24] Yeah, I mean, the Sermon on the Mount kind of starts with it, like, you alluded to. You've heard it said this, okay, that's a cultural norm; but I tell you this, kind of turning it on its head. So the sermon starts that way, and it’s just embedded throughout. Some of the things that stand out to me, loving your enemies, that is very counter-cultural. I mean, our culture says like, you got to get those people, right, it's us against them. Giving to the needy with your finances, or giving to the church, whatever it is, that's very countercultural. Laying up treasures in heaven, even our sermon today or our passage today, building on the rock of Jesus, instead of building on whatever the world tells you to build on, it's kind of striped throughout the entire sermon.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:07] Yeah. And one more thing, I mean, we talked, that you were sharing a little bit earlier where you're at with, you know, for kids seven and under, there's a lot of people here who are sort of at that young kid's phase of life. I'd love to hear just when you think of that countercultural call of Jesus that this is going to be different, we're going to stand out, and there's going to be a cost. What are some of the things that you find you and Ali really leaning into as you try to navigate this as a family to say we're going to place Jesus at the center and his wisdom at the center of our home and our family?

Dalton Sweaney: [00:19:39] Yeah, there are two main things that stand out to me. The first one is financial, and I don't mean what we're doing with our finances in terms of what we're giving or how we're giving. But for us, we've made the decision to live on one income, and that allows Ali to stay home with our kids and to school them and to allow all of our curriculum to point to Jesus and to have Bible time with them and to do worship songs on a daily basis. And I mean, that's costly, she was a credentialed high school math teacher, she is a very bright woman, smarter than me by a lot of measures, but she's staying home.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:18] Everybody agrees.

Dalton Sweaney: [00:20:19] Yeah, nobody questions that, I know.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:21] Nobody was like, no, no, no.

Dalton Sweaney: [00:20:26] But if you think about whatever her annual salary is and what our take-home would be, I mean, that's a massive amount of money every month that we're forgoing for the greater good of her being able to be with our children. And I'm not up here saying homeschooling is the answer and public schooling is bad, I don't believe that. I was public schooled, and Ali was public schooled, I think there are scenarios where that absolutely makes sense. But for us and given our dynamic and our setup, that was something that we really leaned into, and it is costly, no doubt.

Dalton Sweaney: [00:20:56] And then the other one is that Ali and I both played college soccer, I was a college coach for ten years, and club soccer dominated our youth, and we absolutely loved it, and it's some of my favorite memories and her favorite memories. Our kids play soccer, our five-year-old just had a birthday and he wanted an LAFC party, which is a big soccer team here. We are a soccer household, and so club soccer is kind of on our radar, our kids are fairly good. So we're having to entertain that, okay, if we go the club soccer route, that means we're going to either have to tell our team, hey, we're not going to be at Sunday mornings, we just can't attend those games because we're going to be at church. That's a terrible answer, if you make a commitment, you should be part of a team and you should go at it together. But the other answer is not coming to church on Sunday mornings, that's an even worse answer. So trying to navigate that decision and trying to, and club soccer is a good thing, right? Like, club soccer is not a sin, it is a good thing, but trying to enter into that decision-making process, and trying to honor Jesus in that, and potentially foregoing things and living counter-culturally. Because in Southern California, everybody does club soccer or club whatever, club travel ball, whatever it is, and every coach is telling your kids that your child is going to go to college and play. That's not true, they're just trying to get paid.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:16] A little insider knowledge there.

Dalton Sweaney: [00:22:19] Yeah, a little insider info, all of your kids aren't going to play in college. But yeah, so trying to navigate that in trying to forego things that are good for the greater good, which is Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:32] Absolutely. And one of the things I think is worth us, as we start to think through some of these practical things, for us to pause and take in is in this parable, Jesus talks about the storm. You know, so there's the ground level, there's the base level of wisdom, it is listening to what he says and putting it into practice; foolishness is listening to what he says and not putting it into practice. But he talks about the storm coming into the picture, so let's pause and make sure we're grasping what he's saying there. And maybe again, Dalton, we can start with you. What do you see in terms of what Jesus is doing when he talks about the storm?

Dalton Sweaney: [00:23:09] Yeah, when I'm thinking through this and thinking through the storm, I mean, the Sea of Galilee in the summer months, the sand there really dries out, it becomes like concrete. I'm sure we've all walked in areas like this, you're walking on dirt, and it feels like it's like pavement, cement, whatever it is. So you could be building your life on something that feels solid, you may not know that this is not the rock. I mean, there is only one roc. In First Samuel 2, Hannah prays there is only one God, he is the only rock, and there's truth in that. But you may be building something that you think like, I'm solid here, I feel good, I'm in a good spot. But when the storm comes, when the rain comes and that water starts permeating the soil, it softens, and it loosens and the foundations crumble. So that's what stood out to me, is that in the good times, you may feel solid, there may not be anything that's really rocking your boat or anything like that. But storms will come, and in that storm, and in that testing, that's where the truth is revealed.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:08] Yeah. Yeah. And Troy, you had a thought on this, too, just an observation about the way that the storm plays into this.

Troy Spilman: [00:24:13] Yeah, just the idea that storms don't create the issues, they reveal them. Think about it like a leak in your house, right? Sometimes the leak can actually start way over here and end up over here. But that leak, it wasn't created because of the storm the issue was there long before. So I just think about us, like if we thought spiritually, how do we construct our lives, how do we build our lives, is there intentionality? And are we aware, or do we have even others involved in our lives who might point out the leak that could be coming? And so take an issue, say like judging, where Jesus says do not judge, "First remove the plank from your own eye before you take out the speck from someone else's." So you have this big thing in your eye, and then you're trying to take out some small. Well, maybe just the beginning, like a leak could be that I just start being critical. Maybe just in my heart, I just start kind of judging people, and I start looking down. Maybe it comes out a little like snarky comments, you know, at work or wherever I'm at. And so it could just be that little leak, and hopefully, that wakes us up, and we go, hey, maybe there's something wrong with the engineering spiritually, I need to go back and take a look at it. I need Jesus to do a work in my heart, so I don't continue to go forward and have a hardened heart and continue that path of judging or whatever the issue is.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:30] Yeah, the thing I want to throw in just in addition to what you guys have said is, you know, Karina grew up in Oregon, then after we'd been married for a couple of years, we moved up there and lived up there for eight years. I don't know what you know about Oregon, but it rains a lot. And when I was getting ready to move up there, people were warning me, they were like, it rains a lot. And as a Californian, I was like, I like the rain. Some of you are like this, I've talked to you about Oregon and you're like, I think I would like it, I like the rain. You like the rain because it comes only every so often. When you get up there, it gets old fast, it is raining all the time. But one of the things that we noticed that Karina pointed out, I think the first summer there, is during July and August, roadwork is being done all the time, you can't go anywhere without roadwork being done because those are really the only two months of the year that they can pretty well count on it not raining. It is not fun to build in the storm. And I think there's a lesson for us in this parable of the idea that during the storm is a bad time to build. Now, sometimes that's all you've got. Sometimes, maybe you haven't made good decisions and you find yourself in the storm of a trial where somebody that you love is sick, you've got a diagnosis, somebody has died, you've lost a job, and you're sort of like, I haven't been listening to Jesus words, but better now than not at all. And you're right, sometimes that's all we've got. But man, it is more wise to build when it's not raining. And for us, you could say, for human beings, when is it not raining? Like there is always something. And so I recognize for all of us in here, there's something there's some challenge in our lives, we're all going through something. But some of you are at the point where it's a storm, and some of us might say the weather's actually okay, my finances are okay, I'm not in a financial trial. My health is okay, I'm not debilitated by an injury or a disease. You might look at it and say now actually it feels kind of like peacetime, it feels actually like nice weather right now. And what I just want to plead with you, now is the time not to get complacent, now is the time to build. Now is the time to build into the areas where you want to take Jesus seriously and obey His word.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:58] So just to bring up, just as Troy brought up the example of judging, I'll bring up another one because a couple of times in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes on the issue of sort of anger and bitterness versus forgiveness. This one's a little bit like worry, most of us deal with this, most of us deal with this difficulty of forgiving people that have wronged us versus nursing a grudge or building into bitterness. And during good weather, bitterness might not feel very dangerous. You might feel sort of like, hey, the person I'm bitter at, they're out of my life now, it's not that costly. Or the person I'm bitter at, I don't even know them, they're a face on TV that I don't like because I don't like what they say, and so I'm just kind of staying away from that. So I am nursing some grudges, but it's not deeply costly to me right now. You may be sort of skating by on that, but what you're training yourself to do is you are training yourself to hold grudges, and what happens when the storm breaks and now the person who's wronged you or who you're mad at is your spouse or your kid or your parent or your coworker, somebody that you can't get away from, you are ill-prepared for that. Good weather is the time to lean into God renewing us in the area of forgiveness so that when that storm comes, we're ready for it, we've been preparing ourselves to be able to take that on. Because as we were just talking about storms have, and trials have a way of refining us, but the first thing that they do is they reveal what's inside. And I'm not going to ask you to elaborate but raise your hand if you've ever gone through a trial and not liked what you saw come out of you. Anybody? You're just like, wow, I didn't realize that's what was in there, and you know there's some work to do. So during the good weather, man, smart time to build so that the storm isn't time, that we're feverishly trying to build that.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:01] But let's do this now as we're looking to just kind of bring this into practical view. Jesus' words here in many ways are very practical, he's saying take my words and put them into practice. So, Troy, I want to start with you on this because I feel like you have an instinct for this, you have a nose for the practical, and being able to help kind of figure out next steps and how we put Jesus' words into practice. So I'd love to just start with you, if we're looking at this now and saying, all right, yes, I want Jesus and his words to be the center of my life, I want to build on that foundation, I'm not sure quite where I'm at with that or what I do. What would be some help that you would give of just practical steps to lean into this?

Intro: [00:30:43] Yeah, I got stuff to say.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:45] I'm not surprised.

Troy Spilman: [00:30:47] Oh, the first would be, own God's word, own it, memorize it, and take it to heart. It's hard to obey orders from our commander if we don't know what the orders are. Even if you make a real simple say, like Matthew 6:33 where Jesus says, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and you'll add all these other things unto us." Other things, all things that we're worried about. So even if I just owned that part, I'm going to seek first the Kingdom of God today. Imagine if you just own that, I'm going to seek his righteousness and his kingdom. How would that transform your relationships? Maybe what you do at work, maybe you're tempted to cut some corners. No, I'm going to be about God's kingdom, I'm going to be about righteousness today. Own something, own the verse, even if it's simple, just own it so that you can walk away with it.

Troy Spilman: [00:31:39] Another issue would be, be aware, be aware that there's a spiritual battle. We're in a spiritual battle, we have an enemy that would love to thwart us, and so that's why we are called to take every thought captive and make it obedient unto Christ. Just because an idea comes into your head doesn't mean it's of the Lord, that's why we have God's word to test those things. So look, the battle is real, that's why we can read a novel for hours, or that we can watch Netflix way into the night, but yet you go to pick up your Bible or start to maybe listen to a sermon, all of a sudden what happens? You start getting a little hungry, maybe you're a little tired, maybe you get distracted, your phone starts kind of pinging, and all these little messages start coming your way. But yet need to regain that focus because the battle is real.

Troy Spilman: [00:32:28] Okay, third, involve others, Christianity is a team sport, we're called to do this together. Especially guys, I think women tend to get this better than us guys, we tend to be like, no, I can do this, I can solve this, I can do this. But yet I really believe we need to have a moat around us, we have a moat of women, and we have a moat of guys around me that if some sin issue or temptation is going to come, it's got to get through that, but I have to put them there. I have to, in a sense, I have to pay for the installation fee. I have to be willing to establish that, and I have to be vulnerable and kind of say, hey, can you pray for me? I'm going through this issue, or this is something I'm really struggling with, could you help me with my thought life and be in prayer for that and ask me some tough questions? So we need to have that in our life, and we need to be the ones that put that into place. So own God's Word, just be aware there's a spiritual battle, and also we need to involve others.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:25] Yeah. And Dalton, when we talked, you had a suggestion on this that I liked, it fits your personality. So why don't you share the kind of suggestion and grid that you had for what some steps forward might look like?

Dalton Sweaney: [00:33:37] Yeah. So as an accounting CPA, I do a lot with spreadsheets and Excel, and so that's where my mind went. I mean, my buddies tease me that I'm always making an Excel for everything. And so mine was kind of a precursor to some of what Troy was talking about, it was just doing an inventory of where your time is going, if you think, create four buckets. And the first one is sleep; we all have to do that. The second one is work that can be in the home, out of the home, grocery shopping, yard, work, cleaning, whatever it is, work, right? It's not fun, this is work. I mean, work can be fun, but yeah. The third one is my fun other bucket, so that could be things like going to a movie, going out to dinner with friends, it could be things like I was talking about earlier, like youth sports, those things that are not bad, but they're not necessities. And then the fourth one is pursuing Jesus, so attending Sunday services, serving on Sundays, praying, reading the word, participating in a life group, it could be being hospitable to a new couple that's part of our church with a gospel focus, but there's intentionality behind it. So those are the four buckets, and then look back on your last week and aggregate that time. I would venture somewhere in 75ish percent of our time is going to be sleep and work, so you've got 25% left between pursuing Jesus and fun other. Where are those hours going? And if you're at 1% right now, don't try to get to 20% tomorrow, that's not realistic, you're not going to be able to do it without Jesus and the Holy Spirit leading you. But if you're at one, what's a step you can take to get to two? And then when you're at two, can you jump to three or 4 or 5, and slowly take ground? And again, it's not going to be by your own strength, but that of the Holy Spirit.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:22] Yeah, and I love the suggestion. Troy, you and Heidi have a phrase that you say all the time.

Troy Spilman: [00:35:27] Yeah. Reality is our friend.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:30] That's right, that's what comes from Dalton's suggestion there, which I think was so good from, you know, henceforth captain spreadsheet over there, but it is great. I was sharing earlier, when I was first out of college, I spent three months just tracking everything I spent, and I was shocked it was not going where I thought it was going. And that's one of the great values, I think, of your suggestion to just say, if we just do something to say, well, this is what I think my priorities are, but then we actually interface with reality, that could lead us to some next steps that could be really helpful.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:30] And the thing that I want to add here as we talk about this, is we ultimately believe that Jesus has all wisdom. We want to live by those words in Proverbs chapter 3, verse 5, where he says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.", that we're leaning on Jesus' wisdom instead of our own wisdom. I think sometimes, and maybe it comes from doing that inventory, we have to come to the hard reality that there are some areas of our lives that, if we're honest, we disagree with Jesus' wisdom. We just don't buy it yet, we would say we do, but we don't, and our lives reveal that we don't.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:49] Maybe, Dalton, you mentioned earlier loving your enemies. All of us as Christians we're like, I sign on to that, but maybe if we take an honest look at our lives, we're like, I actually don't think Jesus is right there. Like, I actually think I need to oppose my enemies, I actually think I need to pray for their destruction, and I think that my actions are revealing that I don't agree with Jesus here. And please remember, sometimes we read the words in the Bible and we're like, well, they don't get what we're dealing with. Jesus was living in Israel as they were occupied by Rome; Jesus' life was harder than our life in this matter, so Jesus is not giving empty words here. So if we come to it and we say, you know, I just got to admit, and you can admit it because Jesus already knows it, if you disagree with him on something, if you're not admitting it, he still knows it. If you're like, I disagree with Jesus when it comes to worry, I think worry will help me. Well, maybe the first step is just to come to grips with saying, apparently, I disagree with Jesus. We all know which one of us is right on this, I'm the one that needs to adjust here, that gives a point for joyful repentance and turning and really looking to say what does it take to take that next step, to lean on God's understanding instead of my own. To say I'm going to practice forgiveness, I'm going to practice faith, I'm going to practice love toward others even when it doesn't feel right or feel smart because I am tapping into the one who has all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. If we wait until everything that Jesus calls us to do feels right and feels smart, we will be waiting a long time. But if we take those steps of obedience, one of the things that I know that I've experienced is things that for a while I thought did not seem wise, begin to look more and more wise. God opens our eyes when we keep moving toward him in this.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:48] And so here's what we want to do as we're closing this. And some of you, there might have been something specific you're connecting with where you're like, you know, I'm going to do Dalton's idea. I'm going to apply that inventory in some way. Maybe you heard Troy say, you're saying, you know what, I am going to start inviting somebody else into this, this is a team sport. Or maybe you're saying, I'm going to ask God to search me to show me the area of disagreement that I have. We're going to take a couple of minutes right here, we intentionally left a little bit of buffer space in this service because we said instead of rushing out, we want to give ourselves a chance to pause and just bring ourselves before the King on this. So in a couple of minutes, after we've had a couple of minutes of quiet, Dalton's going to close our time in prayer. But before then, we're just going to bow our heads, take some time of quiet, and I'm going to really just ask you, bring yourself before Jesus right now and know that he wants to lead you in those next steps of obedience. So let's do that together now.

Dalton Sweaney: [00:41:35] Father, you are the one true God, and you are the rock that we want to build the foundations of our life on. Holy Spirit, I pray that you would reveal to us the areas of our life that we need to pull up from the sand and we need to move to the rock. Jesus, we thank you that it is not our own strength or self-control or doing that we need to rely on to see victory in these areas, but it's the victory that you've brought us through your death and resurrection. Encourage us this week as we take strides. We pray that we would see quick fruit in the way that you are moving, Lord, and we rest in the victory that you have won, Jesus. It's in your name we pray. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:42:25] Amen. Well, thank you for being here today. I just wanted to say we're going to have pastors and elders and prayer team members up front as always. The three of us aren't going to rush out of here, so if you feel like you want to talk about a next step or have a prayer need, we're going to be around for that. But thanks so much for being here today, have a wonderful and blessed rest of your Sunday.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848