Foundation

I guess Spring is on the way, at least spring training is under way. Though I am a fall/winter guy and do not like to see the cold weather leave, I do enjoy the rejuvenation of the things that grow green outside around us. Be sure to take time to be outside the coming spring, summer and fall (& even winter). Take in what God has made, take time to slow down a little, breathe a little, and be in awe of the Creator’s creation (I was a bit in awe as I took the picture in the Rockies that is in the banner at the top of this web…it was incredible there). This is rather important in the midst of a super charged, over-busy world. But I digress…

Teens hear a lot of voices. They hear many different kinds of voices. Voices that loudly, or sometimes softly and rather subtly, state an opinion or way of thinking or way of living. They are faced with voices of consumerism.  Voices of politics. Voices of religion (or non-religion – though there really is no such thing). Voices of education. Voices of friends. Voices of parents. Voices of dating partners. Etc, etc, etc. Teens filter all of it in some way. They all respond in some way. Their response ends up being how they live life. Living life is a lot like building a house. It’s the process of a piece by piece construction. But as anyone who builds any structure knows, the foundation is extremely important. Matthew 7:24 records, “Therefore anyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Jesus said this. The foundation of a house that can withstand anything is built on “these words of mine”. What are those words? The Sermon on the Mount. Matthew chapters five through seven. The longest continual teaching of Jesus recorded in the Gospels. In this teaching, he tells of those who theirs is the kingdom of heaven, of those who will inherit the earth, of those who will be shown mercy, of those who will be called sons of God. He tells of what to do when you are persecuted. He tells of being a light to the world. He talks of dealing with being angry at someone, of being reconciled. He talks of lust. He tells of turning the other cheek, going the extra mile. He tells of loving your enemy, loving those who do not love you back. He talks of giving to the needy, prayer and fasting, but doing these things in secret. He says to forgive others. He tells of storing up treasures in heaven and not on earth, and not to worry because God is our provider. He says not to judge. He says to ask, seek and knock. He tells us to enter the narrow gate and be on the narrow road. He warns of false prophets and that we will recognize what kind of tree it is by the fruit it bears.

I’m not sure the Sermon on the Mount is a very popular teaching topic among youth pastors or the students themselves. But we do want them to build strong lives. We need to be sure the foundation for their house is proper, built on the rock. And that proper foundation is the words of Jesus. We can teach on what seems like a thousand different things. We certainly should teach on the whole of scripture. To be sure, if we want our students to be able to filter all the voices they hear and respond and build a strong house, they need these words of Jesus engrafted into them. To live the sermon on the mount is the foundation of living the way of Jesus. It is what a Christian should be like. And to live the words of Jesus found in the Sermon on the Mount is to live a life that is very subversive and countercultural. The world does not operate like Jesus says we should. Challenge yourself to read Matthew chapters five through seven through at once everyday for a while. See how it grips you. Don’t let the chapter and verse divisions separate out the teaching. To me, though it is not poetry by genre, it flows like poetry. Let it shape you. Teach it so it shapes your students. They need to know what Jesus says is the way to filter and respond to the voices they hear.

Early in 2010 I finally was able to read The Jesus Way by Eugene Peterson. Great book. Very thought provoking. I recommend it to you. Also, if you lead a volunteer organization or are looking to build one, my book In the Trenches will help you. Not expensive and a short read (no fluff, all info). Cheap and short- perfect for youth leaders. You can click on it in the left column on this web page and it takes you Amazon…

Keep sowing. Keep after it. The Kingdom is being built… in you and through you…

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2 thoughts on “Foundation

  1. Steven

    Thanks, Kylan. Great blog. We met some time last year when you took me on an impromptu tour of your church, after my wife’s aunt had past. Your church was kind enough to provide a fellowship for us. Requesting prayer as I am about to leave my staff position.

    Reply

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