By John Foldberg –
John’s closing message to the Warriors at the Virginia Legacy Program that ended on Friday, May 4th:
We view ourselves at Mighty Oaks as farmers, our goal is to plant the seed of the Gospel. Hopefully and prayerfully we water it with love and fertilize it with compassion and patience. We also toil the soil, turning it and digging into it. That turning of the soil, is our loving pokes that may have been a little uncomfortable but necessary to help the growth. They are designed to help break up the hardness of the soil reflected by the hardness of hearts.
However, as this week concludes and you all head back home I’d like you to think of yourselves as builders. You need to remember that you are walking back into the same environment you left, and you may have some building to do, maybe even a little repairing to do. The issues and challenges you left are still there. And though they may be the same, you are not. You have new tools in your tool box that will allow you to rebuild and repair what has either been damaged by destruction or by neglect. You may even have to knock some walls down that you erected between yourselves and others, whether it’s God, or your spouses, your children, or others.
Let me share with you a story of a man who had to rebuild. In 446 BC Nehemiah, a cupbearer, came to the Persian king asked for permission to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls after they fell to the Assyrians and Babylonians. The king gave Nehemiah permission to return to Jerusalem, however when he arrived in Jerusalem he found significant repair was needed. The walls and gates were destroyed, and a lot of work was needed. The analogy is similar, if we look at the rebuilding Nehemiah needed to do and look at our lives we can see that rebuilding needs to happen. Maybe it sounds familiar to you because repair needs to happen to your relationships.
So, the Jews who returned to Jerusalem began to repair the walls, however they ran into trouble. There were people who did not want the repairs to happen. Just like with the Jews, there will ALSO be people and forces that will want to disrupt your live as a Christian, who will want to distract you and hamper you. When that does, not if, but when, keep in mind what Nehemiah told the men who were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. They needed to be prepared for hard times, for attacks even while rebuilding the wall. He called them to be alert, he stationed men to keep watch and each builder strapped a sword to his side so that he was prepared for battle at an instant.
Please remember that there will be attacks against your efforts to rebuild. There will be people, events, and forces that will try to disrupt you, distract you, and even prevent you. That is going to happen. It may even be the man in in the mirror who will want to return to old harmful and hurtful habits.
As we learned this week you need to submit to God and Resist the evil that will want to distract and prevent your progress. I hope you will take the tools you learned here at Mighty Oaks build something new. As you do that, I’d also encourage you to look at your lawn. There is new landscaping as well, an oak sapling is already starting to grow from the seed of God’s word planted in our hearts:
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called
oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor
As you head home, rebuild your house, the relationship with God, through Christ, and with others. Be alert to the spiritual battle and stand firm in your faith. Your weapon, the Sword of the Spirit must be kept close to your side, and you MUST use it. Don’t let it rust and become useless.
And gents as you build your house keep in mind your foundation.
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Build on the Rock, the solid foundation.
And finally remember this, the four BE’s. Our charge to you is easy way to remember the 4 Bs:
Be in the Word
Be in fellowship at your local church
Be in prayer
Be in communication with your cornerman
As you head out, we’ll be praying for you!