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As a conclusion to His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told a story that, for generations, has been famous among Sunday school children and, for decades, has captured the desire of my heart for the next generations:
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 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. 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. 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” (Matthew 7:24-27).
God forbid that the children of College Park become a generation of fools who grow up hearing, yet neglecting, the words of Jesus. We want our children to be among the wise in their generation. We want them to be equipped for living by faith in the Son of God, walking in His ways, trusting Him in every circumstance, standing firm against the schemes of the devil, forsaking the things of this world and the desires of the flesh, laying up treasures in heaven, holding fast with confidence in His goodness, resting in His sovereignty, running with endurance the race that is set before them, persevering in the full assurance of hope, pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, standing on the promises of God, and enduring in an indestructible faith when the inevitable storms of life blow and beat against them.
The storm that Jesus had in mind as He gave this illustration is the final judgment. And He makes clear that merely hearing his words will not be sufficient to sustain us or our children in the judgment. Only those who hear and obey the Word of God will be able to endure the storm. Every one of our children will face this storm and when they do, we want them standing on the rock. We want them not only knowing the truth but also embracing it with their whole heart and joyfully walking in it all the days of their lives.
My hope is that every individual at College Park will understand that the goal of all our various ministries to the next generation flows from the desire and commitment to do all we can to ensure that this “rock” is beneath them. Please pray for our children and students. Pray for their parents. Pray for all who are investing in their lives through the various programs and ministries of the church. And please pray that God would provide all the people who are needed to help us point our children to the Rock which cannot be shaken.
Between now and the ultimate and inevitable storm of Judgement, there will be other storms in life that our children are likely to face. The kind of storms that can shake and shatter a person’s faith if they do not have a solid foundation of truth beneath them.
As Jesus’ final hour was approaching, He warned His disciples that the storms were coming. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake” (Matt. 24:9). On the night before He endured the cross, Jesus said, “Truly, truly…you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful…” and on the heels of that warning, Jesus quickly assured them that their “sorrow will turn into joy….and no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:20-22). In other words, the fruit of a life that is built on an unshakable rock is an unshakable faith, and the fruit of an unshakable faith is an unshakable and ultimately indestructible joy.