Building On A Firm Foundation.

Here in North Texas we talk a lot about foundations. In fact, if you listen to the radio at all, you’ll hear countless commercials promoting the benefits of one foundation repair company over another. Why? Because we live in a part of the state where the changing temperatures and summer drought conditions can cause the clay soil to expand and contract, wreaking havoc on a home’s foundation. In minor cases, cracks can appear in the mortar between bricks. In more advanced scenarios, cracks can appear in the walls and ceilings inside the house, doors can become stuck, and hardwood floors can buckle. The poorer the foundation, the greater the damage can be over time. Fixing a faulty foundation can be a costly proposition. Repairing all the damage it can cause to your home can be aggravating and expensive. That’s why it pays to lay a proper foundation before you ever begin to build. Sounds rather biblical, doesn’t it? Well, it is. Jesus Himself knew the benefits of a firm foundation. One day He told His disciples, “anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash” (Matthew 7:26-27 NLT). An unstable foundation can be downright dangerous. But Jesus gives us the preferred alternative. “Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the flood waters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse, because it is built on rock” (Matthew 7:24-25 NLT). Rock solid. That’s what Jesus is talking about. A steady, stable, non-shifting foundation that is as reliable as the day is long – no matter what happens.

Of course, Jesus isn’t talking about literal house construction here. He’s talking about salvation through faith in Him alone. He is telling His listeners that the only way they can be assured of a rock-solid future is by building their lives on the sure foundation of His Word and His promise of eternal life made possible by His death and resurrection. Paul describes those of us who have done so as God’s “house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself” (Ephesians 2:20 NLT). Everything the apostles taught was simply a layer of truth placed on the foundation that Jesus established. It all rests on His life and ministry, His words and works, His death and resurrection. And we have been building on that same foundation, layer by layer for thousands of years.

This year our church will celebrate it’s 33rd anniversary, and I can’t help but be reminded that this local body rests on a solid foundation, laid by Christ, expanded by the apostles, and faithfully built upon by the men and women who founded this church more than three decades ago. It was September 14, 1980 when 60 individuals first gathered to explore the possibility of starting a new independent Bible church in Fort Worth. A secret ballot taken that night revealed that the group was unanimous in their decision to launch this exciting new ministry. In less than a month they unanimously organized and named the church, prepared and adopted its Constitution, and selected its first Board of Elders. The inaugural service took place on Sunday, October 12 – less than one month from that first exploratory meeting. The worship folder that morning carried on its cover the words of Jesus from Matthew 19:26, “With God, all things are possible.” The original Purpose Statement of our church was printed inside:

The purpose of this fellowship is to glorify God:

  1. …in developing a family of believers which is first and foremost coming to know, enjoy and love God through the Lord Jesus Christ;
  2. …in laboring and striving according to His power to present every believer complete in Christ;
  3. …and regularly meeting together for the worship of God and for the equipping of the believers for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ through the faithful teaching of the Scriptures, through prayer, through the singing of praises to God and through fellowship;
  4. …in committing to work together and to be accountable to one another to permit God to develop the spiritual gifts of this body of believers for serving on another and others as God leads both financially and otherwise;
  5. …in evangelizing through the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, locally and worldwide;
  6. …in supporting and working with other Christian ministries in harmony with God’s Word; and
  7. …in the ordination of qualified men to the ministry, until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Those seven foundational principles have helped sustain this fellowship over the years. They regulated and directed the early life of our church, and continue to serve as the foundation on which we are building today. While a lot has changed from those early days – from the size of our campus to the size of our church family – much remains the same. We’re still a family – a rather large family – but a family nonetheless. We have never outgrown our love for one another or our care and concern for those outside the family of faith. And we remain dedicated to the spiritual growth and transformation of every person who considers this to be their church home. We want them to grow and will do everything in our power to see that they do. That’s why we remain dedicated to the faithful teaching of the Scriptures, intercessory prayer, corporate worship and sincere, caring fellowship. God continues to bless us with gifted individuals who serve in a wide range of capacities – full time and on a volunteer basis – inside and outside the walls of this church.

We have remained faithful to the gospel and dedicated to its proclamation from our pulpit and through the lives of our people. We have been and always will be mission-minded and kingdom-focused. We exist for God’s glory and are completely dependent upon His grace and mercy for who we are and what we will become.  This church has been and always will be about furthering Christ’s kingdom, not building our own. Every inch of this campus that has ever been built, renovated or expanded exists for God’s glory, not ours. And as we look to the future and the construction of the Link Building, we are simply expanding our reach, extending our vision, and expecting our God to continue what He began more than 33 years ago.

In his letter to the Corinthian believers, Paul reminded them that “no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already have – Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11 NLT).  For the last three decades this local body of believers has been building on the sure, steady, and never-shifting foundation of Jesus Christ. We have a prayerful and faith-filled heritage that has served us well over the years. We enjoy a rich legacy of Word-based, Christ-centered, God-honoring and Spirit-empowered ministry that continues to transform lives and impact the community in which we exist. This should be true of every church, but sadly, that is not the case. Too many have built their ministries on a pastor’s personality, social agendas, events and programs, or the unstable whims of their congregants. They have long strayed from the foundation provided by Christ and built upon by the apostles and the early church fathers and mothers. In many churches across our country, Christ is not central, salvation in Him alone is not preached, the Bible is not believed, the Spirit is not active, and lives are not being transformed. They preach a message of self-effort and behavior modification. They teach a lifestyle of good works and social activism. But they leave out the most important element – the non-negotiable requirement of truth found in Jesus Christ alone.

We owe the founding fathers and mothers of our church a debt of gratitude for laying that first row of bricks straight and true, solidly built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. And we will continue to build, brick upon brick, as God provides the resources, so that His name and His glory might be spread throughout our community and around the world.

How Firm A Foundation

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
to you that for refuge to Jesus have fled?

“Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed!
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
the rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
that soul, though all hell shall endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake.”

 

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