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I am not a builder in the traditional sense of the word, nor should I be. Yes, I’ve built some things around the house or fixed a broken leg on a table or a chair, but I don’t really enjoy doing it. However, repairing and building are skills one needs as an owner of houses, cars, musical equipment, etc.

My wife and I have been joyfully married for a few months shy of 34 years. We’ve raised two amazing daughters and have worked in ministry throughout all those years. In our “wounderful” (not misspelled—you’ll understand in a minute) years of marriage, my wife has been the victim of my shoddy, inexperienced construction skills several times, particularly with me hanging porch swings. The third swing I’d hung was soon after we bought our second home. We bought a porch swing for our brand-new spec house so we could relax and enjoy our time together as we started our mornings or when we were winding down from a busy, hectic day in the evenings. I used the biggest screws and the sturdiest chains I could find for this swing. I hung it on the back of the carport, overlooking our backyard, where we could watch the sun rise and set every day.


On one destined day, after months of sitting in the judiciously hung porch swing, my wife once again collapsed with the swing to the concrete floor 3 feet below. I had measured for it to be perfectly positioned in the middle of the 4x4 inch beam. I was bewildered as to how this tragedy could have happened again. The beam, however, was covered with vinyl siding and, instead of pulling back the siding and looking at the beam, I assumed that there was a 4x4 inch beam to drill into. To my embarrassment and shame, that was not the case. I had drilled and screwed the large eye bolts directly in between the two 2x4 inch pieces that made up the beam. After months of swinging, the bolts that didn’t have much wood to firmly secure them gave way, and “boom!” My wife once again became a victim of my construction skills. Or, should I say, my lack of skills. To this day she twitches and shakes when she sees a porch swing. (She really doesn’t, but I wouldn’t blame her if she did.) 


Whether we like it or not, we’re all builders. We are all building something. We’re construction workers, building our lives. No matter if you’re a teenager, middle-aged, or about to enter retirement, you are building your life. The question I ask you is this: What and who are you building your life on?

I may not be a very good construction worker, but I do understand the process of building something. The first and most important part of any building project is the foundation. You start out with your dirt. How good the dirt is you are building on is extremely important. I didn’t realize there were different kinds of dirt you should and should not build on until we began our new building project for Resurrection Life Church. As a young boy, I thought all dirt was good as long as I was playing in it. However, there is good dirt and bad dirt. Some dirt is loose, mushy, has lots of organics in it, and doesn’t compact well. It’s not good for building anything of lasting value on. Then you have your good dirt, which is tight, strong, clean, compacts well, and is great for building a structure on that will last a lifetime. Here is another question: what kind of dirt are you building on? If it is money, fame, possessions, education, or anything else other than Jesus Christ and who He is, it is “bad” dirt. Yes, it is dirt, and you can build on it; but what you build on it is not going to last.

As I’ve gotten older and been through many tough and trying times, I’ve learned in my own life and through watching others that there are a few things we need to put in the recipe when building our life. The foremost ingredient we must mix in is the realization that it is not our life to build. If we have yielded our life to Jesus as Lord and Savior, it is no longer our life to live the way we see fit. That goes against all the self-help, motivational and positive thinking promotions that are out there. It offends my soul (mind, will, and emotions) to admit it is not my life. 

I was an egotistical child—as much as I don’t want to admit it, an egotistical man as well. I once thought that if I didn’t understand something then I didn’t have to do it or believe it. That makes perfect sense to the soul. Some of you read those previous statements and said, YES! If I don’t understand, I don’t have to believe. Believe it or not, you put your trust in things you don’t understand every day, showing that you believe in those things. You drive an automobile that you trust will take you where you need to go without understanding how. You trust a phone to call or text when you want it to without understanding how. The list is endless of things we don’t understand but still trust and believe in. 

Am I saying don’t seek to understand? No, no, a thousand times NO! However, I am saying that you can trust in something you don’t understand. Seek understanding but don’t let the lack of understanding keep you from building your life on a solid foundation—one that you don’t necessarily understand but that has been proven repeatedly to be trustworthy. I have spent my entire adult life seeking after knowing God. Not knowing about Him but developing a deep and intimate relationship with Him where I hear His voice and know His heart and He does the same with me. I can tell you most certainly that I don’t understand everything about God, but I do understand Him more today than I did 40 years ago. I am certain that I have built and am building my life on a rock that can’t be moved, a foundation that is not affected by the winds of change or the storms of culture. 


The second ingredient we need to put in the mix of our foundation is relationships. That’s right. I said relationships: friends, family, and fellow workers, or those who do life alongside us. God created man so that He could fellowship with him. It wasn’t that God was lonely, but so that He could lavish who He is on man. God is love and He wanted to share Himself with mankind. Our friends, family, and fellow workers are part of the foundation we are building with. When I was a youth pastor, I could tell where a teenager was going to be in the next five years based off of the five closest friends they had. Why? Because just like “bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33), so does “good company encourage good morals.” What kind of people are you building with? But just like you are looking for those relationships that you can build a strong life with, so are other people looking at you to be “good soil” or “good timber”. What kind of person are you? Are you the bad company or the good company? Lifelong, godly friendships are not easy to come by. They take time. They take effort. You must work at them. I know many people who have thrown away decades of friendship with someone over petty and frivolous offenses.


Remember that offense is taken, not given. I have never heard anyone say, “I gave someone an offense today.” It usually starts out with, “I took offense with what you said.” I’m not saying that we don’t offend people; we do. I do believe for the most part that it’s neither on purpose nor intentional. It’s usually because someone wasn’t paying attention to their words and/or actions. Oftentimes those offenses can be remedied quickly, unless you’re the selfish and unforgiving type. If so, remember that is part of what you are building your life on. 

As I grow older, I’ve realized just how easy it is to take offenses and keep them close to you. Why? Because we gain many more experiences with age. At 20 years old, we didn’t have that many years of experience under our belt, and conflicts weren’t as numerous. But, as you live longer, the opportunity to be offended and to offend are more readily available. The reason? People. You can’t help but have conflict living among people. Decide now, with the power of the Holy Spirit at work in your life, to not build on those offenses or conflicts. Let them go. Be slow to anger and quick to forgive. People are most important to God. Not your way, your ideas, or your feelings. People are. This is not an excuse for people’s bad behavior, but I am saying to forgive and to let it go. Having been in ministry for right at 40 years, I’ve observed many people who wouldn’t let offenses go, inadvertently building their life on those offenses. They were not only miserable people, but they made everyone around them miserable also. People make mistakes. We are to comfort those who are “troubled” with the same comfort that we received from God (1 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Humility is the third ingredient for the dirt we build on. We will never be able to build a strong life that will last without walking in humility. However, humility is not a virtue the current culture admires, which is all about the “me, myself, and I”. Toby Keith sang about it back in my day in “I Wanna Talk About Me” and Janet Jackson did too with “What Have You Done For Me Lately.” Nowadays it’s all about self-promotion, or “branding”. 

  • Selfies make up a large percentage of people’s posting on their social media. 

  • Did you know that according to the website (

  • 92 million selfies are taken every day, accounting for 4% of all the photos taken (2.3 billion) daily.

  • Over 50% of millennials have published a selfie at least once. Over 95% of young adults have taken a selfie.

  • Individuals spend 54 hours a year (or 7 minutes a day) taking selfies.

  • People smile in 60% of selfies.

  • An average “selfie-taker” is 24 years old.

  • Women take 1.5 times more selfies than men.

Am I saying that taking a selfie every now and then is wrong? No. I’m simply saying that we’ve come to a place in this world where we’re so consumed with our own interests, wishes, wants, and whims, that it’s hard to walk in humility unless we cry out to God and learn to give our life away.

Hollywood and most of the media portray celebrities and famous people in the light with which they want you to see them. However, as many of us are aware, we truly don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. Having counseled hundreds of people over the years, their stories prove that statement to be true. Jesus said more clearly than anyone before or since Him when He said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” That, my friends, is to build a life on the one foundation that has never moved, shifted, wavered, or given in to the current cultural fad: Jesus. Quit admiring Jesus and allow Him to live through us rather than only doing all the things that “Christians” are supposed to do. I cannot be who I’m supposed to be without His power living in me through His Holy Spirit. My one job is to submit—submit to His ways, His thinking, His proddings, His nudges, His commands, and more. When I do, my life will be strong and sturdy when the torrential winds and rains of life come, for they most certainly will come. But, I will stand strong with my feet firmly placed on the Rock that can’t be moved. 

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