Matthew 7:24-27, How To Be Wise

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from Matthew on Sunday, August 20, 2023 using the New Living Translation (NLT).

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Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:00:00]:

Well, this morning, as we look at Matthew 7, we're looking at this parable of the wise and the foolish builders. And so I've titled the message, how to be wise, how to be wise, as we consider this illustration that Jesus gives, this parable to teach us a lesson to teach us the difference between building one way and building another way. Now this is a familiar parable to us and a familiar passage to us. And so, sometimes it makes it easy to kind of you know, just skip ahead and kind of, I know the gist of this already, but I would encourage you to just, seek the lord and allow him to maybe reignite reinvigorate some of these things in your life as we consider them this morning because we all need to be built on a solid foundation. It's important to understand the picture that Jesus is painting here. He is describing a scenario where two different people are building. The the two people are building the same kind of building. They're building a house.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:01:06]:

And in some ways, they are building very similar things, perhaps similar in appearance, perhaps similar in size, perhaps even similar in location. But these two people, although they have so many similarities, they end up in completely different places. And so there's similarities, but there's also differences. These two people build, let's even call it the same building. And they build they take the exact same blueprint and they you know, apply them to build the house that they want. So they have the same projects, the same building, the same appearance And they both have the same storm. In verse 2527, one talking about the wise builder, one talking about the foolish builder, The lord speaks about the rains, the floods, and the winds that beat against that house. the winds that beat against that house in both the wise builders house and the foolish builder's house.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:02:13]:

And so there's these similarities, they they're facing so many of the same thing, but there's a couple major differences. the technique in which they go about building is very different. In verse 24, talking about the wise builder, Jesus says he builds a house on solid rock. But talking about the foolish builder in verse 26, He builds a house on sand. And so that's different building technique or perhaps different location the idea is one didn't dig to the rock for a foundation or that they were just in separate locations. One was on sand and one was on more sturdy ground. But the parallel in Luke chapter 6 gives us the hint as Jesus talking there. He talks about digging deep to lead the foundation on the rock.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:03:08]:

And so it's the the technique of fastening the home to the solid rock beneath the surface. 1 built with that strong foundation and 1 did not. That was the main difference between them. And so it ended with 2 separate results. For the wise builder, Jesus says in verse 25, the house will not collapse. Same storm, right? Same wind that beats against the house. Perhaps even literally you know, in this illustration that Jesus is giving, the 2 houses exist at the same time in history and the same storm comes through. Perhaps it was hurricane, hurricane, Hillary, And, the same storm comes through and beat against the house, but the house of the wise builder will not collapse.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:04:03]:

In contrast, verse 27, the house of the foolish builder will collapse with a mighty crash. The geography of Israel is interesting in regards to this parable. There's many hills throughout Israel, especially in the southern region, there is these super dry areas where they don't really get a lot of water except for at really crazy rain seasons. And so there's many wadis w a d i. It's a dry riverbed It's a riverbed. So water flows through there from time to time, but there's not typically water there. So the idea is when the rain goes on the hills, it flows down. And so the water carves out these dry riverbeds, but there's not a spring there.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:05:00]:

And so there's not water going regularly And and there are some of these dry riverbeds that are only filled with water, not just during times of rain, but there's some of those that are even a little bit more remote that are only filled with water during great times of rain, mega storms, and and and those exceptional rain. And it it would be infrequent in those cases. It might be many years, but the between the last time there was water in that place and the next time. And so thinking about this and understanding the geography a little bit, you could picture a scenario where someone built a house They look around. It's dry. They've been having their eye on the property perhaps for 10 years. It looks like a great place, and so they build their house. They're not really knowing that during the rare megastorm, the waters flow, and fled that area and that house will be in great danger if it hasn't been built on the rock.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:06:07]:

You can imagine a scenario where someone's saying I have my eye on this property. It looks great. I'll build here. Now There's a lot of dry area around here. It doesn't look like a lot of turbulent weather, and so no need to dig down deep. No need to really works so hard on that foundation but then when the storm comes then it reveals the reality of the situation. I don't know how you've been handling all of the news about Hurricane Hillary. To me, I just figured we're gonna get a couple days of rain for us inland.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:06:43]:

it's, of course, much more serious for those on the coast and those in the impact, and I wouldn't want to minimize that. But It's been a long time since we've had to even think about something like that. The news reports are saying 1939 since we last had a tropical storm of this magnitude hit. That's 84 years ago. Think about that. In the last 84 years, how many homes have been built that are now going to be beat against with a great wind? How many power lines have been set up? That would normally be fine, you know, but once every 84 years, you might have to rebuild those power lines because that storm comes through, and they're knocked over. Those rare storms, those occasional things Jesus in this parable is saying, all of us are going to face storms. Some of them might be frequent, some of them might be ongoing and regular, the very least, They're going to be those rare occasional storms, but the fact of storms is a certainty.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:07:58]:

And here you can understand Jesus talking about 2 things. And I think both things are valid things to consider. Number 1, the storms of life. We go through trials and difficulties. We go through challenges. We face things that are hard. We lose people. We work hard at things and don't succeed.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:08:17]:

We experience, you know, turns and curves and twists and things that are expected, the storms of life. But the real storm that we also need to keep in mind is that final judgment. when we stand before the lord, that storm is certain as well. And at final judgment, all of the realities of the building blocks and the structure and the foundation is going to be revealed once and for all. Storms are a certainty for us. Proverbs chapter 10 verse 25 tells us when the storms of life come, the wicked are world away, but the godly have a lasting foundation. And that's the encouragement that Jesus is giving us today to build our lives on the solid rock so that we have a lasting foundation because the storm for sure is coming, no getting around storms of life. But what you can make an impact in and make a difference in is your ability to endure those storms by laying a solid foundation.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:09:31]:

And so how to be wise? We're gonna walk through four points considering this parable that Jesus gives here. And Matthew 7 versus 24 through 27. Here's point number 1. These are not long. So you can easily write them down. I was sparing your fingers today. Here's point number 1, how to be wise? Listen. First step in wisdom is to listen.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:09:56]:

Notice what Jesus says in verse 24. Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise. like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Verse 26. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn't obey it is foolish. Like a person who builds a house on sand. Anyone who listens, he says in verse 24, anyone who hears in verse 26, it is the same word behind the scenes in the Greek. to listen to hear.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:10:33]:

Why did they use 2 different words if it's the same word? Well, you know, sometimes it's useful to use the same word to clarify differences. You would know what I mean if I said to you, you listen, but you don't hear me. Right? You know what that means? You know what I'm trying to say when I say that? You listen, but you don't hear me. And you would understand if I reversed it, You hear me, but you don't listen. Right? We we use that it virtually means the same thing but we interchange the words to help say something a little bit more developed and sophisticated and deeper. Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn't obey it is foolish. Are you listening? to the teachings of the lord.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:11:34]:

I think there's two parts to this that we would do well to consider. listening to hear and listening to understand. You know, many husbands develop the skill. They work hard to develop the skill skill to hear without listening. So that when she says, you're not listening to me, husband can remind the tape in his head. Yes. I was listening. Here's what you said.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:12:02]:

And there's that time where we heard, honestly, perhaps we were not paying attention, But we heard enough to be able to play back the tape, and it's then while we're repeating the words back that we're trying to listen and what does that mean and trying to do that interpretation, while the playback of the words is happening? people were listening to Jesus this way too. They were hearing good words, They were feeling great about a nice story that he was giving and appreciating the good morals that he presented and the interesting take he had on things and the fresh illustrations that he was sharing. People were listening to Jesus. They heard Jesus. But to hear and to listen and to do, these are slightly different things. In Matthew chapter 13, Jesus told a few parables, and along with them, he used this common phrase anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. In Matthew 13 3, He told the parable of the soils. Listen, he says, a farmer without to plant some seeds.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:13:27]:

He calls us to listen Then he gives the parable. He ends the parable in verse 9 saying anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. How do you have ears and not listen? Again, the point that Jesus is making here is you're hearing the words but they're just settling on the surface. You need to listen and understand them. You need to do a little bit of processing and searching to understand the intention and the meaning and the significance behind the words that are being shared. Jesus says, you can hear me and yet not be listening. You can listen to Jesus and not hear him. So Jesus says, if you can hear me, then make sure that you also listen to me.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:14:20]:

same thing, but but he's speaking about our engagement with the words to make sure that we're receiving the message and not just hearing the words. To listen requires humility. It requires first that we acknowledge that there is something else worth listening to than our own thoughts and our own words. you know, how it is whenever you're having a conversation, and you're just waiting for the other person to stop so that you can put in your really important point. It's hard for us many times to acknowledge. We need to listen and and receive something from beyond ourselves that there is something the lord has for us that we need to hear means we're not yet there yet. We're not complete yet. We don't have all wisdom and all knowledge.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:15:25]:

We have to listen to seek out to hear. Now before you can listen to understand, you have to actually hear the words You have to receive the message that's being sent. And so how do we listen? It's a frequent encouragement, but Here I go again, encouraging you, be reading the scriptures consistently and regularly We listen with time in the word of god. The word of god is written for us, recorded for us. Like the teachings of Jesus, it is not just good morals good illustrations. It is the very word of god. It is the bread of life. And we need that consistent and continual input of the word of god.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:16:20]:

We need to listen. And so you can't listen to the word of god if you're not hearing the words. If you're not reading the words, if if these words are not coming off the page, and reaching your brain. You can't listen. So first of all, you need to make sure that you have a time a practice, a discipline of spending time with god in his word. I think another way to listen, which I would encourage you to consider is actually listening to the scriptures. There's an abundance of services, apps, websites that are available these days where you can listen to the word of god in a variety of different versions. You can kind of pick and choose if you like it, dramatized or not, you know, all these different ways.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:17:13]:

It's a wealth of abundance that we have. And, you know, for me, this is one thing that really has developed over the past, well, I would say probably 10 years that that's really, helped me to kind of have fresh hearing on familiar passages is to here and to listen and to allow these, chapters and passages to, be repeated over and over again as I'm walking through my day and doing various things to listen to the scriptures. And so we listen by reading the scriptures, perhaps with an audio Bible listening to the scriptures. Of course, we also listen through bible studies and church services. we have radio broadcasts, bible study podcasts, all kinds of opportunities and avenues. The priority of course is the word of god itself. And then God has supported all of those things with so many other opportunities. We have an abundance of opportunity to listen? What opportunities are you making to keep yourself hearing the word of god? And whatever form or fashion or format never let a day pass by without listening to god.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:18:31]:

So listen to hear, but also listen to understand. Or maybe I should say it this way. Listen until you understand. word of god has infinite depth. Picking up some things off the surface is really not listening to understand. Again, think about the picture of the wise and the foolish builder. The picture here is not a foolish builder going down to the beach right where the waves crash onto the shore and trying to build a house there. That that's not the picture that Jesus is painting here.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:19:10]:

It's not that foolish. The idea here is They're in a similar location to the wise builder. They might even be neighbors. The foolish builder just did not put much care in the building process. Hasn't rained that hard here in this area for over 80 years. So I don't really need to put in that much effort don't really need to consider it or think about it. I'm just gonna build my house the easiest way possible. They're just picking stuff up off the surface.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:19:43]:

Here in the words of Jesus, but but they don't understand. Listen until you understand with the parables of the lord. There is need for us to kind of camp on it for a while. to hear more and more. And the more you camp out in portions of scripture, you'll find there's infinite depth There's layers and levels, and and the lord will reveal and speak more deeply and more clearly. I always reflect on pastor Chuck. He would always share that he would read a passage about fifty times before he would really begin to understand it as he was preparing to teach. reading a passage 50 times.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:20:26]:

How many times are you reading a passage? Whether or not you teach, it's a An important thing to listen. Why? Because storms are a certainty. storms of life, you're gonna face. They're gonna be unexpected. They're gonna come out of nowhere. It's gonna be out of the blue. There's gonna be some ones that you see coming. and dread and hope you missed, but they hit.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:20:51]:

They're for sure gonna happen. And for sure, you will stand before the lord in that final judgment one day. And if you are not listening, then collapse is guaranteed. It's not that collapse is likely, if you're not listening, the storms that come are serious enough and severe enough collapse is guaranteed. If you are not listening to the lord, Verse 27, when the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash. So listen to hear, listen to understand, never let a day pass by. without listening to god. Well, the second point is we continue to consider this parable, how to be wise.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:21:46]:

First, we listen point number 2, follow. Listen, and that leads us then to follow verse 24 again. Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise. like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the flood floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn't obey It is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the wind's beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash. The wise builder follows the teachings that they're listening from the lord.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:22:48]:

The foolish builder says in verse 26 doesn't obey. Now, again, it's the same, real, root word that's happening here. follows or not follows or follows or does not obey. The foolish does not obey Jesus' teachings. But notice the key point here in this parable. Both the wise and the foolish hear Jesus. And, again, it's the difference between you're hearing Jesus, but you're not listening to Jesus. or flip it around.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:23:23]:

You're listening to Jesus, but you're not hearing Jesus. There's not a receiving of his message. There's not an understanding of what he's saying, but both of them hear Jesus Both might even listen to Jesus, but what one does and the other doesn't One follows, and the other does not. The Greek scholar Vincent says the picture is not of 2 men deliberately selecting foundations, but it contrasts one who carefully chooses and prepares his foundation with one who builds at haphazard. The picture here of these two houses, these two homes, again, don't picture the idea of foolishness of, like, yeah, it's ridiculous to build your house right where the waves crash. That's not what Jesus is saying. It looks secure where the foolish guy is building. It looks unnecessary.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:24:27]:

Maybe even consults with engineers, and they say, you know what? hardly ever rains over here and, hasn't had a big storm in, you know, maybe 80 years. So you're probably fine. Now if you talk to the building department at the city, you know, they probably say something else, but but it looks fine. It appears fine. They're choosing to pay different levels of attention in preparation for what may come. Do you have an answer for this? What kind of picture hanger are you? I'd like to describe my wife, although she wouldn't, necessarily take on this title, but haphazard is maybe appropriate. She asked me to hang up some pictures, and I I take a couple weeks to do it because I gotta look at the wall and figure out how am I gonna measure the dimensions and get them exactly right? And how do I, how do I, I do have a laser level for hanging pictures on the wall. That's true.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:25:33]:

And then, you know, the it's always like, like, right between lines in the the tape measure, like, how do I get it, like, perfect and then you hang up 2 that are supposed to be the same height, and then there's always one that's different. And, oh, man, it takes me forever. It's so hard. And then she just takes the hammer and nail just goes, boom. There it is. If it if it's straight, it's straight. If it matches, it matches. You know? Like, Hap hazard.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:26:02]:

Hap hazard is great for hanging pictures, but it's not a great way to approach your life. To just shoot from the hip, how am I gonna handle this situation? What am I gonna do? I know just put a nail somewhere. Just make it work somehow. Just quick, you know, instant reaction to what is happening. I know. I have a good idea. I read something good online, and I'm just gonna go do that. I'm gonna chase that.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:26:30]:

I'm gonna pursue that. This is not good. technique and good approach for building your life. There needs to be some more consideration. where you follow what Jesus is saying. You follow what the scriptures teach. where you don't just do what you think or do what seems right or what seems good or what a lot of people around you are telling you is okay. But that you make sure there's a foundation there that you can attach on to.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:27:10]:

You know, the disciples, as he walked with Jesus, they heard a lot that Jesus said, and they didn't understand it. And later on, they would understand more after the events transpired after they're filled with the Holy Spirit. But they heard and they were working towards listening. They didn't get it right the first time every time. At one point, the disciples said, We left everything to follow you. What is our reward gonna be? They did. Jesus said, come follow me. And what did they do? They left everything to follow Jesus.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:27:53]:

They heard the call and they followed. They did what he instructed. They didn't always understand it. They didn't always agree with it. But they did their best to listen to what Jesus was saying and then to follow the instruction that he was giving them. There are many others amongst the disciples and in the communities where they ministered who heard and didn't follow. They heard what Jesus was saying? There was the man who ran up to Jesus. Hey.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:28:30]:

I wanna follow you. He said, come follow me. First, I need to go Barry my father. She said, let the dead bury their own dead. You come follow me. I wanna listen. I wanna hear. I wanna follow on my terms when I want to, when it's convenient for me, Jesus says, follow what I'm saying to you.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:28:55]:

There's wisdom in seeking counsel. We have friends and family, professionals, and we have the lord. And it's good to seek counsel. But in the end, you need to ask, is it Jesus that I'm following? Is it his instruction that I'm receiving? from friends and family and professionals and populers and whoever else it might be. Is it the word of the lord? His instruction. Is that what I'm following? Pastor Toni Evans describes wisdom this way. wisdom is the ability and willingness to as apply spiritual truth to life's circumstances. In contrast, foolishness is the inability and unwillingness to apply spiritual truth to life's realities.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:29:48]:

You don't have to be smart to be wise. You don't have to have, incredible education or a high IQ. It's the willingness to take the instruction that the lord gives and to apply it to the circumstances that you face. It's dangerous. If you're unable to take the and apply it to your life. If you're unable or unwilling, unwilling to take the scriptures and apply that truth to your life, what's dangerous to live Reacting instead of deliberately following. To be wise, follow The instruction of the lord follow the lord himself because storms are a certainty. We're all gonna face him in this life, and we're gonna face the one last big one when we stand before the lord in eternity.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:30:47]:

In order to follow, of course, we have to listen. And so we go back to read the scriptures, listen to the scriptures, be engaged in bible studies and church services, be filling yourself and immersing yourself with the word of god so that you have the opportunity to follow. don't just limit it to listening and hearing and then feeling good because you, you know, read some good words out of the good book. But then take those words and seek the lord and ask God, how can I make this real in my life How can I walk this out and actually do what it is that you are declaring here? like the way that FB Meyer puts this. He says we must not only listen to him, we must obey him. There must be living unbroken unity and fellowship between him and us. Then we may proceed to erect the structure of godly and holy living which shall grow into a holy temple in the lord. We need this, unbroken unity and fellowship that comes from listening to the lord and following him.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:32:01]:

Well, thirdly, as we continue to consider this parable first, we listen so that we can follow point number 3 related, but also just a little bit different, build. Build. Listen. Follow and build. Some aspects of following the lord and obeying his instruction is going to require very great effort on your part. It's gonna require deliberate effort to build a house on the rock. Again, verse 24. Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:32:44]:

Though the rain comes in torrents and the flood water waters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse because it's built on bedrock. Verse 26. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn't obey 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 collapse with a mighty crash. I'm making a distinction between follow and build much like hear and listen. Same thing, really, but to allow us to consider the depth. You know, there's some aspects of following the lord that really are just surface level things.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:33:35]:

We hear what he's saying. We respond to it. As we think about the idea of building, there is inherent in that the understanding of effort required. There is a digging deep there is a searching out. There is a discovery that comes only from great efforts. And again, this really comes out of the parallel to this in Luke chapter 6 verse 4748. Jesus says there, I will show you what it's when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:34:17]:

When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm. because it is well built. To build, there is a digging deep that is required. There's a digging deep to reach the rock, to reach that anchor below the surface. And when you reach that anchor, then you can build something that lasts. The idea of building, it's a transformational word. If you go out and build a house, You start that process with an empty lot, but when it's done, there is a structure there on that lot. or if you build an addition onto your home, you know, you had a small house, but at the end, there is something new.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:35:10]:

There is new space. There is a new thing that is there. It's transformational. What was is no more something new is in its place. So when I encourage you to build this morning, think about building new things, transformational things in your life. Now, some need to consider a different kind of building, and that is the rebuilding of old things, where there has been a deterioration and falling away. And and so those foundations need to be reinforced and strengthened. or some need to consider build as in building another level, another story on top of the first.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:35:56]:

You built that first part, and that was good for a season, but now there's, there's the need for more. The point here is don't just listen to Jesus to get a little bit of extra help in your life. Ask and seek and knock. to build something new, transformational, deep, impactful, different. Sometimes it's brand new stuff, sometimes it's revisiting old stuff. digging down deep is not only something we do at the beginning, and and we hear living water familiar with that. For those who are around in 2015, We went through some crazy stuff. Here's a picture of what used to be in the back areas of this building.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:36:48]:

We had to pull up the floor because we noticed it was falling apart all over the place. And we discovered there was all this dirt that had then piled in, and the wood was, being deteriorated as a result, and, there was all kinds of issues. We had to go in, dig down deep, literally with a shovel, and pull out those things to rebuild the foundation and the structure that was there. Here's another picture of it. This is from your vantage point looking this way, we used to have the dove right here on the wall. With all the floor pulled up, many of you guys remember this, this image here shows You could see boards all out of line. Like, it's kinda scared to think about we were walking on these things. Right? We didn't take out good boards to make this picture dramatic.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:37:39]:

This This was the reality, and we spent much time adding new wood, reinforcing and rebuilding that foundation that you sit upon now. Sometimes we have to dig down deep to repair those existing foundations to clear out the dirt to reset things that are there to reinforce the structure. Pastor Toni Evans shows this illustration. He says, I once had a crack on a wall of my house. No matter how many times I had it fixed, the crack came back. Finally, I learned the problem wasn't with the wall. The problem was a shifting foundation. Many of us have cracks in our lives, emotional, relational, financial, but we address the symptoms and not the source of the problem.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:38:28]:

And so I suggest we need to build to dig down deep and lay our foundation upon the rocks, to take the words of Jesus, to take the word of god to heart and put it into practice in our life because storms are a certainty. Storms of life, the final judgment, We're gonna face these things one way or another. Listen, follow, build, And then finally, endure. Here in these two examples, Jesus says of the wise builders house, verse 25, it won't collapse because it's built on bedrock. Though there's rain and torrents and floodwaters and winds, it will not collapse. Verse 27 When the rains and floods come and the wind's beat against the foolish person's house, it will collapse. Not maybe, not likely. It's guaranteed.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:39:33]:

It will collapse. And so if you build foolishly collapses guaranteed, If you build wisely, I would suggest there is still the need to endure. The main difference between you and a house is that you get to choose if you will endure. You get to choose. if you will endure. You can listen and follow and build, and then at some point in the future, choose not to endure. That's what Paul describes to Timothy in 1st Timothy chapter 1. He says, Timothy, here are my instructions based on the prophetic words spoken about you, may they help you fight well in the lord's battles, clean to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:40:24]:

For some people have deliberately violated their consciences as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. There is the opportunity. There is the chance. Some people violating their consciences have shipwrecked their faith. They chose not to endure. How to be wise? Don't do that. Clean to your faith in Christ. Follow the instructions of the lord.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:40:58]:

maybe help you fight well in the lord's battles. We tend to measure things in life by the peak We look at the pinnacle. What did what did we reach? What did we attain? Look at what I accomplished in my career. not really reflecting on how miserable I am that whole time or life that's destroyed as a result. We look at the peak. Look how fit and how handsome I am. Not considering what did that cost me? What did it cost me to to get there to to be in this place? We look at the peak. Remember that one time I did something great for god? Look at that peak.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:41:44]:

And and we like to measure the peaks. The lord likes to measure by what endures. What's gonna last? What's gonna go beyond? Not what height did we reach? It's like Pastor Gregory often would say it's not how high you jump when you receive the lord, but it's how straight you walk when you hit the ground. Yes. You can have a dramatic experience in conversion and reach an incredible height But what will endure? What's gonna last beyond that? What's gonna last when the storm comes? Paul says in 2nd Corinthians chapter 4 talking about his storm. He says our present troubles are small and won't last very long. yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will and will last forever. So we don't look at the troubles we can see now, rather we fix our gaze on the things that cannot be seen.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:42:39]:

But the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. measure by what endures. How do you endure? Listen. Follow Build. Listen. Follow Build. We need to continue the process in order to enter storms are a certainty guaranteed you're gonna face them, to prepare yourself, You could look around and think, you know, live the American dream and hardly experience a tragedy in 80 years, you know, so I can just kind of pursue those things and chase those things and live the kind of life that I want to live. but it's foolish to ignore the reality of the storms that are coming and to not listen to the word of the lord, to follow what he says, to then dig deep and build your life anchored to the things of the lord.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:43:55]:

so that you may endure when the storm comes. This all has a lot of very timely application for us. We as a church are heading into a new season, and I'm about to share some things that are personal and a little bit still raw emotionally. So forgive me if I, start to get weird, but, We're gonna be in a new season. A season of god doing some new things. I need to share about some things that are changing in my life and, changing for you as well. Now, it goes back a little bit. I have been bivocational.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:44:45]:

As a pastor, I've been working outside of the church since 2015. eight and a half years. It started out in March of 2015. I became construction worker Jerry. Those are right here. You might remember that. We gutted this whole place. Jeff and I spent many days or many hours, along with much help from all of you to, completely redo it as full time.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:45:12]:

full time working hard to restore this building and keep keep it usable for us. From there, I went in immediately into freelance web development. We knew before the construction work that needed to be done that It was gonna be time that the the church was not able to, continue to carry on a a full time pay for me, and so that was the plan. But we delete it so we can get the construction work done. Then I became freelancer web dev or freelance web developer Jerry. and, did that for, few years until 2019, then I got a job as a web developer at a local company, and I became in house web developer, Jerry. Then a new thing happened in 2021, July, new opportunity The door opened. I didn't want it.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:46:08]:

God told me to take it. Insisted. I refused. He insisted. We argued a little bit about it. and I became marketing manager Jerry. In half years, bivocational, the majority of that being full time, that's you know, 40 hours or so or more, outside of church responsibilities and then trying to take on church responsibilities in the other hours that were available. It's been a challenging season with, many highs and many lows.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:46:42]:

It's been super intense, many good things, many painful things. From the very beginning, I told the board It's gonna be impossible to have this split schedule and not get out of balance in my life. There's just no way to, you know, run as fast and and do as much as I was attempting to do and not get out of balance. At the same time, I would share regularly, you know, I really believe this is where God has me. He put me here. He put me there. Rock, hard place. Here's Jerry.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:47:17]:

Jerry, this is where I want you. Every board meeting since then, back in 2015, we make sure it's on the agenda. There's an opportunity to discuss the balance Is there need for a change? Is there something I'm not seeing? This last week, the board met once again, And this week, the board decided it is time to do something. It is time for a change. And so what the board has decided is, to provide a sabbatical for me for the remainder of the year. And sabbatical is maybe not a word that you are super familiar with. And so maybe it's appropriate for me to pull out Jerry's big book of Little Meeting. Starting with The primary definition's faith is obedience to god at his word.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:48:16]:

Hope is a confident expectation of eternity and love is doing what is best for people. It's important to revisit these because this is the context for all of this, faith hope and love, are woven in and out throughout this whole decision that is being made and, the, the course that we are taking. And and I want you to know that. That is perhaps, strange news and weird, and it takes everybody a little bit to digest and process and we're still doing it. We're still really seeking to understand, all the things that this involves. But so I would add to that list. Here's what a sabbatical, means in a very short condensed form. It's time off with a purpose.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:49:03]:

It's not time off to, you know, Jerry gets to just sit on the couch and, relax, you know, with an umbrella and a drink or something. and, I guess that probably implies alcohol. I don't know, but I don't drink alcohol, but, relax with the doctor Pepper and, you know, it's not it's not just couch time that that we're talking about here, but it's time off with a purpose. And and part of the purpose is absolutely rest and renewal. That is necessary. You know, I have been running very hard for a long time. I was doing so good, right at the end. Part of the purpose.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:49:45]:

is to give me the opportunity to have some fresh encounters with the lord. At this pace, it is hard. to have really, fresh encounters with the lord. I have fresh encounters as I prepare to teach. But beyond that, it is hard. to have fresh encounters with the lord. And so that's one purpose. Rest and renewal, fresh encounters with the lord.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:50:08]:

And then thirdly, what the board has requested is a lifestyle change so that there is the opportunity to come back in January but not trying to live the double full time lifestyle any longer. And so that means that couple possibilities, couple options, that I and my current police perhaps might have the opportunity to reduce hours and, that would provide or meet the needs, or maybe the lord wants to provide a different job altogether or perhaps I go back to freelancing or perhaps I invent something amazing in the next few months and it provides for me for the rest of my life. I don't know. But the purpose is to change so that this ongoing schedule does not resume after this sabbatical is over. And so this is, what the board has decided. I am confident and firmly believe. Again, it's rooted in faith and hope and love. I accept it as from the lord.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:51:14]:

I didn't initiate it, but it is the answer to prayer. And I've been praying, you know, for the lord to, direct and to show and reveal when we can make a change, desperate for a change for a long time now. And so I'm grateful that the lord has arranged this to, give the opportunity to redirect and renew some things that he wants to do in our lives, watch out for those floods. In the meantime, We have as part of our, bylaws of the church and our church board, roles called interim pastor and interim chairman so that if there was ever to happen something to me that there would be people who would know that they need to step into a role and, take on that role for a, a season or perhaps permanently depending on the situation as it develops. And so to let you know, pastor Jonathan is the one that we have set in that position as interim pastor Yes. And then, Richard is the interim chairman of the board. And so he will be responsible for making sure that, you know, that we follow what we've been doing and follow the, the bylaws follow what we have committed to as a church. And so, these guys, of course, are gonna be, key and crucial over the next few months as well as many other guys around them.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:52:56]:

And so, we have Roman and Rick and Josh, who are also on the board of directors, and they will play an integral role over the next few months in services and directions and decisions and all of the things that the Lord wants to do. we also have great season guys like Russell who will be key in this as well. And so plenty of, support you have as they send me away, you know, plenty of support to, take care of things to seek the Lord with you and to join with you in whatever the lord has. So we're heading into a crazy season. Coming out of a crazy season, heading into a crazy season, storms are a certainty. From my perspective, others may see it differently. I encourage you talk to all the board members. So, don't don't let this be like a mystery.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:53:50]:

Like, have the conversations that you want to have. There's nothing secret or hidden in any of this. My perspective This isn't the collapse. This is the storm. Now the foundation will be tested and dug away and all that dirt will be dug out so that rebuilding can happen. I think about it this way, I was Back in 2015, financially, my house was built on sand. Over the last eight and a half years, the words dug out and, you know, many hard, painful lessons we've been learning. We've been building.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:54:27]:

We've been trusting god with nothing. We've been learning to be content with abundance or With nothing, we've been working hard to faithfully save and be generous and diligent and There's been a whole building work that God has done over the past eight and a half years. Now there's a new building work that God wants to do. It's different. I I like the way that Jonathan describes it. He's described it to me as halftime. I've been pastoring here for 19 years. Maybe I have another 19 in me after this halftime, and There'll be the opportunity to come back strong and ready for what the lord has next.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:55:17]:

Last week, I shared out of Matthew chapter 2, how to see god's word fulfilled in your life. I had 3 points. seek god in the light you have. Number 2, heed god god's warnings and take action. And the number 3, ask god to direct you step by step. This is where I'm at. I have light. The board has made the decision.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:55:43]:

with faith, hope, and love. I'm gonna heed god's warning, and I'm gonna take action, asking the lord to direct me step by step. so what am I gonna be doing over the next few months? Well, it comes back to Matthew chapter 7. I'm gonna be listening. I'm gonna be following. I'm gonna be building I'm gonna be enduring. Guys, as you step in, Pastor Jonathan, Richard, Rick Roman, Josh. I'm on the spot, so I can't think of all the names I'm trying to think of.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:56:22]:

Here's what you need to be doing over the next few months. Listen. follow, build, build, don't stall, build, and endure. There's some great things that God wants to do. Members of living water, what you should do over the next few months? It's 4 words. I can get it out. Listen. Follow build and endure.

Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:56:58]: