Posted by: everynation | September 14, 2009

Hoo-rah for the Foundation Class

walter-walkerby Walter Walker

This is another brief excerpt from a foundation class I taught to college student last summer (2009). In this particular class I found myself teaching not just important foundations but the importance of teaching foundations. I was not so subtly suggesting that the best gig in the church is the foundations class because that is where your life and words can have the greatest impact.

The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work” (1 Cor 3:9-13).

It is very easy to begin constructing extensions to our spiritual house that “technically” still rest on the foundation of Jesus Christ but hang far out over the foundation. Below is an example of such a creative building project:

Proposition #1:  God loves us so much that he sent his son to die for us.

Prop #2:  I am now a child of God and ambassador for his kingdom.

Prop #3:  God want to show the world through us how much he loves them.

(Building project is going petty well so far.)

Prop. #4: We are heirs to all the promises of God

Prop. #5: Where God guides, he provides.

Prop. #6: We are to be the head not the tail.

(And so on, and so on until..)

Prop. #12: It is God’s will is for me to be rich.

Prop. #13: If you really want God to heal you, you need to give $XXX to my ministry.

Prop. #14: My minimum fee for preaching at your church is $30,000, a limo, a five star hotel, and a green room with…

To me (as it would be to those who taught foundations to me) propositions #12 through #14 are absurd. However, people who actually believe those things didn’t begin there. One thing was built upon another until their faith and spiritual house took on that configuration. Eventually, what they built extended so far out beyond the original foundation that the concept (i.e. prop #14) could no longer be supported. It’s just too far out there. The two options at that point were: 1)  demolish that portion of the building, or 2) create some other type of additional support. See the illustration above.

And there it is – right there. Your church, your faith, or your life (represented by what you have built) has come to be founded upon and supported by something other than Jesus Christ. This is precisely the kind of thing that (as Paul said) will be tested by fire at the last judgment.

Though a new believer will remember few details of your foundation class ten years down the road, foundation classes taught thoughtfully and passionately will impart a kind of moral compass or plumb line. Even though the details of your teaching points may be forgotten, what remains is a discernment or sense of what is right and true (i.e. “true” as in straight, true, and plumb), an inner alarm that tell you that you are building outside the foundation.

Let’s hear a big “hoo-rah” for the foundation classes.

Walter Walker is the Director of Communications and Donor Relations of Youth Life Learning Center and is the author of   Walter’s Blog.

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