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Laying the Foundations of Faith
After Christina Onassis died at 38 her stepsister Henrietta Gelber said,
"She lacked a sense of achievement, what she was striving for was just
to be a normal human being with normal family relationships, which was
virtually impossible in her situation. She had houses all over the
world, but she never really had a home." (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
Sixteen years have past and I still feel bad for Christina.
All the riches she acquired in life are hollow substitutes. She lived
in beautiful houses but never had a home.
During Paul's second Missionary journey we meet a businesswoman
who had more than a house, she had a home. Acts 16:14-15 says "And a certain
woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped
God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the
things which were spoken of Paul.  And when she was baptized, and her
household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful
to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us."
There are a few things I want you to notice about her home.
First, notice that her house was a place of Worship. Acts 16:14a
says "And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city
of Thyatira, which worshipped God." (KJV)
While it is true that all that we do during this service should
be worship, it is also true that this isn't the only place where we worship
Tyler Burkum, lead guitarist for Audio Adrenaline says, "the worship
movement has been huge all over the world, but it shouldn't stop in our
church. Let's go into this world and worship with our lives."
The group created an umbrella group of 15 Christian mission organizations
to encourage their listeners to reach out to their friends and neighbors.
Burkum describes the Go Foundation as an organization that pairs Christians
with ministry organizations that can use their talents. Burkum says, "God
uses talents to interest people." He says the Lord uses his talent on the
Burkum says, "You don't have to walk onto a bus and hand out flyers
to worship God. You don't need to go to church and play a guitar. You don't
need to take a Bible and thump them on the head to tell someone about God.
You don't need to be passive either. You can be totally on fire and use
your life as an example." (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
I believe AA's strategy is a valid one because it is built on
the premise that worship isn't confined to an event or a building.
An attitude of worship also consumes believers who open up everyday activities
to the presence of God in their lives.
Not only was Lydia's house filled with worship, but it was also
full of hospitality. Acts 16:15b says, "she besought us, saying,
If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and
abide there. And she constrained us."
Someone has said, "Poetry is love illustrated, hospitality is
We all expect workers in hotels to see that our beds are made
and our rooms are clean, but sometimes they do more than their jobs, they
show genuine hospitality. People like Huong Dinh, a Carmel Valley
Ranch housekeeper who found an envelope with $5000.00 in it discarded in
a trash can and chose to turn it in to her supervisor instead of keeping
it for herself. Or Edwin Harris a Bellman over at the Embassy Suites
who remembered that a guest he escorted to the 11th floor of the hotel
was disabled, when there was a fire in the building and went to his room
and carried the man on his own back down eleven flights of stairs.
"I only did what God gave me the strength to do," Harris said. (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
Hebrews 13:2 says, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,
for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it." (NASB) Some
have literally entertained angels, as this verse says, but others are angels,
in a figurative sense, when they show hospitality to those in need.
We show the grace of God to others with a cup of cold water, or
a slice of hot pizza or warm conversation during a lonely evening.
My friend Josh Hunt is fond of saying, people aren't looking for friendly
churches, they are looking for friends. We encounter lonely people
every day of our lives. They are in the grocery store where we shop,
the Sunday School classes we attend, two desks down from us in Math class,
and if we look real close, we might even make eye contact with one in the
mirror when we brush our teeth. Hospitality is showing friendship
and kindness to people who aren't necessarily in the position to reciprocate.
Is your home filled with hospitality?
Lydia's home was a filled with worship and hospitality, but it
was also a place of Encouragement
Acts 16:40 says And they went out of the prison, and entered into
the house of Lydia and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted
them, and departed. (KJV)
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to find a critic and how
hard it is to find an encourager? Let me put that another way.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to criticize and how easy it is to
forget to encourage?
Pat Summitt, the Lady Volunteer's Basketball Coach is a driven
woman who demands the best from herself and others. You might think that
her high standards and demanding ways are the reason she starts her 31st
season this year with 852 victories at Tennessee, but you'd only be partially
After a dry spell in the mid 90's, Summitt lost her temper on
the long ride home from a game the team should have won. Summitt chewed
on one of her seniors so hard that it devastated the athlete. After a sleepless
night, Michelle Marciniak, the player, called her coach at six in the morning
saying she needed more than to be told when she makes mistakes, she needs
some encouragement too.
That early morning phone call served as a "wake-up call" for Summitt
in more ways than one. Slowly, she's changed her ways to avoid breaking
a player's spirit. Her combination of high standards and an encouraging
spirit is taking the Lady Volunteers to a new level. (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
Criticism has its place, but it always takes second place to encouragement.
The Bible says, " . . .not forsaking our own assembling together, as is
the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you
see the day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:25 NASB)
Lydia's house was filled with worship, hospitality and encouragement,
but it couldn't have been any of those things if it wasn't a foundation
Notice a the three words that appear after the word baptized in
verse 15. It says, "And when she was baptized, and her household,"
Grace flowed through her to her family. Please don't dismiss
this as an obscure phrase or an anomaly in scripture. Though people
must decide for themselves to accept Christ as their person Savior, each
decision will have influence on generations. I've noticed the
theme reoccurring throughout scripture. Let's read a few of them
together. 1 Cor 1:16 says, "Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas;
beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else." (NIV)
Acts 10:2 says "a devout man, and one who feared God with all
his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people, and prayed to God
Acts 11:14 promises, "and he shall speak words to you by which
you will be saved, you and all your household." (NASB)
Acts 16:31 says, "'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be
saved, you and your household.'" (NASB)
Acts 16:34 says, "And he brought them into his house and set food
before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole
Acts 18:8 reports that "Crispus, the leader of the synagogue,
believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians
when they heard were believing and being baptized." (NASB)
All of these scriptures are in the book of Acts and all of them
show the same pattern, faith is foundational in some homes. But the
doctrine isn't restricted to Acts. The writer of Hebrews wrote,
"By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence
prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned
the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to
faith." (Hebrews 11:7 NASB)
At our California Southern Baptist Convention this year we celebrated
a milestone in the lives of two of our leaders. Dr. Ron Ellis, the
President of California Baptist University just completed his first decade
of service with us. Under his tenure our school has more than tripled
in enrollment, attained University status and built new, state of the art
facilities. The growth continues as we scramble to provide the room
for all the students who want to be a part of a "Great Commission University."
It is my honor to serve as a trustee of the University and to watch this
great leader work.
The other milestone was for Dr. Jeff Iorg, the new President of
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. I first met Dr. Iorg this
summer in Indianapolis where he stole my heart. These two men have
arrived in similar places in their lives, but came from different kinds
Dr. Ellis and his wife Jane were both raised in Christian homes
and are carrying on a legacy of faith. Dr. Iorg didn't have that
privilege. He was raised in a non-Christian family to say the least.
But at this convention I heard both men say the same thing that one of
the goals of their lives is to leave a Christian legacy to their children.
Both men who have accomplished much in their lives. But
their greatest accomplishment and their greatest legacy will be the foundation
of faith they lay in their own homes.
What foundation for faith have you laid in your home?