The waters of the North and South St. Vrain are rising again. So are the fears of the folks in Lyons, Colorado. Last September, after 18″ of rain, those two rivers ripped through town and left little behind except twisted, mud-soaked wreckage. The River Church building clung tenaciously to its foundations, against a 6′ surging torrent, until a telephone pole swept down and knocked the corner of its foundation out from under it. By God’s grace, most of the rest of the building hung on. By God’s miraculous grace, scores of volunteers from around the country have reconditioned and restored that building from the foundation up (see more below). But now the heavy snows in the Rockies are melting. The St. Vrain is rising. If you are praying for rain, please be specific about where you need it!
Jesus said life on this planet would resemble the Lyons flood. But He also gave us words to survive by – the Sermon on the Mount.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Live by the Sermon on the Mount and you will survive the pounding floods of life. Easier said than done. Living with an awareness of spiritual bankruptcy, hungering for righteousness, being salt and light in the world, loving your enemies, never thinking about sex outside of marriage, avoiding the pull of materialism, … putting the words of Jesus into practice seems impossible. It’s like saying to a caterpillar, “Just become a butterfly and you will be able to survive life’s troubles.”
Don’t despair or quit. Just as there is a way for a caterpillar to become a butterfly, there is a way for you and me to begin to live by the words of Jesus. They both involve a complete transformation, from the inside out. We cannot make it happen or pay to have it done. The charges have already been fully paid at the Cross. Our only part is surrendering to Jesus, confessing our bankruptcy and inability, asking for and accepting His forgiveness, and then trusting His Spirit to begin the transformation. Our part is to humbly call out to Him for rescue. As Jesus begins the work of transformation, your life will begin to conform to His words. I wonder if caterpillars feel amazed to look down one day and discover they are flying. If so, they must feel like people who trust Jesus and discover the new birth and growing influence of His Spirit in their souls.
One last note: Jesus didn’t say that if we follow Him there would be no floods, only that we would stand. You may not live near the St. Vrain, but know this: the water is rising.
PS – You can see pictures and find more about The River Church here.