Sermon by Dr. E. Dale Locke
Series: Fixer Upper, Week 1 – “House Plans”


  1. Even if you’re not a New Year’s Resolution maker, name something you’re considering changing or improving about your life in 2016.


  1. What are some reasons that most New Year’s resolutions tend to fail?


  1. Read Matthew 7:24-29 (NIV2011)
    “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. 25  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. 26  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. 27  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 28  When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29  because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.


  1. This passage from Matthew 7 comes at the end of Jesus’ first sermon – known as the Sermon on the Mount. Talk about Jesus’ closing challenge to His hearers (vs. 24ff), and how His teaching was different from the other teachers of the day (vs. 28-29).


  1. Change isn’t easy. It takes work.  Pastor Dale noted two things about change:


First:  Lasting change involves “radical self-awareness.” 


  1. What does Pastor Dale mean by that statement? (Consider each word.) Why is that necessary?


  1. Pastor Dale said that in order to become more self-aware, it helps to think through all your various roles in life and prayerfully evaluate how you’re doing and what you might need to change in each area. As you read through these questions that Pastor Dale asks himself, consider your own life:


Role 1:  Your relationship with God:

      • Am I actually drawing my life from Him?
      • Is God’s Word central in my life?
      • Is my prayer life genuine and authentic – even involving my emotions?


Role 2:  Your relationship with your spouse (or your parents):

      • Am I honoring my spouse (or my parents) in how I spend my time?
      • Am I honoring them in my attitude toward them?


Role 3:  Your relationship with your children:

      • Do I view my family as a joy and not as a burden?


Role 4:  Your job or your school work:

      • Am I working “as unto the Lord”?


Role 5:  Your recreation:

      • Do I take enough healthy breaks away from my work, and am I really enjoying life as God intended me to?


  1. Are there other questions you would ask yourself, or other roles you should consider?


  1. Pastor Dale listed three blocks to change. Consider each one:


  1. Unforgiveness of myself or of someone else
    • We need to let the past go. You don’t have to be defined by your worst moment, and you shouldn’t define someone else by their worst moment.
    • Is there someone you are holding back forgiveness of?


  1. Being easily offended.
    • How is this a block to change in our lives?
    • What are some things a person can do to be less easily offended?


  1. Escapist behavior
    • Is there any behavior you are using to escape from facing your own brokenness (drugs, alcohol, porn, work, food, too much focus on your phone or computer, etc.)?
    • How can you be more present wherever you are this year, not skipping over moments, but living each moment fully?

Second:  Lasting change requires a wise and able coach.  God has provided that by giving us the presence of Christ inside of us by the power of the Holy Spirit. 


  1. As they say in recovery, we need to admit that we are powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors and that our life is not manageable on our own. How are you seeking to partner with and “fan the flame” of the Holy Spirit’s power to help you change, so that at the end of this coming year you will look back and see progress in the change you are now hoping for?

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