Sermon by Dr. E. Dale Locke
Series: Fixer Upper (Making the Changes that Matter Most), Week 2 – “Making the Investment”

  1. Pastor Dale spoke last week about the importance of building our lives on the foundation of God and His Word. What are some other things that people might be tempted to build their life on?
  2. Read Luke 14:25-35:
    Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27  And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28  “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29  For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,30  saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ 31  “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32  If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33  In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. 34  “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35  It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
  3. What do you notice in this passage? What thoughts come to your mind when you hear Jesus’ words here?
  4. Read James 1:6-8:
    But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
  5. At first glance, it sounds like James is saying that Christians should never doubt, but most of us do have doubts from time to time, and other Scriptures indicate that God is gracious to us when we doubt and is willing to help us. Read Mark 9:20-27 below, focusing especially on verse 24; and then seek to explain what you think James is trying to say in James 1:6-8.

Mark 9:20-27:  So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered.  22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”  23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”  24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”  26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.”  27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

  1. Pastor Dale said that the “large crowds” in verse 25 represent people who were interested in Jesus’ miracles, but not really committed to following Jesus Himself. Are there parallels to that situation today?  If so, describe that.
  2. Jesus seems to have been intentionally thinning out the crowd to help people get more clarity about what it really means to follow Him. What are some signs that a person is really serious about following Jesus and doesn’t just have a “large crowd” mentality?
  3. Pastor Dale said that we often limit ourselves and create our own “mental barriers” that keep us from experiencing change in our life. He named 4 different ways that we might limit ourselves:
    1. Sometimes we limit ourselves based on what we believe about ourselves, saying things like: “I’ll always be like this,” or “This situation will never change.” 

If you’ve ever talked to yourself like this, share with the group about it.

If you’ve been able to break out of this kind of mindset, tell what helped you.

  1. Sometime we limit other people, or we let ourselves be limited by other people.

Why do we sometimes put people in a box with the assumption that they will never change?

Have you ever felt like someone else put you in a box and wouldn’t give you a chance to change?  How did that make you feel?

  1. Sometimes we let ourselves be limited by our surrounding society.

What are some ways that the surrounding society sometimes hinders a person from making the changes that are needed in their life?

  1. Sometimes we have a limited idea of what God can do – for example, we don’t think He could ever really forgive us, or we don’t have confidence in His ability to change us.

What are some things that have helped you break out of this tendency?

  1. Pastor Dale said the key to change is to suspend any limiting beliefs that you have and let yourself be impacted by the liberating truths of Scripture.  Name a Scripture or something you’ve learned through church that has liberated you from these kinds of limiting beliefs and helped you begin to change.

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