Last week I went into the woods with a hundred teenagers just to “hang out.” I have to say it was a joy to simply be in conversation with these amazing young people and to be in their presence. Throughout their week of studying The Sermon on the Mount they were full of laughter as they played games in the water, played ball, acted out skits, and sang songs.

In the early morning and in the heat of the day, I engaged in private conversations with them—and I offered a challenge to a few of them. I asked this question: “Would you be willing to read the Sermon on the Mount once a week? And, would you be willing to pick one thought from Jesus’ teaching (on a daily basis) and then practice it in your life?”




In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches who the really happy people are in life. And He ends his message by saying that whoever practices these teachings will be like a man who builds his house on a rock. When the rain comes and when the wind blows and when the water rises—his house will stand because it is built on a rock.

He goes on to say, Whoever hears these words and does not practice them will be like the foolish man who built his house on the sand. When the storm hits and when the wind blows and when the rain comes and the water rises, the house will collapse and it will be a great fall.

The words in the Sermon on the Mount truly represent the mind of Jesus. And, Matthew 5:3-11 is the essence of the mind of Jesus.

When I decided that I was going to challenge them, I realized that I also needed to challenge myself. I have decided to read the Sermon on the Mount every day and look for just one thing I can practice in my life that day. I have been stunned by what I have since experienced and learned as I tune all of the day’s distractions out and just focus on hearing and practicing the wisdom I’ve found.

I want to be like the little eight year old girl who heard a preacher speak every week for three months on the Sermon on the Mount. On the last lesson of the series, the minister read from the text without comment. On the way home the little girl said to her dad, “That is the first time I ever understood what the preacher was saying.” Wow!

Since I have accepted the challenge I have been continually amazed. Today, after reading it again, I found words to express what I call “The Secret Place.”

The Secret Place
What is it I hear
When I listen with my heart
My soul and my mind

I hear my Father
Who is in the secret place
Who sees what I need
Even before I ask him
Can I really believe this

Don’t worry, don’t judge
Seek first the kingdom of God
Do the next right thing

It’s amazing how few believe
The power of the one who does
Changes everything around
Fills the room with light

The narrow road is hardest
Because it’s the path of love
Looks to the best interest
Of the other one

You’ll know how to love
First, yourself then the other
Guilt does not control
Shame is replaced by the joy
You’re beloved and forgiven

Would you join me in this quest and in this challenge?

All my best to you as you practice and build!

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