Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Transformation Through Genuine Love

“Transformation Through Genuine Love”
Romans 12:9 NLT-Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NLT- If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.  If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

What I am about to share is very hard for us to hear, but it is what the church needs today as a reality check.  The one place people should experience love and compassion the most is sadly too often the one place where people feel the most criticized, hurt, rejected, judged and shunned.  This is a heartbreaking, terrifying truth and it should serve as a huge wake-up call for us who claim to follow Christ.  How have we managed to stray so far from God’s intention of what the church should be? 

So many people have been turned off and continue to be turned away from ever darkening church doors because of people who claim to be Christians, but do not genuinely love one another.  This breaks my heart and I’m guilty as charged as well.  I know this makes many of us squirm, but it is the tough pill of truth to swallow.  We should be all about God’s love. 

Throughout my years of life, I have lived many places and attended many churches.  Out of all of my years in the church, both volunteer and paid ministry, I have noticed a common problem that comes up frequently and it is the issue of genuine love getting pushed aside while petty differences take over.  I have seen so much hurt in the body of Christ through the years and it breaks my heart because God wants us to work together to be united to love one another.  

Paul explains that we can be busy doing so much for God, but if we do not do so with love, then it’s all for nothing.  Love must be the root of all these things we do in service of God’s church.  If we have not love, we’ve completely missed the point. 

The world is desperate to see us living a genuine love for one another and not just claiming to love God and love others.  Love must be our mission.  Genuine, authentic, real love that comes from God and should shine through us as believers. 

Don’t just pretend.  Really love people genuinely. 

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Transformation Through Complete Surrender

“Transformation Through Complete Surrender”
Romans 12:1-2 NIV
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

All of us have a natural desire to be in control of our lives.  We don’t like when things around us seem out of control.  We tend to spend a lot of time and energy to make sure that we’ve got everything under control or going as we like.  We do know that we should give God complete control of our lives, but we don’t often live this way.

Living our lives in worship to God involves completely surrendering to Him so that He can take control of our lives and do as He pleases with us and through us.  We are all guilty of falling to the daily temptation of conforming to this world.  The NLT says in verse 2 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

We need a completely changed mindset.  If we desire a life of true worship, we will surrender our lives to God each day and long for nothing more and nothing less than living for Him.  We need to be transformed as we learn to serve Him with all we are.  This means completely giving up our ways and letting Him take over and redirect our path constantly. 

We initially say we want this, but so often stop Him from this transformation because we want control.  If we want true worship in our lives, we cannot be in control at all.  By becoming a living sacrifice for God, this is true worship.  It’s more than anything we just do in a church service.  It is about how we live our lives every day to serve Him. 

Real transformation comes through true worship as we seek to love God with every part of who we are.  It is vital that we be completely sold out to God in every way so that our lives become controlled by Him.  If we seek to be completely transformed, God wants us our heart with no reservations. 

Do we really seek to be transformed by Him so that we fully worship?