Sunday, March 17, 2013

Surprisingly Similar Sermon

   This morning, as I was sitting in church, it was kind of obvious that God was speaking directly to me. It didn't really matter who else was in the room, because God wanted ME to hear him speaking through our pastor this morning. It was one of those deja vu moments. "Hmm..I'm pretty sure the blog I wrote last night was about this EXACT same thing." (I even texted Julie and said something to the effect of, "this is all sounding really familiar.") God is funny like that.
   The Sermon was on Progressive Sanctification. Our Pastor was preaching from Romans 6. We didn't stay there for long though.  It was a sword drill kind of morning, for sure (flipping from one Bible passage to the next to the next). The verses that hit me the most were verses I actually memorized during at Wildwood (summer camp) the summer following senior year of high school. Romans 12.

Romans 12

English Standard Version (ESV)

A Living Sacrifice 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]

Gifts of Grace

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members,[e] and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,[f] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, withcheerfulness.

Marks of the True Christian

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[g] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[h] Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[i] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

   Roger that, Lord. I hear ya loud and clear. Thank you for knocking me upside the head until my pitiful little brain comprehends. 
   I have been hearing this song (see below) on Pandora a lot lately. To say I have fallen in love with the words doesn't even begin to explain it. It came on today while I was thinking about the sermon and doing some baking. The words struck me even harder than before. "My WHOLE life I place in your hands." Think about that. Do you mean it? I do. At least, I want to mean it. I know God is helping me to understand how to do that. Here I am, Lord.

Take a listen.....

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