Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

Sep
26

In a recent New York Times editorial, David Brooks identified a problem facing our culture.

“A generation ago about half of all Americans felt they could trust the people around them, but now less than a third think other people are trustworthy…Young people are the most distrustful of all; only about 19 percent of millennials believe other people can be trusted. But across all age groups there is a rising culture of paranoia and conspiracy-mongering…The true thing about distrust, in politics and in life generally, is that it is self-destructive. Distrustful people end up isolating themselves, alienating others and corroding their inner natures.” – David Brooks

In 1 Thessalonians 2, we are given a glimpse into the ministry of Paul. An essential part of Paul’s ministry focused on establishing trust. He tells the Thessalonians that his motives are pure (1 Thess. 2:3-6). He points to his actions among them (1 Thess. 2:7-12). His relationship with the Thessalonians was like a “nursing mother taking care of her own children.” He shared the gospel but he also shared himself (1 Thess. 2:8). The Thessalonians knew they could trust Paul because of the sacrifices he was making in their presence (1 Thess. 2:9).

Trust does not happen on its own. It takes work. To share yourself with others involves risk. It takes people willing to be vulnerable. Someone has to take the first step. Someone has to be open before others open up. Once some level of trust is achieved, it must be nurtured. It should never be taken advantage of or abused, but instead it should be strengthened into a foundation for relationships and communities to thrive.

In an age of distrust, Christians are called to be something different. We need to be a people who build trust rather than tear it down. The church needs to be a place where trust is foundational. Christians need to be trustworthy. Distrust is destructive. People need individuals, communities, and systems in which they can trust. Christians can provide what people are looking for because we serve a God who is the epitome of trustworthiness. May we commit to the hard work of building trust by sharing ourselves so that God will be glorified.

Sep
21

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (Matt. 5:43-47)

As I look at Facebook, I see a lot of us vs. them statements and articles being posted. We naturally tend to divide ourselves into groups. We demonize the other side while overlooking the faults and shortcomings of our own group. Whenever a new issue arises, we do not have to examine the facts because we have already made up our minds the moment we chose a side. Arguments abound on Facebook because no one ever changes their mind because of a post on social media. Our posts rally the side we are on while infuriating the other side. People go back and forth, jabs are thrown, and eventually both sides are upset and more ingrained concerning their original position than before the argument began. There is little or no meaningful engagement on social media when we set out to prove the other side wrong. Worse yet, when we see others as our enemy, we often dehumanize them in some way. This is rarely a conscious decision on our part. However, it happens because we are trying to rationalize why they have come to a conclusion or position that we find irredeemable.

I am not against having discussions where deep disagreements exist. In fact, I believe this is necessary and healthy to our communities and our nation as a whole. I do believe that before we post or comment on Facebook, we should follow the advice of Jesus.

1. We should pray for our enemies, whether they are real or perceived.

2. We should see everyone as a human being created in the image of God. It is especially easy to dehumanize when you are staring at a screen rather than a person.

3. We should seek the good will of anyone we are engaging, whether we know them or not.

4. We should proceed with humility, understanding we might be wrong.

The ways of Jesus bless our lives and the lives of others. They challenge us to be better human beings. As we proceed with the difficult conversations of life, let us do so not simply to win an argument or prove others wrong, but to imitate Jesus in every aspect of our life.

Sep
15

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“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.'” (Luke 17:20-21)

The Avett Brothers’ song, True Sadness, is about what is wrong with the world. There is a cancer that has spread to every thing and every person. The cancer is sin, but it manifests itself in different ways. The chorus of the song acknowledges that people may seem fine, but deep down there is a “true sadness.” We are good at hiding our brokeness. In a culture obsessed with social media, we often lack the deep relationships that allow us to be vulnerable and address the real issues in our life. We can curtail the details of our life on Facebook so that everything looks terrific when in reality we all have issues if anyone would “take the time to peel a few layers” away. Our lives have been altered by the darkness that entered the world when Adam and Eve broke the covenant with God.

The song mentions alcoholism early on, but then there is a lengthy reflection on the problem of lust.

Angela became a target
As soon as her beauty was seen
By young men who try to reduce her down
To a scene on an x-rated screen
Is she not more than the curve of her hips?
Is she not more than the shine on her lips?
Does she not dream to sing and to live and to dance down her own path?
Without being torn apart
Does she not have a heart?

The root of lust is one of the biggest problems that affects our world. It is the problem of not seeing human beings for who they truly are, people created in the image of God. When one person lusts after another person, they are looking at that person as a mere object. The Avett Brothers repeatedly ask the question, “Is she not more…?” The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Objectifying individuals leads to sins such as lust, rape, slavery, murder, etc. When a person is no longer a person, it frees people to do whatever they like. When we treat people as objects, we rob them of their dignity, and we become a little less human ourselves. We do not act as we were created to act. We allow the darkness to take hold, and we become part of the problem.

Although the song is entitled “True Sadness,” it is not without hope. There are glimpses of redemption throughout the song. It begins with a friend who comes to help in a time of need.

You were a friend to me when my wheels were off the track
And though you say there is no need I intend to pay you back
When my mind was turning loose and all my thoughts were turning black
You shined a light on me and I intend to pay you back

Next, there is the hope of overcoming the power of addiction. In a line most likely referring to AA, The Avett Brothers sing, “And I’ve seen the program make men out of monsters.” Sin distorts the image of God within us. When we give into sin, we lose some of our own dignity. A monster is not human, but there is always the possibility of regaining the humanity we have lost.

The battle we face is constant and can be grueling. We live in a dark world, but we are called to be a part of a new reality.

I cannot go on with this evil inside me
I step out my front door and I feel it surround me
Just know the kingdom of God is within you
Even though the battle is bound to continue

In Luke 17:20-21, the Pharisees were looking for magnificent signs, but Jesus informs them there are none. Rather, the kingdom of God was in their midst. It was more ordinary than they had expected. God had taken on flesh and blood. He came to heal the sick and feed the poor. The kingdom of God was staring them in the face, but they could not see it.

Our lives are more often changed by the ordinary than the extraordinary. The church, the kingdom of God on earth, must be incarnational. It must take on flesh and blood so that we may step into the lives of others and shine the light they so desperately need. In a world longing for human interactions, we must be a community committed to openness, vulnerability, sharing, and redemption. Programs like AA are able to “make men out of monsters” because no one is hiding behind a mask. The relationships are real. Confession is essential to getting better. Transformation is taken seriously because it is a matter of life and death.

What sometimes seems ordinary is quite extraordinary. Jesus did not look like what the Pharisees were searching for. He was a mere human, but he was so much more than that. He was God in the flesh. Our battle will continue, but we must remember that God is in our midst. The power to overcome darkness and see the world in a different way is possible through the power of Jesus. This song reminds us to take one day at a time. Life is never easy. Jesus never promised it would be, but the power we need to overcome is closer than we might realize.

Aug
12

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Pete’s Dragon is a mix of all kinds of different things that will encourage various emotions in the viewer. If you are looking for a faithful remake of the original, then you will be disappointed. If you are looking for a film with impressive visual effects based off characters you are familiar with, then you will be pleased. If audiences will allow the new Pete’s Dragon to stand on its own, and not expect too much from it going in, then I believe they will be pleasantly surprised. It is an inspiring film that encourages belief in what one cannot see and for this reason, it is an important film for Christians.

Pete’s Dragon has many obstacles to overcome. It is based on a beloved children’s movie that some people are quite passionate about. People have opinions about the film before they ever enter the theater. The film itself is predictable, and some of the characters are one-dimensional. From the moment Gavin (Karl Urban) appears on screen, it is evident he is the bad guy, and it’s not difficult to figure out where the moving is heading. Pete’s Dragon utilizes the familiar narrative of a creature who is misunderstood by the masses and must rely on a few compassionate individuals to come to his aid. Adopting a format that is well-known is not always a bad thing as long as you do it well or do something with it. I am happy to report that Pete’s Dragon does do something special with the familiar story.

Robert Redford plays Meacham, an old man who likes to tinker in his shop and tell stories that seem unbelievable to the neighborhood kids. His daughter Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) works for the forestry department. She does not think too highly of her father’s tall tales. She is a researcher and believes in hard evidence. Although the part Robert Redford plays is small, it is extremely significant to the film. His dialogue at the beginning of the movie sets up everything that will follow. Pete’s Dragon is a critique of modernist thinking that relies heavily on rationalism and the scientific method. Grace is skeptical of her father’s stories. She believes in her work. She believes in what she can see, touch, feel, taste, and hear. She has spent her life in the forest, and she has never seen a dragon. Meacham reminds the children and Grace that there are unseen things that are very real.

I am not sure what C. S. Lewis or J. R. R. Tolkien would have thought about good dragons, but I believe they would have enjoyed this delightful movie that reminds viewers there is more to this world than what a person can see. Pete’s Dragon is not complex. It does not explore the greater realm of ethics as Lewis and Tolkien did in their works, but it does raise a fundamental question about how people understand the world. Although ethics are not explicitly explored in the film, it does consider questions regarding the source of ethics. Are ethics something people come up with on their own, or are they related to something greater than humanity? These are deep questions, but it is possible people begin to form answers to these questions earlier than one might expect. Lewis, Tolkien, and G. K. Chesterton all understood that there is something special about children’s stories, myths, fantasy, etc. Although these stories may not be true, they teach truth, and they prepare people for truth. I believe this is also true of Pete’s Dragon.

Pete’s Dragon is visually pleasing. It tells a story that will be familiar to many adults but will quickly engage the emotions of children. Most importantly, it is a movie with an important message. The writer of Hebrews says, “faith is…the conviction of things not see.” Can a person believe and trust in something or someone they have not seen? The writer of Hebrews thinks so and so does Pete’s Dragon.

Jul
12

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This song is a reflection on the life of Jesus through his mother’s eyes. This is a perspective we are not used to. We know Mary is the mother of Jesus. We know she is given this prominent role at the beginning of the Gospel. We also know that she appears at the cross. Mary is present at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly life and the end, but we often do not reflect on what it was like for her to experience these events. What was it like for Mary to nurture and raise Jesus and to later see him put to death? What was it like for her to cuddle Jesus as a baby and then see him beaten and spit upon? What was it like for Mary to play with Jesus as a child and then stand at the foot of the cross?

There is much that we do not know concerning the life of Jesus from his birth to the beginning of his ministry. What we do know is that Mary was his mother. She gave birth to him. She raised him, and even though we don’t have any of her prayers from this time period, we know what a mother prays for and hopes for. I like how the third stanza begins. It doesn’t just say Mary prayed. It says a mother prays. The sentiment expressed in this prayer could have been prayed by Mary, but it is also something that mothers have prayed for thousands of years.

A mother prays, “Sleep tight, my child, sleep well

For I’ll be at your side

That no shadow, no darkness, no tolling bell,

Shall pierce your dreams this night”

This is what all parents want for their children. We want to protect them from all the evil in the world. We want nothing bad to happen to them. We want to preserve their innocence. We look at these children and we admire them. They don’t see black or white, rich or poor. They see human beings. They love one another and we want to protect this. We don’t want them to know the world as we know it, and so we pray. We ask God to watch over our children knowing that one day their innocence will be lost and they will see the world for what it really is.

Parenting a child is full of highs and lows. When that child is born you experience love like you have never experienced it before. You are overwhelmed with love for this child you have just met. A bond is formed and it continues to grow and grow. Your heart is full but eventually your heart will break. It is inevitable. Your child will get hurt. They will get picked on or made fun of. They will feel pain. They will see evil and wonder why. All of these moments are worse as a parent than when we go through them ourselves. We work so hard to protect our children and then something happens. Tears fill their eyes and our hearts break.

There are some things that should not be. Last week violence broke out across our nation. People’s lives were taken from them. Let’s put the politics aside and remember the humanity involved in each of these situations. As I tuned into the news over the last few days, I heard a mother from Minnesota and a father from Dallas who both lost children. I heard the hurt and sadness in their voices. They had spent all this time raising and trying to protect their children and then they are taken from them. This is a parent’s worst nightmare. This is what all of us fear, and sadly this is the world we live in.

Some may say, “The world has not always been this way.” I would beg to differ. In the days of Noah, the world was full of violence and this upset God. The story of the gospel is the story of an innocent man being put to death by the people in authority. Mary’s firstborn son. The child that Mary loved and raised. The child she carried inside her for nine months. The child she tucked in bed at night becomes the victim of horrific violence. We like to talk about the benefits of the cross but we sometimes forget the human element. Mary’s child endured horrific pain and suffering while she stood nearby. What happened at the cross is an indictment against humanity. It shows what we are capable of, and not just Romans or pagans, but the very people of God helped to put Jesus on the cross. When we allow hate into our heart anything can happen. Jesus commands us not to hate because he says hate leads to murder. What we all must do in this volatile time in our country is examine our heart and make sure there is no hate in it.

This song is important is because it reminds us that there was a loss at the cross. This is the most famous story in the Bible and so we know what happens. We understand the horror of the cross but we also know the hope of resurrection. If we are not careful, we will want to rush past the tragedy of Friday so we can get to the hope of Sunday. It is important that we grasp what happened at the cross, and not just in theological terms, but in terms of what it meant for Mary and Jesus. In the next to last stanza of the song, Springsteen reflects on this.

Now there’s a loss that can never be replaced

A destination that can never be reached

A light you’ll never find in another’s face

A sea whose distance cannot be breached

Although Jesus willingly went to the cross, he was aware that this would forever alter the rest of his life on earth. In Gethsemane, he prays for another way. Jesus will be resurrected but he will also ascend to be with the Father. He will never grow old. He will never be able to care for his elderly mother when she needs help. He will leave behind friends and family. Jesus does an amazing thing for us but it comes at a high cost. The cost is not just the brutality of his death. It is also all that he will leave behind. Although Mary may comprehend the mission of her Son, this still doesn’t take away the pain of her loss. She will no longer have her son here on earth. We experience this type of loss when a Christian brother or sister dies. We have the comfort of knowing we will be reunited, but we still grieve they are no longer with us. There are some things that cannot be undone in this lifetime. If a person robs a bank, then the money can be returned, but if a person takes a life, then there is no way to give that back. There is a loss that can never be replaced and Mary felt that loss at Calvary.

Jesus also understood the significance of what was about to happen. Springsteen sings,

In the garden at Gethsemane

He prayed for the life he’d never live,

He beseeched his Heavenly Father to remove

The cup of death from his lips

What was that prayer about in Gethsemane? We know that Jesus prayed for another way. We also know that he submitted himself to the will of the father. Why did Jesus want to find another way? Was it because he feared the pain he was about to endure? Maybe, but maybe it was because he wanted to spend more time with his disciples and with his family. We know that the people around Jesus were dear to him. He wept at the tomb of Lazarus. He enjoyed eating with people and helping others. Maybe his prayer was similar to Paul’s in Philippians who was torn between being with God and helping others. He wanted both but knew it wasn’t possible at that moment.

What is obvious is that Jesus understood he was making a sacrifice. He had competing emotions within him but he was willing to lay down his life for the masses. He went to the cross for you and for me. Sometimes when a poem or song is written we have to find the meaning ourselves. There are some songwriters who refuse to comment on what their songs mean. Bruce Springsteen is not one of them. While performing this song at concerts around the world Springsteen has commented on the meaning of this song. This is what he has said,

“The choices we make are given meaning by the things we sacrifice…The choices that we make are given their value by the things we give up for them.”

What he describes here is the Biblical definition of love. The cross is love because Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for human beings. Jesus gives a similar definition of love in the parable of the good Samaritan. The story begins because a lawyer wants to know what it means to love his neighbor. It means that you sacrifice something for that person. You give up your time to care for them. You let them ride your donkey. You pay for their stay at the inn. You promise to check back in.

This song asks some deep questions about ourselves. What do our sacrifices say about us? What kinds of sacrifices are we making in our own lives? We talk a lot about love but we only love as much as we sacrifice. We all love God. We profess it every Sunday. Okay, then what have you done for God lately? How have you sacrificed for him? What about your neighbor? The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor. What have you done for the people around you? The world becomes a better place, not because we talk about love, but because we actually love.

The song ends by reflecting on the final moments Jesus and Mary have together before his death.

Well Jesus kissed his mother’s hands

Whispered, “Mother, still your tears,

For remember the soul of the universe

Willed a world and it appeared.”

This is a song about lament and sacrifice but it ends with a word of hope. In the Gospel of John, Jesus looks down from the cross and he speaks to his mother and he speaks to John. One of his last concerns before he died was that his mother would be taken care of. He commissions John to watch after her. Mary must have been heartbroken as she watched her son die, but Jesus must have been equally heartbroken as he saw his mother’s eyes fill with tears.

In the midst of tragedy and loss, it is important to grieve and lament. Paul commands that we mourn with those who are mourning. When something tragic happens, this should be our first response as Christians. Political pundits and talk show hosts will offer their commentary but the world has had enough commentary. We don’t need any more talking heads. What the world needs is compassion. They need people to recognize their hurts. They need people to listen. They need people to care. This is our job as Christians, but more than anything else we are to remind people of the hope that is alive in Jesus. In the song, Jesus reminds Mary who God is and what he has done. He created this world and he is still in control. We need to remember the power of God. We need to remember that Jesus conquered evil at the cross, conquered death in the resurrection, and one day he will return to right all wrongs. Although we may live in dark times, God will have the final word. We do not belong to darkness. We are children of light and it is our duty to shine this light wherever we go. May we never fear the darkness, but instead may we commit to shining brighter than ever in the darkest moments.

You can listen to the full sermon here.

Feb
11

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“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1)

What is worship? It is something Christians do every week, but could you explain it if you had to? What would you say to someone who does not know what worship is? God alone is deserving of worship but throughout Scripture other objects, and people are worshiped. Worship involves giving yourself to something. You devote yourself to it. You give your time, money, adoration, and energy to it. You align yourself with what you worship and begin to take on the qualities and characteristics of the object of your devotion. This could be any number of things. It could be a career, nation, team, hobby, etc.

Worship is something all people do, regardless if they know it or not. It should be easy to identify what a person worships by looking at their life. What do they talk about? What do they spend time doing? Where do they give their money? Does a person resemble their favorite sports team? Does a person resemble their favorite political campaign? Does a person resemble Jesus?

“To adore…That means to lose oneself in the unfathomable, to plunge into the inexhaustible, to find peace in the incorruptible, to be absorbed in defined immensity, to offer oneself to the fire and the transparency, to annihilate oneself in proportion as one becomes more deliberately conscious of oneself, and to give of one’s deepest to that whose depth has no end.” – Teilhard de Chardin

The quote above is profound. I have read it multiple times. I have meditated on what it means, and I believe it is a marvelous description of Christian worship. Replace the word “adore” with worship. One of the significant differences between Christian worship and idolatry is that we give ourself to something beyond ourself. Idolatry is tempting because we can understand it and often manipulate it, but we cannot put God into a box. We cannot manipulate him. He is beyond us, and this is exactly why he deserves our worship.

Jan
27

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While Jesus is at the table, he takes the bread, breaks it, and looks at Matthew. As far as we know, Matthew is the only one of the twelve that, when he starts following Jesus, people are pulling Jesus aside and saying things like, “Are you sure you want to be hanging around this guy? Because he’s a tax collector.” Which meant he was taking money from his fellow countrymen to fund the Roman army. Many tax collectors were thought to be cheats and thieves. Jesus looks at this man, who lived that kind of life, and he hands him the bread and says, “This is my body, and it’s given for you.”

Next, Jesus sees Peter, and he knows that Peter is about to have a bad night. They all are, but Peter firmly believes in the strength of his courage. In a few short hours, Peter will betray Jesus. Out of fear, Peter will deny even knowing him. Jesus knows this. He looks his companion, his friend, who will abandon him, and he hands him the bread and says, “This is my body, and it’s for you.”

And then he turns to Judas, Judas who feels the extra weight in his lap of the thirty coins tucked into his purse. He has already betrayed Jesus, sold him out, and he is sitting there at the table with Jesus. The plot is already in motion. Jesus knows this. He knows what Judas has done, and what he will do. He looks at Judas, and he hands him the bread and says, “This is for you.”

It’s not that our sins don’t matter. They do. When we compromise our integrity, when we hurt each other, when we set the commands of Christ aside because they’re not convenient, it matters. When we come to this table, we come with our sins. There’s no other way we can approach God. It is not in spite of our sins that Jesus offers us his flesh and blood, bread and wine. No, it is precisely because of our sin, that Christ breaks bread, and he hands it to us, and says. “This is my body,” and no matter who you are, or what you’ve done or will do, this is for you.

Submitted by Roy Rhodes

Jan
26

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Heavenly Father,

This year, as every year, we commit ourselves to be people who give to missionaries at home and around the world. We continually strive to be individuals who help the poor and bring hope to people in need. We are also intent on helping our own children, families, widows and others who make this congregation their home.

We vow to continue to worship God in prayer, Bible study, meditation, singing and the Lord’s Supper as acts of righteousness. We also promise to continue to reach out benevolently and evangelistically as acts of justice to our community.

We remember that every dollar we have, whether those we put in the collection plate or the dollars that stay in our personal bank accounts, are all to be used for the glory of God. This year, as every year, we are reminded that we are honored stewards of Your money that You provide us through our sources of income.

Our gift of money is important to us because it is sometimes hard for us to give up. We offer it to you Father and we look forward to seeing how it will be used to bring You glory.

The offering we make this year is more than money. We also offer you our time, energy, and most of all, our hearts. We pray our hearts will continually strive to serve ways to glorify you through worship and acts of service.

May you receive all the glory!

In Christ, Amen.

Submitted by David Duncan

Jan
25

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Text: John 13:1-15 or 1 Th 4:11-12

As I was preparing for our time around the Lord’s Table this morning I got to thinking about our hands.

If you look down your row, there are different kinds of hands. Some soft. Some calloused. These hands have helped to provide food for their family. Each set of hands belongs to a different profession. All of these hands belong to the Lord.

Look at your hands.

What do you see? Your hands tell a story. Your hands have been a help to others. They have caressed the face of your spouse. They have clasped the hand of a friend. Maybe they have helped someone witness the love of Jesus.

The night of the Last Supper we all benefit from the hands that washed the disciples feet. Think about the hands in that room during the Last Supper. Hands of fishermen, a tax collector, a revolutionary, a betrayer.

Each set of hands tells a story. Our hands like Peter’s reach out for Jesus when we are drowning in the sea of life. Our hands like Judas’s have betrayed our Lord when we have reached for the forbidden fruit.

Thankfully our hands aren’t what saves us. No, we are saved by the hands that stooped to wash the dirt off of the disciples feet. These hands were stretched out wide for us on the cross. These hands have the scars to demonstrate his own love for us!

When we get together to celebrate the Lord’s Supper we reach with our hands to take the bread and the cup. We reach out for these emblems that draw us into the story of Jesus.

Submitted by Jason Retherford

Jan
14

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“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, 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.” (Romans 12:1-2)

The Greek word translated transform in this passage is metamorphousthe. This is where our English word metamorphosis comes from. It literally means to change form. When we become a Christian, we are expected to become something different. We are not to stay the same. God now lives in us. Through his presence and the influence of Scripture and Christian practices, we are shaped into a new being.

As we go through life, it is helpful to stop from time to time and compare our life to what it once was. We need to look at our life before we were a Christian and now that we are a Christian. We need to examine our progression over the years. We should be growing in Christ. If we are the same person we were five, ten, fifteen years ago, then something is wrong.

One of the primary goals of the Christian life is to be transformed into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18). If this is not happening, then we need to make some changes. We need to begin by praying to God and developing a healthy prayer life. We need to make sure we are meditating on God’s word. We need to digest it and make it a part of us. We need to be engaged in Christian practices (disciplines). We need to be actively in involved in helping the poor. We need to focus on our spiritual health through fasting. By devoting ourselves to Christian practices and trusting in God to work in our lives, we can become something new.