When we moved to the metroplex we made a list of about 20 churches to go visit and this past Sunday (March 3, 2013) we popped into one of those. I took my usual sermon notes but when we got home I decided to make some journal reminders for myself because I am 100% sure that I will need to remember these points in the future. So, blog accountability to self, here I come.
DISCLAIMER: I am totally butchering this guy’s sermon. He covered several topics and broke down about 8 different points. However, my notes are really only on a couple of parts of his points that jumped out at me in “all caps bold font” in my spirit.
In general, the process is: first you belong, you realize you’re loved, then you “become” like Christ. Everyone has a calling and purpose. He mentioned Romans 8:28 which is one of my memory versus so I knew it pretty well. But… drum roll please. He put that verse with verse 29 that follows it with emphasis on the “become like his Son” line. Ouch.
Romans 8:28-29 NLT “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
The KJV says He chose them “to be conformed to the image of His Son”. And again I say “ouch” because I have learned that the process of “becoming like his Son” is a very flesh crucifying and rather high flame intensity and time invasive process. The pruning and grafting process only looks good AFTER the roots have taken effect and the plant blooms. Have you seen the plant after its clipped? Or better yet did you see those pruning sheers cut the bad branch off LOL? Ouchie Wah Wah.
The family characteristics of my firstborn brother Jesus are the fruit of the spirit: loving, joyful, peaceful, merciful, kind, patient, longsuffering…. Oh yes THOSE family traits. I know people and was raised not to pray for patience. But if you’ve ever prayed to be Christlike or made the decision to be a true disciple, then guess what! You have indeed prayed for patience. And yes sir-ree-bob, it is trials that produce patience. James 1:3.
And this process is NOT a 50-yard dash. It’s a marathon. Yep, a lengthy life long process. Mushrooms grow in 6 hours and are pulled up quickly whereas solid, deeply rooted oak trees take 60 years to grow and can weather the storms. Which one are you? Which one do you desire to be?
“So all of us … can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Cor 3:18.
What things did Jesus go through? He was lonely at times, had critics, was betrayed even by those closest to him, was slandered, misunderstood, hated by some, abused, etc. “While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.” Hebrews 5:7-8. “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” Romans 8:17-18. “So, after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” 1 Peter 5:10.
That reminds me of a conversation I had with a girlfriend last Friday night. I told her that I don’t believe that many people really want the Jesus of the Bible. They want the Americanized, prosperous Jesus. Where you dash a little Jesus on your plate on Sunday and get a blessing, reward, and abundance. You know. Lottery ticket Jesus. But the reality is, my life became more difficult when I became a Christian and decided to follow Christ. That’s just reality. And my Bible never promised me an easy life. It promised me that in this life I WOULD have troubles and hard times BUT CHRIST is with me during those times and has overcame the world. Which reminds me of a tweet I saw recently that says “life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”
Yep, dance in the rain. Enjoy the presence of God. And “make the most of every opportunity in these evil days”. Eph 5:16.
Social media hugs~