It's January 17; Good Morning Union

"I urge you therefore, brethren, in view of God’s mercy, that you present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship.  Don’t be conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you can prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:1-2

Being a disciple of God, choosing to follow Him with my life, has its perks. In today’s verse I find that I can understand God’s will as I take seriously His prerequisites. It’s ALL because of HIS mercy that if I:

1.         “present my body as  living sacrifice to Him”

2.         “do not conform to this world, but”

3.         “am transformed by the renewing of my mind”

THEN I can “test and prove what God’s will is.” That’s pretty cool I think!

So first I give myself back to Him. That’s a conscious decision to let HIM lead my life rather than me trying to do the leading. I let Him lead by listening to what He says (in His word) and then doing it!

Second, I make another conscious choice to not be sucked into the priorities of this world. I have to live in this world but I don’t have to be controlled by what the world says is important. John says in his first letter, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.” I have to live in the world but I can’t love the world’s ways. And, true to my continuing belief that “if it’s important to God, it’s clear in His word,” John defines “loving the world.” He’s very specific about three things that will determine if I actually love the world. IF I choose to prioritize my life around:

1.         “the lust of the flesh”

2.         “the lust of the eyes”

3.         “the pride of life.”

THEN I find myself trapped in those things and, according to John, I am loving the world in a way that negates my attempts to love God, and I confuse not only myself but those observing me. As I look around I find that the list hasn’t changed much from John’s day! I continue to prayerfully ask God to help me defined those things for me so I know what to stay away from; I would challenge you in your discipleship journey to prayerfully define them for yourself and then stay as far from them as you can too. They only confuse the connection we are seeking with God.

And going back to the third factor in knowing God’s will, I need to be changed in my mind. As the song goes, “I have DECIDED to follow Jesus.” That’s a conscious decision more than an emotional one. If I decide in my mind about what I understand is important to God THEN I will know what God says is important (aka, what His will is!). I believe in this process!

And if I need more specifics I can always read the rest of Romans 12 and find about 28 or 30 other specific directives that can help me know how to prepare and position myself to understand God’s will! So enjoy the journey with God. It’s worth it!

Have a great day conforming to God,

Pastor Rich

Quote for the day: “Christian gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.”

PS Family Worship (aka Vespers) is a concert by Michael English starting at 7:30 in the church.

PPS Mid America Union Youth Directors are here this weekend to visit with you about summer camp opportunities. They will be providing refreshments, camp videos, and a chance to learn more about summer camp ministries. This will happen in Heartland Hall at the church right after the concert. There will be no rolls at Buell’s tonight (they will start next week!) so we can all enjoy this time of fellowship and discover the mission and service potential of summer camps.