Summary: Part two of this series focuses on Romans 12:3-8.
A Living Sacrifice To God
This is part two of my series “A Living Sacrifice to God.” If you recall from last week, we focused on verses one and two from Romans chapter twelve. In those verses Paul urges the Christians in Rome to present their physical bodies as a living sacrifice to God. This request was not being made as a symbolic gesture but was purposeful based on the lifestyles of many who lived in Rome. All manner of sin and depravity was being practiced in Rome during this time and Paul was encouraging the people to stop participating in the sin. He asked them to present their physical bodies as living sacrifices to God. In other words, dedicate their physical bodies to God and thereafter not allow their bodies to be used as instruments of sin. This could only be done by the renewing of their minds supernaturally through the power of the Holy Spirit which would ultimately lead to their being able to prove what the will of God is in this world. Our lives are to be the proof of the truth of God’s Word! This morning we will continue with verses three through eight.
Before we get into these verses I was to set the foundation for what we will learn this morning. In 1996, I had been working for my company for four years. In December of that year I received a promotion to become a hospital representative requiring me to call on large teaching institutions in Arkansas and Oklahoma. I am not being prideful when I say that I was very good at my job. I converted 90% of my accounts to my product exclusively. In December of 1997, based on my previous performance, I was promoted to district manager. This promotion required my family to move from Arkansas to St. Louis, MO. As a new manager of ten representatives I assumed that I had to have all of the answers. I came into the position expecting my representatives to be as successful as I was based on how I did things. I struggled the first six months because it appeared to me that my team was not as driven as I had been and they did not seem to care as much about being successful. Have you ever worked for someone where it was their way or the highway? They had all the right answers and while your suggestions were good, they did not get implemented because they did not totally line up with what they wanted to do? This is the road I was headed down as a new manager. I was becoming that manager that I never wanted to work for. After about six months I had a meeting with my director/supervisor. He looked me in the eye and told me that I was being too hard on my team. He said that everyone would not sell like me or spend time in a library searching current medical articles to maintain their product knowledge as I did as a representative. Then he told me something that has helped me become a successful team leader. He told me to get to know my reps and how they learn. He told me to build on their individual strengths versus trying to make my strength theirs. This totally changed how I managed my team.
This understanding of building on individual strengths versus trying to re-create myself in others was also one of the foundational principles for the start of this Church. Most of us have been involved in Churches where everything revolved around the pastor. All decisions had to flow through the pastor. All teachings had to be approved by the pastor as the pastor had to determine what should or should not be taught. While I understand this model, that was not what God had directed me to set up. Under that system people are sometimes not expected to grow independently and understand what God desires from them. God directed me to start this Church and allow people, from the youngest to the oldest, to be free to grow independently with Him and worship Him freely. And, not to be overlooked, use those experiences to help change the world around you one person at a time. This meant that every voice mattered and ego’s (especially mine) had to be set aside so that people could grow. It also meant that if you stepped up to be a leader the expectation was that you would run with it as God led you depending on the ministry you were leading. Not everyone can function with that level of freedom because many wait to the pastor to provide them the directions of how they are to do their jobs. God desires to have a personal relationship with each person individually and your relationship with Him is uniquely different from my relationship with Him. In the development of our individual relationships, God begins to align us in such a way that each individual is able to fulfill the calling on their life while working simultaneously to fulfill the mission of the Church, here at New Light and all of the other Churches established in His name. Captured in the verses we will read this morning you will see that Paul reminds us that we need one another working together to fulfill God’s work in this place. Please turn with me to Romans chapter twelve and let us read what he says.