Summary: In order to make a difference, a person must actually be different.

Believers who are “M.A.D.”

“A Life of Repentance”

Acts 26:12-20

* Much of human behavior seems to be controlled by circumstances, actions, and situations. More often than not, we choose not to act until something happens to us (or our family). Then when something goes “down” we are ready to get up and we are face with two choices; either react or respond. Consider the difference in these two.

* As a general rule a ‘reaction’ is a ‘knee-jerk’ type of action. We can see this in the life of Peter; Jesus wanted to wash Peter’s feet (in the upper room) and Peter said, “NEVER.” Then having it explained to him by the Lord he reacted (once again) with, “Not just my feet but my whole body.” As is usual with a reaction, Peter wasn’t listening.

* On the other hand, a ‘response’ is a reactive method whereby you take some time to think, cool off, investigate, and then give a sensible answer to the circumstances and situations with which you are confronted.

* In May of 1980, 13 year old Cari Lightner and a friend were walking toward their church for a spring carnival when a drunk driver (He was passed out behind the wheel) struck her young body throwing her 125 feet. He then woke up (unaware of what he had done) and drove off. Being told by the investigating police that the driver had been caught, was a multiple offender, and would probably never see the inside of the jail was more than mother Candace could take. And on October 1, 1980, Candice and another mom (Cindy Lamb) started “MADD” (Mothers against drunk drivers). They thought it through and made a positive response to the horrible affair.

* When I look across the landscape of this nation, it seems that we need a believer or believers to be ‘mad.’ (I will explain that statement in a minute). Last year I showed you a video of Pastor Lindell Cooley from Grace church in Nashville reading a summation of a study done by sociologist Alan Wolfe. I have now ordered Dr. Wolfe’s study because I believe that God’s children in America must be awakened out of their spiritual slumber. It is worth 4 minutes of our time so let us be reminded of these words. (VIDEO)

* Don’t miss those last words, “So relax, ‘evangelical Christianity’ is as safe as milk.” Don’t miss the ‘meaning’ of those words, “Christianity is dead.” To hear this brings a myriad of questions from inside the church; what is he thinking? Where did he get his information? How can anyone write such? Better yet, how can anyone actually believe like this? Candidly & for some reason, those who claim to be followers of Christ have the idea that just because we are a part of a church body, we are above being questioned. Yet, Peter tells us to be ready to respond to anyone who asks about the hope in us. Can we do that? Do we do that? Do we speak to the unsaved & unchurched in spiritual language or do we not speak that language.

A Life of Repentance – Pg 2

* For the next few weeks my desire is to issue a call to each of us to become ‘MAD Believers’, that is, a believer who is “Making A Difference.” Based on the study by Alan Wolfe, studies by George Barna, surveys by the Gallup organization, & more convicting, a survey of SBC records will emphatically state that we are not making a difference in this culture.

* Most of us desire to hear a “Well done” from our Lord when this life is over but allow me to give you a word from Dr. Johnny Hunt. He said, “We will not hear ‘well done’ unless we have ‘done well.’

* If we are to do well, we must live life according to the book. It’s not simply how much Bible you have in your head, it’s more about how much the Bible has you in your heart. (As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.) The filter for the actions of our lives must be or become the principles found in Holy Scripture. We are not talking about salvation; rather we are talking about the life of a believer. For the next weeks we will not be talking about ‘doing’ as much as ‘being.’ Today, we begin where John the Baptist, the Apostle Paul, and Jesus began. We begin with “Repentance.”

* This is the required to become a believer and it is required for a believer to ‘make a difference.’ For a believer to ‘make a difference, he/she must BE different. The repentance which one experiences at salvation is the first expression of an ongoing process which is required to become more like Jesus. Yet, I submit that, as a people, we have largely dismissed repentance. In our spiritual arrogance, we have cast aside time at the altar before God in humility, asking for God to do something in us, and in large measure have discounted the need for ongoing recommitment to Him.

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