Summary: A series that looks at what it takes to live transformed lives.

Been doing some reading and a lot of thinking . . . (1)

What does it mean to be the church?

What is it supposed to look like?

Are we close?

If we could start over, would we change anything?

Not doubting God, but re-evaluating our strategies …

Are we more concerned with…

• programs or processes

• demographics or discernment

• models or ministry

• attractional or incarnational

• uniformity or diversity

• professionalism or passion

• seating or sending

• decisions or disciples

I fear that we have become lax. Some of you have expressed the same sentiment – that we’ve lost our edge, our passion, our zeal, our mojo. In some ways we’ve become complacent. We mirror the church at large and have become a group of spiritual consumers. Myself included. Does the parking lot flow? Are the seats comfortable enough? Is the temperature right? Is the music on beat and on key? Is the message just right? What do our guests think?

While none of those things are wrong (in fact how we address them is indicative of how we view the importance of excellence), if they become our gauge or ruler, then our emphasis is in the wrong place.

A lot of what I’ve been reading and listening to recently has led me to this idea of Transformational Christianity.

Defined = a faith in Christ that not only changes me, but works through me to lead others to be changed in Christ, also.

This means that God didn’t save me to put me on his trophy shelf, but to become an instrument of Transformation.

Key Passage:

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. Rom 12:2 NIV

God wants to transform us – to change us.

Be different. Don’t be like everyone else. Be a non-conformist. We are to be a peculiar people (beyond usual). Don’t live like we used to. Don’t live like those without hope live. Don’t live like those without peace live. We are to be radically different.

• greed vs moderation / self-control

• anxiety vs peace

• desperation vs hope

• takers vs givers

• consumerism vs redemption

• contempt vs love

God’s love does not manifest itself in clever slogans and bumper stickers. God’s love is made known to the hurting and downtrodden, to the weak and broken-hearted in and thru transformed lives.

Transformation is made known when we’re willing to get our hands dirty, when we’re willing to get messy in the process of helping others experience transformation.

Transformation takes place:

• When we begin to think differently

• When we begin to pray expectantly

• When we’re authentic with ourselves / God / others

• When we’re committed to a community of other transformed people

• When we discover and employ our spiritual gifts

• When we become radical disciples of Christ

There are some in churches across America who are praying for and anxiously awaiting revival. But revival will not come from hell, fire, and brimstone sermons, it will not come from Sunday to Wednesday services, it won’t come from reading another book on the subject. No, revival will come when the western church stops trying to coddle people to faith and instead begins developing radically transformed disciples who are willing to live and tell their stories of transformation for God’s glory . . . then we’ll have a movement of God.

It’s time to quit playing church. If you don’t want transformation then don’t come. The church is not a social club, nor a hospital. The church is not a thing – an organization. The church is a living organism. It’s you and me. As such, we, as the church, are to be a catalyst for change and transformation in the world.

The greatest problem with the church today is not our beliefs or our stances . . . it’s unchanged people. Followers who aren’t willing to be radically transformed. Disciples who aren’t willing to say, “Whatever you want, Lord.” Christians who are Christian in name only. It’s their box to check under the religion section of a survey. When the world sees followers who aren’t following or believers who don’t believe, it is not moved.

If we choose to not be transformed / to not be missional – to be takers and not givers, we might as well close down today and turn this building into a restaurant or skating rink.

Radical transformation empowers our theology. “They will know us by our love,” means nothing without transformation. When we are transformed and live out that transformation to a hurting, weak, and broken-hearted world then it makes a difference. When we use our transformation to help others be transformed then there’s power. The gospel message without transformation is hollow.

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