Summary: This sermon begins a series called Extreme Makeover - God Edition. This sermon begins by using the story of the Prodigal Son and points out what helped him decide to change.
A. Eight years ago, back in January of 2006, I preached a series called “Extreme Makeover – God Edition.”
1. At the time, the Extreme Makeover television shows were very popular.
2. You might recall that the Extreme Makeover show took ordinary people and put them through plastic surgery, exercise regimens, and hair and wardrobe transformations.
a. The show ran for five years from 2002 to 2007.
3. The Extreme Makeover – Home Edition show with Ty Pennington that took less fortunate families and schools and did complete overhauls or reconstructions ran from 2003 to 2012.
4. Both of those television shows have been canceled, but the good news is that God is still in the business of extreme makeovers.
5. At the time I originally preached this series, someone said to me, “You should preach this series at the beginning of every year.”
6. I obviously have not done that, but I have decided to rework and revise the series and present it again, starting with today’s sermon.
7. So let’s start with today’s topic: “Change is Possible!”
B. The story is told of a man who observed a very peculiar thing happening as he visited town one day.
1. Two men who worked for the city were busy at work.
2. One man would dig a hole, walk a few yards, dig another hole, walk a few more yards, etc.
3. The second man would come behind the first man and fill in the hole that had just been dug, walk a few yards, fill the next hole, and so on.
4. These actions were quite puzzling.
5. So, the man visiting town came up and asked the workers, “I really appreciate how hard you two are working, but why are you digging a hole only to have your partner come behind you and fill it?”
6. The worker replied, “Oh, yeah, I guess it must look pretty funny. What you need to know is that my job is to dig the holes, and this other guy’s job is to fill in the holes, but unfortunately, the guy whose job it is to plant the trees is sick today.”
C. As crazy as those men’s actions might seem to us, so our actions often seem to others.
1. Many of us keep doing the same foolish things over and over again, even though we don’t like the results.
2. We often get so stuck in ruts and patterns, and even though we might want to change, and try to change, everything remains the same.
D. What I want to proclaim as boldly as I can and with as much conviction as I can muster is the fact that really profound life-change is possible.
1. I know that such a statement sounds too good to be true, but it is true.
2. There is a reason that the self-help industry is a multi-billion dollar enterprise.
3. There is a reason that when you channel surf you find an infomercial on every other channel promising that you can just write a check and you will experience profound change.
4. Those marketers know that inherent in every human heart is the desire to be a better person.
5. We all want to change something about ourselves…maybe it is to stop smoking, or start exercising, or to get control of our finances, or to be more organized, or to control our tongue.
6. That’s why many of us make New Year’s Resolutions every year even through many are often forgotten or abandoned before February arrives.
7. We do want to change. We do want to be better than we are in one way or another. Right?
E. I want to invite you to explore with me over the next few weeks what God’s Word says about making change.
1. As we get started I want to point out two traps to avoid.
I. Beware of the Traps
A. First of all, beware of the trap of denying the need for life-change.
1. For a behavior to become addicting, it first has to be denied.
2. The path to becoming better always begins with ruthless honesty.
3. How in the world can we get to where we want to be if we won’t admit to where we are right now?
4. John writes in 1 John 1:8, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
5. I hope that none of us here today are falling for this trap. I know that I need life change, and my guess is that you know that you need life change as well.
6. What happens many times is that we don’t fall for the first trap – denying that we need to change, but we fall into the second trap.