Summary: To be a Christian is to be transformed by the Holy Spirit for our entire lives.
Pointed in the Right Direction: Fundamentals
August 1, 2010 Rom. 12:1-2
How many of you have ever studied the book of Romans – not just read it, but actually dug down deep and worked hard to understand it? If you haven’t, I suggest you need to. This morning as we’ve worshiped we’ve scanned some of the book and allowed it to lead our worship, and so you’ve had a taste. But there is an entire feast for your soul here, a foundation for understanding what we really believe as Christians. If you want to study and need some help or direction, let me know.
The most simple internal division in the book is to see it in two major parts – part 1 is chapters 1-11, which is a detailed theological treatise, beautifully created and masterfully written, laying out what Christians believe. Part 2, chapters 12-16, lay out what we need to do because we believe. Our worship has rehearsed some of the things we believe, some of the incredible truths we affirm and celebrate, and now we return to the pivot point, chapter 12:1-2. But first a little story…
Wednesday morning Pastor Sue and I were returning from Canterbury where we had just finished leading our monthly chapel service in the seniors home. A van stopped us on the road to ask for directions to “the Edmonton mall”. I smiled and said “you are close, and it is easy to find. Just go up to the traffic circle, and go three-quarters of the way around it so you are headed west (and I pointed), and just go straight down 87ave and you’ll see the mall. It is just past 170 street, you can’t miss it.” They smiled and thanked me, and then Sue and I watched them drive away, get to the traffic circle, and drive one-quarter of the way around it in a CLOCKWISE direction. Yes… the wrong way… heading straight INTO oncoming traffic. We just stopped, saying “oh no… please Lord… oh my…” Praise God the rest of the traffic stopped, the van made it through, and presumably they found the mall and made generous contributions to the Edmonton economy.
But I reflected later on that helpless feeling, after confirming with Sue that I really did say “go three-quarters of the way around the traffic circle”, watching someone not follow my instruction and endanger their life, and that feeling resonated with my life as a pastor. Week after week I stand up here and make suggestions from Scripture about how we should live, which way we should go, how to get where we all want to go (living a full, holy life of purposeful and meaningful participation in the Kingdom of God), and then I watch us walk out the front door and I just pray that when we get to the “traffic circles” in our lives we will choose to follow the directions God has given us so we don’t end up in head-on collisions. I confess to you that I find that hard to do sometimes, because of how much I love you all after 20yrs of life and relationship together, and my deep desire is for us to follow the way of life God has laid out, and thus experience the Life God desires for us.