Summary: A New Year’s teaching to motivate participants to actively seek God for changes that need to be made in lifestyle.
OPENING IMAGE ILLUSTRATION: contrasting mountain peaks with passes; peaks enable you to enjoy the view of where you have been and where you are going, whereas passes give you mere glimpses of what may be ahead. “Year ends” are like passes to me.
How different are you now than you were the first Sunday of 2002?
How much about you is new from 02?
How different do you think you will be by the end of 03?
YOU WILL BE AS DIFFERENT AS YOU DETERMINE TO BE
ONE BASIC PURPOSE OF OUR CHURCH:
To be a positive, transforming agent in the lives of people
“To grow closer to Jesus Christ, and to each other.”
It is understood that you cannot get closer to Jesus unless you are in motion, unless you are willing to move. [spiritual entropy is actually a truth] You cannot grow closer to others by be ‘unmoveable’. You cannot get where you are going by staying where you are.
By the way, do you know where you are going?
WE SAY THE CHURCH IS IN THE BUSINESS OF TRANSFORMING, BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT GOD DOES…
GOD IS NOT OUT TO MAKE YOU BETTER, TO IMPROVE YOU. HE IS OUT TO COMPLETELY TRANSFORM YOU.
HE HAS TRANSFORMED OUR SPIRITS
Col 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
HE IS TRANSFORMING OUR PERSONALITIES
Col 3:9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
HE WILL TRANSFORM OUR BODIES
1 Cor 15:51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—
Phil 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21
who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
The individuals who make up this church are fixed on a three- fold mission, tour guides who bring others to the One who can transform their spirit, be a living expression of God’s ability to transform our personalities culture-wide, and preparing for the day when our bodies will be transformed & re-fitted for eternity.
In every aspect of our existence, God is at work transforming us as individuals, and as a people; as a church. - That is the GOOD NEWS.
God has not just saved us then abandoned us.
God is in the process of transforming you. Not just the idea of from bad to good to better to best. Faith in Christ is not just some self-help system to ‘move you into excellence’. Christ does want to transform you, however, from wherever you are (bad, good, better, best) to whom He wants you to become.
Whoever you are and wherever you are, you are not ‘there’ yet, I am sure. The bible idea of TRANSFORMING is not simply change, nor is it just improvement. God is at work, re-creating who you are, re-programming how I think, re-defining what we value, why we do what we do. He is doing this so that we will be conformed to the image of His Son, the model and pattern.
(Rom 8:29 NIV) For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
GOD HAS AN ON-GOING DESIRE TO TRANSFORM US. Consider these famous scriptures…
(Rom 12:2 NIV) 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.
(Phil 1:4 NIV) In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
There are basically two methods that God uses to transform people …
From the inside, out
From the outside, in
NO TYPE OF CHANGE is friction free, and all types of transformation have as part & parcel uncomfortable aspects.
(2 Cor 4:8 NIV) We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.