Present Yourself to God
Present Yourself to God
Text: Romans 12:1-2
Title: Just One More Consumer Commodity
I often visit newcomers in town and find them to be church shopping. They want to know what they can get out of church. Churches are one more consumer commodity. Worship services are not a place for us to serve God and neighbor but a place where people expect to purchase the best: inspiring worship, good music, moving sermons, quality child care. As if we buy God and not vice versa.
-- Arthur Boers in The Other Side (May/June 1989). Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 11.
See: Mt 13:22; Ro 12:2; 1 Co 7:31.
Title: "Outdated" Convictions
Old movies offer some powerful lessons--lessons that our generation could easily miss. "Prisoner of Zenda," for example, a movie released in 1937, portrays the intense and genuine love between a princess and a commoner. He pleads for her to run away with him, but by her strength and depth of conviction, she stops him cold, replying, "It is my duty do be here with my people!" Such a response might have been acceptable in the thirties, but in the eighties an appeal to duty or convictions would be looked upon as unusual and outdated--even by people in the church.
-- Bob Mumford, New Wine (March 1986). Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 9.
See: Ps 61:8; Lk 9:23; Ro 12:2.
Title: Sacrifice Fly -- RBI
According to Stand Firm, although Johnny Oates manages the Texas Rangers, he's no Lone Ranger--he has a wife and three kids. He also has a mind set on reaching the World Series. Those ambitions controlled him until he decided baseball would no longer be his god.
Oates's wife was hospitalized for emotional and physical exhaustion in April 1995. The timing? His first season with the Rangers was opening.
Yet he had the courage to ask for a leave of absence to spend time with his ailing wife. His assistants could handle the dugout. No one else could do the husbanding.
He stood by Gloria. The team stood by him. In 1996, Oates was his league's Manager of the Year; for Gloria, he's the husband of a lifetime.
Jesus Christ gave us the ultimate model of masculine love: He sacrificed himself for others. It doesn't take any special ability to live a self-centered life. But it takes character to sacrifice.
-- Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 2.
See: Mt 20:17-28: Mt 26:36-56.
Title: Happiness in Service
One thing I know: The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.
-- Albert Schweitzer, missionary doctor, 1875-1965. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 2.
See: Jn 13:1-14: Php 2:5-7.
I. A sacrifice in Worship
Title: Alive or Dead?
(God) wants our bodies as living sacrifices, not corpses.
-- Vance Havner, from The Vance Havner Quote Book/On This Rock I Stand. Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 16.
See: Mt 16:25; 19:21; Ro 12:1; Php 2:4.
Title: No Invitation Needed
A church member waiting to be asked to serve in his own church is just like the member of a family waiting to be invited to pull weeds in front of the house where he lives.
--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 87.
Title: Deficient Vocabulary
The words holiness and sanctification are not prominent in much of Protestant theology. We have tended to speak of justification without a commensurate emphasis on sanctification. ... Holiness means that one belongs wholly to God. This is also the meaning of sanctification, being set apart as God's own possession. When this begins internally, with the heart, the transformation becomes something that affects the total person.
-- Myron S. Augsburger in The Christ-Shaped Conscience. Christianity Today, Vol. 37, no. 3.
See: Lev 11:45; 2 Co 7:1; Heb 12:14; 2 Pe 3:11.
C. Pleasing to God
II. A subject of change
A. A mental transformation
Title: In the Process of Becoming
I remember that first time in school when Mrs. Dirksen, my first grade teacher, asked me what my name was. I knew that. And then she asked me what my mother's name was. I said to her, "Momma."
She said, "No, that is not her name."
I said, "Yes it is. We all call her that."
"No," she said, "it's not 'Momma,' it's something else."
I said, "No, it's not."
She said, "Look, momma is what she is, momma is what she does, but Momma's not her name."
And I said, "Well, I'm sure you're wrong, but I'll ask her tonight." So when I got home from school that night, I was layin' for my momma to walk in the room. I said, "Momma, do you have another name besides 'Momma'?"
She said, "Well, yes, Son. My name is Ethel." It sounded obscene, like she should have a twin sister named Regular or Unleaded. Then she said, "And not only that, but I have a middle name, too. It's Faye." And then she said, which was the most astounding revelation of all, "Miller is my last name." It was the same name as I had! I have never forgotten that sense of growing awareness that dawned on me. That's how the mind is. It is in the process, says Philippians 2:8, of becoming.
-- Calvin Miller, "The Mind of a Servant," Preaching Today, Tape No. 51.
See: Ro 8:6; 1 Co 2:16; Php 2:5-8.
B. A one way transformation
Title: The God-Absorbed Life
We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God.
-- A.W. Tozer, That Incredible Christian. Christianity Today, Vol. 41, no. 5.
See: Dt 6:5; 10:12; 2 Th 3:5; Jude 12.
C. Be, . . . . .not do
III. A student of God’s will
Title: Safety in God's Will
The center of God's will is our only safety.
-- Betsie ten Boom, Marriage Partnership, Vol. 10, no. 3.
See: Jn 4:34; Ro 12:2; Heb 6:3.
A. Finding out its goodness
Subtopic: Of God
Title: Unimaginable Good
[God] is up to something so big, so unimaginably good that your mind cannot contain it. ... What we see God doing is never as good as what we don't see.
-- Ben Patterson in Waiting. Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 11.
See: Job 5:9; Ps 34:8; Rev 15:3.
B. Discovering its pleasure
The story is told of a farmer who had lived on the same farm all his life. It was a good farm, but with the passing years, the farmer began to tire of it. He longed for a change--for something "better." Every day he found a new reason for criticizing some feature of the old place. Finally, he decided to sell, and listed the farm with a real estate broker who promptly prepared a sales advertisement. As one might expect, it emphasized all the farm's advantages: ideal location, modern equipment, healthy stock, acres of fertile ground, etc. Before placing the ad in the newspaper, the realtor called the farmer and read the copy to him for his approval. When he had finished, the farmer cried out, "Hold everything! I've changed my mind. I am not going to sell. I've been looking for a place like that all my life."
--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 123.
C. Reflecting its perfection
Title: Our Lives as Books
There are people in the world around us who never open, who never read this Book. But they are reading us. Are they able to see God in our lives? Are they able to say of us to others, "That man--or that woman--reminds me of Christ"? Do we let our light so shine that men may see, not us, but our Father in heaven? This is the real test.
-- W. H. Griffith-Thomas in a sermon, "Knowing and Showing," from Keswick's Authentic Voice. Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 5.
See: Mt 5:14; Ac 13:47; Eph 5:8; Php 2:15.