All Those Transformers

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you” (Romans 12:1-2, The Message).

The key is to be transformed rather than conformed. So many in an effort to appease the culture we live in have surrendered their convictions and beliefs to the point that they no longer have anything unique to offer anyone in the way of hope and salvation.

That’s being conformed. God wants us transformed.

We’ re supposed to be different. We’re supposed to think, speak, and act differently than those around us. At times that may mean holding unpopular convictions and beliefs. We may be seen as outdated and obsolete. We may be viewed as narrow-minded and hate-mongers.

Yet those same people are paying attention to everything we say and do. Those same people will long for that peace and hope when they see it in us. As long as they see it in us.

No one is impressed when we fit in so well that no one can tell the believer from the non-believer. That changes no lives and impacts nobody.

I still say that if you want to see change, you often will have to be the change. More accurately, you will have to be the one changed a.ka. transformed.



An Awesome Definition for Worship


“Worship is extravagant love and extreme submission.”

I love that definition.

Too often, worship is all about singing songs. It’s all too easy to sit back and critique the song choices and musical styles and whether or not those around me are worshiping the “right” way.

In Nashville, it’s easy to let worship become all about the level of musicianship and charasmatic personality. It’s easy to manipulate a crowd into a frenzy if you’re talented enough, but that’s not worship.

Worship is extravagant love. I can’t help but thinking about the woman who poured the expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and then wiped those feet with her hair. That was more than inconvenient. That was extremely costly and humiliating. That’s worship.

It’s also extreme submission. It’s surrendering my own illusion of self-control and admitting that I have a desperate need for God. And it starts long before you enter the sanctuary and the church service and doesn’t end when you pass the exit doors on your way out into the parking lot.

Worship is not an event, but a lifestyle of saying, “Not my will, but Thine.”

I don’t normally do this, but I posted a link to a fantastic blog about the nature of worship that I ran across today.

I challenge to you read it and let it soak into your very being.

If I’m truly worshipping in Romans 12:1-2 fashion and being transformed by the renewing of my mind and offering my body as a living sacrifice, then it won’t matter whether I’m singing the most current and trendy modern worship songs or the old, old hymns.

It won’t matter if there’s a rockin’ worship band, or a guy with a guitar, or an orchestra and choir, or just a piano and organ.

It will be worship. It will declare the great worth of God to the world.

After all, like the song says, it’s not about me. It’s all about You, Jesus.

Some thoughts about worship

Jesus didn’t die for our good works or good intentions. He didn’t die to make good people better. Or for that matter to make bad people good. He died to make dead people come alive. He died for our dark places, our wicked deeds. He came to take our blame and our shame and give us His perfection. Jesus died to make us worshippers.

John Piper says in effect, Worship, not missions, is the purpose of His people. The reason that missions exists is because for so many peoples, worship does not. People can’t worship a God they don’t know. People can’t worship a god made in their image that is too small to save or love or rescue anybody. Redeemed people worship a real God. Really when you look at it, missions and evangelism are both forms of worship– declaring the great worth and works of God to all peoples.

Worship is Romans 12:1-2, offering our bodies as living sacrifices. In the Old Testament, part of worship was offering sacrifices like bulls and goats. Since Jesus did away with the old sacrificial system, what we bring as our offering of worship is ourselves. Worship is giving to God our bodies, our souls, our true selves. Worship is giving back to God what was already His and acknowledging that He owns it all, including us.

Worship is James 1:27. When we give to the widow and the orphan, we give to Jesus. Whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Jesus. Jesus didn’t choose the popular or strong or wise; He chose the throwaways of the world, the lepers, the outcasts and the abandoned to be His worshippers. Worship also means keeping yourself unstained by the world, to be set apart and different. Worship is either a 24/7 lifestyle or it’s nothing at all.

Worship is taking your two loaves and five fishes and watching Jesus turn it into a meal for thousands. When we give what little we call our own to Jesus, He takes it and not only blesses the multitudes, but gives back to us more than we can contain.

Worship means to kiss, to adore and to sacrifice. It is saying that God is supremely worthy of all of me. It means I will give my life away on a daily basis for the Kingdom of God. It means that every breath is a praise and every thought a prayer.

Honestly, after all this, I still don’t really know what worship is. I’m not very good at it. Or I should say I am not very good at worshipping the right thing, i.e. Jesus of Nazareth who died on the cross and rose triumphantly from the grave and has all authority in heaven and on earth, including authority over my life.

In the New Testament, when people worshipped, they fell on their faces. In the book of Revelation, the apostle John fell on his face before Jesus as a dead man. That’s what I pray for: to die to everything else, to fall on Jesus, and live to Him, with Him and for Him only.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.