Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 22, 2011

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship. Do not conform 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."  Romans 12:1-2

The word "holiness" means different things to different people. Most of those connotations are not especially positive.

Some people think pentecostal when they hear the word holiness.

Holiness might conjure up thoughts of saints such as St. Peter or St. Paul or St. John.

Often holiness is measured in terms of what you cannot do or a long list of things that you must do. Sometimes it is both. If you want to be holy you must not do this or that or the other thing. If you want to be holy you must dress in such a manner like wearing long sleeves and long dresses for ladies. Both men and women must wear their hair at a certain lengh. If you do not do those deeds or if you conform to the style you will not be considered holy.

Jesus came with a redically different style of holiness that wasn't dependent on what you can or cannot do. It wasn't about doing at all! It was about accepting what Christ had already done for you on the cross!

That is the good news I bring you today! Holiness is not about doing it is about dying - His death and yours!

No, you don't have to die physically as He did on the cross, but your selfish will must die. Your pride must die. Your spiritual independence must die. You must become a "living sacrifice" that is holy and acceptable to Him.

Holiness is less about how you live and mostly about how you love! You must love God and demonstrate it by surrendering to His will for your life. He must be the passionate love of your life!

In this great portion of Scripture Paul promises that if you will die and become as a living sacrifice, God will transform you by renewing your mind! He promises you that with this transformed mind and obedient heart, you will be able to discern and discover His perfect will for your life!

From now on, when you think of holiness or when you hear someone speak of it, don't think of holiness as doing, think of holiness in terms of dying!

Are you tired of doing all the stuff you were told you have to do to get holy? Are you weary of trying to live by the lists?  Are you burdened by hectic demands of how to dress, how to style your hair, how to think and how to worship?

 If so, will you do one last thing - will you die to Christ?

May 21, 2011

"But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come."   Matthew 24:36-42

There has been much media attention given this week to the prediction of today, May 21, 2011 will the the last day on planet earth. The Rev. Harold Camping has calculated this day using Biblical dates and chronology. He and his followers are extremely confident of his prediction and have spent several years preparing for this fateful day.

Jesus taught that no one, including Him, will know the exact day that the Second Coming will happen. We do know that we are closer to that great event than we have ever been! Certainly, there are political, spiritual, and economic scenarios developing world-wide that look a like what the prophets foretold for the last days. Jesus made it clear that we should be able to recognize that the end is near - but He also emphasized that no one will know when the last day will come.

We will know in a few hours whether his calculations are correct or not. But rather than ridicule the good Reverend or question his calculations, let's do something more beneficial. Let's say he is right. Let's say these are your last hours on earth. How should you then live? What habits need to be ended? What relationships need to be mended? How would your priorities change? How would your practices change?
While there is reason to doubt Brother Camping's calculations, you should not dismiss the concept. Jesus IS coming back. Many of the prophecies have been fulfilled, most of the conditions are right, and many signs are poiniting to His soon return. With the return of the Lord imminent, today would be a good day to begin acting like it. Though it is not likely to happen today, it could happen tomorrow. The question is not as much about when it will happen but will you be ready?