By Pastor Art
Reading Romans 11-12, one almost gets the feeling that the Apostle Paul is writing the letter on the heels of having just read a text that hadn’t even been written yet, Matthew 5-7 (most conservative scholars date the writing of Romans in the mid 50s, during Paul’s 3rdmissionary journey and Matthew’s gospel at least 20 and perhaps as many as 35 years later). Regardless, Paul would have CERTAINLY been familiar with Christ’s lessons as presented later in Matthew’s gospel. Having just admonished his readers to choose transformation over conformation (12:1-2), Paul lists several measurable habits of the transformed life. Paul forms this section much in the same way Jesus does in hismost famous sermon – as though the Apostle is saying, “Hey, that kingdom of heaven Jesus was talking about? That’s the transformed life I’m talking about here. And it looks like this:” Then, beginning with verse 3 and continuing through at least the middle of chapter 15, he describes some of the identifying practices of a truly transformed life.
Grab a pad and pen, then create two columns for notes.
Read Romans 12 two times. Each time through, look for and note specific answers to the following questions:
1st time through: WHOM DO TRANSFORMED PEOPLE LOVE?
2nd time through: HOW DO TRANSFORMED PEOPLE LOVE?
If you just CAN’T stop with one chapter, go ahead and do the same for chapters 13-15. It’s pretty instructive.
BE A BLESSING
No doubt SOMEONE came to mind during this exercise, someone that has taught you, modeled for you, or tested you in this topic of personal transformation. Pray for them. Pray God’s mercy and kindness upon them and/or give him thanks for them. Then turn to a fresh page in your notepad and actually write out a formal blessing for them. Tape it someplace where you’ll see it each day this week and remember them (and that blessing) in your daily prayers between now and Sunday morning.
Come together for worship this Sunday morning as we begin our new series on Lent and BRING YOUR WRITTEN BLESSING WITH YOU. When the offering is received, place your written blessing in the offering plate as an offering of thanks or hope to God. As you do so, pray this prayer:
“LORD, REBUILD ME FROM THE INSIDE OUT. CHANGE WHAT NEEDS TO BE CHANGED, KILL WHAT NEEDS TO BE KILLED, AND SUSTAIN WHAT MUST BE SUSTAINED. AND THANK YOU FOR BRINGING INTO MY LIFE THE PERSON I BLESS HERE TODAY WITH THIS OFFERING. I TRUST THAT MY EXPERIENCE WITH THEM THIS WEEK WILL BE USED BY YOU FOR GOOD IN BOTH OUR LIVES. AMEN”