Don’t Do This, This Year…
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… (Romans 12:2)”
Every one of us has experienced setting a goal or making a New Year’s Resolution at least once in our lives, yes? Some of us have become so jaded by the experience of failing at the “eat better, read the Bible more, get in shape” routine that we don’t even bother anymore. Others are amazing goal-setters and have a complete Life Blueprint binder sitting on your desk at arm’s reach.
“Watch my weight”, “watch my mouth”, “watch less TV”… Resolutions often have the “watch” word in them. While were at it, who doesn’t like to watch a good episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” or “Restaurant Impossible” or “What Not To Wear”? Chances are, you’ve been sucked into one of these shows by the whole “before” and “after” theme that makes grown adults scream like children “Move… That… Bus!!!” and then cry like babies when they see the finished result. We love to watch the reaction of the people whose lives have now been changed forever…
We’d all love to be one of those people, wouldn’t we? What if we already are?
Lost in Translation…
…at the Home Depot Checkout
Recently as I was reading Romans 12:2 I saw something I hadn’t noticed as vividly as before. We’ve talked before about the word “suschematidzo” – to conform. It’s a word that’s used only twice in the NT and both times as an “avoid doing this”. Don’t be conformed any longer… You’re free – be free. Sounds like a good resolution, right?
Unfortunately, the NIV – one of the most popular translations – renders another word rather weakly and causes us to lose significant impact from this verse. The word “metamorphosis” comes from the word rendered “transformed”. A better translation of that word alone could really give this verse some deep-sinking teeth, no? But, the word that really jumped off the page for me is the word turned into “renewed”. Wimpy word. The Greek for this word is “renovation”.
I understand. Before you tune out all disappointed, let’s compare the two words at the checkout counter at Home Depot. Cool?
You walk into Home Depot and Frank greets you at the door. “Finding everything you need?”
You: “I’ve got to renew a room in my house. What have you got?”
Frank: “Paint counter’s right over there.”
You: “Thanks, Frank.”
Total Cost: $22.45 and a couple hours taping, cutting, and painting. Room renewed.
You see where we’re going here, right? There’s a huge difference between “renew” and “renovate”. How radically different would your conversation with Frank be if you told him you needed to renovate a room?
Four Things About Renovation… and then Three Keys
Having done hundreds of home theater jobs, flat panel TV and surround sound installations, and been around contractors and home owners for over a thousand hours, I can tell you four things about virtually every renovation I’ve ever seen:
- They always take longer than planned.
- They cost more than planned.
- Create a bigger mess than you ever dreamed.
- You appreciate the finished product far more than any other human being ever can.
So, why “renew” when you can “renovate”? Why renew, when you’ve been commanded to renovate “so that you may be able to test and approve God’s good pleasing and perfect will”? Why would you settle for less than the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God… if it’s there for the asking? Most of the time it’s because the mess of the demolition, the cost of the job, and the ever expanding time line give you a pit in the stomach.
Scripture tells us to “put off the old self” and “put on the new self”, “renovate”. This means demolishing a lot of old patterns, old ways, familiar habits, and developing a Spirit-led habit of saying “no” to the flesh.
- Fast & pray – Fasting is telling the flesh “no” for a prolonged period of time so that we may “sow to the spirit”. Each year, our home church does a 21-day Daniel Fast. For great resources to help you on your way, go to “http://danielfast.wordpress.com/”. Or, contact us and we’d love to share stories and help you plan for your first 3 day, 7 day, or even 21 day fast.
- Renovate, not renew – Your mindset going into the fast is as simple as this: are you asking God to inform your conscience of the things He desires to do in and through you from this point forward or are you begging Him to lock arms with you as you seek to put to death the flesh and renovate your mind/life/past? Resolve to renovate. It will cost more, take more time, but in the end be worth it.
- Be accountable – Left to ourselves, we can justify anything. My blood pressure spiked a few weeks ago and I immediately sent out an email to 5 guys in my life that will hold my feet to the fire about diet, exercise, and workflow management. Today, I’m down 9 points on both sides of the “/”. If you’re not in close accountability with a group or individual, you’re prone to drift off course or quit altogether.
“I pray that He may strengthen you with power through His spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Don’t settle for slapping a new coat of paint on your life. Renovate. He commanded you.
“There are only two certainties in this life – death and taxes.” Today, we get to talk about both.
Day 1 – Taxes…
If you’re planning to support Seasons of Life Ministries this year, you’ve got until Monday, December 31st to either get it post marked or give online. Anything after that and the IRS requires us to count it for 2013. The rest is in your hands.
As of today, we’re only about $4,000 away from a “clean ending” for 2012. We have about $1,500 in matching funds still available to help meet that goal. So, if you’re planning to give, now’s a time when anything you give will make twice the impact.
Helping us meet our support needs will ensure we continue supporting about a dozen families in the “working poor” and poor class that receive food delivery either weekly or monthly. You’ll also help support the many men I have the honor of walking with as a spiritual director. This year, our focus begins to shift from building up many of these men to guiding them as they begin discipling other men.
What to Do About This Day:
Partner with us now. We’re praying for new quarterly partners at $125, $250, and $500 per quarter. If we reach our need of 16 of these, “Support” updates will likely become a thing of the past on our blog, giving me back a lot of time that can be more deeply invested in the men in my pastoral/discipleship care. Whatever you do, whether $20 a month or $2,000 this week, get it in the mail by Monday afternoon or online by that night. To send it to us, use our secure address at 2659 Freedom Parkway, Suite 285, Cumming, GA 30041.
To give online using our secure online portal, use any of the following links:
$25 Monthly, $40 Monthly, $50 Monthly, $100 Monthly, $200 Monthly,
One Time Gift
$2,000 One Time, $1,000 One Time, $500 One Time, $250 One Time, $100 One Time, $50 One Time.
Day 2 – Death…
2 Cor. 5:10 “That Day”
Dan Matthewson is a high powered software sales guy. Top in his class, top in the firm, being groomed for partner. Gorgeous wife, model children. Placed his faith in Christ as a young teenager. He’s got it going on.
But, he’s dying inside.
This year, you may have a chance to hear Dan’s story. He, like you and I, doesn’t get out of here alive. Like you and I, he will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to be rewarded for the things he did for God’s kingdom and in God’s power and timing. He doesn’t realize he’s headed for a fiscal cliff that will last much longer than the US economy.
That Day is an interactive, two-act, one man show that uses about a dozen characters to tell the story of what it will look like when Dan, and by extension you and I, may witness the day Christ calls us to account for all we’ve done here on earth. It’s funny, unnerving, engaging, and loaded as Bill Ibsen says “with more truth than a sermon and it all flies under the radar until after you’ve seen it.” This production has already impacted over 500 people in the metro Atlanta area and this year, we’re already being sought out for new performances that will more than double that.
|Participants at a “That Day” event react to what they’ve just seen and
discuss “table questions” and scripture related to the topic.
What to Do About “That Day”:
Keep your eyes on our Facebook page, the blog, or www.thatday.info. As soon as new dates are announced, you’ll hear about them first. But, read and pray about the judgment seat and consider the letters to the churches in Revelation 2 & 3. Start and continue conversations in your church, organization, or small group about “eternal rewards” and the role grace has in our salvation but works has in our rewards. Pray for wisdom and revelation about how eternity impacts today and vice versa. And, when new dates are announced, get your tickets right away. Who wants to be one of those people who couldn’t get tickets last minute like the last time?
Merry Christmas Season and Happy New Year!
Update Account Information
I hope you and your family are richly blessed by this “pass on” post of Daniel Diadiggo’s “Christmas Chronicles”. For previous posts in this series, click below.
Grace and peace,
#5 first steps
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to men on whom His favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in a manger.
Every journey begins with a first step. And every first step starts with a choice.
A choice to move forward.
In a direction.
And away from something else.
Choices confront us in the silence of our hearts.
In one moment the shepherds’ view of the sky was blocked by a chorus of angels exploding praises to God. But then the angels withdrew to heaven. And into the gap rushed the deafening silence of distant stars. Silence and a choice.
God will do that. He will shake our worlds. He will paint His glory across our nights and fill our ears with praise and we will find Him equally terrifying and irresistible. In that moment, He will be more real to us than the air we breathe.
Then, He will withdraw into silence. It’s inside the silence we will wonder if it was all a dream.
I wonder what the shepherds felt in that instant where the angels withdrew. Were their ears still ringing? Were there eyes still searching? I wonder how long it was before someone said, “Let’s go…”
The shepherds’ first steps toward Bethlehem moved them AWAY from the world they’d come to know as normal, away from their jobs and the familiar sounds of the night and toward a… baby… in a manger. The ones the angels told them about.
When God says “Go” He gives us plenty of reason to trust Him at His Word. But trust is not trust where doubt is not possible. In the silence – in that place where trust and doubt wrestle for our souls, we must choose.
The first steps can be the hardest. For, with these, we still walk in the scents and sounds of our worlds. But with each successive step, with each planting of the foot, we move from the fear of the unfamiliar and toward the Person of Christ, to the One who saves us from the world we leave behind.
Caleb (Diadiggo)‘s Prayer:
Lord, thank you that when you say “go” you give us a reason to go. For when we “go” we do not go alone. Thank you for help us take our first steps and our last. Draw us closer and closer to you with every step we take. May the scents and sounds of this world grow strangely dim in light of your great glory.
Later today, I’ll post part 5 of this series. But, this morning, I hope you and your family are richly blessed by this “pass on” post of Daniel Diadiggo’s “Christmas Chronicles”. For previous posts in this series, click below.
Grace and peace,
#4 when God speaks
[A]nd there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find the baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger.”
The shepherds understood what it was like to be outsiders. These were society’s forgotten, the ones the mothers didn’t want their daughters to marry. They were not, as some might say, relationally connected.
The shepherds were generational outcasts, removed to obscurity from the centers of power and influence.
One night a group of shepherds went to work as they had hundreds of nights before.
… the same as their dads had done
… and their grandfathers before them
The shepherds had no reason to believe that this night would be any different from the others.
And yet this night… would be unlike any other.
This… is the night God broke through…. the night He split the darkness and lit up the sky and declared peace between men and their God.
With the angels and all the universe leaning in… and while Jerusalem slept… God announced the birth of the Christ child – to a group of shepherds.
I wonder why He did that? Why did he choose the shepherds?
Maybe.. since nobody listened to them… they were more inclined to listen to God. For when God spoke the shepherds listened and left.
History remembers the shepherds – the lowly ones who stepped outside their own stories and into the miraculous.
Thank you Lord that you break through into our world and speak to us. Thank you that we hear your voice. Thank you for extending compassion to the undeserving and for drawing us to Yourself. We pray for the outsiders tonight, for those whose hearts are broken and for they who are lonely and afraid.
Angels We Have Heard on High
This Christmas, we’re honored to share with you part three of Daniel Diadiggo’s “Christmas Chronicles”. This is part three – for part 1 or part 2, click on the links.
#3 the inn-sider
[A]nd she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
The Lord determined not only the time, but also the PLACE to insert Jesus.
Consider this place of God’s choosing.
The Lord commanded every possibility for luxury and comfort. He could have embedded among the elite, in a palace or with aristocrats. Instead, He placed Himself in the center of His promise. Here we find Jesus, God of the universe, through Whom all things were made, in Whom all things hold together – contained in the body of a baby.
Divinely swaddled and confined to… an animal trough.
A place where livestock feed.
Where they stick their dirty mouths and crunch their straw.
God placed Himself inside the center of the mess – and outside the mess of Jerusalem’s center.
In Jesus we have a Savior who became like us, so that we might become like Him.
Caleb (Diadiggo)’s Prayer:
Thank You, Lord for becoming like us, in order that we might become like You. Thank you for placing Yourself at the center of our mess so that we may know You and live for You. I ask that everyday You give us a bigger and bigger picture of You. Let us see our true inability apart from You in a way that we will find that there is nothing worth holding onto in this world but You.
Away In a Manger