Sunday, January 29, 2006

Have You Changed?

Here's my sermon that I'm preaching tonight. Sorry for the lack of updates... it's been a crazy week between the retreat, all-nighter, and Futsal.... This is one of the many things I've been working on!

Have you Changed?
A look into the depths of the Christian faith

Purpose: Understanding the reality of the Christian faith in relation to their everyday lives.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live your life completely free? To throw off the chains of oppression, of homework and money and just do whatever you pleased? Perhaps that is to be done with school, and just be grown up, finished and able to do whatever you wanted? The glorious ability to come and go as you please, sleep when you want to sleep, eat what you want to eat. Life would be grand if only this were true. Let’s not forget, however, that in the midst of this, there are responsibilities that suddenly seem to pile up… rent, food, phone, internet bills. You’ve got to worry about work, so that you have the money to pay off all of these awful bills. Sleep suddenly takes on a different view when you’re the only one who is going to earn the money so that you can eat. Money means work, and work means showing up on time; showing up on time means getting to bed at a decent time. You’ve got neighbours to work with, and Mrs. Johnson always wants you to take out that garbage, because when you leave it for over a month it starts to stink. It’s a tough life. Oh to be a child again.

Story of my Father

There was a time when I thought like a child, acted as a child. Oh boy did I think like a child… I remember a specific instance when I was young yelling at my dad because I felt that he didn’t spend enough time with me. My friend’s dad always played hockey with him, and bought him things, why couldn’t my dad? I don’t think he’d disagree with me now that what I had to say was true in certain respects, but I hurt him deeply. When I looked at it from that point of view, my worldview told me that he wasn’t meeting my needs, and I should have been most important. He spent most of his time at work, and when he wasn’t at work, he was usually too exhausted to really spend that extra-curricular time with us kids. So I lashed out, I got angry and started yelling at him… in a public place. I acted as a child, but now I am a man, I think like a man, and I act like a man, for the most part. I look back at the situation and see the love of a father recognizing that he needed to support us, and so he worked hard; harder than he wanted to. I wanted his time and love, and he was giving it to me through means that I wasn’t expecting… work. His love was being poured out on me by spending 12+ hours a day at the office calling people he didn’t know to try to sell his house, and I was too immature to recognize it. The pain I caused because of my immaturity.


There are many transformations that you will go through in your lives. Some will be evident, others will just be a memory of having a memory … one day you’ll wake up and the whole transformation will be finished. Physically, you are all going through transformations. Mentally, you’re starting to grow up and are reasoning like adults and starting to discover what you really believe. Emotionally, you are discovering what it is like to love, to hate, to hurt. Spiritually, you have begun a journey that starts to guide the ship down the river that it will flow the rest of your life. This is the transformation of a person who is bound and chained by sin, who merely has to bend a knee to be freed by the grace of Christ.

That wonderful, overflowing grace of God, that quenches our every thirst, completes every aspect of our beings, and gives us hope when others only see desolation. It’s an experience unlike any other, unmatched in this world. You live a life where you are bound by what other people think about you, grades, and expectations of the world. You attempt to meet those expectations, and your every actions is hung on a weight in order to try to find out if you are worthy.


The ancient Egyptians believed something very similar to this. When a person died, their soul was lead to Duat, to the hall of Judgment. There Anubis awaits the person, to judge their soul. They would put the deceased’s heart, the symbol of the soul’s morality, on a scale against a feather. If their heart was lighter than a feather, they would proceed to Osiris, the god of the Afterlife, in Aaru. But if not, the heart would be eaten by the demon Ammit, leaving the soul stranded in Duat for the remainder of all time.

All your deeds weighed against a single feather. Would you pass? I know that I wouldn’t. I’d fail miserably, because I’m only human, a work in progress, and far from perfect. I sin, I’m still growing, and those expectations weigh heavily in my heart, mind and soul. I’m not worthy. But God never asked me to be worthy, only willing.

The Change

But as I’m sure we all know here, that journey doesn’t end there. It carries on for the rest of our life. It starts to manifest itself immediately. People see a recognizable difference. We talk differently, act differently. There is no gossip, no lying, no hateful words against another person. A Christian will share their belongings with another person who needs it, willingly giving up their own well-being so that others can be comfortable. We think differently, choosing not to fill our minds with pornography, gossip, and hatred.

The real question I want you to ask yourself tonight is not whether or not you are a Christian. I don’t want you to ask if you’ve prayed that prayer, and bought yourself fire insurance. I want you to ask yourself if you can relate more with a person who doesn’t have Christ than with a person who does. Can you look at those characteristics I just stated for you and honestly say that you’re striving to be more than what you are? Or do you look at them and say they can never be attained? Are you satisfied with a stagnant faith?

A Challenge

This goes much deeper than asking you if you hang out with Christian friends, I’m asking you if you are living your life as though you were that Christian friend. Jesus taught us to look at the fruits of those around us, and by their fruits we will know their faith. Where are your fruits? Where are the results of what Christ is doing in you? If others are looking into your life, are you characterized as someone who gossips, lies, hates others, is selfish, or looks at pornography? Or are you a person that others feel safe around? Do you radiate God’s love? These fruits… good or bad are what really tell us you are a Christian, not whether or not you have prayed for forgiveness. This is the change that God enacts in your life. Has He?

Revelation 3:15-20 15 "I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, 'I am rich. I have everything I want. I don't need a thing!' And you don't realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me-- gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. 20 "Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

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