Hello my name is… Active Transformation

February 14, 2021   /   Jesus Church

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Hello my name is…

(Part 6)


Welcome… almost to end of series (Identity/Calling)

Idea is that thru life we all come to an understanding of Identity/Calling

  • That understanding will shape what we do… who we become
    • Question is where is your understanding coming from
    • Is it God in Heaven
    • Or something closer to Earth
  • Throughout NT we are told our identity/calling is found “In Christ”
    • Which is thru salvation… displayed in baptism
    • And we walk that out in our lives through sanctification
    • And one day we will be perfected face to face b4 Jesus
  • The problem is: Although God see’s us as we will be
    • We still have to deal with how we are
    • And the path to healing/wholeness is called Spiritual Formation

Last week said – Spiritual formation happens 2 ways… active/passive

  • We have 2 realize… transformation isn’t a Xian thing > human thing
    • You are being formed into something and by something
    • It happens every day of ur life… all u have to do is wake up
  • Last week looked at Passive transformation – What happens 2 you
    • Through the STORIES we believe
    • Through the HABITS we engage
    • Through the FRIENDS we keep
    • Through the ENVIORNMENT we are in
    • Through the EVENTS we experience
  • And the question we left off with is…
    • Who is shaping your life… what are u being formed by
    • Is it Jesus of Nazareth
    • Or the world around you

This week we dive into Active Transformation

And just like we have talked about thru entire series

  • We live in a cultural moment… where self has become the new god
    • We mentioned the mantra of the 21st century
    • “Be true to yourself”… another one “Follow your heart”
  • And if cliché sayings can give us a single picture of where world is…
    • I think musical is like a entire photo album of where world is
    • And you can see concepts and perceived truths in those lyrics

Want to read you some lyrics from a prominent current artist

You won’t find me in church (no)

Reading the Bible (no)

But I am still here and I’m still your disciple

I’m down on my knees, I’m beggin’ you please

I’m broken, alone and afraid

I’m not a saint, I’m more of a sinner

I don’t wanna lose, but I fear for the winners…

  • This is from a Song called Pray by Sam Smith (phenomenal voice)
    • Sam is a fascinating case study for our cultural moment
    • 20 something… grew up in the church… but he’s gay
    • Major theme in his writing wrestles b/w theology & sexuality
  • And this lyric does great job capturing atmosphere of a generation
    • On 1 hand our world wants God… some idea of God in our life
    • But on the other hand we want to do our own thing
      • “You won’t find me in church (no)… reading the Bible”
      • “But I am still here and I’m still your disciple”
      • “I’m not a saint, I’m more of a sinner”
      • “I don’t’ wanna lose but I fear for the winners…”

But I think that is a tragic misreading of what a disciple actually is

  • The word DISCIPLE (Matha-tais)
    • Translated “disciple”… but that word is a bit churchy
    • Many scholars actually think better translation is “apprentice”
  • Because Discipleship was a lifelong apprenticeship under a Rabbi

Luke 6:39-40 (NIV)

  • Notice for Jesus: End goal of apprenticeship is to become like him
    • Question we are rotating around now is “HOW”
    • Started with “WHY”… but now we need practical application
    • Need to sparce this out… because Jesus sets the bar a bit high
  • Go be like Jesus… UM… GREAT… OK… HOW???
    • And the “HOW” comes through Spiritual Formation
    • Started last week and left you hanging… but ur back so yay!

Again our Definition of Spiritual Formation

The process by which we are formed to become like Jesus, and in doing so, our real, true self.

  • So just like we understand… ur being formed – but by who & what
    • You are also being discipled… again by who & what
    • And companies pay billions to gain your following
    • You don’t pay > they do…
  • There’s a Netflix Documentary out called The Social Dilemma
    • “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product
    • And the world we know is a broken… fallen place
    • And the ultimate influence of a fallen world – You replace God
  • As followers of Jesus we have to take all of those influence
    • Offset this fine tuned machine with the truth of God
    • And the wind is not at our backs… exact opposite direction

Story of famous Xian author D. Bonhoeffer (in height of Nazi Germany)

  • Bonhoeffer leaves the German Church… corrupt b/c of Hitler
    • Starts a seminary for 150 young Christian men
    • Out from the rest of society… experiment on communal living
  • His family is not Christian – Very well off… known in the country
    • And one day his brother went out to find him
    • Begged him to stop everything… embarrassing family name
    • Come back and get married/professor again/be normal
  • Boenhoffer takes him in a rowboat… accross a lake
    • Other side was a Nazi training camp for youth
    • Boenhoffer walks to a hill overlooking training camp
    • Says: This has got to be stronger than that
      • What we are doing here has to be stronger
      • Than what they are doing there

I would say the same is true for us: This must be stronger than that

  • Apprenticeship to Jesus must be stronger than the noise around us
    • And as much as it will try and change you w/o u doing a thing
    • We need to fight that by doing something


That happens through Active Transformation

1: TEACHING (Rabbi:Teacher) – Jesus was a teacher

So last week… there are stories we are pushed to believe (good/bad)

  • Everyday we are given stories that demand our attention
    • That tell us their narrative is a “RIGHT” way to look at the world
    • We have to identify the “WRONG” stories
    • Align ourselves with the worldview narrative Jesus lays out

Jesus did that by teaching – Majority of Jesus time was… teaching

  • And that was on purpose… not accident
    • We are built to need teaching
    • The best teaching… tells u more than right/wrong or fact/fiction
    • Fills ur head with vision of what life looks like in “Jesus Culture”
  • That’s why so many of Jesus teachings were actually stories
    • Jesus was constantly telling an alternative story
    • Counter to the culture and way things had always been done
  • A question was asked of Ivan Illich > South American revolution
    • Journalist asked the best way to change a society
      • Violent uprising
      • Slow gradual change
    • He Answered… Neither: Best way is to tell an alternative story
      • And Jesus was constantly doing that
        • What it means to be human
        • What it means to be spiritual
        • What it means to be successful
      • Its an alternative story to the one the world has to offer
        • And when those teachings get into our thinking
        • It begins to undermined the lies we have believed…
        • With the truth and reality of God & His Kingdom

Now by teaching… We’re talking about teaching like this right now

  • Teaching can be: lecture/sermon/book/study/podcast/ted talk
    • This has to do with Nero-placisity
    • It has to do with understanding – study – meditation
    • Paul calls it the renewal of the mind

Rom. 12:1 – Fulcrum point of the book… after 11 chapters of theology

  • There is that world “TRANSFORMED”… HOW?! Renewal of ur mind

But getting the right ideas in ur head is starting point… not ending point

  • So many people start learning (good)… never get beyond that point
    • And by itself… TEACHING is not enough
    • B/C you can’t think your way to Christs likeness
    • The way of Jesus is a way of life… something u do (mind/body)
  • And that’s what discipleship is all about
    • Getting something in your MIND and bringing it to ur BODY
    • Meaning into your WHOLE LIFE!!!

But we live in a world that believes… “I THINK THEREFORE I AM”

Benjamin Franklin

We are Humans are brains with legs

  • In that theory on what it means to be human…
    • All you really need is periodic software update
    • Think about Neo from the Matrix – Plugs in and knows kungfu
  • But if that was right… all u would have 2 do for a healthy marriage
    • Read a book on how to have a healthy marriage
    • Or if you want to lose weight… just read a book on plant base
    • Struggle with addiction… just find a self-help book
      • Data in > Data out
  • But lets be honest – How is that working out for you? (Not well)
    • Understanding is the beginning part > b/c its also the easy part
      • BUT… Knowing something with your HEAD
      • Different than doing something with your BODY
      • Still not the same as wanting to do it in your HEART

Reality is… what we love/long for in our heart

  • Has far more effect on what we do w/ body
    • Than what we know in our head
    • So teaching… which is aimed at your head (VITAL)
    • But it’s just the beginning – It’s the portal to the whole person

2: Practice (This is counter to bad habits we deal with)

Great place to learn practice is looking at what Jesus said on Practice

  • Matt.. 4-6 – Collection of Jesus thoughts on how to be human
    • Or in his words “Live life to the fullest”
    • We taught on this about a year ago in series: Salt & Light
  • And if you look at sermon on the mount – Way its been taught
    • There has been a vast majority who read what Jesus says
    • Even on a scholar level… it’s a utopian idea that can’t be done
  • B/C if you read it – Bar is set really high… almost seems impossible
    • Almost like Jesus doesn’t expect us to actually do this stuff
    • Example: Don’t worry – I’ve got that down but I guess others
    • Example: He who looks at a woman lustfully commits adultery

So bar set high… but many people miss: Jesus is incredible down 2 earth

  • Just read sermon on mount… Jesus assumes u struggle with stuff
    • That you lose your temper and get angry
    • That you have issues in your marriage
    • That you want to judge other people in arrogance
    • That you compare yourself to others in insecurity
    • That you buy more than you need to fill something inside you
  • Does any of this sound familiar… Jesus just assumes u are human
    • And while the bar is set incredibly high
    • Jesus begins/ends teaching with the idea of practice
    • But Look at what Jesus says right before he starts his teaching…
      • “You heard it said… but I say to you” – teaching of Torah

Matt 5:19

  • And then at the very end… after last command is a story
    • Two home building projects
    • Says this…

Matt 7:24

  • Goes on to say nice things about people who practice what he says
    • Not nice things about people who don’t practice what he says
    • So he begins/ends this vision on what it means to be human
      • With the idea of PRACTICE… he assumes it takes practice
      • We don’t read “Don’t worry” and “Great… no more worry”
  • No you have to go out and practice that
    • But very few followers of Jesus in our culture today
    • Even think about apprenticeship as a kind of practice

Richard Foster (After teaching all over American on Spiritual Formation)

Most people think we change by trying really hard, but what we must embrace is training really hard.

Illustration – Lets say at beginning of 2021 u decided to get healthier

  • And you read about one of these popular marathons
    • Get inspired and decide I’m gonna start training
    • I want to feel better/live longer… who body matters to Jesus
  • How do u become a person who can run marathon (trying/training)
    • What happens tomorrow if u tried really hard to run 26.2 miles
      • You would probably die
      • It would be east to come the conclusion: It can’t be done
      • But that’s not true… it can be done by pretty much anyone
      • Just can’t be done by you – YET
    • You can’t just try hard… you need to train hard
      • Go out tomorrow before/after work and run a mile
      • Then after a week… you get up to 2 miles… and then 3
      • Just add a mile every week until you get to your goal
  • Over time (training) u become someone who can run 26.2 miles
    • And it isn’t easy… it never will be… but its within ur capacity
    • This is how we change
    • Yet very few approach apprenticeship to Jesus this way

Most of us hear/read on Jesus: “Do not worry”

  • Get inspired…excited… motivated – and we try really hard
    • But by the time we get to the car… 15 emails from work
    • A call from your boss
    • And we are stressed out…
  • And its easy to throw up our hands – Conclude it can’t be done
    • I’ll just stress eat and lose sleep every night
    • But its not true…
  • According to Jesus and through discipleship to him
    • You can become someone with control over anxiety
    • Not perfect… but a non-anxious lifestyle
    • How – Through practice

And this idea of “Practice” is pretty general – More practices of Jesus

  • What we call spiritual disciplines (training to be more like Jesus)
    • So when it comes to stress & anxiety
    • How many of you want more peace in your life
  • One option is just try really hard… eliminate some things/people
    • Have fun with that… might last for a little bit
    • But eventually new things/people will stress you out
  • OR you can train (HOW) – What if u take template Jesus gives us
    • And you actually follow Jesus… pour ur life into that template
    • Do your best – messy and mistakes – but u live like Jesus
      • Start to live out practice of Sabbath
      • Start to take time to get away (like Jesus) to pray/meditate
      • Start to forgive in the way Jesus forgave… not holding on

My guess is what would happen… not next week/month – over time

  • You would become a person of peace
    • There is trying and there is training
    • One is hard… the other is impossible
    • And I’ll take hard over impossible every single time
  • This is the invitation of Jesus – To practice his way (community)
    • And that this would make up your day to day life
    • So practice is counter our habits

3: Community – Practice instead of relationship

What’s the difference… not a ton – Relationships aren’t all bad

  • But relationships are self selected based on preference (not bad)
    • Meet someone that likes what you like
    • Matches your age or stage of life
  • Community different: Full range of relationships built around Jesus
    • Church community
    • Accountability Partner
    • Men’s/Women’s group
    • Roommate/Spouse/Mentor/Teacher/Pastor
  • Community is like an incubator for our Spiritual Formation
    • Its the context for growth… success… fail… struggle… rejoice
    • All in the safe place of community

And community does 2 crucial things – hard to find anywhere else

1 – First it will bring exposure

  • It will expose where you are actually at in growth/maturity
    • Meaning community will bring out: Best AND Worst in you
    • We all do really well in isolation – Community reveals a ton
    • Why community is amazing & at same time hard/difficult
  • Just look at marriage… feel pretty good before you get married
    • Then sit down 6 months later – What am I doing wrong
      • I’m so selfish… I wasn’t before (yes you were)
      • I’m so disorganized… bad with money… angry
    • And its not that in marriage you became worse
      • But before u got married… no idea how bad u were
      • It takes that community to expose where u really are
  • And this is a good thing… not a bad thing (easy to lose sight of that)
    • When there is tension/discord/frustration
    • Our cultural reflex is to just bolt… cut ties and move on
    • But that can be where Jesus does some of his best stuff
      • And Jesus can expose where you are at
      • So you can change you into what you need to become

2 – Encouragement

  • In healthy/Jesus community there’s also encouragement
    • So your/someone’s issues are exposed
    • Others come around you – I see who u are becoming in Christ
      • And I want to partner with you on that journey
      • That is what healthy community does
  • And community is not easy… takes up time (job/kids/life)
    • But it is so worth it to be a part of community
    • We need this… Jesus didn’t have an apprentice but apprentices
  • You cannot follow Jesus alone – and that’s against grain of society
    • But this is about us together practicing the way of Jesus
    • Where you and I are transformed
    • Not easy… but worth it

4: Holy Spirit (Counter to our environment)

Notice that: Teaching/Practices/Community as revolve around H.S.

  • He is the center of gravity – Source of power for transformation
    • He is involved in teaching… even here now
    • He is involved in practice… sabbath/meditation
    • He is in the middle of your community
  • And key to Spiritual Formation: Its a partnership b/w you & God
    • Our job is to engage in teaching – practice – community
    • And after that its on God to transform us
  • And a lot of time we will swing to one of two sides
    • We either think we have to do it all…
      • Watch sermon after sermon after podcast after book
      • Until you’re blue in face and its all you
    • Or we want to sit back and hope God does it all
      • And that’s just not the way God does it


Without God, man cannot and without Man, God will not

This is a joint partnership: It’s not about earning… it’s about effort

Dallas Willard

Grace isn’t opposed to effort, but to earning. The 2 aren’t the same thing.

  • The point is that you have a part and so does God
    • But the good news: Jesus does all the heavy lifting
    • It’s a partnership but its definitely not 50/50
  • And as u take on responsibility – Renewal of the mind/disciplines
    • In each moment… just opening up to power/presence of Spirit
    • And its just over and over
      • I’m here and you are too
      • Have your way and work your transformation in/thru me

5: All of this happens over time

Our expectations are instant/microwave/drive thru culture

  • But truth is: Everything worth having takes time in Kingdom of God
    • There is no shortcut to Spiritual formation
    • There isn’t a killer app you can download… No Life hack
  • If you are here & struggle w/ how long its taking to change
    • Area in ur life you just want to grow up and mature
    • And you think its just taking forever…
    • WECOME TO THE CLUB (we call it church)
  • And actually the longer you engage… the harder it gets
    • At the beginning you deal with more surface level stuff
    • Further down path… start to work on stuff deep inside of you
      • Past… scars… generational curses… strongholds
      • And there is healing – freedom but it takes TIME

So time… it takes time (both in length and volume)

  • Takes a long time.. ALSO takes a lot of time
    • Like anything in life… you get out of it what you put in
    • Some follow Jesus and grow more in 2/3 years
      • Than others who have been around church entire lives
  • Because at some point its all about the volume of time u put in
    • Think about how much time we waste
    • Average kid watches 5 hours of TV a day
    • Average adult swipes their phone 2600 times a day
  • Think about all thing things you could do (I can do… this is to me)
    • 1 hour of candy crush – Read through sermon on mount
    • 1 season of stranger things – month of dinners w/ community
    • Nothing wrong with TV… but in balance to time

When people say “I’m too busy” for Church/Community/Bible

  • The truth is… no we aren’t
    • Because if I asked how much time do you spend
      • Searching Google
      • Shopping on Amazon
      • Reading through Blogs
    • Most people stop making that agrument… or don’t come back
  • And if we don’t have the time to take path of Spiritual Formation
    • We don’t have time to follow Jesus
    • And we need to radically change/reprioritize our lives
  • That might sound harsh… but Jesus isn’t something u just add in
    • To follow Jesus IS A LIFESTYLE
    • And if you’re not there yet… this is a safe place
    • But at some point – Realize invitation of Jesus isn’t just a badge
    • Its “come take up your cross and follow me
      • It’s a whole life

And if you want to experience the fullness of life in Jesus

  • Then you have to follow him with your full life
    • We often think about the cost of discipleship
    • We need to think about the cost of non-discipleship
  • Meaning it costs time… effort… comfort
    • But it costs even more not to follow Him
    • Yes it costs to follow Sabbath… but even more not to
    • Yes it costs to come to church… but even more not to
      • It costs to listen and obey Jesus… but what if we don’t

[Daisy Testimony]

And all this… hard as it is… journey we are called to

And some will never take it… some will start and give up

  • I pray you will push through and engage for the race set b4 you
    • It will transform u to become more like Jesus… and ur true self


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