Monday, January 25, 2021

Raze to Raise


Often, in order to build something new, we must tear down the old first.  Real estate developers do this all the time, when they tear down old buildings or clear out trees to create the space for a new structure to rise.  The military does this with new recruits at boot camp where they tear them down to build them up into battle-ready soldiers.  Last week, Tom L talked about “roof off, walls down” as the way to have honest (and vulnerable) dialogue.  The Bible has a lot to say about getting rid of the old to make way for the new. I call this “Raze to Raise”. 


John 12:24-25 - Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”


Things to think about:

·       “Raze” is a funny word because it sounds just like a more common word that means its opposite.  It comes from the same origin where we get our word razor.

·       Our verse tells us that sometimes we must go backwards to go forward:

o   The kernel of wheat dying before it becomes a plentiful harvest

o   Losing your sinful life to gain eternal life

·       Even Jesus wasn’t exempt from this principle.

o   John 2:19-20 – “Jesus answered, ‘Tear down this Temple and in three days I’ll put it back together.’ They were indignant: ‘It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and you’re going to rebuild it in three days?’ But Jesus was talking about his body as the Temple.”

·       Where else do you see this truth played out in the world at large or in your personal life?

·       In our relationship with God, the first razing is to self

o   Proverbs 15:25 - God smashes the pretensions of the arrogant; He stands with those who have no standing.

o   Matthew 16:24-25 - Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” 

o   Psalm 32: 5 - Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

o   Hebrews 12:1 - …let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…

§  The razor of daily confession

·       In order to maintain healthy relationships with one another, we must also raze our pride sometimes

o   James 5:16 - Therefore confess your sins to each other…

o   Matthew 5:23-24 - “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”

·       When we do this, we allow for the raising up of one another

o   Proverbs 17:17 - A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

o   Proverbs 27:17 - As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

o   Hebrews 3:13 - But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

When we raze our fears, flaws, and failures we allow God to raise us up in sonship with Him and fellowship with one another.  And all of this results in His P-raise!

Sunday, January 3, 2021

FORMula for Life


Our minds control our feelings and our actions.  What we think about shapes every facet of our lives.  So how do we harness the power of our minds to live the abundant life God has promised us?  In our verse below, we have a choice to either conFORM or transFORM our minds.  This choice will dictate pretty much everything else in our lives. So which FORMula for living will you choose?


Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.


Things to think about:

·       This letter was written to believers – “brothers”

·       We have a choice to make

o   Conform – to take the shape of or to be in agreement with

o   Transform – to change in cooperation or structure

·       What is “the pattern of this world”?

o   1 John 2:16 – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life comes not from the Father but from the world

·       What does it mean to “transform your mind”?

o   The word repent comes from the Greek metanoia which mean to “change my mind”

o   It’s that simple and that profound

·       Our old nature, our enemy, and our world conspire to keep us thinking untrue or unhealthy thoughts

·       God desires for us to transform our minds. His two primary tools are His Word and His Spirit

His Word

·       Psalm 119 uses six words interchangeably for God’s Word

o   Laws, decrees, statutes, precepts, commands, and word

·       Proverbs 2:1-5 provides us with an acrostic for LAWS

o   Listen – accept My words and store up My commands in you, turn your ear to wisdom

o   Ask – if you call out for wisdom and cry aloud for understanding

o   Work – if you look for it as silver and search for it as hidden treasure

o   See – then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God      

His Spirit

·       John 14:16-17 – And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth

·       Acts 1:8 – and you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you

·       1 John 2:27 - Christ’s anointing teaches you the truth on everything you need to know about yourself and Him, uncontaminated by a single lie. Live deeply in what you were taught.

So, every day we have choices to make – to take in His Word and to allow His Spirit to teach and guide us.  Here are His promises from Proverbs 2:7-9

·       He holds success in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.