Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds . . .
I need to call your attention to the last phrase of this passage, renewing of your minds. Accepting the call to discipleship is much more than an emotional response to Christ. Discipleship moves us beyond the emotional experience of conversion and on to an intentional decision to apprentice ourselves to Christ. As apprentices to Jesus we choose to get out of the boat of complacency and enter the arena of life in the concrete presence of Christ. Note, Paul declares, the renewing of your minds, not the affirmation of your emotions. Accepting Christ as Savior is the easy, first step; renewing one’s mind is the life-consuming march of obedience and devotion. Discipleship is an act of the will.
It is no accident that we are pursuing the Transformed campaign during the season of Lent. Lent is the forty-day period prior to Easter that is set aside to recall the temptation of the Lord in the wilderness, and to prepare our hearts and minds for the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday which this year is March 1. The smear of ash on our foreheads reminds us of our need for penitence and God’s willingness to offer pardon and forgiveness. Penitence is the first step in the process of growing up into Christ. As we move into transformation you are challenged to begin your journey by participating in the Ash Wednesday service on March 1. Services will be conducted at 6:30 am, 12 noon, and 6:30 pm.
Let’s take discipleship seriously. Let’s be serious about committing our lives to Christ and the church. If you have absented yourself from the body of Christ, Lent is a wonderful time to renew your commitment to be present with your sisters and brothers in Christ. We need the church, we need one another.
Transformation is possible for us as individuals and consequently for the body of Christ. You are challenged to begin the process of renewing your mind; by humbling yourself before God, with a bit of ash on your forehead, and a willful choice to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. You have a place in this family.
Ash Wednesday services: March 1, 2017, 6:30 am, 12 noon, and 6:30 pm.