April 24, 2022
God’s Transforming Love
Sunday, April 24, 2022
Have you ever wanted to make yourself over in some way? Maybe a new haircut, new wardrobe, new physique, new job, or even move to a new location thinking you can start again and recreate yourself?
I remember thinking in 8th grade when we moved up to Rio from the big city of Madison, that this was a time for me to start new-I could be whoever I wanted to be because no one knew me. So I ditched the glasses that I had worn since Kindergarten so I didn’t come with that stigma of being known as four eyes or nerdy… you can see how that worked out so well for me. Good thing I’m not trying to do that now-my over 40 eyes would never make it through one day trying to read anything anymore. But I could do it then. As the first day of school approached, I styled my bangs a little taller, and off I went to create a whole new Karrie. Or so I thought.
In some ways I changed for sure-being in a smaller environment did help me find my voice and the talents I had to share. I had more friends here than I did in Madison. I had more fun participating in many things I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to in Madison- sometimes simply because they needed the numbers here.
But in many ways, I was still the same Karrie.
I moved to a new town and a new school. I wasn’t wearing my glasses (at least at school), but I still had to work through shyness in different situations, I still dealt with insecurities about myself, and I still had the same personality. I was still Karrie-for whom I’m grateful today to be, but back then I thought one simple move to a new town could change everything I wanted to change. Except I forgot one truth- while we moved to a new location- everything that made me, ME, came along with me. So ultimately, I still had to figure out Karrie was no different than how I would have had to in Madison or wherever else we might have lived. How I found myself was different of
course in Rio vs. Madison, but the path to finding who we are supposed to be will always need to be walked out.
Changing our scenery, our clothes, our hair, or our jobs won’t ultimately bring about the complete change we might be hoping for unless we are also willing to look within and deal with that part of us too.
That path of finding contentment within has been quite the journey to discern where my contentment ultimately comes from. I have searched in people, in physical fitness, in jobs, in education, in things we buy…and none of those things in themselves ever leave us truly content with who we are. Not really. We will always be searching for something more, something greater, not even knowing what that more is. We will always be seeking that next make-over or escape from this life as we know it.
I have a lot of wonderful memories in my life, great experiences I am very thankful for, that have shaped me. Yet it wasn’t until Christ captured my heart, that I really ever experienced contentment like that- knowing I am wholly and completely loved just as I am, and yet loved so much that He pours Himself into me, transforming me through His love, into His likeness. He doesn’t leave me where I am in my insecurities, my doubts, or wondering what am I supposed to be doing in this world? He makes me new, to be like Him, to be confident in who I am as a new creation in Christ, to know my identity now and forevermore lies solely in who Christ is in me. I don’t have to escape to a new city or country for a bigger adventure, for I have Christ right here with me. Walking in His love is the greatest adventure any of us can go on. I can absolutely testify to that!
I don’t have to try to figure out who I should be to please others, I know I just need to follow Christ and
His love radiating from me will win many hearts to Him. You see I have learned it’s not about me seeking constant approval and affirmation from others-don’t get me wrong that is certainly nice to hear, but I know that if I listen to Christ and take the steps He calls me to take, He is pleased with me and what others think of me or not, does not ultimately matter. I don’t say that flippantly; I say that from a place of freedom. There is a difference!
I say it knowing I am loved by God completely-no matter how others feel about me at any given moment-His love is constant and abiding. I know I am to share His abiding love with others all around me-no matter if they return that same love to me. There is freedom in that too.
I know my purpose as He is transforming me in His love-which is to be His ambassador to a world in need of hope.
That’s a long way off from what I thought I was supposed to be in 8th grade. Praise God for His transformational love at work in all of us. As we continue to celebrate our Risen Savior, let’s focus today on the new creation we are in Christ and what that means in how we live our lives. Let’s be reminded or learn about God’s transformational love, which is meant to change us, for His glory and for His purposes. It is good. Let’s soak in the transformational love of the Father today. Let’s tune our ears to hear who we are in Christ and the great roles and privileges we are given to represent Jesus to the world around us and boldly love others.
2 Corinthians 5: 14-21 NIV
14 For Christ’s love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Did you hear that? Christ’s love compels us. When we open our hearts to His love, we can’t help but begin to change.
We are compelled to change, to emulate Him. The closer we walk with Him, the greater that compelling belief is that we are no longer to live for ourselves (meaning our desires and wants) but we know and we want to live for Him. We want to step into that role as an ambassador and share His goodness and love with the world around us. He calls us, to this very important role of representing Him, who sent us out. Isn’t that amazing?
If that makes you nervous, be encouraged to know He works in us first; He trains us and equips us before
He sends us out. He draws our hearts to His, so that we might be near Him and learn from Him. Then He
creates opportunities for us to share His love with this world. Not all will be called the way I have. Many
will be called to shine His light within their homes, through their families, their neighbors, their jobs, or
maybe through friendship groups. But do know, we are all called to be an ambassador.
We need to understand His transformational love and how He works in us. We need to embrace the
process of transformation and see it is good. This is another way we taste the Lord and see He is good.
The Holy Spirit convicts us when we are living or thinking in ways that are ungodly. We need to understand the difference between conviction and condemnation. Remember there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ
-so if we feel condemned about something and we have Christ in us, that feeling is from the enemy who wants us to be confused about what is truth. The Holy Spirit will convict us to make us aware of our sin, but His conviction is always pointing towards raising us up to who He is calling us to be. A conviction can be painful at the moment too because it means we have to change habits, we have to change thoughts, or our reactions. We have to admit
something we are doing or thinking isn’t right and we have to surrender our will and pride and walk-in humility instead. We might even have to admit we need help, and we are not superman or superwoman.
Conviction shows us what is holy, right, and pure. Conviction shines light into the dark places of our hearts
and mind, and the light brings Truth. Conviction points to a specific area or problem and always guides us
forward in how to overcome that area. This is good and encouraging to us. God loves us with an everlasting love and His love isn’t based on our performance to add to it or take away from it. So amazing! Yet His love is transformational and always focuses on remaking us into what He has desired from the start- to be His likeness and in His image. This world and its brokenness, and darkness have shifted, confused, and blinded us all in some ways as to what is good, right, and true. As our hearts turn towards Him, His Spirit begins to work in us and show us the way to truth and that is by following Jesus and modeling His example.
Ephesians 5: 1-4, 6-9, 14
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.2
Live a life filled with love
, following the example of Christ. He loved us
and offered himself
as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place
among God’s people.
Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—
these are not for you
Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.
Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins,
for the anger of God will fall on all
who disobey him.
Don’t participate in the things these people do.
For once you were full of
darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So
live as people of light!
For this light within
you produces only what is good and right and true.
the light makes everything visible
. This is why it is said, “
Awake, O sleeper,
rise up from the
and Christ will give you light.”
We are called to imitate God, just as Jesus did
. He said “I only say and do what the Father shows me.”
He who was without sin, didn’t act on His own accord.
We need to wake up from our slumber and our autopilot ways, our acceptance to an ever-changing culture
as to what is ok and what is not. Do you ever notice just how much swearing is acceptable on regular TV
now that never would have been ok even 30 years ago? Not that swearing didn’t happen-it did, but it
wasn’t acceptable on mainstream TV. It wasn’t part of our everyday language everywhere. Now it is. It’s
a slippery slope. Let us not make excuses for our sins.
When the Spirit convicts us- know it is because
we are Christ’s ambassadors and we have been sent by Him who saved us, to be His light and hope
in this world.
Let us willingly, even painfully if needed, shed our sins we are convicted of to step into
growth God has for us. Because you will see a beauty emerge from within you that is truly glorious.
Now the difference between conviction and condemnation is one-conviction brings life through
awareness, repentance and a path to overcome. The other-condemnation produces guilt, shame and
overall despair. Condemnation is not isolated to one problem or area but an overall feeling of
hopelessness in your life, that you can never get it right, you were always that way, you might as well
give up. There is no solution or way out of your problem or mess because the enemy wants to keep you in
despair. We must know the difference. Condemnation is not from God. It is directly from the enemy and
as we have been discussing, we must choose whose voice we are going to listen to. God calls us to listen
to the voice of Truth, to the one that brings life and peace. We must reject voices that condemn and
produce shame and guilt, in the name of Jesus. Choose to listen to the One who encourages and builds
you up and He transforms you from glory to glory. This is the Holy Spirit.
The amazing thing about God and the gift of the Holy Spirit is that He doesn’t just convict
us of our sin, He counsels us on how we overcome and avoid our sin. He counsels us so we have right
understanding of what is truth. He counsels us to teach us new ways to think, how to develop self-
control, how to properly respond to our emotions and how to love one another as He loves us. He
never leaves us on our own to figure our messes out. He is right by our side, talking to us in Spirit and
in His Word, showing us the way to life abundant in Christ. But we must choose to listen to His
counsel. We must tune to His Spirit and we must read His Word. His Word is Truth.
Psalm 33:11 NASB
counsel of the
plans of His heart from
generation to generation.
Our world will shift and change many times over. The definition of what is right and good will
change according to what source you listen to. But here is truth for us to know whose counsel we
want to seek above all. The Lord’s. Because His stands forever. He is unchanging so His counsel is
unchanging. God’s ways have stood across every generation for thousands of years.
I will instruct
you and teach you
in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with
my loving eye on
His counsel is always centered in love and His love for you.. We can trust in His counsel and know it
is infinitely wise and always good. Just because we might not understand His ways doesn’t mean they
Psalm 119: 15-16, 24
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
I will not neglect your word. Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.
This should be our heart commitment and mindset-to speak in agreement with this Scripture. There
are times we need to override what we’re feeling and just start speaking to our Spirit to rise up and
take over. In essence,
we are telling our flesh or self to stand down-you are not in charge
been called to a bigger purpose that is beyond me.
What we speak often enough, we eventually
act out. It may seem awkward at first, but the more we speak His Word over our thoughts and
feelings, the more natural it becomes. The more power we feel rise up in us; the more courage we feel
and the greater our peace is no matter what is happening around us. There is power in speaking the
Word of God.
Let us not only receive His counsel
as He offers it through our prayer time, as we read His Word, at
Sunday worship, through other Believers-
let us SEEK it out
. Let us go to the source and ask Him to
search our hearts and shine light into any dark places.
Teach us Your ways Lord
. Wouldn’t an
ambassador for any nation want to study up, learn and model what their nation represents? How else
could they be a solid ambassador? So it is with us as Christians.
It’s not enough to believe in Jesus.
God’s transforming love is calling us to become the likeness of Jesus, so we are the visible image
of Christ in us for others to see.
This is the heart and promise of God-that He makes us new as we believe in His Son and
accept Him as our Savior. He is always making us new and creates within us new life filled with His
righteousness. This is why there is no better God to serve. This is why we don’t ever want to give ear
to the lies of the enemy who only wants us to feel shame, discontent and envy. Our God wants us to
be filled with life, hope, peace and joy and living confidently as the ambassadors we have been called
1 Peter 1:3 NIV
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In his great mercy
given us new birth
into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Colossians 3: 10-11 NLT
Put on your new nature
, and be renewed as you learn to know your
become like him
In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile,
circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free.
Christ is all that matters
, and he
lives in all of us.
It doesn’t matter how we grew up, where we grew up, what color of skin we have, our education or
Christ in each of us is all that matters to God, and becoming like Him.
This is the
confidence we have in who we are. This is what unites us and binds us together-Christ in us. This is the
view we should have towards other Christians-Christ in them. Let us not look at others with a critical and
judgmental eye when they fall short-let us look at them in love and build them up. We all need that grace
and to know our brothers and sisters are there to reach a hand out to pull us up.
2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate
the Lord’s glory,
transformed into his image
with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
This is His heart and the power of His transformational love. Let us praise God that He doesn’t leave us
as He finds us but through His love, He transforms us with ever increasing glory!
God’s love is different than any other love we’ll ever encounter. His love is
transformational. His love is pure and righteous and will convict, counsel and create in us so we become
His likeness. As Christ’s ambassadors, let us embrace His transformational love and let us reflect the
righteous love of God to the world around us.
International Speaker, Mickey Robinson says, “Love like God loves and be among the bravest of all.”
“Let us be partakers of God’s divine nature” “Choose a boldness to be lovers of your cities and
Prayer for commitment to surrender to God’s transformation love to move in us
. To let go of habits,
negative thinking patterns and embrace His love that will make us new.
Announcements. Remember to stick around for a discussion and vote on kitchen remodel
Ladies breakfast next Sat May 7th 8 am. Sam Hawley
Sign up for greeters, cake, communion for next quarter.
Make sure you are signed up to receive emails, that we have your address, phone, bday’s anniversaries as
you want to share-. Sign up sheet by greeter stand.
Prayers: Sickness going around-prayers of healing for those who are ill. Prayers of comfort for Laurie’s
family with the passing of her grandma.
Bdays: Michelle Rowe 4/24, Connie Hessler 4/27, Deb Wearne 4/30
Anniversary: Stacy and John Holder 4/25
Final Blessing: 1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always
abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.