Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pastor's Column - Sept 2010

It is that time of year again: time to get back to school! The halls of education will be packed with fresh, young minds ready to be shaped and molded so that they can be prepared to work and serve in the world one day! Learning the various subjects equips students with the tools they will need to function properly in the real world. Teaching and learning are necessary for growth and maturity.

Well, this is true of our life in the church as well. Because of our sinful nature, we need to have our minds reformed and reshaped by the Word of God. In his letter to the Roman church, St. Paul, in view of God's mercies, urges us to "offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship." (Romans 12:1) Typically, we would think of such exhortations as referring to what we do with our hands in acts of service towards others, or our feet in delivering good news about Jesus to people. But Paul is not just thinking of our hands and feet here, but specifically our minds! "Do not conform any longer to the patter of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test what God's will is-- his good, pleasing, and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)

Such a renewal takes place when we study God's Word together with His church. The language Paul uses here is interesting. He doesn't say, "Make sure you transform your way of thinking," rather, "be transformed." Now, here is a grammar lesson! This is a passive phrase. That means the verb happens to the subject. Or, the subject is passive. That means the transforming is not something we actively do but something that happens to us. We are passive while our minds are transformed!

Bored yet? Well, stick with me! What we need to ask ourselves then is this, "If I can't transform my own mind, who is the agent here, who is doing the transforming?" Well, God of course! The Holy Spirit by means of the scriptures, in the company of fellow believers, forms and shapes our minds. He transforms them from being minds that are immersed in the sinful mire of this world into minds that are focused on Christ. Growth and maturity come when the Holy Spirit guides us through the study of Scripture.

But this is not an effort we should go through alone! As I have alluded to before, this is something that takes place within the body of Christ. As soon as Paul exhorts his readers to be transformed with renewed minds, he reminds us that we are a body of believers who work together and not separately. "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." (Romans 12:4-5) As a body, we grow together. We need to be renewed together. The Spirit works on us together. Some of us are gifted to teach, some of us are gifted to serve, some of us are gifted to encourage, and so on. (Romans 12:6-8) And we all need each other as we live in this world and grow in our faith.

All of this is to say, join us here in a Bible study this Fall! We have confirmation for 7th-8th graders, youth group, Crossways on Wednesdays at 10:00 AM or 7:00 PM, and Bible Study on Sunday morning. We need you here at one of these studies. You need us at one of these studies, so that, as one body, our minds will be renewed by the transforming work of the Holy Spirit through the study of God's Word! Please consider joining us this Fall! May God bless our church, really, His church, as we learn and grow together as one body!

Pastor Bob

Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email