Hello, and welcome to this message from Calvary Church. We are excited to hear from our guest speaker Chip Lusko. We pray that this message encourages you and if it does, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at email@example.com and if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/give Now we invite you to open your Bible to Romans Chapter 12 as Chip begins the message, Spring Cleaning.
Well, it's a real honor and a privilege, always, to fill this pulpit. I have a great deal of respect for how our pastor has maintained this pulpit over the decades. This, the truth, comes out of this room, it's changed my life, it's changed my family's life, I've seen it change this church, it's changed this community, and it has reached out even to touch the world. So it's important. That's why we're here today, to see lives change. We aren't simply here to have a Bible study or a message or to take notes, we're here to intersect with God.
And when God touches something, He doesn't leave it the same. Now if we gloss over our hearts, it's possible to miss that opportunity, the intersection with divinity. But God wants to change us today and His tools are these, His Word, His spirit, your heart. And that is an equation that equals His will, and that's what He wants to accomplish. So it depends on the condition of your heart, how you'll be able to take advantage of what God wants to do today. One pastor said we should, in these days, be a church living on its tiptoes, expectantly. Luke 3:15 said that people look for the Messiah in that condition. Is that how you live? Do you live your Christian life on your tiptoes? Are you ready and expecting God to fulfill his promises? Did you expect the dynamic nature of His Holy Spirit to bring things into your life that are productive for his Kingdom?
That's how we ought to be. God's in the life changing business. Now you may think, oh no, it's too late for me. I am what I am, I have too much baggage, too many broken dreams, too many severed relationships, bankruptcies or poverty's or broken laws. I've got a history, so I've got a rap sheet spiritually so long, so much burdening baggage. Oh, you're perfect. You're a perfect candidate for God's grace. That's just the kind of person He specializes in. That's who He's looking for, you're on His radar screen today. Oh, He's ready for you if you get ready for Him.
Get ready for Him. He wants to change lives. That's not just a billboard slogan we came up with, that's the essence of what our relationship with God means, transforming. We'll find that in our text today. We see that in the life of Billy Graham. We've all been touched this week, have we not, by seeing the legacy he has left and what it is meant to so many people. And yesterday, tens of thousands lining the roads from Asheville to Charlotte just to see his hearse go by, and just to express their appreciation for his investment as being America's pastor. But I have to say, it's probably a chuckle in Heaven from Billy like, you don't know what's going on up here. You think you see a party in North Carolina, he is enjoying the fruits of his labor.
You've got to believe that the date of February 21st, 2018 was a red letter day circled in Heaven because that was the day appointed for God to usher in a faithful servant, a good and faithful servant to Jesus Christ. But as the week goes on, that's right, as the week goes on, we're going to see more and more as we draw near to the funeral and he's going to be honored by being held in state, only the fourth private citizen in American history held in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington. Will be a great deal of news coverage about that.
But here's a takeaway for you, it's not just for us to binge on Billy Graham. As I have been this weekend, you know, so if I give an invitation and I say the buses will wait, you'll have to understand where that came from. But, that's not just the point to get a wider understanding of his ministry. The takeaway for you is to get this, there's a red letter day in Heaven for you. Your day is coming. God knows the appointment with his saints. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of one of his saints. God knows your day. And a wise saint right now is investing, is putting away things in Heaven, is putting things in eternity, is preparing for that day, wanting to hear the wisest prayer you could pray being answered, and that is, Dear Lord whatever. I want to hear, well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.
That's what life is really all about in Christ. Out of Christ, is about possession and pleasure and privileges and all that. In Christ, we know our life in Colossians is hid with Christ to be revealed in that glorious day. That's why the Bible says in our text today, please turn with me to Romans Chapter 12, verse 1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God
Lord, today we thank you. We open our hearts, we open our wills to you. We submit and commit our lives to your Word and to your Holy Spirit, in Jesus' name, Amen. Well now, one of my favorite Far Side cartoons is one of the butterfly driving down the road with an attitude in the convertible. And you know, he gets stopped by the police. And he pulls out his ID and it's a picture of a caterpillar. He's like, oh, that's an old photo.
Well, that's how we should feel as Christians. Because the baggage that I was speaking about that might burden you down and keep you from really becoming all the fruitful things God wants you to do, are really screenshots of an old you. And when they come up in your mind and they are on an endless loop of the failures, the broken promises, the victimizations, the things you've experienced, your attitude needs to be just that, oh, that's an old photo. That's not me anymore. I'm metamorphosing, I'm a changed individual, I've come to Christ, I've been to the foot of the cross, I've been washed by the blood. I'm not a cat. I'm not crawling around on the earth any more sensual, I'm not just in the dirt of planet Earth, I'm coming out of the cocoon. I've got my little antenna growing. I'm hearing from God, I'm starting to know the things of the Kingdom. I'm going to flex my wings some day and really fly.
So if someone reminds you of what you were, you go, oh, that's an old photo. I'm changing. God's in my life, He's moving furniture around big time, that's what He wants to do. See, being born again is a truly phenomenal event. In fact, it's such a large event that words can't cover it. See, when Jesus came to earth, He had a major canyon to span, and that was for Him to communicate with mankind. It'd be like you talking to an insect. Really that's not even a good ratio. He had to speak caterpillar, if you will. He had to begin to voice His will and His ways in a way we understand.
And so when He tried to communicate the power to illustrate and what it meant to be in His Kingdom, He used the most radical term to happen to you or I, one every human being can relate to because we've all been what? Born once. That's what makes you a human. And so He said, you have to be born again. And the word-- there's an overflow, those two words, born again. It doesn't do the experience justice because it's such a powerful, magnificent, permanent thing to be born again. And unless you are and until you do, you can't even see, He said, the Kingdom of Heaven, and that's a fact.
That's what He said in John 3:12. Listen to this, it's humbling. He's talking to the fellas, the apostles, if I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you Heavenly things? Wow. In other words, what we have in this Book, what we've had revealed to us, it's just earthly. God hasn't even been able to really tell us the full story. This is like a trailer for a movie. We only get 90 seconds of full length film. You couldn't-- it would blow, if I may paraphrase, it would blow your little brains out. Your head would just explode if He told us everything that's coming. So in that light, how dare we question Him. Lord, why this, what, really, really? It's like the caterpillar talking to the creator, why? And so, here are some of the things that happen because words fail, but we have to force this information into 26 letters in our alphabet.
When you come to Christ, and you only come to Christ by the way, at the foot of the cross, that's where God does business, and only by the venue of His blood, that's the medium He does business with. That's how he transacts business with mankind. And because the ground is level at the foot of the cross, it doesn't matter where you come from, who you are, what you look like, what's your net worth, is it's all level. You have to look up at the face, the suffering face of Jesus and ask for forgiveness and give your life to Him, to forfeit your life to Him.
Will Graham is Billy Graham's grandson, Franklin's son, and he asked his grandfather when he was coming to the sunset of his career what things he might have done different in his ministry, in hindsight. And Billy said three things, I would pray more so I could do more, and I would preach more on the blood and the cross, the blood and the cross. We can't be distracted from the cross of Christ. It must be a central part of our relationship with Him. The meta change of salvation, the penalty for sin has been removed. Did you know before you came to Christ, and I must speak to those who have, those in the audience today who have not made that step, you'll have the opportunity today. Don't harden your heart. Today is your day of salvation.
You were an enemy of God before you came to Christ. It's hard to realize, Jonathan Edwards said you were dangling over the gaping jaws of hell held by a string, and Christ came and touched you and saved you and rescued you from the awful fate of forcing God out of your life permanently. You have peace with God now. No longer an enemy, now He calls you a friend. You're in the family now. You have a new destiny in Eternity. You have a new life now.
You're a new-- the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The King James says a new creature, I like that better. You're a new creature, and the old has passed away, behold all things become new again. Now periodically, scientists are all impressed with themselves when they find a new creature, they find a new species. They're looking out in Mars and they find a little blob of something, oh, we found a new life. But typically, it's in the deep dark recesses of the ocean and where no light even gets to. And if you noticed, these creatures are always just disgusting. They get arms and legs like crocodile, lizards, crack turtles with their jaws and they're always like these awful beings.
I wish they could find like Tinkerbell or a unicorn or something attractive, a mermaid. They find awful things looking for new species. Oh boy. I tell you what, they should just role in to church. We've got lots of new creatures here, with all kinds of them, we have a whole family of them We're new creatures in Christ, we don't fit anymore, we don't live in this atmosphere anymore. We've been promoted. We live in a new Kingdom, we have a new King. We have a new economy, we have new gold and no longer have the puny earthly goals of accumulating things and stuff and experiences. We're headed for the big time.
You know, as a church we should periodically just stop, just take a deep breath because we're there. If you've come to Christ you've solved the biggest problem you could ever have, death. You solved it, that's it. Any other problem pales in comparison to death. You were there. You've won the Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, and super lotto and whatever, you've won it all. That's just the first moment in Heaven. So you should relax into Christ, lean into his everlasting arms.
Well, the problem is we're new creatures but we're still under pressure. Look at our text will you. The tension, the pressure is from the opportunity to be transformed into what God wants you to be that, and we don't see it yet, that would blow your mind. C.S. Lewis said, if you knew what the person sitting next to you in church will look like an eternity, you would be flabbergasted. They're going to be so beyond earthly imagination. That's why when Paul was transported to Heaven briefly, he said it would be unlawful to speak of the things he saw because human language couldn't do it justice.
That's what we're headed for, that's what lies for every saint, every child of God. Well, the tension is between conformity you see, to be conformed to this world. It means pressed down, shaken together, pushed together in the mold of this world. My dad used to run a metal stamping plant. They had the dyes and they make auto parts and they just take these dyes and slam them onto the steel and they pump out parts. And that's what it talks about being conformed. The raw materials of your life being conformed into this world.
But the opportunity we have here, the practical opportunity, is to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. That's where the battle is found. One author said this, listen carefully, the issue is the human heart soaked in a secular culture that devalues human life, despises authority, promotes victim hood, mocks religion glories in debauchery, and embraces radical autonomy. The breakdown of the family has led to a quarter of our children in fatherless homes. Psychotropic drugs are prescribed for more than 8 million children today, some as young as 18 months old, to control depression, anxiety, lack of focus. 10% of our children are addicted to video games, many of which are violent. Add to that, a steady diet of movies, music, and media that glorify unrestrained sex, violence, and drug use and we have a cocktail, a volatile cocktail, of generational depravity that would make Caligula blush.
The only solution is to be transformed into God's Kingdom. A few years back, Skip and I were in upstate New York conducting a connection outreach, a radio program was on there that's Skip teachers on, and we got a letter from an inmate at a prison inviting us to come visit while we were in town. It was signed, David Berkowitz. You might know him as the Son of Sam killer. Some years back in New York he was a serial murderer who was the subject of the largest manhunt in New York City history up to that point.
And he was apprehended and convicted and he'll never see the outside of that prison in this life. We thought, we'll go. We were not sure what to find, we'd heard he had converted to Christ, had gone from being the Son of Sam to the son of hope. So we sat with him for a couple of hours in this family room and I have to tell you, we had deep fellowship. We opened up scripture, we talked, he gave a testimony a witness of how Christ had revealed his sin to him and it was remarkable. And I'm convinced in the depths of my heart, Christ has made him a new creature. The same man who, at one time took a pistol and put it the people's heads and pulled the trigger, sat there opening the pages of the Bible telling us of the glories of God's grace.
And I say to you that if God can touch David Berkowitz, He can touch anyone. No one is outside the reach of God's grace. No one has done enough to out sin the goodness and the love of Jesus Christ. That's right. That's right, come on. That's something to be excited about. That's something to rest your life on. That's the cornerstone of Christian faith, grace, love, the truth of the Bible. We pulled up to that prison that day, I don't remember the name of it, but I know it said correctional facility.
I biked by a place where they keep teenage offenders and it's called a reformatory. They don't reform many people, they hardly correct any in prison. I found a study that said this, 30 states, 400,000 prisoners, within three years, 68% were back in jail. They're not being corrected. The person that can correct them is Jesus Christ. He's the one who's capable of taking the hardest heart, and if it's yielded to Him, He will transform it into something magnificent. You're changing one way or the other. You know they say you're epidermal layer of skin completely changes every seven days. You really kind of shed your skin like a snake, microscopically. So moms, really when you're vacuuming, you're vacuuming up your family.
They also say every seven years, your entire body recycles every cell, everything, everywhere. That's remarkable and amazing, God's engine, that He has created the diagram through DNA and in all. But we can change spiritually as well. That's what we're looking at in our text today. And look, the equation is so simple. Bible study, if you just take it bite by bite, is so practical and logical and appliable Look at the key words here, present, you look at the opportunity to be transformed, the verb, redoing, and then proving the will of God. There's your equation, it's a process. Once you present your life, you choose to be transformed as opposed to being conformed and the avenue is, the battle's in your mind. You begin to change how you think, you begin-- listen, you starve the flesh man, the old man of Romans 7, you feed the faith man.
Now Alexander the Great attacked his city, he didn't just go full frontal and go racing in there and go up the walls and have people get killed. What he'd do? He'd surround it, cut off their supplies, cut off their food, sit back and just wait. He'd starve them out. That's how you need to treat your flesh. There's a time to say no to it and buffet it and beat it and pick up your cross. There's also a strategy of just starving it, of not feeding it to sewer and garbage of the world because that's nutrients. That's rocket fuel to your flesh. It's, yeah, feel good, do it now, don't deprive yourself, you deserve it. They treated you poor, your flesh is going raw. Starve it, starve it out, feed the faith. Put the audio Bible on, keep praise music on, get that nutrients going into your spirit and you'll crowd out the things of the flesh.
There are those who talk about, what's the vision you have for your life and perhaps you've done it for two years or ten years or 20 years, financially and relationally. Where do you want to be, what do you want to have? And there's wisdom in that, especially in a spiritual standpoint. How do you see yourself as a parent, perhaps with your teenager? But there's a lot of wiggle room in two or ten years. Those why's, they're a place for procrastination in there. I have a more practical question, perhaps, that I've been pondering for myself at least and that is this, what kind of person do I want to be tomorrow. What kind of person do I want to be a week from today, next Sunday.
You see, because between now and then, there are hundreds, even thousands, of decisions that I have to make. What will I listen to? What will I watch? How will I spend my discretionary time and money and energy? It's not a question of 20 years from now, it's two days from now. Will you be a kinder person to your spouse? Will you be more generous to those who are in need? Will you begin to replace your selfish priorities and goals and values with a Kingdom economy that will reach you into Heaven and give you a legacy like Billy Graham? You'll be ushered in with a great reward. There are those who will have an abundant reward, and that's God's intention for you, but the time to change your selfish attitudes is now.
The time to begin investing is today. The best time to change your life is this day itself. That is the best time, not procrastinating and putting it off. Let's move on to a prescription for this problem of conformity, of being pressed down by the world and put in this mold. I was shopping for some Puma running shoes the other day on Amazon, and didn't buy them. But since then, those shoes have been following me around. I mean everything, any feed that I open up, my phone my computer, the same shoes-- I go, I'm just going to buy these shoes to get rid of them. I may never even wear them.
But that's the point. They want to conform you, they want-- they are becoming more and more mechanical I live in a media world. I've worked in media for a long time and I've seen how much more crisp they are in targeting you, and not just you, of course, everybody. They know where you live, they know your tendencies, they know your income, and your spending habits. They know where you're at and the more and more push technology comes, it's going to be remarkable. They want to conform you.
See, Jesus Christ has a plan for your life. And as we say, we have the opportunity to be His servant, His slave, as we'll see. But Visa has a plan for your life too, and they want you to be their slave. They want to conform, they want it they want to lay hold on your income five years from now. They want you to be working for them for the next five years. I suggest we transform to God's economy and begin working and serving and investing for Him. Well, realize that the prescription, the prescription is to live inside out.
You see, a lot of self-help mumbo jumbo, it deals with the outside behavior, how to make you change day to day behavior. And there's a certain amount of will worship in that and wisdom but long term, it doesn't work. We like to hear that, yeah, you can change, have a New Year's resolution, go here and go get therapy. But the problem is we want skinny jeans without the diet. We want a debt free living without a budget. Chris Hodges says, we have up-hill hopes and downhill habits, one's a weight and one's a wing. And you know hope's a great strategy, short term. Hope will motivate you, get you going, but hope won't keep you going. You need tactics. You need to have practical, scriptural principles influence and inflamed by the Holy Spirit to take you down that road.
I thought, well, hope could be a nicer husband or a better Christian or a more productive member, citizen of God's Kingdom, that's a good idea. But now I got I say, well, what's the nuts and bolts here? What's the blueprint here to get me from here to there? Hope is A to Z, it's tactics, strategy, practical principles, that's the blueprint. That's the equation in the middle. Realize, change you want might not be the change you need long term. We want circumstances to change, we want God to change our circumstances. He wants to change your heart. That's where the problem really is.
Remember, you're not alone in this situation. This is the human condition. We all share this, we all share the tendency to be addicted. I think it was Johnny Carson, who said, in Hollywood, if you aren't seeing a psychiatrist they think you're crazy. We all have these issues about having God in the proper place. When He;s out of the throne, your life begins to wobble out of orbit. It begins to become, the Bible says, unstable in all your ways. When God is put in His proper place on the throne, He magnetizes you and you begin to orbit properly and your life begins to flow decently and in order. Resolutions won't work.
I had this pain in my leg a few years ago from tennis and it was from my hip to my knee. Is was shooting pain. I couldn't do anything, couldn't work out. So I went to the doctor, the chiropractor, and he starts working on my back. I'm going, excuse me, doctor the pain, the pain would be in my thigh. He goes, well, pal, the pain might be in your thigh but the problem is in your back. And that's how we are. We have a pain we want resolved, we're often dealing with symptoms and not dealing with the problem. We have a heart problem, the heart problem is this, false worship. We're worshipping faulty things, we're worshipping inferior gods, we're installing gods that aren't real in the Holy of Holies where only God belongs.
False worship, and they may seem to be nice enough things, they may even seem to be good things, but they're not the best thing, they're not the right thing. The only thing that deserves your worship and your attention is God Himself. When you put a person, when you put up possession, when you put a profession, in that place, It is false worship and you're guaranteed to fail. See, failure to control your habits is not your problem, it's the sickness of false worship.
Our title today, as you probably saw at the beginning, is Spring Cleaning. I came up with that from the story I'm about to tell you from the Gospels. Events that bookended the life of Christ were going into the temple in Jerusalem and driving out the money changers, the merchandise, turned over tables, animals running everywhere, coins flowing around, people-- He created havoc, twice. The beginning and the end of His career. One time, the Bible says, He made the whip Himself, He made the whip Him-- it was premeditated. It wasn't some spontaneous act of anger. He sat down and made the whip Himself, planning what He was going to do.
I believe there was a smoldering rage in Jesus over the years, as He saw the temple of God being profaned, being merchandised, set up with false idols, if you will, of money. And you see, if you get nothing else from today, I'm going encourage you to lean in, ignore your social media for a minute, and get this scripture. Here it is, do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If so be, you've come to Christ.
The person you're sitting next to is divine, because God has invested Himself in them. Everything we read in the Old Testament about the glory of God coming down on Solomon, the priest couldn't even stand for the Shekinah glory. It's Caterpillar talk for us. God wanted to show us that He wants to live inside us, not some stone, limestone building in Jerusalem to venerate. It was all a shadow to say, I want to come and be with my people.
You know, when the Bible picks a term to explain the kind of relationship God wants to have with His church. What did they pick? We are the bride of Christ. He picked the most intimate, personal, permanent relationship He could. Again, insufficient but He has language problems with us, as caterpillars. And so, that's what He wants to-- it's not a matter of doing your devotions or coming to church or pleasing your parents by being in youth group. It's a matter of having a real, living, vibrant relationship with the most high God.
That's what He wants for you. It's all-consuming. It's not something you do as a hobby, it's not something you do as part time. We can't take a TV dinner approach to Christianity. Well, here's my job, and here's my leisure, oh, and here's church. No. Look at verse 1. Present your life a living sacrifice. It's all-consuming, it's everything you've got. You lay it on the altar, He burns it up, He makes it something magnificent. That's what He wants to do with you. We treat it as something as an option on Sunday, well, maybe I will. No. When you are transformed, when you are renewed, when you are zealously on fire, when you're addicted to God, there's no keeping you away, there's no stopping you. We are an unstoppable force when we elevate Him, humble ourselves and put these principles into practice.
That's what we want today. And from that, we get a powerful tool. Do you know what that is? It's your testimony, it's powerful. You see, you can argue about evolution. You'd be wrong but you could argue about it. You can argue about Israel or prophesy or so many things, but it's hard to argue with a changed life. When I come to you and I say, well, almost 41 years ago, I was looking for life in all the wrong places. I searched through Buddhism and every hallucinogenic drug. I had done everything, I had I train wrecked my life. But one day, I sat down on a rock and Kauai and said, Jesus, I give up. I'll tell you, from that day to this, He changed my life, He changed my appetites, He changed-- He changed everything about me. I became a different person.
You may not believe that, but I'm not here to tell you, can I get a witness? He's changed my life. Anybody else here? Come on. That's what He does. Now, if you get one person saying well, Jesus changed my life, but then you get rows and rows and buildings and churches and communities and you go worldwide-- anywhere I've been from the Philippines to Panama to all over America, you find the same kind of people we have here today. People who God has changed their life and they just want to know more about Him. Sweet, innocent people who just love the Lord. Eventually, you have a pretty strong witness. Well, this is not happening in isolated cases. This is a very-- that's why a testimony is so strong. You see, when all human devices fail, addicts, alcoholics, abusers, and I'm only in the A's, Jesus has proven able and faithful to change, even these hopeless cases.
This is why the powerful testimonies of Peter and Paul and Stephen and me and you and David Berkowitz are so, so important, because they tell the tale of God changing lives, He's in that business. I have a radio buddy from college and for 49 years now, he's been smoking a pack a day, pack a day. He said, well, you know what? I'm retiring to Costa Rica and I'm going to quit. I said, that's a good idea, at this point. And I said, how are you going to do it? You want a nicotine patch and I said let me give you some advice, you just don't quit a habit that is rooted in your life for almost five decades. You need to replace it. You stop this, but you better start something else, because that's the nature of an addiction.
You've got to get up in the morning and go for a walk instead of reaching for a Marlboro. You better make a plan for your social habits after dinner, getting right up and going for another walk. You get to do a lot of walking, as a matter of fact. And so that's how we change addiction because we're addicted creatures. We're conditioned for that. You see, we replace a negative, self-destructive addiction with a positive one. Going cold turkey is not the best plan. You need to have replacement therapy.
So we are, as a matter of fact-- well, what is, I'll ask you a question. What is the first and greatest commandment? Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all their heart, everything. You are to love God with, it's a command. Now as Americans who deify emotions and falling in love, the Notebook, that seems odd, to command somebody to love. Just maybe there's a higher kind of love. Maybe there's a better kind of love, a deeper, richer, more permanent kind of love than we are accustomed to at our horizontal level. Because see we, the biggest event can happen for many people as to what? To fall in love. Let me tell you something, you can fall in love, you can fall out of love, you can lose that loving feeling, Righteous Brothers. That's not God's love, that's not the agape, the agape love of God.
Two things I know from reading that commandment. Number one, it needs to be obeyed. Number two, we're capable of obeying it or it wouldn't be given. God doesn't tell us to do things we can't do or He won't enable us to do. Last fall, I was in India at a media event in Delhi, and I got to know a TV executive over there. And learning about his family he said, well, he dropped this one on me, he goes, I was in an arranged marriage. I'm like, oh. I don't believe I've met somebody who's had their marriage arranged for them. This is 2017, at that time. He said, yeah. Well tell me about it, I go, when you saw her and here I'm all thinking, American thoughts, Western thoughts, was it love at first sight?
Oh, no. No attraction whatsoever, nothing, Was nothing. I go, oh man, that sounds like torture, being married to somebody you hadn't fallen in love with. No, he goes, this is so good, he goes, I chose to love her. I learned to love her, and now I love her deeply all these years later. I thought, man, that'll preach. Because we're commanded to love God, and sometimes we just need to obey. You say, well, I don't want to just go through the motions. Really, really? That's a bad strategy. It's a bad idea. Why don't you tell the Olympic ice skaters they shouldn't just go through the motions practicing their triple toe loops and whatnot.
Tell a quarterback who throws 10,000 passes for every one he completes, he should just go through the motions and practice. Oh, tell Andre Agassi who hit one, from the age of six, hit one million tennis balls a year to prepare to be a pro athlete, that's over 2,700 a day. Going through the motions, you see. So that's why Paul said, imitate me, mimicking the Greek, mimic me as I mimic Christ. That's what we're to do, that's going through the motions. Begin to follow Him and pattern your life after Him, that's what a child does. Even ducks do that, they follow they follow the leader.
That's what children-- that's how they learn, they mimic. They may not feel like doing it. So that's what we need to do in loving God. And I submit to you this, I say to you that there's so much to love about Him, there's so much to learn about him, there's so much to relate to, it won't be a problem. At first, it's going to-- it may be a little bit difficult, but you get in the groove, what they call grooving your stroke in tennis or in golf, by mimicking. That's what you need to do. Find great saints to mimic, follow them around, imitate the pursuit of their life.
Well, we need to bring this in for a landing, but I want to encourage you to look at 1 Corinthians 16:15. I love this scripture. First time I saw it I fell in love with it, and I wanted to, I wanted to mimic it. Paul talks about a family and he says, they have become addicted to the ministry of the saints. Let that settle in for a moment. Not addicted to self-destructive behavior or self-indulgent behavior or selfish behavior for pleasure or for possessions, they were addicted to others. This is your house. This is the throbbing heartbeat of what God is doing in our life. We need to become addicted to serving each other, to care about unreached people, groups, to care about reaching the downtrodden and feeding the hungry in our community, addicted to those things. And as you do, you'll crowd out the negative influences in your life. You only got so much discretionary time in the day. If you give yourself to Godly pursuits, there just won't be room for things that can ruin you, there won't be.
Final thing is the take home truth, total surrender. Three words, three prayer words that will change your life. Macro and micro you can come to Christ today on these three words, you can change your life financially, socially sexually, relationally, these three words. You got to wait a minute. Tell you a story first. During the Vietnam War, you may have heard of the Paris Peace talks. Towards the end of the war, they got together in France and North Vietnamese and Americans, the French were re mediating it. You know, they argued for 14 weeks over the shape of the bargaining table. Would it be a horseshoe, would be round, would it be a t-shaped, who would sit where. They never accomplished anything, they never solved that problem, they never sat down and really negotiated anything. That was absurd. It would be laughable if 1,598 US soldiers hadn't died in those 14 weeks in Vietnam, not to mention tens of thousands of Viet Cong, North Vietnamese, South Vietnamese, et cetera.
I'm afraid that people put their spiritual lives in jeopardy by failing to surrender, no holds barred to God and try to bargain the terms of negotiation. He has one term, absolute surrender. not to be negotiated for what you get or what you give or when you'll come, what you'll-- it's, I, and here's the three words, Lord, I surrender. There it is. Drop the mic, walk off stage. That's what we need to do. It comes to your spiritual life in terms of coming to Christ. It has to do with your fine-- Lord, I surrender.
Stop wrestling the wheel back from Him, people. Things you're striving about He knows. Andrew Murray said this in his book Absolute Surrender, God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life holy, yielded to Him. If that's you, you can relax, you can just settle into Jesus. He will take full responsibility. The stress comes when you try to deviate, you try to exit from the narrow road, you try to do maybe a mini u-turn, I'm just going to get off at Stuckey's and get a pecan roll. Well, no. You need to stay on the narrow road. Lord, I surrender.
Well, here we go. Closing question, what are you addicted to? You know, it comes to your mind right now. You know the thing that really has preeminence in your life. And if it's not Jesus Christ, if it's not a spiritual thing of serving God, it needs to change. My prayer, my hope for you, is you'll take the principles of Romans 1 and 2, presenting your life as a total sacrifice, only your reasonable service, allowing yourself to be consumed by Him that you might be renewed in your mind, transformed into the creature He wants you to be that you might prove what is the acceptable will of God.
Parting shot, take that principle, it'll change your life, then you can change your world. Let's pray. Lord, We are so grateful for the things you have done. How you have given us your clear Word, even if it's in caterpillar speak, Lord, we see it. Your Holy Spirit illuminates it. Help it go deep into our hearts right now. And I pray that each one gathered here and those watching and listening by way of other media, would have the wisdom to say those three words about things that they are struggling with, Lord, I surrender. If you're making a commitment to Christ right now and surrendering to Him for the first time, just slip your hand up. We're going to pray for you. If you in the balcony, in the overflow, by way of radio, online, slip your hand up and make that statement to God, boldly to declare, Lord, I surrender. Father, you see the hearts, you see the hands, you know the wills and the ways of each of us. We commit our lives to you, to your love and your grace, in Jesus' name, Amen.
We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Church featuring our guest speaker Chip Lusko. How will you put the truths that you learned into action? We'd love to hear about it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.