At the Men of Integrity gathering in August, we were challenged to reach out to our community. Tony Nathan made a sacrifice when he was in high school to stand up for his beliefs and now he has been thrust into the limelight again to speak in front of crowds, something he really did not want to do. "God has a sense of humor," he told us. But he added, "If you don't move, you'll kill grass."
Are you moving? Are you reaching out beyond yourself. Or are you in your comfort zone and "killing grass." We need to be under the influence, not of alcohol, but of the Holy Spirit. We need to be totally surrendered to God.
The following devotional comes from Zondervan to help us prepare to go through Believe. Be sure to get your free text book AND work book if you will not be at church on Labor Day weekend.
A genuine decision to follow and obey God is a decision of total surrender. When God the Father offered up his Son for our redemption, he revealed how valuable we are to him. The gift of salvation was an act of total surrender by our Savior. Are you willing to change the way you live? Are you prepared to surrender your life for his purposes?
A commitment to surrender completely to God’s purposes is easy to say but hard to do. Jesus made this clear to his disciples and never masked the harsh reality they would encounter or the impact it would have on their lives. He also never shied away from difficult conversations, as is obvious from his interactions with Peter regarding the disciple’s betrayal before Jesus’ death. Through Peter, we learn that the cost of total surrender can sometimes feel like it’s too much to bear.
Then [Jesus] said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:23–26)
I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)
We offer every moment, thought, and activity of our lives as a sacrifice to God.
I never tire of hearing the story of the chicken that shared with a pig his desire to prepare a special breakfast for their farmer. The chicken said to the pig, “I will provide the eggs, and you provide the bacon.” The pig thought about it for a moment and then responded, “You are only making a contribution; I am making a total sacrifice!”
We should be willing to die for God, but he’s not asking us to be a “dead sacrifice”; he wants us to be a “living sacrifice.” Frankly, offering our lives as a dead sacrifice might be a bit easier. Someone once wisely said, “The problem with living sacrifices is they keep crawling off the altar.”
In light of what God has done to give us life, we should offer ourselves as living sacrifices back to him.