We had an incredible time on our Gateway Staff Retreat!
For much of a group time, we spent 2 days diving deep into Romans 12 – which is a revolutionary way to live!
Therefore, 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. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Here are some of the insights my group with Corey Schwarz, Vince Marotte, Brian Brunson, and Kenny Green shared:
The letter to the Romans is written by losers for losers (whereas usually history is written by the winner). Paul was in prison writing to believers who were persecuted.
Reasonable response is sacrifice in light of all God is and all He has done
Worship defined – (singing is the easiest)
Do the opposite of what the world tells you. Consider: “The Summer of George” from Seinfeld
Daily death required to really live connected.
Bodies offered then minds renewed. Not “sacrifice yourself.” “Be transformed” is also passive – requires God to work
What we are willing to sacrifice shows what we value. Passion = what we are willing to die for.
Paul in Romans 1-11 is saying: “None of you are doing it right!”
Conform (outside in) – squeezed into the world’s mold
Transform (inside out) requires God to work
Yielding and trusting gives clarity (too much noise)
All have value – given gifts whether slave or free or Jew or gentile. More value for those who are different. Don’t think too highly of yourself! You need other people! We need you! Don’t wait – use your gift! This is also freeing since others have responsibility in areas where I’m not gifted.
We belong to each other (very different than our independent western mindset)