Damariscotta Baptist Church
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

03/04/12 Sermon

Mark 8:31-38

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in Thy sight O Lord our Strength and our Redeemer, Amen


How many of you have ever seen the TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”?

It’s a reality show that provides home renovations for less fortunate families.

Each episode features a family that has faced some kind of hardship like a natural disaster or a family member with a life-threatening illness, in need of new hope.

The show's producers coordinate with a local construction contractor, who then provides a complete makeover of the family's home.

They come in and tear down walls, demolish the floors, dig new foundations and completely renovate and reconstruct the whole thing.

Their old home is transformed into something completely new and spacious and beautiful.
Now if you think about it, this is really a great metaphor of what happens in the life of a Christian when we decide to follow Jesus Christ.

As we respond to Jesus, God sends the Holy Spirit in our lives to do an extreme makeover on us.

The Spirit comes into our lives and tears down some walls here, rips off the ceiling there and digs new foundations right under our feet.
The Spirit comes to create a new spacious place for Jesus Christ to come and live within us; to transform us and make us into disciples who go then about the work of the kingdom of God.
Now that’s an important image to keep in our minds as we’re traveling in this season of Lent.
You see, Lent itself is a season in the Christian year where we are called to intentionally examine our own houses, our own souls, to see where we need to turn over our lives to the Contractor of the Holy Spirit to radically transform and change us.
Lent is a time where we look to see where we need to die, where we need a complete demolition job, so that something new can be constructed in its place.

In fact in the early church, Lent was a time of preparation for new converts to go thru a journey of repentance, and fasting and study and prayer.

They were going thru an extreme makeover, getting ready for their baptism and new life that symbolically began on Easter Sunday.

This new life was the beginning of a journey of continuous transformation…..
Now today, our scripture really echoes this message of an extreme makeover, this radical reconstruction.

It’s the account in Mark when Jesus was teaching his disciples that he was going to suffer many things, that he would be rejected and killed.

And as we heard, Peter takes Jesus aside and rebukes him for this teaching.
You see, Peter doesn’t like Jesus’ radical plan. He had been following Jesus around and nodding his head in agreement at Jesus teachings, approving of his healings, amazed at his miracles.

This was all good stuff. But when Jesus started getting radical here about dying, Peter starts to get uncomfortable.

All of a sudden, following Jesus was not going to be as easy as he thought.
And as we see, Jesus doesn’t tone it back any.

In fact, he gets even more extreme and radical. After he rebukes Peter saying get behind me Satan, Jesus calls to the crowd and says: If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me”.

Jesus was teaching that a life of a disciple was not something half-done. Being a follower of Jesus wasnt just giving up some of our life; it was giving up all of our life.

C.S. Lewis said in his great book “Mere Christianity” that Jesus doesn’t want just a limb off our tree, he wants the whole trunk, roots and all.
Jesus calls for an Extreme Makeover from those who would follow him. He doesnt want just a few rooms to do some minor repairs.

To follow him is to let him have the whole house because he wants to build something completely new.

Of course this is something we struggle accepting just as Peter did. We dont mind letting Jesus have some of our lives but this giving over the complete thing, dying to our old selves is a whole different story…..
I’ve been reading James Harnish’s Lenten book, “Radical Renovation” where much of this message today comes from.

And in this book, Harnish talks about a satirical musical that was written in 1960 titled, “For Heaven’s Sake”.

In the musical there’s one number called ‘The Repair Job” where a homeowner invites God into his home to do what he thought was going to be some minor repair work.

But then he realizes God had a different plan.

I actually found the words that were written by Helen Kromer and thought I would share them with you:

My bungalow was modest with a simple one floor plan but all its quirks and foibles satisfied this simple man.

I knew the drains were leaking, the gutters rusted through, the shingles had been warping, the paint was peeling too.

I knew it needed fixing, and I thought I could afford some sort of small repair job; then, God went overboard.
He kept on saying what could be and how the place could look. He said Hed take me over, and now I'm being took.

I have a little work room that was cozy dark and warm. He stabbed the shabby flooring and out the termites swarmed.

The demolition crew came in and built a tower there, it isn’t cozy anymore, there’s windows everywhere.
And heights can make me dizzy, but the thing thats worst of all, against the whole darn countryside my trophies’ look so small.
And I was fond of my old den as fond as of the devil, my gosh do you suppose that’s why He’s building me split levels.

He’s dug some new foundations and hes adding several floors, the maintenance is frightful and He’s multiplied my chores.

I put the question to Him just how soon would he be thru, He said why I never finish once I go to work on you.
He built a sort of skylight with a sunlit glassy dome, I said you come and live here it’s not what I call home.
We had an awful hassle when He said that was his plan, to make a sort of castle from this bungalowy man.

Nothing’s the way as the day he entered our place, and your not immune, He’ll ring you up soon.

So slam that door right in His face, cause He’s making us over, He’s making us over, He’s after the whole human race………………………….
I think all of us struggle with letting God have our lives completely.
We would all prefer, like Peter to rebuke Jesus and tell him how things ought to be:

"Jesus, you can have me on Sunday but thats all you get. Or Jesus you can have my private life but outside the home or church, its about going along with everybody else”.

Or Jesus you cant have control of my pocket book, my cell phone or remote control, or my mouse.----- Or Jesus these are my plans for my life, this is what I want; you need to take a back seat to them”.
How often and where do we put limits on what Jesus can have in the dwelling place of our hearts?

But as we see, Jesus’ call to us deny ourselves, to take up our cross to follow him is a call to give our whole selves to him and to his ways.

It’s a call to let him build a place for the Holy Spirit to dwell in us so that He might reshape us in the way we think, behave and act.
Our lives as disciples of Christ are to become what Harnish calls cross-shaped lives where we are becoming more and more like Jesus. That’s what this time on earth is all about.

Jesus said “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life”.

A life of letting Jesus have the whole house is about carrying our cross and dying to ourselves.
It’s a selfless life where we sacrificially serve others, we surrender our time and resources and energy to him, we love and forgive the unlovable and the unforgivable, we continue to trust and have faith even when things look dark and dismal.

All of this can only happen when we turn over the keys to our whole house to God and let him have us completely…..

So today as we journey in this season of Lent, we are being called to reflect and examine where we might only be allowing God to do some minor repairs.
We need to consider what limits we are putting on God in our lives.
Perhaps you’re keeping God from renovating the room of your beliefs and assumptions about things.

Perhaps you are keeping God from your comfortable man cave, when it comes to committing to serve in ministries at the church or other ways in the community.

Maybe it’s closing God off as He calls you to challenge the ways of the culture and to witness to others about Christ in your words and actions.
Or perhaps you are keeping God from coming first over your hobby room, or your TV room, or your computer room?
Ask yourself----Where is it that I’m keeping God from the Extreme Makeover he wants to do in my life?--------Where am I holding back???
Today Jesus is calling us, on this second Sunday of Lent, to hand over the keys to our whole house and allow Him to make us over.
Let us die to ourselves and put his kingdom ways at the center and top of our lives.
Today let God transform and radically renovate you. Let Him turn your simple little bungalow, into a castle that is fit for a king.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen