So what is this “Refuge” church all about anyway? I’ve tried over my time in the ministry to phrase it a thousand different ways, yet the mission remains as simple as ever…Love God and Love People. But what do those simple words really mean?
It begins with the life-transforming power and presence of God. When we turn our will and lives over to Jesus, we transform into something new, something different. Of course, we aren’t instantly perfect, but we are instantly changed and will begin an ongoing process of transformative change that will last a lifetime. That transformation (according to the “Author”) should look like this:
1. Heartfelt and honest prayer. Instead of ritualistic prayer, we know the One we’re talking to. Knowing Jesus means we understand that He’s our friend as well as our Master. He knows it all, so there’s no hiding anything from Him. So why try to impress Him with words? We just talk plainly to the One who knows how we feel…He gets it. And He is merciful.
2. Soulful, Passionate Worship. I remember when I started courting my wife. It was an exciting time and still is even in marriage. All I wanted to do was spend time with her and lavish her with affection and love. There’s something that happens in the heart of a redeemed person who understands the depth of the Father’s love. When I was courting my wife, I didn’t hold back. I still don’t. When I feel one of those little “love bursts”, I can’t help but burst forth with words of affection and affirmation. The passionate worshipper feels the same for the lover of his or her soul. We worship unashamedly and passionately from the depths of grateful and “in-love” souls.
3. Self-Sacrifice. Jesus gave us a mission…to Love God AND Love one another. We express this in many ways. Some give of their time and money as a way to earn something. The heart of a transformed person is never out to earn anything…it’s out to express RADICAL SELF-SACRIFICE. We do that in many fulfilling ways. When we tithe our 10%, we do so because we love and trust God enough to know He will provide for our needs. We give our money, not to earn anything, not to get the church’s approval, and not to follow a law. We give so that more will come to know the transformative power of Jesus as they receive our generosity. Generosity is an earmark of a transformed heart. Giving God back His 10% is a way in which we teach ourselves to become radically generous people. But it doesn’t end with money. It continues by giving of our time and energies to helping the homeless, adopting the orphan, and feeding the poor. None of these are about earning anything…they are about loving our fellow man enough to sacrifice our agendas and even our time to help our brothers and sisters.
4. Bursting Forth. The transformed life is set ablaze by the Holy Spirit. As our hearts are lit on fire, we beam with anticipation and can’t help but share our “good news” with those who are willing to hear it. The transformed life is unable to go through life never sharing the joy of knowing the Master with others. Think about your favorite TV show. How often after an incredible episode of your favorite show do you go and tell certain friends what an amazing story it was? We do the same with sports right? Maybe you’re no TV buff. Do you own a business? How often do business owners send out emails, make phone calls, and put up Facebook posts about their products or services? The transformed life loves to share the greatness of the One who is the ultimate life-changer.
This is the portrait of the transformed life. Notice I didn’t say anything about doing good things. Goodness naturally comes as a result. A transformed life will naturally desire to please the Master by living a life as free as possible from lust, greed, selfishness, hate, fear, etc. The Bible constantly challenges people to examine themselves to see if goodness is resulting from their life profile. It can be a good indicator, but remember everyone grows at a different pace. First, discover the incredible life-altering love of God, give your heart to Him. I mean REALLY give your heart to Him. Don’t just do the church/religion thing…it’s a dead-end. Give yourself to Him, Worship Him Passionately, Give Radically, and Go Tell it. “Become transformed by the renewing your minds.”