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Lent study week one: Never too late for renovation, Rev. Kevin Kloster

By: Rev. Kevin Kloster, Southwest District Superintendent, Dakotas UMC

(If your device fails to play the video and audio, please watch the video here.)

Welcome to our Lenten study called Renovate: Building a Life with God, by Jacob Armstrong. Using the analogy of renovating a home, Jacob invites us into a time of reflection, pondering what renovations may need to occur in our lives.

Jacob says, “You are God’s house, and God cares about the inside of your house.” He goes on to say, “I’m not sure if God cares that your shirt is pressed, or your hair is just right. But the inside? Oh, God cares so much about the inside. And most of our insides, if we are honest, are fixer uppers. Some of us need a little work here and there.  Some of us need a full renovation.” Over the next few weeks you’ll be invited to listen to the Spirit of God as it convicts you and shows you those areas in your life that need renovating. Maybe it’s an addiction that needs to be removed or a bitter spirit or an angry bent or selfishness or lust or pride or prejudice, you get the idea. We’ve all got stuff inside that needs to be removed so renovation, a new life, a resurrected life can emerge. Lent is the perfect time for us to examine our hearts and let God do the work of renovating our lives.

When it comes to renovation of the human heart, Jacob reminds us, it’s a not a do-it-yourself project. It may be that you’ve tried to change some things in your life but no matter how hard you’ve tried or how determined you were, it just didn’t work. It’s frustrating isn’t it? To want to change but to keep failing? The truth is, this is not just our work alone, this is the work of the Holy Spirit. 

The prophet Zechariah, like Nehemiah, was involved in rebuilding the temple. Here’s what Zechariah said about the work of restoring the temple, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6. 

Can I show you how this works? Picture pouring into water – green food coloring that represents greed or selfishness. Red is lust. Add some beer for addictions, black – prejudicial attitudes, horseradish – resentment, and bitterness or a unforgiving spirit. Now add some purple food coloring for impatience or lack of understanding. Yellow representing cowardice to stand up to injustice. Cayenne pepper is added for temper or anger. This is ugly. This is a mess. 

Let’s say I want to change this stuff, I want to get rid of it. It’s not like I can reach in the water, grab the beer, and toss it aside, ending my addictions. It’s not like I can reach in there and take out the bitter horseradish so that I can forgive. I can’t do it. But when I humble myself, admit that I can’t bring about these changes, and I ask God to enter my life with all of God’s power to do what I can’t, when I pray about it day after day after day, when I seek to fill myself with God’s spirit a lot can happen. Renovation is a process. It takes time but look what happens. 

Remember how Paul said, “The good I want to do, I do not do. But that which I don’t want to do I do.” Later on, he was able to say, “I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.” 

With God’s help there is no mountain you cannot move, no crooked road that you cannot make straight, no habit or attitude you cannot change. With God’s Spirit the impossible becomes possible. Life, your life, with God’s spirit in you, can change you from the inside out. 

Most of us, if not all of us have a mess inside somewhere. Some things need to change. So, are you ready for this Lenten adventure? Ready to put a name to that thing or things? Ready to let God do something incredible in your life? Are you ready to renovate? Then let’s begin because it’s never too late to renovate.

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