Posted by: Matt Norton | March 1, 2009

March Newsletter

March 2009

 

Dear friends and family,

 

Romans 12:1 it says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer 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.”

 

What strikes me in this passage is that it hinges on the word mercy.  Up until chapter 12 in Romans, Paul talks in depth theology, about the intricacies of our fallen nature, God’s character, and God’s gift of redemption to both Jews and Gentiles through Jesus’ death on the cross.  In chapter 12 Paul starts speaking about how Christ’s sacrifice should change our lives if we understand the mercy God shows to us.  He says that because of the mercy shown us we are to “offer [our] bodies as living sacrifices” and “not conform to the pattern of this world”.  If you are thinking to yourself that is incredibly radical and counter-cultural, YOU’RE RIGHT! Christ’s call to His followers is a life long endeavor. As my sin is revealed to me more every day I see God’s grace, mercy and love that covers it all.  I realize that I need Christ desperately and that leads me to desire to give Him 100% of my life. It challenges me and reminds me that because of God’s mercy I should desire to live sacrificially, unfortunately that is not always the case. 

 

This month, I have seen how I quickly forget God’s mercy and fill my mind with my earthly desires.  There were many days that as I got up I dreaded going down to the Day Shelter to serve my homeless friends.  I was focused on how difficult it is to be patient with some guests, or how ungrateful some people are or even how mind dulling the day can be when no one wants to talk on a slow day.  I wanted to stay in bed and sleep in or get up and read a book.  I thought to myself, “how can I structure the day to make it as comfortable and desirable for me as possible?”  I most certainly wasn’t asking myself, “What is God’s will for me today?”  or “How can I offer myself as a living sacrifice today?”.

 

I have been able to see more fully the wretchedness of my heart and how only Christ can transform me, as it says, “by the renewing of [my] mind”.  As I was straying and seeking my own desires I felt empty.  Those feelings reminded me of my past when I was not seeking to follow Christ.  I remembered how moody and fickle I could be when I allowed external situations rule me, rather than Christ and His sufficiency.  I pray that this month’s experiences push me to an even greater reliance upon God’s strength and guidance in all that I do.

 

I know that I say this every month, but I am truly thankful for everyone’s support.  This has been a great opportunity for me to learn how to love God and to love others and you have helped make it possible through your prayers, donations, phone calls, and presence in my life.  Thank you.  Please, continue to pray for everyone involved at Jeff Street: volunteers, staff, residents, Day Shelter guests, Board members, and donors.  Here are a few specific requests.

  • Please pray that God continues to open my eyes to my sin and bring me humbly before the cross.
  • Pray that God gives Kerry and I wisdom as we lead Bible studies with residents.
  • Pray for the Hope summer team as they prepare to arrive at the end of May.
  • Please continue to pray for our new Executive Director as he looks for a house in Louisville and transitions into his new position.

With Love,

Matt

 

Visit the HOPE website at http://www.hopeforlouisville.com

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