Romans 12: 1-8

New Resources

  • Transformed Lives

    by Bob Cornwall
  • From Discernment to New Life

    by Casey Cross
    The task of removing hierarchy is difficult. We humans like to feel special, important, and measure ourselves against each other. Unfortunately, we humans also have limited, or imperfect, abilities to honestly and truthfully evaluate ourselves. Psychologists and neuroscientists have scientifically proven how, why, and in what ways we do this through a variety of research. One of the most famous examples is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. The Dunning-Kruger effect, at its core, suggests that people fail to recognize their intellectual and social shortcomings because they simply lack the expertise necessary to see them. As such, the effect reflects a double-curse: People’s deficits cause them to make many mistakes, and then those exact same deficits prevent them from seeing their decisions as mistakes. As a consequence, the pervasive tendency for people to overrate themselves and their talents is not necessarily due to their ego, but rather to intellectual deficits that they cannot see...
  • Exegesis (Romans 12:1-2)

    by Richard Donovan
  • Exegesis (Romans 12:1-8)

    by Richard Donovan
  • Firing Up Our Gifts

    by Laurie Gudim
  • Proper 16A (2020)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 16A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    In a March 28, 2010 article entitled “On Self-Esteem vs. Self-Respect,” Scott Dalrymple writes, “One has only to go into a prison, or at least a prison of the kind in which I used to work, to see the most revoltingly high self-esteem among a group of people (the young thugs) who had brought nothing but misery to those around them, largely because they conceived of themselves as so important that they could do no wrong … “With the coyness of someone revealing a bizarre sexual taste, my patients would often say to me, ‘Doctor, I think I’m suffering from low self-esteem.’ This, they believed, was at the root of their problem, whatever it was, for there is hardly any undesirable behavior or experience that has not been attributed, in the press and on the air, in books and in private conversations, to low self-esteem, from eating too much to mass murder … Self-esteem, it appears, is like money or health: you can’t have too much of it.”
  • A Living Sacrifice

    Art and Theology by Victoria Jones
  • Proper 16A (2020)

    by Israel Kamudzandu
  • Proper 12A

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!
  • Proper 16A (2020)

    by Kate Matthews
    Scroll down the page for this resource.
  • Transformed

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    One of the most ordinary things in the world is a piece of computer paper. 8.5" x 11" is standard in the US. A4 paper is standard in the UK. Peter Callesen transforms A4 paper (in inches 8.3 x 11.7) into complex paper sculptures evoking a variety of responses. In his hands, through his mind, the paper becomes a world of thoughts and ideas. Two examples are above. The works are created from a single piece of A4 paper. Callesen's cuts are made precisely so that the paper from the cut shape is perfectly transformed into the 3-D shape you see...
  • Proper 16A (2020)

    by Mark Suriano
    Scroll down the page for this resource.
  • The Radical Christian Life

    by Roland Tedder
    Recently, my wife and I were on a crowded subway in Bangkok, Thailand. The four subway cars headed from the Bangkok airport to downtown were packed to the brim. Given how full the subway was, the atmosphere inside of it was impressively calm and subdued; folks were remaining very civil in conversation and at a respectable tone so that others would not be bothered. That all changed at a stop when a couple of young men from what seemed like a country foreign to Thailand, boarded our car and spoke in loud, vulgar language. They spoke in English, but the repeated swear words that emerged from their mouths were universally known. People began to look at each other to see if they too were in a state of shock by the abrasiveness and disrespect that this conversation ignited. It wasn’t just the swearing that was intrusive, but it was the blatant cultural insensitivity that boggled the minds of the fellow travelers. There was a collective sigh of relief when these two exited the car. And of course – on our way back from downtown about two hours later, who happened to come aboard but the same young men. ​ The behavior exhibited by these two young men stands in stark contrast to the ethic that Paul urges the Christian community to hold to in our passage from Romans 12:1-8.

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Spiritual Gifts

    by Mickey Anders
  • Quality Above Power

    by Myron Augsburger
    ("A few years ago I was lecturing in a university in Moscow. This was a special meeting for faculty members of universities of the area and several hundred had come together. I was speaking to them about Christian ethics and free market, an attempt to somehow help them in the transition from the kind of world they had known for the last seventy years to a new age of freedom..." and several other illustrations - recommended!!)
  • Illustrations (Romans 12:1-2)

    from Biblical Studies
  • Becoming an Individual

    by Gilbert Bowen
    Peter Sellers. I remember him with affection and sadness. But this incomparable actor, this prime minister of mirth, as Time magazine dubbed him at his death, was alive only when he was impersonating someone else, a German scientist, or a RAF officer, president of the United States, or a Cockney Marxist, an Indian doctor or bumbling detective. Off screen he was miserable. Rootless, changing residences like clothes, seventy autos in six years, four marriages, few friendships that were lasting or intimate, he had no notion of himself apart from his roles. He was but an exaggeration of many in our time. What’s the answer? How does one become a real individual with substance and identity that transcends family and friends, culture and crowd? How do we discover who we are and what we have to give beyond just responding to and reflecting the opinions and prejudices of others?...
  • Deciding the Will of God

    by Gilbert Bowen
    Arthur Miller, who died recently caught this tendency in his first and, in my judgment, best play, “Death of A Salesman.” The central character, Willy Loman, was dominated by the insatiable need for social acceptance. That, for him, was the guarantee of financial success. He says to his boys at one point, “I thank Almighty God you’re both built like Adonises. Because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want. You take me, for instance. I never have to wait in line to see a buyer. “Willy Loman is here!” That’s all they have to know and I go right through. At his funeral, his son, Biff stands at the grave and says sadly, “Dad never knew who he was.”...
  • Yes and No

    by Dan Clendenin
    "Do not be conformed to this age," Paul tells the believers in Rome. Instead, "be conformed to the image of God's son." (12:1, 8:29). God thus calls us to say No to the many death-dealing ways of our world, and a counter-cultural Yes to the life-giving good news of Jesus. Martin Luther King summarized Romans 12:1-2 in one of his sermons — he called it "transformed non-conformity." Across his long life as a Jesuit priest, poet, and peace activist, Berrigan (1921–2016) protested the many manifestations of our culture of death and violence...
  • Being Transformed

    by Kathy Donley
    Mark Scandrette is the director of a center for spiritual formation in San Francisco. He suggests that the renewal of transformation comes not from academic study of the Bible and theology, but from practicing our faith, from being apprentices to Jesus like his first disciples were. Mark describes this as the Jesus Dojo.[2] Dojo is a Japanese word which means “a place where you learn the way.” He suggests that too many of us think of church as a place where people sit and listen, instead of a place where we are coached to learn and practice new skills. Part of the renewal of the Jesus Dojo is found in intentional new experiences. I once took a group of teenagers to Mexico for a week. The first Sunday back home after that trip, the youth shared their experiences with the congregation. This was an election year and some politician was once again proposing that we should build a wall along the border to eliminate illegal immigration from Mexico. One young man told how he might have supported the idea of that wall before the trip, but he had another point of view now that he had met and worked with Mexican people. Another young woman, a high school senior, stood up. I think that she wanted to talk about the poverty she had seen, about the irrational exuberance that glitter and glue brought to the children, but this very bright, articulate, young woman could not say anything. She could only stand there and weep. This experience, like many mission trip experiences, took us out of the routine and the familiar and transformed some parts of us...
  • So Then...

    by Vince Gerhardy
  • Therefore...

    by Vince Gerhardy
  • Can God Be Wrong?

    by Mark Haverland
    ("I read an article this past week about Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address. Lincoln was very depressed at how long the war had lasted and at what cost. His theology told him that God had done this since nothing happens that is not part of God's providence, as it is called..." and other illustrations)
  • Proper 16A (2017)

    by Scott Hoezee
    We sometimes worry that humility = humiliation. To be humble means to beat yourself down, deny that you are good at ANYthing, to be self-effacing to the point of obsequiousness. But that need not be. Humility is just about seeing life as a level playing field. You need not pretend you are the worst of all people to be humble. As Robert C. Roberts once put it, “’Humility’ comes from humus, Latin for ‘earth.’ This origin of the word suggests that being humble is being ‘down to earth,’ not ‘up in the clouds’ where one doesn’t belong. It need not mean groveling in the dirt while others stand erect and dignified; it might mean being solidly a member of the human family by not trying to opt out of it upwardly”...
  • Therefore

    by Paul Larsen
    ("The story is told of an atheist who was fishing on Loch Ness. All of a sudden, the Loch Ness Monster attacked and flipped over his boat. There he was helpless and alone in the frigid waters. He cried out, “Please, God. Save me.” God replied, “I thought you didn’t believe in me...")
  • How to Be New and Different

    by Patricia Lorenz
    The year 1993 wasn't shaping up to be the best year of my life. I was into my eighth year as a single parent, had three kids in college, my unmarried daughter had just given birth to my first grandchild and I was about to break up with a very nice man I'd dated for over two years. Faced with all this, I was spending lots of time feeling sorry for myself. That April, I was asked to interview and write about a woman who lived in a small town in Minnesota. So during Easter vacation, Andrew, my thirteen-year-old, and I drove across two states to meet Jan Turner. Andrew dozed most of the way during the long drive, but every once in a while I'd start a conversation. "She's handicapped, you know." "So what's wrong with her? Does she have a disease?" "I don't think so. But for some reason, she had to have both arms and legs amputated." "Wow. How does she get around?" "I'm not sure. We'll see when we get there." "Does she have any kids?" "Two boys - Tyler and Cody - both adopted. She's a single parent, too. Only she's never been married." "So what happened to her?" "Four years ago Jan was just like me, a busy single mother. She was a full-time music teacher at a grade school and taught all sorts of musical instruments. She was also the music director at her church." Andrew fell asleep again before I could finish telling him what little I did know about what had happened to Jan. As I drove across Minnesota, I began to wonder how the woman I was about to meet could cope with such devastating news that all four limbs had to be amputated. How did she learn to survive?...
  • Offerings to God

    by Edward Markquart
  • Don't Fit In, Get Fitted Out!

    by Rick Miles
    Richard Foster is a well known writer and teacher of Spiritual disciplines. As a teenager, he once spent a summer among the Eskimo people of Alaska. It impressed Richard that the Eskimo Christians have “a deep sense of the wholeness of life,” he says, “with no break between their prayer and their work.” Richard went to Alaska to help build the first high school above the Arctic Circle. The work, was hard, often backbreaking. One day he was trying to dig a trench for a sewer line, which was no easy task in the frozen tundra. An Eskimo man, whose face and hands displayed the leathery toughness of many winters, came by and watched him for a while. After some time passed the man spoke simply and profoundly. “You are digging a ditch to the glory of God,” he said. The words stuck with Richard. In time that ditch would be covered up and forgotten. No one would know it was there, much less remember that he dug it. But, because of that man’s words, Richard says, “I dug with all my might, for every shovelful of dirt was a prayer to God.” Richard made the discovery that everything we do, whether great or small, we do for the glory of God...
  • Proper 16A (2008)

    by Robert Morrison
    ("I have a friend - well, actually I have more than one friend! - and this person is more than a 'friend' - but I have a friend whom I've known for more than thirty-two years now. She's the sort of person to whom one can say just about anything, and with whom one can discuss anything...")
  • Proper 16A (2017)

    by Robert Moses
    In his book, The Heart of Whiteness, author and professor Robert Jensen recalls an encounter he had with Les Payne. The two men were on a panel to discuss the chapter that each had contributed to the book, When Race Becomes Real (2004). Payne is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, an accomplished author, and columnist, and was at that time the editor of Newsday. As Jensen recalls, Payne was by all accounts the more experienced and seasoned of the two, especially on a complex subject such as race. And yet as the two men sat down together on stage, Jensen remembers doing what came “naturally” to him: he felt superior to Payne. It seems strange that a person would begin to feel superior to another whom he knows has a more accomplished record. But, in Jensen’s own words, the feeling of superiority stemmed from one fact: Jensen is white, and Payne is black. This superiority complex is a feeling that Jensen would later have to acknowledge and confront.
  • Wisdom for the (Whiny and) Aged

    by Larry Patten
    ("But aren't I supposed to resent and resist aging? Aren't I being transformational when shouting Dylan Thomas's familiar lines of defiance? 'Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light...")
  • The Three-Legged Race

    by Martin Singley
  • A Living Sacrifice

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
  • The Miegakure Messiah

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Last week in Zurich, the pride of a gold medal champion, a 3000 meter steeplechase runner, managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. French runner Mahidine Mekhissi, already a two time European champion, found himself in the final 100 meters of his race. He was well ahead of the rest of the pack. After a long backwards glance confirmed his apparent victory over the trailing field of runners,...")
  • The True Olympians

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("What image are you going to take away from the Beijing 2008 Olympics? Is it Michael Phelps with his history-breaking breastplate of gold medals draped across his chest? Is it the first-ever gold/silver finish in women's gymnastics?...")
  • We Are the Body of Christ

    by Alex Thomas
    I recall a story told at a stewardship conference that I attended a number of years ago in West Palm Beach, Florida. The speaker was talking about the gifts of the Spirit and making the point that the gifts that we needed to give were not the gifts that we necessarily thought were important for ourselves but what the body of Christ needed at a particular time. It wasn't a case of somebody saying, "I have a gift, and I'm going to give it to the Church whether they need it or not". No! It was more of a question of what the church needed to do a particular ministry and whether we had a gift to offer that would fill that need.
  • Celebrating Our Gifts

    by Keith Wagner
    ("One day a man told his wife that he had decided to ask his boss for a raise. He was nervous, but toward the end of the day he finally got up enough courage to ask. To his surprise, his boss gave him a larger increase than he had anticipated. He also praised him for the great job he was doing. The man was elated and when he arrived home, he found the dining room table set with the best china...")

Other Resources from 2017 to 2019

Other Resources from 2014 to 2016

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Other Resources from 2005 to 2013

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Other Resources from 1999 to 2004

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Other Resources from the Archives

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Children's Resources and Dramas

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The Classics

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