Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Philippians 3:7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
Several years ago my wife and I attended a Pastor and Spouse retreat sponsored by Focus on the Family. It was held at the Lodge at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. When we arrived my first thought was “WOW!” Denise had to remind me to act like this is normal instead of like a hick, because it was a much different class of living from what I am used to.
Early the next morning, I sat with my laptop in a lounge overlooking the outdoor pool. On the other side of the pool was a spectacular view of an incredibly groomed golf course next to a lake with fountains spraying water up into the air. The lounge is next to one of 10 restaurants in the resort, each one featuring food I cannot pronounce nor pay for. The immaculate building is a Frank Lloyd Wright design. The room we stayed in was impeccably decorated and we were treated like royalty. Again, Denise had to remind me not to embarrass myself or her by acting amazed, and to pretend that we are used to this kind of living.
That morning, in that lounge, I wrote these thoughts:
Last night we listened to H.B. London from Focus on the Family. I confess my mind was elsewhere. I could only focus on one thing – the transformation that this resort has undergone. It was originally built by Hugh Hefner as a playboy resort. Here we are, 77 couples serving Jesus Christ in full-time ministry, sitting in the same room where playboy bunnies once romped in moral decadence. As I look out at the pool I don’t even want to imagine what happened in and around it. But then, in 1981, it was sold, and today its purpose is far different. An indoor water park has been built so families can come and relax and have fun together. Proper attire is required at all events, even around the pool. You can’t even play golf unless you are wearing khakis and a collared shirt – no jeans and t-shirts allowed. Today, in contrast to the past, this facility is highly respected and promotes family values.
To some degree, this is a picture of what God does in the life of a person who decides to sell out to Jesus. Prior to Christ’s saving power transforming their life, the sinner romped in moral decadence, living a life contrary to everything God intended. Everything they did was designed to promote self and discover the pleasures of life. Then, by the grace of God, they gave it all up and turned over the ownership of their life to Jesus. Everything changed. Their purpose was now not self-centered but Christ-centered. They no longer exposed the flesh but instead were clothed with the righteousness of God. They discovered a new purpose and began promoting God’s values with respect for people. What a miracle!
Today, I am asking God to use this retreat to refocus my energy and restore my vitality so that I can continue to serve Him in bringing the good news of that miracle to others. As we were reminded last night by H.B., it’s amazing that out of nearly 6 billion people in the world, God reached down and chose me to be the minister of His grace to the church and the lost. He chose you, too. He went out into the real estate market of human life and bought our sinful resort with the blood of His Son Jesus, and transformed us. He is still in the market for more property. You and I have been appointed as His real estate agents, assigned the task of finding valuable properties that need renovation. There are more miracles to be done, and there are more people who need to say “WOW! I could get used to this kind of living!”