Aloha Friday Message – September 1, 2017 – A Transforming Life

Let’s begin by asking for prayers, gifts, assistance, whatever you can for all the folks suffering from natural disasters this week. We have HUGE fires in Montana, Utah, Washington,  Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, California. See below. Huge areas area affected. Smoke is terrible. Livestock and wild critters suffering greatly. Many structures and vehicles destroyed.

Then there’s the South and Harvey’s path of destruction. My brother in Lake Charles had plenty of damage and my nephews – his sons – in Orange lost everything except their lives. My niece Amanda led rescuers from “The Cajun Navy” to get her brothers out of danger.








Flooding in:

WHARTON, Alvin, Liverpool, Friendswood, Pearland, Danbury, League City, Dickinson, Rosharon, Angleton, Santa Fe, Lumberton, Beaumont, Vidor, Hull, Daisetta, Raywood, Dayton, Batson, Saratoga, Rye, Thicket, Votaw, Cleveland, New Caney, Porter, Splendora, Humble, Huffman, Livingston, Tarkington, Beaumont, Lafayette, Galveston, Cypress, Woodlands, Conroe, Liberty, Hardin, Shepherd, Crosby, Baytown, Mauriceville, Nederland, Port Arthur, Port Neches, Port Acres, Fannett, Labelle, Hampshire, ORANGE, Bridge City, Orangefield, Groves, Colmesneil, Woodville, Warren, Chester, HOUSTON, Spurger, Fred, Lake Charles, Cameron, Sulphur, Hackberry, Grand Lake, Big Lake, Longville, Ragley, Gillis, Moss Bluff, Westlake, Iowa, Le Bleu Settlement AND MANY, MANY, MANY MORE. More than 43,000 structures were destroyed or damaged in Harris County alone.

Please pray for, and offer, help in any and every way you can. Recovery will take months. And praise God for all the wonderful people who have headed into danger to help the persons in these terrible disasters! And now, our message for today.

1735AFC090117 – A Transforming Life

Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you!

Romans 12:1-2 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Today we are looking at one of my favorite passages in Romans 12. It is so important that we understand how dangerous it is to be “conformed to this world.” There’s a lot to understand about being “ a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” as well. And then there is that admonition to “be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” More on that later. Let’s look at what the Apostle Paul might have meant in instructing us not to be conformed to this world. That’s really pretty easily understood in the general context of being a Christian. A careful reading of John 17:14-19 gives us the background for the oft-quoted (but “not-in-the-Bible”) phrase, Be in the world but not of the world. Jesus is telling his Father that he’s sending his Disciples into the world but they are not going to belong to the world because Jesus does not belong to the world; Jesus and his Disciples belong to the Kingdom. Jesus ask that they be protected from the Evil One as they do the work of the Kingdom. Paul amplifies that a bit by drawing the distinction that Disciples should not be confo9rmed to the world. There’s another level of seeing this as well.

Recall, please, that the word translated as “transformed” is metamorphosis, not metanoia. Paul is talking about changing our bodies from vessels of carnality to offerings of service to God; that’s a tall order in these days of instant gratification for just about anything and everything imaginable (and thankfully some of it is unimaginable!) Metanoia is a word Jesus used – and appears over 20 times in the New Testament – that means “repent.” It is a change of mind, a switch in direction – we stop going away from God in sin and start going toward God in service. You can see how Jesus used it in places like Luke 5:32, Luke 15:7, and Paul in 2 Corinthians 7:10 (this is an important one to read!). The idea, then, in Roman 1:12 is that we are changed by transformation; that transformation leads us closer to God.

In the preceding context in Romans in chapters 6-11, Paul is talking about the history of Israel and blood-sacrifice; animals and grain were at least partially destroyed as ritual sacrifices for atonement. He is showing the Church that God has a better way – the Way of Love. It is a new approach to loving and serving God. Instead of giving way to our personal cravings as humans, we are to remember that our body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit, and we must live accordingly. There is also the historical fact that many Christians were killed – even in the earliest days of the church – and they were quite literally living sacrifices for the Faith. But what Paul is driving at is that the interior live of a Christian steadily changes our lives from the inside – our hearts, our habits, our hopes, our happiness – and we are transformed into believers who are citizens of the Kingdom of God. There is no longer any need for external sacrifices of bulls and sheep and grain and libations; we are no longer slaves to sin but friends of Jesus. We can make every moment of every day an offering of adoration, thanksgiving, and praise to God as we live in, for, and through Jesus. That is truly living a transformed life. But not like the Transformers in the movies. There’s a different process involved, and it’s helpful to look at the science in electricity to understand it better.

When I was in the eighth grade, I had to take some “shop” classes. I was not very handy with tools and my shop projects were usually pretty shabby. I did learn a lot about tools and using tools way back then, but I’m still no prize-winner when it comes to building things and making things. I find it interesting, though, that I can remember some of the details of what was taught back in 1959. One of the things I can remember building was a small, hand-wound, step-up transformer. The image you see above is a transformer. It is the kind that is found in gas-discharge lighting – fluorescent lights and neon lights for example. The image comes from an on-line electrician’s course at

Transformers are pretty amazing things. If you try reading the Wikipedia article at you’ll get a lot of really technical information, mathematical formulas, the information about Faraday and electric induction theory. Great stuff. Hard to read and understand, but great stuff. Way more than I needed to know to make my little shop project, that’s for sure, so maybe it was good that we didn’t have the Internet back then!

To make the transformer we took a piece of flat iron bar and bent it into a square, then we wrapped a whole bunch of varnish-coated, really thin copper wire around one side. Next we wrapped an even BIGGER bunch of the same wire on the other side. Finally we attached a 6 Volt dry cell battery to the input side and a Voltmeter to the output side. The voltage coming out the output side was higher than the voltage going in; hence, the voltage was “transformed” by something called mutual induction. So what?

So, that’s an electrical transformer, and it work by something called “mutual induction.” One thing changes another. I used to have a nice transformer on my Lionel train set, and it also had a rheostat (don’t even bother to look that one up!). Cranking the lever to the right made the train go faster. So, transformers take an input and step it up or down so that the output is different from the input. What makes it work even better is that, instead of a single layer of iron, you have multiple, equally-sized plated that are laminated. The combined layers reduce the magnetic fluctuation and increase the stability of the currents produced. You can see an example of a laminated iron core in the photo above. This helps transform the current from lower to higher (in a “step-up transformer).

“Transform” is also a word that is synonymous with the kinds of change we call metamorphosis, and that’s what got me thinking about transformers. The word Paul used here was μεταμφοώ metamorpho’o {met-am-or-fo’-o} to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure. He’s talking about changing our bodies from vessels of carnality to earthen vessels for offerings of service to God. I used to think Paul used the work Metanoia there (that one you should look up), but he did not. So when I heard that passage in Sunday’s readings, my mind locked onto the idea of transformer, transformation, transforming – not the silly toys or goofy movie about machines changing into “living” things – and about the whole mutual induction thing.

This could go on for pages and pages, but let me just shorten it all up by saying that it dawned on me that Christ is part of my transformer, my transformation, my transforming. How well a transformer works depends on the content of the core, the number of windings on each side of the core, how tightly the windings are wound, how much current is on the input side, and a whole bunch of other things that also apply to living The Transformed Life.

So, beloved, how tightly are you wound? And are you a step-up or step-down transformer? Christ is the input. How much resistance do you put up against the inbound current? Is your core solid so that the current of the Gospel eddies around and leaks away, or is your core laminated – made of hundreds of faith experiences – so that nothing is lost as the power of Christ’s love courses through you and into the output junction to which you’re attached? Are you transformed? Are you transforming others? Think about that for me, will you?

Oh dear! I almost forgot! Living with Jesus is another form of mutual induction – very transforming indeed! See the information at this link.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Step-Up Transformer

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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