Offer Them Christ
The Weblog Of J.F. Howard

Extreme Makeover: Inside Out

17 …Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

{2 Corinthians 5:17}

            Have you ever sold anything on eBay? eBay is the internet auction site that will sell just about anything.

            A few years ago we had hundreds of these hard plastic contoured chairs in our church fellowship hall. They were holdovers from the 1960’s or 1970’s. They were uncomfortable and they looked weird. The trustees of the church tried to get rid of them by offering them to church members for $1 a piece. Nobody wanted any…not even one.

            So someone came up with the idea to try to sell them on eBay. The idea was “Who knows? Maybe someone out there on the Internet will buy a few of these ugly, old, uncomfortable chairs.”

            Do you have any idea what happened?

            The church was contacted by a man in Australia who offered to buy them all…every single one of them…and you will never believe this…he paid $15,000 for them. He even paid the cost to ship them all from North Carolina to Australia.

            Can you believe that?

            People will try to sell anything on eBay!

            A couple of years ago I saw in the news another man from Australia was trying to sell his life on eBay.

His name was Ian Usher. He was so disappointed with the way his  life had turned out that he decided to sell it in an eBay auction in June of 2008. Usher decided on eBay because he wanted to get rid of all the memories of his life. For $390,000 you could buy his furnished 3-bedroom house, his car, his motorcycle, and his jet ski. He even threw in a one-time introduction to all of his friends and a two-week trial run at becoming a permanent employee at the rug store where he worked. His friends and his employer all agreed to go along with this.

 Just before the eBay auction started to sell off his life, Usher said:

On the day it’s all sold, I intend to walk out of my front door with my wallet in one pocket and my passport in the other [and] nothing else at all.”

His plans for his new life included a brief visit to his mother before heading to the airport to figure out a new place to call home. Usher said, “[I’ll] see where life takes me from there. It’s time to shed the old and in with the new.”

            I wonder if there aren’t a lot of people who would like to get rid of their old life, and have a brand new start on a new beginning.

            A few years ago I started watching a TV show on Sunday nights called “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Every week the plot was the same…a family who had fallen on hard times and were living in terrible conditions got the chance to go on a week’s vacation, while a team of designers and volunteers came in, tore down their house, and built them a beautiful new place to live.

            Every week it seemed, I would find myself with tears running down my face as I watched the dramatic change that would come over the family when they learned of this new beginning for their lives.

            Over time I started to think that what Jesus Christ offers is an Extreme Makeover…from the inside out.

            It’s not a new house. It’s not a face-lift, a nose job, or liposuction…but it’s an extreme makeover just the same. In fact, the extreme makeover that Jesus offers us cannot be found anywhere else in this world.

            This extreme makeover: inside out is a complete transformation of our thinking, our speaking, our actions, our outlook, our future, and our destiny.

            Once Jesus comes into our lives, we may still look the same…we may still live in the same house…but we are not the same as we were before. 

            So when I think of the Australian Ian Usher wanting to sell his old life on eBay and begin life all over again…I’m reminded that is what Jesus offers us every day that we live.

            The man from Australia didn’t need to go on eBay to get a new life…he just needed to go to Jesus.

            If you would like for today to be a new day..a new beginning…the start of a new life…I can tell you how to do it…and you won’t need the Internet.

            The Bible shows us the way.

There are 3 keys to an Extreme Makeover from the inside out. The first is to:

1. Exchange

2 Corinthians 5:17a

17 …Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.

            This verse describes the exchange necessary for an extreme makeover: give your life to Jesus Christ and become a new person.

            When I was younger I used to watch the TV show “Let’s Make A Deal.” Do you remember that show? I noticed recently there is a new version of it on air once again.

            The idea behind “Let’s Make A Deal” was that the host, Monte Hall, would select a contestant from the audience and give them a small prize. Then he would offer them a deal to trade in their small prize for the chance to get a bigger and better prize. Sometimes the contestant would trade their toaster for a brand new car.

            The same idea is behind what happens when we give our lives to Jesus Christ.

Jesus says, “Let’s make a deal. You give me your worst. I’ll give you My best. Deal?”

Would you make that deal with Jesus?

He wants to switch His life for your life.

            Understand this…it is an exchange. We give our lives to Jesus, and He gives us new life. Without that exchange, there is no new life.

            If we hang on to what we’ve got, we cannot trade it in for what Jesus offers us.

            In the Gospel of Mark there is an account of an Extreme Makeover between Jesus and a man whose life was a mess. Mark chapter 5 (verses 1-20) tells the story of a man whose life had fallen apart. He had lost his family and his friends. He lived isolated from the people of his community. He had no peace or happiness in his heart.

            The Bible says he was “possessed by an evil spirit.” He was so filled with evil that he lived out in a cemetery among the graves of the dead. He was out of control. People had tried to restrain for his own safety, but he broke free from the chains and wandered around the cemetery at night, howling in agony and cutting himself with sharp stones.

            Can you see him in your mind?

            This was one tormented soul.

            But one day Jesus came to where this man lived. As He arrived, the man came running wildly up to Jesus, perhaps to try to frighten Him away. What he didn’t know was that Jesus is the Master of the Extreme Makeover. It didn’t take long. In just a few moments together, Jesus took the man’s tormented brokenness and exchanged it for His peace and wholeness.

            When the people of town came out to see Jesus, they found the possessed man dressed, delivered, in his right mind, and sitting calmly at the feet of Jesus.

            It was an Extreme Makeover…from the inside out.

            The man spent the rest of his life on a mission, telling everyone he met, “Look at me now. I’m not the man I used to be. I met Jesus Christ. He took my worst and exchanged it for His best. I’ve experience an Extreme Makeover. I’m a new person…from the inside out.”

            Maybe you are here today thinking, “My life is out of control. My life is a mess. I sure could use an Extreme Makeover from the inside out.”

            Do you believe Jesus is still changing lives today?

            Do you believe Jesus is still in the business of exchanging your worst for His best?

            If you are willing to give Jesus your life, He is willing to make the exchange.

            What do you need to exchange with Jesus today? If you could give to Jesus your worst for His best…what would you give Him?

The second key to an extreme makeover from the inside out is to

2. Eliminate

2 Corinthians 5:17b

17 …The old life is gone…

            The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ has taken care of our old life. It is gone, the Bible says. But it is up to us to let go of it.

There is an old story about four guys who loved to play golf every Saturday morning. When one of the players got home after a Saturday round his wife asked him, “How did it go?” The golfer replied, “It was terrible. It was horrible. On the second hole, Charlie had a heart attack and died.”

            His wife said, “Oh no! That must have been terrible!”

            The husband agreed, “Yes it was terrible. For the next sixteen holes, it was hit the ball and drag Charlie; hit the ball and drag Charlie.”

            Even though the Bible says when Jesus Christ comes into our lives, “the old life is gone” it is easy for us to keep “dragging Charlie” around for the rest of our lives. Just because Jesus has forgiven our sins, washed us clean, and set us free, does not necessarily mean that we have let all those things go. Sometimes we keep hanging on to things for years that Jesus has already freed us from.

            It’s up to us to eliminate Charlie. Jesus has already done His part to give us His life. We have to let go of the old life that Jesus has already dealt with.

            What is the “Charlie” in your life that you are still dragging around? Is it a hurt from your past? Did somebody do something to you that left a wound that has never healed? Did someone let you down…break your heart…shatter your dream?

            What if I told you that Jesus Christ has already taken care of all that—it is dealt with and gone forever—would you be willing to let it go?

            Or would you rather just hold on to it and keep dragging it around with you…for the rest of your life?

            The Old Testament prophet Micah said this about God:

19 Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet
and throw them into the depths of the ocean!

{Micah 7:19}

            Can you see that picture in your mind? On the cross, Jesus took our sins, and all those who have sinned against us, and He threw them into the ocean where they sank to the bottom and no one can ever dredge them up again.

            But you may still be holding on to them. Jesus wants to throw your old life, with its sins, hurts, mistakes, and flaws, into the depths of the ocean, but you won’t turn loose of them.

            Jesus is asking you today if you will you let go, and eliminate what He has already dealt with in your life?

The third key to an extreme makeover from the inside out is to

3. Embrace

2 Corinthians 5:17c

17 …new life has begun!

            It is not enough just to eliminate and let go of the old life. We also have to embrace the new life Jesus gives us. We then have to live into the new life that has begun.

            Jesus told a story one time where He said:

 24 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there…”

{Luke 11:24-26a}

            Isn’t that an unusual story?

            Here is what Jesus is telling us: “Just because you have gotten rid of the old life, doesn’t guarantee that you have started to live a new life.”

            The Bible says, “the old life has gone…the new life has begun.”

            But have you begun to live the new life?

            If you believe in Jesus Christ, have accepted Him as your Savior and made Him the Lord of your life, and you still think the same old thoughts, speak unchristian words, act in ungodly ways, then you need to ask yourself why you are not living up to the person God has made you to be.

            Maybe it is because you have not let go of the old life with its old ways of thinking, speaking and acting. Maybe it is that you have never taken hold of all that Jesus Christ has given you.

            Look at it this way…maybe Jesus has more for you in your life than what you are experiencing today.

            If that’s the case, what is stopping you from taking hold of all Jesus has for you today?

            Is there anything that you would like to exchange with Jesus today? Would you like to give Jesus your worst in exchange for His best?

            Is there anything that you need to let go of today? Is there something that you are still holding on to that Jesus Christ has already handled for you? Why not let today be the day of new beginnings in your life?

            Is there something that you need to take hold of in your life today? Jesus has provided it for you, but you have never taken possession of it? Why not claim it for your life today?

            Embrace the new life Jesus died to give you.

            The old life has gone. The new life has begun. What is stopping you from living out the life Jesus has given you?



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