Still ‘Transforming’ [v248]


Life Remodeled, a Detroit-based nonprofit, is STILL ‘TRANSFORMING’ the neighborhood surrounding Central High School, and ‘repurposing’ the former Durfee Elementary-Middle school into a new “Innovation Society.”

A few months ago, I was again involved in capturing photographically the CONTINUED ‘TRANSFORMATION’ that Life Remodeled was doing in the neighborhood surrounding the Central High School in Detroit, Michigan. During their annual “Project Week” (the first week of August), volunteers cleared EVERY single blighted alleyway (257 of them) in a 4-square-mile area around the “Durfee Innovation Society” (a combination of a community center and offices for businesses and organizations).

Now, even if a couple of block clubs got together, this would be an overwhelming and daunting task. But, Life Remodeled ‘subscribes’ to the aphorism that is credited to Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much,” and mobilized just under 10,000 volunteers to successfully accomplish the task—in JUST 6 DAYS—with an estimated ‘value’ of over 5 MILLION DOLLARS!

Having these alleyways cleared will improve the overall quality of life for the over 25,000 residents in the community, and give them ‘peace of mind’ because of the increased visibility and safety the cleared alleyways will provide. This will also allow the police and fire departments better access to do their jobs, too.

In addition to the clean-up and beautification of the surrounding neighborhood, volunteers also worked inside the Durfee building to prepare it for new tenants that are moving in. They installed HVAC ducting, air conditioning unit ‘enclosures’, new lighting, bathroom tiling, and wood trim. They also did some painting and general cleaning.

The “Project Week” also had activities for children and families from the community:

– An “Avengers Youth Mentoring Summer Camp” for 125 K-8 students
– A basketball camp for 37 youth that was led by the nationally renowned organization, “The Family”
– A “Career Fair” for youth ages 14–24
– The “Family Fun Days” had activities, entertainment, carnival games, the largest bounce house in the world (which drew more than 3,000 children and their families), and the “Detroit Youth Choir” performed a concert
– Boarded up many dangerous houses to ensure neighborhood safety

[ FYI: The following link is to over 6,500 photos that captured what was done during this year’s project (organized in albums by day): ].

Life Remodeled states that they “exist to bridge people across divides to help transform each other’s lives.” With substantial investments of cash, labor and materials, they focus on the intentional and equitable revitalization of Detroit neighborhoods distinguished by their significant need and radical hope. Projects are determined by the community’s needs and vision, and they assist in three areas:

– Renovating and repurposing former community assets
– Repairing owner-occupied homes
– Mobilizing 10,000 volunteers to beautify 300 city blocks in six days

Throughout the process of unifying for a common mission, participants begin to realize how much they respect and need each other, which is a ‘catalyst’ for long-term relationships and partnerships.

Their approach to neighborhood sustainability consists of five things:

1) Focusing on the community’s vision, rather than importing a new vision “from the outside”
2) Engaging students and residents in planning and implementation
3) Increasing the influence of key school and neighborhood leaders
4) Modeling a replicable system of beautification, volunteer management, and partnership
5) Recruiting new stakeholders who make long-term commitments

The scale of volunteerism required to plan and implement their projects provides catalytic opportunities for individuals to meet on level ‘playing fields’, where everyone has something to offer. While serving together in highly inspirational environments, people begin to let down their ‘guards’ and engage in meaningful conversations that build rapport and inspire them to work collaboratively on a mutual goal.

For Life Remodeled’s current project, they are in the process of ‘transforming’ the historic “Durfee Elementary-Middle School” building into a “community innovation center,” that is focused on entrepreneurship, employment, education, and community.

In ‘transforming’ the former school building, Life Remodeled has created a space for the best and brightest nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses to co-locate, share resources, and achieve greater collective impact. In order to be a tenant inside the “Durfee Innovation Society” (DIS), organizations must enrich the human spirit of Detroiters by achieving at least one of the following:

– Implement real-world educational experiences for youth and children
– Create significant workforce development or employment opportunities for youth and/or adults
– Support entrepreneurism
– Provide a nonprofit service

DIS exists to create substantial and impactful opportunities for Detroit children and families, while advancing collaboration among eight major sectors in both the city and its surrounding suburbs: Arts; Business; Education; Faith-based; Government; Human services; Media, and Philanthropy.

The vision for the Center is to be a “one-stop-shop” for recreation, job creation, education opportunities, and community building. So, instead of creating new programs themselves, they created a dynamic ‘space’ for the best and brightest to share resources, and achieve greater collective impact. In partnership with students and community leaders, their new tenants “move the needle” on educational outcomes and community revitalization. The organizations provide innovative approaches to education, employment, support for entrepreneurs, and various social services.

Entrepreneurs will guest lecture in classrooms, and students will have the opportunity to learn subjects, like math and finance, with real-world examples from case studies of business ventures taking place within the Center. Community members of all ages will have access to resources and space in order to learn about entrepreneurship, and how to start or grow their own businesses. The Center will also serve as a valuable community and recreational space for families and their children.

Since the beginning of this project—in 2017—Life Remodeled has created some major ‘community spaces’ in the building. There now is a newly-renovated gymnasium that will be open to the community, and available to be rented by sporting groups. The newly-renovated “Cafetorium” (shared cafeteria and auditorium) is a multi-purpose room that can be rented for events (i.e. meetings, conferences, and wedding receptions), and on weekends, is planned to be transformed into a “Farmer’s Market.” As of now, adjacent to the Cafetorium, there is a “Toarmina’s Pizza” franchise that was gifted by the owner, Lou Toarmina, to a couple that will use Central High School students to run the pizzeria and teach them business practices.

The old gym lockers are currently being transformed into a “Trades School,” which will have expensive, high-powered machinery that entrepreneurs can rent to build their products with. The pool is planned to be transformed into a “Makerspace,” where young people can have hands-on experience with creating products, and getting them to think about a possible career path in manufacturing.

Life Remodeled will operate the DIS by leasing over 100,000 square feet to tenants who want a central location, interaction with other cutting-edge businesses, and are passionate about building community inside and outside the building.

As of September 2019, they have signed lease agreements or Letter of Intents from a total of 29 tenants—comprising 87% of the office space available in the building. Of these organizations, 68% of them are led by people of color, and 46% of the leaders are female.

[ NOTE: A full listing of the current tenants and specifics about their organization is in the “Articles” section below. There are also videos featuring some of the tenants ].

These organizations saw the opportunity to team with like-minded organizations to better serve and strengthen the community, and are already finding out that they are better together just by association and creating a beneficial ‘ecosystem’ inside the building. Life Remodeled staff fosters communication and interaction among the DIS tenants to identify ways to share resources, referrals, and how they can collaborate in other ways.

Services at the center now include job mentoring, training and/or placement in areas like coding, marketing, retail, construction and the electrician field, basic social services, behavioral health, business support, literacy programs, foster care and adoption services, senior services and violence prevention programs.

Now, with the tenants and services available in the DIS, Life Remodeled is looking to do the following:

– Make high-quality, effective human services programs available to Central Detroit residents

– Improve scores for the K-8 students (previously in the Durfee Elementary-Middle School, now housed in the Central High School building), which scored in the bottom 1% of state scores on math and reading last year

– Improve educational outcomes at Central High School, where 76% of students were chronically absent last year

– Connect residents and other Detroiters with thousands of sustainable job opportunities each year

– Reduce crime in the neighborhood (“When you increase job and educational opportunities, crime has no choice but to decrease. Crime is directly tied to lack of opportunity, joblessness, lower education levels, and illiteracy” – Life Remodeled CEO, Chris Lambert)

Life Remodeled believes that the success of any neighborhood effort will be tied to directly the ability of organizations to hear and put into action the ‘voices’ of the community. To that end, nine adult residents from the neighborhood serve on an “Advisory Council” that provides Life Remodeled input and feedback from the community. (A youth Advisory Council is planned to launch sometime in early 2020).

As with any nonprofit, financial support is crucial to its success. The week before the start of this year’s “Project Week,”, the “Ballmer Group” (headed by Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft who grew up in the Detroit area) awarded Life Remodeled an unrestricted grant of $600,000 to fund, among other things, the measurement of the impact the services offered at the Center are having in the community.

With the Ballmer Group funding, Life Remodeled hired two of three new employees, bolstering the staff to 11 people. It will also use some of the funding to market DIS’s services to youth and adults in the community, coordinate with Central High schools next door, and to contract with Gingras Global (a tenant at Durfee), to help it measure the impact of the programs. A data collection system and set of “dashboards” will enable data collection and streamline the analysis of the information to inform funding, marketing, and programming strategies. The data is also intended to assist the tenants to grow, and open them up to new opportunities in terms of partnerships and funding, and hold Life Remodeled accountable to the outcomes set forth by them to be accomplished by the tenants.

With the funding, Life Remodeled will also measure community use of the building, increase access to opportunities for youth and children, and track the number of jobs created by tenants in the DIS.

Life Remodeled is confident that the DIS will generate measurable outcomes through the achievements of its tenants, and the success of their tenants will be directly influenced by the participation of students and neighborhood leadership in collaboration with the “Eight Sectors” (Arts; Business; Education; Faith-based; Government; Human services; Media, and Philanthropy). The determination of what additional outcomes to measure and what results to expect will be fully reliant on the breadth, quality, and capacity of their tenants, and the partnerships Life Remodeled is able to solidify within the DIS and surrounding community.

Ballmer Group Executive Director Kylee Mitchell Wells said it well: “The Durfee Innovation Society is an example of public, private and philanthropic partners working together to fill a gap in the community by offering a variety of resources that have a dynamic approach for helping kids and their families increase their chances of economic mobility.”

Chris Lambert said that “It’s the Center’s tenants that will drive impact in the neighborhood, and Life Remodeled’s role is to help them be better together.”

To ‘IMPRESS’ you even more about this organization, previous to this current project in the Central neighborhood, Life Remodeled completed three other one-year projects: Denby High School neighborhood (2016); Osborn High School neighborhood (2015); and the Cody High School neighborhood (2014). Statistically, the TOTAL ‘IMPACT’ Life Remodeled has had since its first neighborhood project is incredible:

– 4 schools
– 188 homes repaired
– 257 alleyways cleaned
– 1,589 blocks beautified
– 2,062 houses boarded up
– 66,433 volunteers engaged

In regards to the ‘SUSTAINABILITY’ in these previous projects, neighborhood CRIME HAS DECREASED in 10 of 11 categories (47% less homicides; 21% less sexual assaults; 10% less aggravated adults; and 19% less burglary).

In addition to the FORMIDABLE IMPACT on the neighborhoods, the VOLUNTEERS have also experienced POSITIVE CHANGE: 84% gained a more positive view of the city and suburbs by working together, and 80% experienced a positive change in their thoughts or feelings about people of another race, religion, political perspective, or socio-economic status.

Chris Lambert said that the continued support in its work “gives us confidence that we can and will eventually multiply this model throughout the city of Detroit, with the hope of expanding to additional large U.S. cities over the next 10 years.”

Life Remodeled plans to begin work in another Detroit neighborhood in the fall of 2021. They will take on another Detroit neighborhood at that point to create another one-stop “innovation center,” and also do annual neighborhood cleanups and blight removal there, too. They will also continue to manage the Durfee Innovation Society for the full 50 years of the building lease with the Detroit Public Schools.

They are now looking for a neighborhood with high levels of crime and blight, academic challenges, and workforce shortages. It will also look for another building that is ‘embedded’ into the community—maybe another school. Currently, they are considering the Brightmoor, Jefferson-Chalmers, and lower east side areas.

[ NOTE: If you or your company would like to support this great revitalization endeavor, then consider going to their ANNUAL FUNDRAISER EVENT, “The Power of Community,” on December 5, 2019, at the Durfee Innovation Center—and see for yourself the unbelievable transformation that has occurred. Tickets: ].

[ For more information about this phenomenal organization, visit Life Remodeled’s website: ].

Just like Life Remodeled ‘transforming’ a building and neighborhood into something new and better than before, I’ve got to believe we all would like to ‘transform’ ourselves into something new and better than we were in the past.

However, the problem is that we all want ‘instantaneous’ change, but most of the time it doesn’t work that way. Just as is happening with Life Remodeled’s ‘herculean’ effort—now a 4-year commitment—‘real’ SPIRITUAL ‘TRANSFORMATION’ takes some time—a lifetime to ‘complete’.


W.E. Vine, in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, points out that the word “transform” in the original Greek is “metamorphoo,” which literally means to “change into another form,” stressing ‘inward’ change.

Transformation is the inward, ‘metabolic’ process in which God works to change every part of our being, particularly our soul, creating a new ‘nature’ and causing our old, natural nature to be gradually eliminated. As a result, we “are transformed into His [Jesus’] image” (2 Corinthians 3:18).


In the Bible, this transformation involves not only a change from the natural disposition to a spiritual one by Jesus as the life-giving Spirit saturating all the inward parts of our being with God’s nature of holiness, (Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18), but also a change in ‘disposition’, that is, a separation from a common, worldly position in regards to God (Matthew 23:17, 19 and 1 Timothy 4:3-5). This involves both an outward change in our ‘position’ and an inward change in our ‘disposition’. This is referred to as “SANCTIFICATION.”

When one first becomes a “born-again” Christian, they are “saved” or “justified,” declared by God righteous in His eyes by faith. So, justification is attained in a ‘moment’. Then, at the end of a believer’s life, they are then “glorified” when they die, and enter the ‘presence’ of God in Heaven. So, in between justification and glorification—our time here on earth—we go through the process of “sanctification.”

Our English word “sanctification” originates from the Greek word “hagiazō,” which means to “set apart” or “treat as holy” (the adjective ”hagios” means “to make holy”). This is a continual, “progressive” separation from sin, conforming the believer into the ‘image’ of Jesus, and manifesting increasing holiness. This is what the present, wonderful, gracious work of the Holy Spirit does, on our behalf, and He continues to do so throughout our lifetime.


According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q. 35), sanctification is “the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.” It is a continuing change worked by God in us, freeing us from sinful habits and forming in us Christlike affections, dispositions, and virtues. It does not mean that sin is instantly eradicated, but it is also more than just a counteraction—in which sin is merely restrained or repressed—sin is progressively ‘destroyed’. Sanctification is a ‘real’ transformation, not just the ‘appearance’ of one.

Christian theologian, Millard Erickson, explained it this way: “Although regeneration is instantaneously complete, it is not an end in itself. As a change of spiritual impulses, regeneration is the beginning of a process of growth that continues throughout one’s lifetime. This process of spiritual maturation is sanctification. Sanctification is the ongoing transformation of character so that the believer’s life actually comes to mirror the standing he or she already has in God’s sight.”

The Apostle Paul also talked about spiritual maturity, noting that we were formerly dead but are now alive: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” [ Ephesians 2:10 ]. Paul also spoke of continuing and completing what has been begun: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” [ Philippians 1:6 ]. Justification is just the beginning, but there is much more yet to come. The manifestations of this spiritual ‘ripening’ are called “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:19-23). They are the direct opposite of the ‘fruit’ of the old nature, the ‘flesh’.

So, even though we have been “set apart” as God’s children, we continue to behave in ways that are contrary. As Christians, we realize shortly after we have been saved that there is a new inner ‘battle’ being waged within us—a battle between our old sin-lead nature and new Spirit-lead nature. The Apostle Paul described this inner struggle like this: “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” [ Galatians 5:17 ].

Like Paul, a believer’s ‘heart desire’ is to please and obey God, but our ‘flesh’ is weak, making sin difficult to resist. Yet, it is in our continual struggle with sin and obedience to God that sanctification does its work.

The Christian life, therefore, is not only doing transformative things, but being a transformed people. The Apostle Paul explained it this way: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works” [ Titus 2:11-14 ]. The Bible refers to this as a “new nature.”

Our human nature, with all its wretched tendencies, is anything but divine. But the hope of the Gospel is clear: “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” [ 2 Peter 1:3-4 ].


Sanctification is not just ‘knowing’ about holiness and ‘doing’ holy things, it’s about ‘BEING’ and ‘BECOMING’ holy people. Illumination is both the means and the result of transformation, and obedience gives evidence to this transformation. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” [ 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ]. Sanctification is an identity ‘change’, not just behavior ‘modification’.

Note that sanctification has nothing to do with living in sinless perfection—we will never be sinless in this life. In fact, the Bible warns against such false teachings: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” [ 1 John 1:8 ]. Sanctification is not about trying to be sinless in order to ‘earn’ the favor of God. Rather, sanctification is for our own benefit. God commands us to pursue sanctification so that through it we may be blessed (Matthew 5:2-11).


An illustration might help clarify the concept I’m trying to express. A few years ago I was walking along the shores of Lake Huron, and noticed something sparkling in the water. After inspecting it a bit, I asked what it was. I was told that it was called “Sea Glass.” It is shards of glass, usually from a broken bottle or plate, that has been, over a period of years, shaped by the water by tumbling along the lake bottom and being tossed against the rocks—physically and chemically weathered smooth.

I was struck by how this is such a good ‘picture’ of what God is up to in our lives. When you became a Christian, you were ‘broken’ and you had sharp ‘edges’. But, over a period of time, you are ‘shaped’ by the Holy Spirit through rough waters (trials). He’s changing our outside from the inside—using “progressive sanctification”—theological terminology that conveys the idea that, over a period of time, we are transformed into our “new selves” ( Colossians 3:1-17 ).


The ‘water’ in my illustration is the Holy Spirit. He “works in you, both to will and to work” according to God’s purpose, enabling the believer to fulfill their new, godly desires (Philippians 2:12, 13), become increasingly Christlike, as the moral profile of Jesus—the “fruit of the Spirit”—is progressively formed in them (2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 4:19; 5:22–25).

Sanctification is an ongoing process, dependent on the Holy Spirit’s continuing action in the believer, and consisting of the believer’s continuous struggle against sin. His method of sanctification is neither activism (self-reliant activity) nor apathy (God-reliant passivity), but human effort dependent on God (2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 3:10–14; Hebrew 12:14).

Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you” [ John 16:13-14 ]. We see, therefore, that sanctification is the motivation for obedience and is necessary for the fruitful application of Scripture. The work of the Holy Spirit assists the believer to achieve clarity in understanding the content of God’s Word (the Bible), and become like Jesus.


Now, we have to understand that our becoming like Jesus is a life-long process. Although the Holy Spirit instantly begins to ‘stir’ within us, we’re still “us.” Getting saved doesn’t instantly remove all our bad habits and our “stinkin’ thinking.” We slowly change as we work with the Holy Spirit to change us.

So, the process of becoming sanctified is the process of more consistently and more fervently (note “from the heart,” Romans 6:17) obeying Jesus Christ. (See also 1 Peter 1:2 for another connection of sanctification and obedience). Another metaphor might help here.

In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is called a “refiner’s fire.” This is not merely a word of warning, but a tremendous word of hope. The ‘furnace’ of affliction, for one in the family of God, is always for refinement, and never for destruction. “You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver…but you brought us to a place of great abundance” [ Psalm 66:10, 12 ].

Just like the human “refiner’s fire” does not destroy indiscriminately like a forest fire does, or consume completely like the fire of an incinerator, it purifies, just like God does. It melts down a bar of silver or gold, separates out the impurities that ruin its value, burns them up, and leaves the silver or gold intact. “Therefore, the Lord Almighty says this: ‘See, I will melt them in a crucible of affliction. I will refine them and test them like metal’” [ Jeremiah 9:7 ].

The process of refining metals is used in the Bible as a metaphor for spiritual purification. In a sense, if you have something made of pure gold or pure silver, it is made of the ‘leftovers’. Gold, when extracted from the earth, does not look like the gold we see in a jewelry store. In fact, it is not always recognizable due to the impurities that mar its appearance. Yet, for the person searching for it, the ugliest lump of gold is of great value, and the potential for beauty and value is evident to them. We are similar to those ‘lumps’ of unrefined gold. God sees us not full of impurities, but full of potential!

To refine gold, heat must be applied to force the impurities to the surface. As the impurities rise, they are removed and more heat is applied. This process continues, over and over again, until the gold is pure. The refiner knows the gold is pure when he looks into the gold and sees his clear reflection.

God works a similar process in us. Our lives are a process of God applying ‘heat’ to us—exposing our weaknesses, faults, and impurities. This is definitely uncomfortable, but if we submit to it, we are, day by day, transformed into Jesus’ likeness. The process ends in Heaven, when we meet Jesus face to face, and He sees His clear ‘reflection’ in us!

However, when the ‘heat’ gets really hot, we all want to ‘run’ from it, or at least resist it. So, in our childish wisdom we ask God to change our circumstances: “God, this really hurts…please take it away!” But, in God’s wisdom, He doesn’t take it away instantaneously because adversity and painful circumstances fulfill His divine purpose in our lives—refining us to be like Jesus.

[ For more details about the concept of “refinement,” take a look a this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post: ]


Now, there’s a kind of ‘paradox’ with all this. God is responsible for supplying everything you need for life and godliness, but you are responsible for actively using that ‘power’ to grow in sanctification. The paradox is found in the believer being both FULLY RESPONSIBLE, and yet FULLY DEPENDENT. Hmmm.

The Apostle Paul says that we are to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12b-13). God changes our desires, making us want to please Him, and then He empowers us to do so. Jesus earned our sanctification on the cross and, in essence, has become our sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30) and the “perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). The Holy Spirit is the primary ‘agent’ of our sanctification (1 Corinthians 6:11).


It is also the Holy Spirit who works within us to develop greater holiness in our life. Peter speaks of the “sanctification of the Spirit” (1 Peter 1:2), and Paul speaks of “sanctification by the Spirit” (2 Thessalonians 2:13). It is also the Holy Spirit who produces in us the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23), the character traits of Jesus. So, if we grow in sanctification we “walk by the Spirit” and are “led by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16-18; Romans 8:14). That is, we are more and more responsive to the desires and promptings of the Holy Spirit in our life and character.

So, the Apostle Paul clarifies this paradox: “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” [ Philippians 2:13 ]. God works, and we work. He gives us the very desires to grow in Christ, and we work to make it ’stick’.

In addition to that, our role in sanctification is both passive and active. Passively, we are to trust God to sanctify us, presenting our bodies to God (Romans 6:13; 12:1) and yielding to the Holy Spirit. “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified” (1 Thessalonians 4:3), and God will have His way. Actively, we are responsible to choose to do what is right. “Each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable” [ 1 Thessalonians 4:4 ]. This involves putting to death the misdeeds of the body (Romans 8:13), striving for holiness (Hebrews 12:14), fleeing immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18), cleansing ourselves from every defilement (2 Corinthians 7:1), and making every effort to supplement our faith (2 Peter 1:5-11).


Again, I’m thinking an illustration will be of some help here. A farmer plows his field, sows the seed, fertilizes, and cultivates—all the while knowing that in the final analysis, he is utterly dependent on ‘forces’ outside of himself. He knows he cannot cause the seed to germinate, nor can he produce the rain and sunshine for growing and harvesting the crop. For a successful harvest, he is dependent on these things from God.

Yet, the farmer knows that unless he diligently pursues his ‘responsibilities’ to plow, plant, fertilize, and cultivate, he cannot expect a harvest at the end of the season. In a sense, he is in ‘partnership’ with God, and he will reap its benefits only when he has fulfilled his own responsibilities.

Farming is a ‘joint venture’ between God and the farmer. The farmer cannot do what God must do, and God will not do what the farmer should do.

So, this is just like sanctification. It is a ‘joint venture’ between God and the believer. No one can attain any degree of holiness without God ‘working’ in their life, and one will only attain it by effort on their part. God has made it possible for the believer to ‘walk’ in holiness, but He has given to us the responsibility of doing the walking. He does not do that for us!

So, submission and effort are required…for our entire lives! Pastor and theologian, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, tells us how this is by divinely enabled toil and effort: “The New Testament calls upon us to take action; it does not tell us that the work of sanctification is going to be done for us…We are in the ‘good fight of faith’, and we have to do the fighting. But, thank God, we are enabled to do it; for the moment we believe, and are justified by faith, and are born again of the Spirit of God, we have the ability. So the New Testament method of sanctification is to remind us of that; and having reminded us of it, it says, ‘Now then, go and do it’.” So, when it comes to growth in holiness, reliance on God doesn’t put an end to zealous endeavor!


Well then, HOW does sanctification specifically occur? How do we become Christlike? How do we become holy? By what ‘MEANS’ does this happen?”

The doctrinal ‘steps’ to grow in your relationship with Jesus is to PRAY, READ your Bible, go to a CHURCH with biblical teaching and good fellowship, and receive the SACRAMENTS (baptism and holy communion). If you want to be Christlike, you need to have ‘COMMUNION’ with Jesus—and if you want to communion with Him you need to do it on His ‘terms’ with the ‘channels’ of grace He has provided. That means the way to ‘extraordinary’ holiness is through just ‘ORDINARY’ MEANS!

Theologian J.I. Packer says that communion between God and man “is the end to which both creation and redemption are the means; it is the goal to which both theology and preaching must never point; it is the essence of true religion; it is indeed, the definition of Christianity.”

As you live your Christian life decreasing the frequency of sin and increasing the frequency of holiness, you are moving from your justification to your glorification. As the believer is being sanctified, the seductions of the world, the desires of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life are replaced by love for God, love for Christ, love for the Word of God, love for obedience, longing for holiness, and aspirations to give glory and honor only to Jesus. This is the mark of a true Christian.

Jesus—our ‘model’ for sanctification—gave us a simple ‘method’: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” [ John 14:15 ].

This is not necessarily about ‘duty’ or ‘discipline’, although it is a duty and there is a discipline associated with it—but this is ALL ABOUT LOVE. If you want to be more obedient, you must love Jesus more, and if you want to love Jesus more, you must know Jesus better—and that comes from praying, reading your Bible, having fellowship with other believers at church, and receiving holy communion.

Since Jesus is our ‘model’, how did He demonstrate His perfect virtue and perfect holiness? Well, just listen to His praying for His disciples (and for us, now): “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes, I sanctify Myself, that they themselves may also be sanctified in truth” [ John 17:19 ]. Essentially Jesus said, “I am living the example of perfected sanctification—follow My lead.”


Now, the reality of it here on earth is that sanctification is a ‘WARTIME’ word. A person being sanctified must have an unswerving commitment to holiness, and an uncompromising loyalty to the “Commander-in-Chief” and his comrades in arms. This was the goal of Paul’s mission strategy (“Armor of God” – Ephesians 6:10-20).

Such conflict is not viewed as either an unfortunate malfunction or the result of a lack of faith or spirituality. Rather, conflict is inherent in the very nature of what God has already done for us. The magnitude of His grace, when it impacts fallen humanity in a fallen world, inevitably produces conflict.

The Apostle Paul’s words again ring true: “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” [ Galatians 5:17 ].

Christian writer and pastor, Kevin DeYoung, concurs with Paul: “The Christian life still entails obedience. it still involves a fight. but it’s a fight we will win. You have the Spirit of Christ in your corner, rubbing your shoulders, holding the bucket, putting his arm around you, and saying before the next round with sin, you’re going to knock them out kid. Sin may get some good jabs. It may clean your clock once in a while. It may bring you to your knees. But, if you are in Christ it will never knock you out. You are no longer a slave but free. Sin has no dominion over you. It can’t it won’t. A new king sits on the throne. You serve a different master. You salute a different Lord.”

Christian reformer, Martin Luther, spoke of a threefold ‘battle’ in the Christian life—the ‘world’, the ‘flesh’, and the Devil. All are formidable opponents, and don’t always ‘fight’ fairly—and it’s usually a gang attack. The world is the ‘enemy’ from without, the ‘flesh’ is the enemy within, and the Devil is the master of combining both!

In living to please a righteous God, we do constant battle with these enemies. Part of the process of sanctification is fighting with an increasingly overcoming these foes. Every ‘sensitive’ believer knows all too well how difficult it can be to win a victory against such formidable opposition.

The ‘world’ is a seducer—it seeks to attract our attention and our devotion. It remains close at hand, visible and enticing—and sometimes eclipses our view of Heaven. What is seen vies for our attention, and entices our eyes—preventing us from watching for a better ‘country’ whose builder is God. It pleases us and, much of the time, we live our lives to ‘please’ it. That is where the conflict ensues—for pleasing the ‘world’ seldom overlaps with pleasing God. Even though the Bible tells us specifically, “Do not be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2), the world ‘presses’ on us with the ultimate peer pressure!

So, for the Christian, they must resist the sedition of the world and go against the ‘tide’—willing to risk the loss of human approval to gain God’s approval. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in Heaven.” [ Matthew 5:11-12 ]. We are to be “in the world, but not of the world” (John 15:19).

The conflict is the result of our now being ‘IN’ Christ and our new lifestyle is bound to be on a collision course with the lifestyle of this world. This is why Paul said to “insist… that [we] must no longer live as the Gentiles do” (Ephesians 4:17).


The Bible also talks about a “warfare” between the ‘flesh’ and the spirit. When the Bible uses the word “flesh” it means our physical nature—specifically our “fallen nature.” By this nature, we have a “fleshly mind” (Colossians 2:18). Neither the mind nor the flesh is any less ‘fallen’ than the other—our sin infects every aspect of our existence, so they are both geared toward pleasing ourselves, and not pleasing God.

The ‘mind’ of the flesh is set against God—and doesn’t want God in its thoughts. This is the mind of a person who is not guided by the Holy Spirit.

The Apostle Paul warned us about this: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you’re led by the Spirit, you’re not under the law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” [ Galatians 5:16-25 ].

Now, we’re dealing with the very ‘essence’ of sanctification, the very ‘heart’ of the Christian life—and our responsibility in the Christian life is summed up by: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” [ Galatians 5:16 ].


So, there is a conflict between two ‘styles’ of living—the life of the flesh, which is controlled by the impulse of sin, and the life of the Spirit, which leads us into righteousness, and into pleasing God. The Spirit seeks to teach us self-control, harnessing our physical desires, and keeping them in check.

The flesh is allied with the world, and the world is allied with the Devil—seeking our destruction by leading the believer away from the Holy Spirit to surrender to the flesh.

Even though we live in a world where the flesh seems to rule human activity, the Holy Spirit is the believer’s ally. He is ever-present, enabling God’s people to please Him (Romans 8:11).

Now, of our spiritual enemies, the most formidable is the Devil. He is not merely an enemy, he’s our ‘archenemy’! He is the “wicked one” (1 John 5:18), the “father of lies” (John 8:44), the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10), and the “beguiling serpent” (2 Corinthians 11:3)—among many other ‘titles’.

The Apostle Paul warned us that our battle against the Devil and his ‘forces’ transcends the visible and tangible elements of this world: “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” [ Ephesians 6:12 ]. That is, in our lives of trying to please a holy God, we are warring against not only our own petty desires, but also some very fearsome, terrifying ‘forces’!

[ For more details about the spiritual “warfare” we are subject to, and how to combat it, see this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post: ].


The Devil is far more sophisticated than his caricatures—a guy in a red ‘suit’, a pitchfork, cloven hooves, and pointy horns coming out of his head—he is the ‘highest’, most brilliant being that God had ever created—an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). He is also very clever and has the ability to manifest himself “under the appearances of good.” He is subtle, beguiling, eloquent, and a counterfeit wearing a “cloak of light.” To underestimate the Devil is to suffer from the pride that goes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18). Theologian John Calvin said that in connection with Job, the Devil seeks “to drive the saint to madness by despair.” However, to overestimate him is to grant him more honor and respect than he really deserves, because the Scriptures declare “Greater is He who is in you that he who is in the world” [ 1 John 4:4 ]. The Christian needs to seek ‘balance’ in all this.

Even though the Devil can oppress us, assault us, tempt us, slander us, and accuse us, the believer is indwelled with the Holy Spirit and cannot be ‘conquered’ by the Devil, because Jesus makes intercession for us (Romans 8:33-34).


We please God when we resist temptation and do not sin. Part of our growth in sanctification is becoming more conscious of the Devil’s tactics and our own desire to sin.

Throughout our sanctification here on earth, our increased awareness of sin is painful indeed, but also increases our disdain of it and continues to drive us into the ‘arms’ of our loving Father. We please Him when we don’t leave His ‘side’, as the Devil would like us to do. When the Devil ‘whispers’ into the believer’s ears, “You, with all your sin, can’t be pleasing to God,” the believer can confidently reply, “Ah, but God tells me I do please Him” (Psalm 147:11).


So, since the Devil is the believer’s main ‘enemy’ and has a ‘target’ on their back, what does the Bible say about how to defeat’ him? Well, it’s very clear: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” [ 1 Peter 5:8-9 ].

It just so happens that we all have a ‘warning system’ placed in our soul to prevent us from destroying ourselves spiritually—the ‘CONSCIENCE’. “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them” [ Romans 2:14-15 ].

However, the believer’s conscience has been ‘cleansed’ by the blood of Jesus, and ‘sanitized’ by the Holy Spirit. So, the believer can react to warnings from the Holy Spirit (that a non-believer cannot), and sin can be dealt with. (“let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” – Hebrews 10:22).


Even the pagan Greeks realized that there is an internal ‘agent’ that causes someone’s moral downfall. They called this goddess “Nemesis,” and she enacted retribution against those who succumbed to hubris and reckless transgressions. Even Lord Byron, whose life was ‘riddled’ with sin, realized the “nemesis” characteristic in all of us:

“And thou, who never yet of human wrong
Left the unbalanced scale, great Nemesis!
Here, where the ancient paid thee homage long—
Thou, who didst call the Furies from the abyss,
And round Orestes bade them howl and hiss.”

However, the great Christian hymn-writer, Charles Wesley, had a different ‘take’ on this with his “I Want a Principle Within” hymn:

“I want a principle within
of watchful, godly fear,
a sensibility of sin
a pain to feel it near.
Help me the first approach to feel
of pride or wrong desire,
to catch the wandering of my will
and quench the kindling fire.
From thee that I no more may stray
no more thy goodness grieve,
grant me the filial awe, I pray
the tender conscience give,
Quick is the apple of an eye
oh God my conscience make,
awake my soul when sin is nigh
and keep it still awake.”


The conscience has a ‘bully’ function in your life—being relentless and disturbing. It will be the ‘enemy’ of the sinning soul or, for the believer it should be, the truest ‘friend’ and comforter. It accuses or it excuses.

The 17th-century Puritan clergyman and author, John Flavel, wrote, “Conscience which should have been the sinner’s curb here on earth becomes the sinner’s whip that will lash his soul in hell. That which was the seat and center of all guilt now becomes the seat and center of all torment.” For the non-believer there will be no rest and no peace, just weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth…forever!


Now, just as “Christian” experienced in the allegory, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” the believer must “mortify” sin, put off “fleshly desires,” and desire holiness. It is those who belong to the Kingdom of God as “Beatitude people” (Matthew 5:1-12) who are urged to deal rigorously with sin (Matthew 5:21-48), and to ‘crucify’ whatever is the source of any temptation (Colossians 3:5-11).

Since Christians have “put off the old man and put on the new man,” they should live accordingly (Colossians 3:9-10). It is those who have received God’s promises who should purify themselves “from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 7:1), and “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).

Without “mortification” of sin, there is no holiness. The 17th-century theologian, John Owen, writes graphically about this: “Let not that man think he makes any progress in true holiness who walks not over the bellies of his lusts.”

The truth of the matter is that the Christian must see themselves from two contrasting perspectives about their life: In themselves, there dwells no good thing because of their nature (Romans 7:18), and that in Christ they have been cleansed, sanctified, and justified (1 Corinthians 6:11).

So, while here on earth, we need to be “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” [ 1 Peter 1:14-16 ].


As was mentioned previously, during your lifetime of becoming sanctified, there will be MANY ‘TRIALS’. But, as probably the preeminent Christian ever (save Jesus) who can speak ‘adroitly’ about ‘extreme’ trials, the Apostle Paul still said: “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do, one thing: forgetting what lies behind, reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” [ Philippians 3:13 ]. He says that the ‘prize’ is at glorification, and in the meantime, he does do one thing: “I ‘PRESS ON’. I pursue that goal in this life. I’m going to be like Christ when I’m glorified; I pursue that now in my sanctification.”

The Apostle Paul also encouraged all of his readers then (and us now) to “anguish until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19b). This was a profound agony in Paul’s life—that believers, true Christians, be sanctified. That is, see the decreasing of sin and the increasing of righteousness in their lives.

Jesus also encouraged us to ‘press on’ when He prayed for His disciples (and us believers now): “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth” [ John 17:15-19 ].

Jesus proved He was ‘serious’ about this by His substitutionary atonement for us “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” [ Hebrew 10:10 ], and so there is a sense in which all those who believe in Jesus have been sanctified: “By a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” [ Hebrews 10:14 ].

The 19th century Bishop, J.C. Ryle said it well: “We must be holy, because this is one great end for which Christ came into the world.” Jesus is a ‘complete’ Savior. He doesn’t merely take away the guilt of a believer’s sin, He does much more—He breaks its ‘power’ (1 Peter 1:2; Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9; and Hebrew 12:10).


Sound IMPOSSIBLE? It is…on your own! But, as previously mentioned, God doesn’t leave us on our own, and He doesn’t expect us to do this all at once! He’s patient: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” [ 2 Peter 3:9 ]


So then, what does God ‘expect’ from us? Just ‘PROGRESS’ IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

One of the most important axioms about sanctification, is that it’s more important where you are ‘GOING’ than where you ‘ARE’. ‘Direction’ matters more that ‘position’. Your future progress speaks louder than your present placement. So, cheer up—if you are not as ‘holy’ as you want to be right now, God may still be pleased with you because you are headed in the right direction! But, be forewarned, if you are not as holy as you ‘used’ to be, then God will probably not be impressed with yesterday’s ‘triumphs’ when, for the past few months/years, you have done nothing but give up!

Now, for all of those who need to see ‘measurable’ progress all the time (like me), you need to look for progress over months and years, not by hours and minutes. As David Powlison (Executive Director of CCEF) likes to say, “Sanctification is like a man walking up the stairs with a yo-yo. there are a lot of ups and downs, but ultimate progress nonetheless!” So, don’t be so harsh on yourself, and more importantly, criticizing others about their spiritual progress without knowing how far they have come, and in which direction they are heading.

SO, holiness is the sum of a million LITTLE ‘THINGS’—like the avoidance of evils, foibles, worldliness, and indiscretions, while doing the hard work of self-denial, self-restraint, cultivating benevolence, and paying attention to simple ‘duties’. Just PROGRESS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION—growing by the Holy Spirit into the likeness of Jesus! A very close disciple of Jesus, Matthew, said this: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” [ Matthew 6:33 ].


God is exceedingly interested in helping us forward on this way of sanctification. Through faith, He already counts the believer “holy” ‘IN’ Jesus, but now intends to make you holy ‘WITH’ Jesus. Our part is to want it, to acknowledge our need for it, and then to launch out in obedience to God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, in faith that “He who began a good work in [us] will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” [ Philippians 1:6 ]. As believers, we should not be content simply to be born again or regenerated. We need to pursue the sanctification of our soul!

As we become more sanctified, we will find it increasingly true that we do not “love the world or things in the world” (1 John 2:15), but that we, like our Savior, delight in doing God’s will. In ever-increasing measure, we will become “obedient from the heart” (Romans 6:17), and we will “put away” the negative emotions involved in “bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander” (Ephesians 4:31).


God is preparing His ‘children’ for His glory and the glory of Heaven to come. Puritan preacher and author, Thomas Watson, commented: “As you first cleanse the vessel, and then pour in the wine; so God first cleanses us by sanctification, and then pours in the wine of glory.”

When you say something like, “Lord Jesus, I want you to sanctify me. I want to walk a holy path. I want to be obedient to you. I want to walk in your way. I want holiness and righteousness and obedience to be the characteristics of my life. I want nothing in my life that doesn’t please you. I want people to meet me and meet Jesus in the process,” then you have the proper attitude for God to ‘transform’ you!


The good news is that as one is sanctified, there will be a decreasing frequency of sin. But the bad news is that there will be an increasing hatred of sin in your life, so you will feel even worse about it. This is when you will know for sure you are saved and being sanctified!


Jesus said that those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied” [ Matthew 5:6 ]. What He was saying was that for those who want to finally be rid of their sinful self the manifest beauty, the perfection, the love, and the wisdom of him is available. Sanctification helps us get a ‘taste’ of that here in this life.


So, make every effort to ‘saturate’ your mind with the loveliness of Jesus, disciplining yourselves to behold His glory (in the Bible), to seek His ‘face’ in prayer, to enjoy Him in fellowship with His ‘saints’, and to obey Him in the sure hope that all this will bring us into a deeper ‘communion’ with Him.

The 18th-century pastor, John Fawcett, summarized this well: “Jesus is the life of all the graces and comforts of a Christian. By the knowledge and contemplation of him, and of his death in our stead—faith lives, and is strengthened from day to day. All the springs of repentance are opened, and flow freely, when the heart is melted by views of a dying Savior. Love feels the attractive power of its glorious object, and is kindled into a holy flame. Sin is mortified. The world is subdued. The hope of future glory is supported, enlivened, and confirmed, so as to become sure and steadfast, like an anchor of the soul. But without him, whom having not seen we love, these graces would wither and die; or, to speak more properly, they would have no existence.”


God saved the believer to ‘SANCTIFY’ them! Just like Life Remodeled, God is in the “beautification” business, and He promises to work ‘IN’ you, while He ‘calls’ you to ‘WORK OUT’ the “beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2).

All believers are just like the “Durfee Innovation Society”—both a ‘WORK-IN-PROGRESS’.


Are you being ‘TRANSFORMED’ and becoming more CHRISTLIKE? Are you being ‘SANCTIFIED’ so you can be glorified and ‘admitted’ into Heaven?


[ Excerpts from: Life Remodeled; Chris Lambert; Crain’s Detroit Business; Sherri Welch; Wayne Grudem; Nathan W. Bingham; John MacArthur; Josh McDowell; Jeremy Carr; Greg Outlaw; John Piper; Helen Simons; Sinclair Ferguson; Jon Payne; Charles Stanley; Brian Borgman; Matt Chandler; Jerry Bridges; Kevin DeYoung; Michael Riccardi ]



“Continued ‘Transformation’”:

“Ready For ‘Battle’?”:


“A ‘Remodeled’ Life”:

“Concept ‘Refinement’”:

“‘Remodeling’ Produces Hope”:


“A ‘New Start’”:

“Being ‘Remodeled’”:

“‘Remodeling’ Your Service”:

“Life Remodeled”:



[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about what it really means to “believe,” visit the following link: ].


In the Bible, there is a parable that Jesus told about a Pharisee and a tax collector praying the Temple. He notes that the tax collector didn’t even dare to lift his eyes toward Heaven as he prayed. Instead he “beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner’”—and Jesus said that the tax collector “went home justified,” he had been “born again” and ‘reconciled’ by God. (Luke 18:9-14).

If you are ‘sensing’ something like that right now, let me strongly encourage you to HUMBLE YOURSELF, CRY OUT to God, and PLEAD for Him to mercifully ‘SAVE’ YOU! None of us have a ‘claim’ on our salvation, nor do we have any ‘works’ that would cause us to deserve it or earn it—it is purely a gift of Divine grace—and all any of us can do is ask. So, CONFESS YOUR SINS and acknowledge to God that you have no hope for Heaven apart from what He provides through Jesus. [ See Psalm 51 ].

There is no ‘formula’ or certain words for this. So just talk to God, in your own words—He knows your ‘heart’. If you are genuinely sincere, and God does respond to your plea, one will usually have a sense of joy and peace.

Jesus said, “He that comes to Me, I will not cast out” [ John 6:37 ].

[ FYI: This is a great sermon on the “Call to Repentance” by John MacArthur from his book “The Gospel According to Jesus”:
(Transcript: ].

[ NOTE: If you have ‘tasted the kindness of the Lord’, please e-mail me—I would love to CELEBRATE with you, and help you get started on your ‘journey’ with Jesus! ].




“Life Remodeled” (2019)

The following links are for more information about the project Life Remodeled did in the Central High School neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan:





Watching the news can be a painful reminder of how divided our country truly is. Race, religion and educational background are just a few divides across which we struggle to cooperate. In addition, despite sometimes living only miles apart, Americans of ample means and those living in poverty dwell in drastically different worlds. Rarely do we put forth the effort necessary to overcome the challenges of communicating and understanding one another, which cripples society’s ability to find impactful solutions.

In Metropolitan Detroit, we have witnessed well-intentioned suburban individuals and groups attempt to alleviate Detroit’s poverty crisis. We have also seen residents of the inner city make attempts to share their wealth of knowledge regarding oppressive systems that go unaddressed. Yet both are apprehensive about making the sacrifices necessary to develop meaningful relationships with one another. While financial resources are critical to urban renewal, all parties must come with the mindset that they have something to give and receive. Therefore, a different model of charity must exist where all sides are inspired to do the hard work of relationship building.

This is where Life Remodeled comes in.

We exist to bridge people across divides to help transform each other’s lives. With substantial investments of cash, labor and materials, Life Remodeled focuses on the intentional and equitable revitalization of Detroit neighborhoods distinguished by their significant need and radical hope. Projects are determined by the community’s needs and vision, and we assist in three areas: Renovating and repurposing former community assets, repairing owner-occupied homes, and mobilizing 10,000 volunteers to beautify 300 city blocks in six days. Throughout the process of unifying for a common mission, participants begin to realize how much they respect and need each other, which is a catalyst for long-term relationships and partnerships.

Life Remodeled’s “Family Values”:

We believe our projects are exceptionally valuable, but people are priceless. The people we serve and those we serve alongside matter more than the processes and the products.

We believe in looking beyond the way things may appear and seeing what could be.

We believe in taking the form of servants who value others over ourselves. We do so with confidence and relentless determination.

We believe in investing in work that has strong potential for sustainability, and we work strategically towards that end.

If you are also interested in more information, or supporting this great non-profit, contact me, or click the link below to be taken to Life Remodeled’s website:

Life Remodeled ‘Playbook’

In December 2017, we received a generous gift from Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Chip and Joanna are co-founders of the home and lifestyle brand Magnolia, and they made a donation to Life Remodeled through the Magnolia Foundation, which they established in 2016. The purpose of their gift was to enable us to create a Life Remodeled Playbook, and now we are able to pass on this gift to anyone who wants it…FREE OF CHARGE!

Life Remodeled’s long-term vision is to develop and share the most community-driven, collaborative, impactful and sustainable models for urban neighborhood revitalization. While this Playbook is written as a guide to eventually help Life Remodeled launch several new Chapters in large US cities, we are making this resource available to anyone who desires to learn more about our culture, values, strategies and systems. We hope it inspires and further helps others transform lives in their own context.


Learning Unleashed: Re-Imagining and Re-Purposing Our Schools
By: Evonne E. Rogers

Children enter the world curiously hard-wired for creativity and imagination. After a few short years of school, something drastically changes for them. Why? There is an unmistakable and deliberate attempt to control the learning of young people who find themselves sitting in our schools. The industrial model of schooling has taken its toll and victims without remorse. It programs curious young minds to become helpless, dependent, and compliant. It is manipulation and malpractice, but few seem to notice or care.

After years of observing and participating in some of these questionable practices herself, Evonne decided it was time to tell the truth about schools. With a credible and strong voice, Evonne tackles the “sacred school rituals” that are rarely questioned and widely accepted as normal. She transparently leads the reader through firmly-held and often faulty assumptions about schooling practices. She offers common sense solutions that challenge us to re-imagine how we do school in this country. With strong conviction, passion, and a call to action, she encourages us to hear and listen to the voices of our children who are crying out for the freedom to learn.

Pleasing God: Discovering the Meaning and Importance of Sanctification
By: R.C. Sproul

Dr. R.C. Sproul is one of the most vital and renowned theologians of our time. For over 40 years Dr. Sproul has encouraged, educated, and enlightened millions through his books, teaching, and ministry.

How can imperfect people hope to please a perfect God? The answer is both simple and challenging: sanctification. Pleasing God takes an in-depth look at sanctification and its essential role in the life of every believer. Filled with Biblical insights, this release guides both new and seasoned Christians through God’s path for transforming His people.

The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness
By: Kevin DeYoung

The hole in our holiness is that we don’t seem to care much about holiness. Or, at the very least, we don’t understand it. And we all have our reasons too: Maybe the pursuit of holiness seems legalistic. Maybe it feels like one more thing to worry about in your already overwhelming life. Maybe the emphasis on effort in the Christian life appears unspiritual. Or maybe you’ve been trying really hard to be holy and it’s just not working! Whatever the case, the problem is clear: too few Christians look like Christ and too many don’t seem all that concerned about it.

This is a book for those of us who are ready to take holiness seriously, ready to be more like Jesus, ready to live in light of the grace that produces godliness. This is a book about God’s power to help us grow in personal holiness and to enjoy the process of transformation.

Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots
By: J.C. Ryle

“The twenty papers contained in this volume are a humble contribution to a cause which is exciting much interest in the present day—I mean the cause of scriptural holiness. It is a cause which everyone who loves Christ, and desires to advance His kingdom in the world, should endeavor to help forward. Everyone can do something, and I wish to add my mite.”— From the Introduction

“J. C. Ryle is an evangelical champion…one of the bravest and best of men.” — Charles Spurgeon

“Ryle, like his great masters, has no easy way to holiness to offer us, and no ‘patent’ method by which it can be attained; but he invariably produces that ‘hunger and thirst after righteousness’ which is the only indispensable condition to being ‘filled.’” — D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones



Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots
By: J.C. Ryle

Read the entire book online.

Table of Contents:
The Fight!
The Cost!
Growth in Grace
Moses—An Example
Lot—A Beacon
A Woman to Be Remembered
Christ’s Greatest Trophy
The Ruler of the Waves
The Church Which Christ Builds
Visible Churches Warned
Do You Love Me?
Without Christ
Thirst Relieved
Unsearchable Riches!
Needs of the Times
Christ is All!

(This volume is considered the best book on the Christian life that has EVER been written.)

Sanctification: Christian’s Pursuit of God-Given Holiness
By: Michael Riccardi

Christians cannot afford to be confused about the doctrine of sanctification. That is because it is where we all live.

All believers in Christ live in-between the time of our past justification and our future glorification—in the present pursuit of Christlikeness. If we are concerned to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel (Philippians 1:27), if we desire to please the Lord in all aspects (Colossians 1:10), if it is our ambition to put the sanctifying power of Christ on display to the world, then we need to be clear on how we go about growing in holiness.

In this concise yet compelling book, Michael Riccardi helps believers navigate the question of how the Christian is to pursue God-give holiness. Focusing on key implications from the text of Scripture, Riccardi shows all of our efforts in sanctification must be shaped and driven by the glory of Jesus.

The Doctrine of Sanctification
By: Arthur W. Pink

Spiritual sanctification can only be rightly apprehended from what God has been pleased to reveal thereon in His holy Word, and can only be experimentally known by the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit. We can arrive at no accurate conceptions of this blessed subject except as our thoughts are formed by the teaching of Scripture, and we can only experience the power of the same as the Inspirer of those Scriptures is pleased to write them upon our hearts. Nor can we obtain so much as a correct idea of the meaning of the term “sanctification” by limiting our attention to a few verses in which the word is found, or even to a whole class of passages of a similar nature: there must be a painstaking examination of every occurrence of the term and also of its cognates; only thus shall we be preserved from the entertaining of a one-sided, inadequate, and misleading view of its fullness and many-sidedness.

Even a superficial examination of the Scriptures will reveal that holiness is the opposite of sin, yet the realization of this at once conducts us into the realm of mystery, for how can persons be sinful and holy at one and the same time? It is this difficulty which so deeply exercises the true saints: they perceive in themselves so much carnality, filth, and vileness, that they find it almost impossible to believe that they are holy. Nor is the difficulty solved here, as it was in justification, by saying, Though we are completely unholy in ourselves, we are holy in Christ. We must not here anticipate the ground which we hope to cover, except to say, the Word of God clearly teaches that those who have been sanctified by God are holy in themselves. The Lord graciously prepare our hearts for what is to follow.

Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification
By: Sinclair B. Ferguson

Christians are transformed by the renewing of their minds. They understand that in large measure how they think about the gospel will determine how they will live for God’s glory. They learn to allow the word of God to do its own work, informing and influencing the way they think in order to shape the way they live.

In a series of Scripture-enriched chapters Sinclair B. Ferguson’s Devoted to God works out this principle in detail. It provides what he describes as ‘blueprints for sanctification’ an orderly exposition of central New Testament passages on holiness. Devoted to God thus builds a strong and reliable structural framework for practical Christian living. It stresses the foundational importance of fundamental issues such as union with Christ, the rhythms of spiritual growth, the reality of spiritual conflict, and the role of God’s law. Here is a fresh approach to an always relevant subject, and a working manual to which the Christian can turn again and again for biblical instruction and spiritual direction.

How Does Sanctification Work?
By: David Powlison

The process of sanctification is personal and organic―not a one-size-fits-all formula.

Many popular views try to reduce the process of Christian growth to a single template. For example, remember past grace. Rehearse your identity in Christ. Avail yourself of the means of grace. Discipline yourself. But Scripture portrays the dynamics of sanctification in a rich variety of ways. No single factor, truth, or protocol can capture why and how a person is changed into the image of Christ.

Weaving together personal stories, biblical exposition, and theological reflection, David Powlison shows the personal and particular ways that God meets you where you are to produce change. He highlights the variety of factors that work together, helping us to avoid sweeping generalizations and pat answers in the search for a key to sanctification. This book is a go-to resource for understanding the multifaceted, lifelong, personal journey of sanctification.

The Pursuit of Holiness
By: Jerry Bridges

“Be holy, for I am holy,” commands God. But holiness is something that is often missed in the Christian’s daily life. According to Navigator author Jerry Bridges, that’s because we’re not exactly sure what our part in holiness is. In The Pursuit of Holiness, he helps us see clearly just what we should rely on God to do―and what we should take responsibility for ourselves. As you deepen your relationship with God, learn more about His character, and understand the Holy Spirit’s role in holiness, your spiritual growth will mature.

The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification
By: Walter Marshall

The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification presents the culmination of Puritan thought on living the Christian life. Combining doctrinal precision and pastoral sensitivity, Walter Marshall shows how sanctification is essential to spiritual life, dependent on spiritual union with Jesus Christ, and inseparable though distinct from justification. He shows how holiness involves both the mind and the soul of the believer and that it is the aim of the Christian life. It is no wonder that this book has been reprinted many times throughout the years and received such high praise from leading ministers of the gospel.


Experiential/Progressive Sanctification | Monergism

John Calvin on the Holiness of Life:

The Sanctifying Spirit

The Grace that Saves Is the Grace that Leads Us Home

Definitive and Progressive Sanctification | Banner of Truth USA

The Good News of progressive sanctification: 21 Encouragements –

The Indicative and The Imperative A Reformation View of Sanctification | Monergism

Sanctification and Good Works | Monergism

The Reformed View of Sanctification | Monergism

Calvin On Sanctification As An Effect Of Justification | The Heidelblog

How to Mortify Sin





This site presents discussions on the 12 most commonly asked questions about the Christian faith.

The 12 discussions are accessed by the “tabs” at the bottom of the page. The tabs are numbered 1-12. Roll your mouse over them and you will see the question displayed at the right. Click on the number to select that question.

Within each question (i.e. tabs 1-12), there are subtopics (or dialogues) to select that appear as smaller tabs underneath the numbered tabs. Roll your mouse over them and the title of these topics is also displayed to the right. Click on the open rectangle to select that dialogue.

For each question (1-12), a link to related resources and an optional flowchart is provided. To access this material, click on the respective words, “Related Resources” or “Options Flowchart.”

To play a more detailed discussion of the subject, between two people, select the desired dialogue and click on “Play Audio Dialogue.”

In the upper right-hand corner of the page, there is an icon that looks like binoculars looking at a question mark. Click on this icon to return to the homepage.

In the upper right-hand corner of a “Related Resources” page, there is an icon that looks like some books. Click on this icon to get to an “overview” page that has links to all of the resources for all of the questions. There also are additional “appendices” for most of the questions.

In the upper right-hand corner of a “Flowchart” page, there is an icon that looks like an Org chart. Click on this icon to get to an “overview” page that has links to all of the flowcharts.

[ Content by: Bill Kraftson and Lamar Smith; Website by Mark Besh ]


(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)



[ Mark Besh ]




‘All hands on deck’: Thousands of Volunteers Battle Blight on Detroit’s West Side

Thousands of volunteers are rolling up their sleeves this week to battle blight in a Detroit neighborhood.

Volunteers were hard at work Tuesday helping clear out and clean up the area around Durfee Innovation Society and Central High School on Detroit’s west side.

“We are going to remove blight from every single blighted alleyway within four square miles,” said Chris Lambert.

Lambert is the CEO of Life Remodeled, and he’s got thousands of dollars in donations and 10,000 people volunteering throughout the week, including workers from 160 companies, community groups, and church groups. They’re all using the time to give back and build relationships.

“We trim trees, we cut grass, hedges, all sorts of things, and we just spend the day with our coworkers and really enjoy each other and get to know each other on a more personal basis,” said Mary Avesian.

That’s what this is all about — not just cleaning up.

“Our country is extremely divided right now with race, religion, class, education and this week, what we’re experiencing is what life can be like 365 days a year when we come together and work together,” Lambert said.

Because together, it’s amazing what can be accomplished.

“We chopped down a whole tree. We got people in the back chopping down trees,” said Stanley Love.

“We know what the end results are and how good it is for the community,” Cody Bartlett said.

“It’s really all hands on deck and that’s what it takes for Detroit to be the city it’s meant to be – all of us working together,” Lambert said.

Volunteers will be there through Aug. 10.

[ Amy Lange – Fox 2 News ]


2019 Life Remodeled E-mail Blasts

JANUARY 15, 2019

Here’s something quite interesting I want to share with you.

Life Remodeled has been featured in the media literally hundreds of times, but no journalist has ever gone so deep with our work when it comes to the reality of race and cultural dynamics in urban neighborhood revitalization.

Check out this article in the national publication Bittersweet Monthly. If I were its author, I would have done a few things differently… such as not lead the story with stereotypical, yet unavoidable pictures of “ruin porn.” That said, I believe this article is one of the most important pieces written on our mission to date. Some will love it. Some may feel offended.

It’s gritty. It’s raw. And it’s a passionate attempt to discuss highly complex issues. I respect that.

I believe its character development and legitimization of community voice are impressive.

I also find the way the writer captures my paradoxical struggles and desires to learn and grow throughout a very messy journey to be a potential teaching opportunity for other white leaders seeking equitable revitalization in communities of color. Not only has Life Remodeled allowed us to make physical improvements in Detroit. It’s also afforded me an opportunity to combat the narrative that all white people are here to take over, and this article begins the narrative around that.

In addition to the above, this volunteer team of respected artists from around the country (including Microsoft’s lead Creative Director) created a very impressive video, and I’m excited to share it with you:


FEBRUARY 6, 2019

As community and Life Remodeled leadership prepare for our 2019 Six Day Project (August 5-10), I will keep sending you a few more perspectives from Durfee/Central community leaders so that you can see what our collective impact looks like from their eyes.

Today you have the privilege of hearing from a dynamic young leader who is gaining a significant voice in the city of Detroit. Korey Batey graduated from Central High School, has invested countless hours of volunteer labor into his community and serves as a member of the Life Remodeled Community Advisory Council.

Korey is a man of action, and I am proud to be his friend and co-laborer! Check out his video here.


FEBRUARY 19, 2019

In only nine years of existence, you’ve helped Life Remodeled become widely recognized as a genuine difference-maker in Detroit. That said, the Durfee Innovation Society (DIS) project we’re working on right now has the potential to make more impact than all our previous projects combined.

Within five years, expect to see measurable impact results that will establish the DIS as a model for urban neighborhood revitalization to be replicated across the country!

In the meantime, we’ve got work to do… and I’m sure you’re all wondering what our upcoming Six Day Project will look like. The vision for our 2019 Six Day Project (August 5 – 10) includes:

– Clearing every blighted alleyway within a four-square mile geography surrounding the Durfee Innovation Society
– Avengers Youth Mentoring Summer Camp for 250 K-8 students
– Basketball Camp for middle and high school students led by the nationally renowned organization The Family
– Career Fair for youth ages 14 – 24
– Family Fun Days with activities, entertainment, carnival games and the largest bounce house in the world (Aug 8 – 10)

Did you catch that last part? This isn’t like saying “We’ve Got the World’s Best Cup of Coffee.” We’ve actually rented the BIGGEST bounce house in the entire world. It’s 10,000 square feet and comes with a DJ in the middle. Check it out!


FEBRUARY 26, 2019

As you prepare to volunteer for our upcoming Six Day Project (August 5 – 10), I’m excited to continue sharing perspectives from youth and adult residents who live in the community we have been working alongside.

Terence Willis is a passionate leader and community resident. He’s also the owner of IC Datacom, a full-service technology company that provides audio video, security services, telecommunication, and IT in education, small business, and the public sector.

Check out what Terence has to say!


MARCH 5, 2019

We all enjoy making lasting impact in the lives of youth… but check out how your investment into the lives of Osborn High School youth in 2015 has continued to inspire their students to join our Six-Day Project year after year.

Do you remember the new roof we installed and the new gym floor we laid down at Osborn High? Better yet, did you know the following season their boys basketball team made it to the Elite 8 in the state of Michigan?!?!

Listen to what these guys have to say!


APRIL 25, 2019

We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”

While we don’t believe our knowledge and skills aren’t important to our success, we can’t deny that relationships are crucial to continued opportunity.

We would’ve never been able to make such a huge impact in the lives of Detroit children and families if it wasn’t for our community. We’ve been able to work in four Detroit neighborhoods so far because of the partnerships between more than 200 business sponsors, nearly 60,000 volunteers, thousands of individuals who donate to our cause, and the hundreds and thousands of Detroit residents we’ve been able to serve through our life-changing work.

We’re at a critical time in our growth here at Life Remodeled, and we’re looking to you, those we have relationships with, to help us grow our network through yours. Our corporate giving circle, the 313 Club, is growing and allowing us to multiply our impact; however, we need your help to keep the momentum.

Do you know a business who should be a part of all we do? Will you share with them why you support us, and why you think they should? I’d love for you to forward this email and connect them with us.

MAY 3, 2019

It seems like every time I talk with one of our donors or volunteers, they’re asking me how they can do more to help spread our mission. Lately, I’ve been overwhelmed with the generosity and creativity of some of our business contacts who have planned some pretty unique third-party fundraisers on behalf of Life Remodeled.

Jordan Dick, metro Detroit resident and co-founder of Novi’s JD Racing Indoor Karting, has been given the unique opportunity to participate on-track in the 2019 Detroit Grand Prix, May 31st – June 2nd in the “Face in the Race” campaign. For a small fee, hundreds of individuals will purchase the ability to have a photo of themselves printed directly on the race car, and a portion of the proceeds will be given directly to Life Remodeled!

Every submission will receive (1) entry into a drawing to win one of two prizes. The Grand Prize grants you and a friend access to a “behind the scenes” experience with the Driver and the Team during the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix weekend. The second-place winner will receive an exclusive Sprint Grand Prix for (10) people at JD Racing Indoor Karting.

Space on the Race Car is limited and the ability to participate in the “Face in the Race” will end May 12 at 11:59 PM EST. Interested in being a part of this unique campaign? Click here!

Ryan Lane and his team at Max Broock Relators hosted their Ferndale House Party for us complete with a DJ, taco truck and nearly 50 of the company’s clients and friends. In addition to make a generous donation to our cause, it also allowed me to speak to an audience of people who weren’t already aware of the life-changing work we do! Check out the event recap video here.


SmithGroup hosted their “Wall Breaking” ceremony instead of a “Ground Breaking” ceremony in honor of their new office renovation. Employees wielded a sledgehammer and helped demo one of the office’s existing walls. Each staff member who swung a hammer gave a donation to LR.

JUNE 27, 2019

Our Annual 313 Club Breakfast event last week was a smashing success because of your incredibly generous support!

If by chance you didn’t make it, you missed two inspirational presentations by one of our rock star tenants (The Lawn Academy) and one of our most impactful supporters (Sun Communities). Check out the recap video here.


We currently have 158 companies who are members of our 313 Club, and collectively you have generously contributed a grand total of $457,800 cash donations this year! See the full list of partners here:

We’re looking to solidify 313 members every year, and we could really use your help to reach this goal. Can you help us invite at least one non-member company to tour our Durfee Innovation Society? We will take care of the ask, so you don’t need to worry about that part. The best time for them to come would be our Six-Day Project (August 5-10), but we are open to almost any day/time. Book your tour by clicking here.

Through our corporate giving circle, the 313 Club, we’ve rallied excitement and commitment to Detroit neighborhood revitalization from 170 metro-Detroit businesses. Joining our 313 Club starts with a minimum donation of $1,000 and includes sponsorship perks as well as fellowship and collaboration with hundreds of other member corporations who are also committed to supporting our work. Interested in making the same commitment so many others already have? Help us reach our goal of 313 corporate partners and join our 313 Club today!

Top 313 Club Donors:

JULY 30, 2019

Can you remember the last time you experienced something truly amazing and thought to yourself… “Wow, I really wish so-and-so was here to see this!!!”?

Some things in life must be seen to be believed, or at least truly understood, and that’s true for what’s about to happen next week. For six straight days (August 5-10), we will mobilize a total of 10,000 volunteers from many races, religions, socio-economic levels and political perspectives who will unite for a noble cause.

You may not have the time to volunteer next week; but, if you’ve never experienced a Life Remodeled Six Day Project before, I really hope you’ll stop by for 20 – 30 minutes to be reminded of the reality that modern-day miracles do exist.

And, if you HAVE experienced it before, I hope you’ll bring a friend who hasn’t… so they can know what you know!

Join us anytime (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) next week (August 5-10). Just drive to the Durfee Innovation Society (2470 Collingwood St., Detroit, MI 48206) and follow the signs from there. Oh, and let me know you’re coming!

AUGUST 10, 2019

Today is the final day of our 2019 Six Day Project, and it has truly been a remarkable week! In just a couple hours, we’re about to begin “Family Fun Day” with the largest bounce house in the world, play carnival games, enjoy a performance from the Detroit Youth Choir, and share an awesome day together celebrating the power of community.

Later this month, I will send you a recap of impact from this week’s project, but today I want to send you some BIG NEWS. Please see Sherri Welch’s article below in Crain’s Detroit Business, and know that YOU significantly helped make this happen!


It’s been a month since I’ve seen your smiling faces and sweaty bodies busting blight under the hot August sun, and the truth is… I MISS YOU!

Our 2019 Six Day Project was another major success! With the help of 9,713 volunteers from the city and surrounding suburbs, we were able to address 257 heavily blighted alleyways surrounding the Durfee Innovation Society, host a summer camp for 125 children and a basketball camp for 37 youth, and our Family Fun Day (with the largest bounce house in the entire world) drew in more than 3,000 Detroit kids and their families.

We’ve received Six Day Project feedback from more than 1,000 volunteers, and one of my favorite comments comes from Amna Kamal, Communications Manager at Visteon:

“I’m not generally a big fan of picking up other people’s trash and I don’t like bugs. I’ve never mowed a lawn in my life. But what I love about working with Life Remodeled is this: What we often find divides us – race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status or who we voted for in the last election – all lose their significance as we work together. We are united by our desire to make positive change in the community.”

In fact, we surveyed our volunteers this year, and 80% said they experienced positive change in their thoughts or feelings about people of another race, religion, political perspective, or socio-economic status as a result of participating in our Six-Day Project.

You probably saw at least some of the media coverage we received from Channels 2, 4 and 7, Crain’s Detroit Business, dbusiness, WJR and WWJ. Here’s a piece from Fox 2:


Stay tuned for details on our 2020 Six Day Project, which will take place August 3–8. We’re cooking up something very special, as always! Also, please join us at our Sixth Annual Fundraising Event: The Power of Community, on December 5, 2019.


As a member of Life Remodeled’s corporate giving circle, the “313 Club,” your company has clearly demonstrated your passion for children and families who live in Detroit neighborhoods. Our goal is to mobilize 313 companies who donate at least $1,000 annually, and I’m excited to announce we’re currently at 166 members!

It takes a village… and every 313 Club member is important, but right now I want to draw special attention to our five largest corporate donors. Through their gifts, our supporters have been able to meet their CSR goals and offer team-building opportunities which align with their organization’s core values–all while giving us at Life Remodeled the opportunity to grow our reach in Detroit neighborhoods and serve even more people! Check out this 3-minute video highlighting their impact and passion for Life Remodeled’s mission:


SEPTEMBER 10, 2019

We are able to transform lives because we receive such generous support from so many individuals and families, like YOU!

And, over the last few years, I’ve been overjoyed with the growing support we have received from the business community. It’s become foundational to our success. This year we launched a new corporate giving circle, the “313 Club”. Our goal is to mobilize 313 companies who donate at least $1,000 annually, and I’m excited to announce we’ve rallied a total of 166 companies who’ve clearly demonstrated their passion for children and families who live in Detroit neighborhoods!

It takes a village… and every 313 Club member is important, but right now I want to draw special attention to our five largest corporate donors. Through their gifts, our supporters have been able to meet their CSR goals and offer team-building opportunities which align with their organization’s core values– all while giving us at Life Remodeled the opportunity to grow our reach in Detroit neighborhoods and serve even more people!

Check out this 3-minute video highlighting their impact and passion for Life Remodeled’s mission:


I’m proud to say that 35 of our 166 total “313 Club” members are making extra-meaningful annual gifts of $5k – $100k. If you know a company who may want to join our 313 Club at any giving level, I would love to discuss a mutually beneficial partnership with them at their earliest convenience. Please just let me know.

SEPTEMBER 16, 2019

I’m SUPER excited to announce the Detroit Youth Choir will be performing at our sixth annual fundraiser, “The Power of Community,” on December 5!

Tickets are $50 each and include a strolling dinner and drinks, and can be purchased here:

If somehow you haven’t heard of DYC, you’ve been missing out on one of the most inspiring stories capturing the nation’s heart over these past few months. It all started back in June when America’s Got Talent host Terry Crews gave the Detroit Youth Choir the coveted Golden Buzzer on their very first performance… and it was absolutely incredible!

Since that day, they’ve given the stage one WOW performance after another, including “The Champion”, and most recently “High Hopes.”

They made it all the way to the finale, and tomorrow night they compete for $1 million and a Las Vegas residency!! PLEASE make sure to vote for them tomorrow night by visiting after 8pm.

I’ve had the honor of getting to know Mr. White and the DYC personally over the last few months, and I can’t wait for you to meet them yourselves! Please buy your ticket for our Dec 5 fundraiser today.

SEPTEMBER 24, 2019

“Power Of Community” – Episode 1

Over the next few weeks, I will share a number of awesome stories about truly remarkable organizations who have made the Durfee Innovation Society (DIS) their home, and we are very proud to have them as part of the DIS family!

This week you have the privilege of experiencing The Lawn Academy. Check out this two-minute highlight video that illustrates the transformational impact they are making in the lives of youth and community residents.


For those who are not yet aware, Life Remodeled has repurposed the former Durfee Elementary-Middle school building into the “Durfee Innovation Society,” which is a hub of opportunity for children, students and adults. We’ve created a dynamic environment for the best and brightest nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies to move in, share resources and achieve greater collective impact. In partnership with students and community leaders, our new tenants move the needle on educational outcomes and community revitalization. They provide innovative approaches to education, employment, support for entrepreneurs and various social services.

OCTOBER 1, 2019

“Power Of Community” – Episode 2

This week I’m excited to share Episode 2 from our series “The Power of Community.”

Meet Perfectus Consulting, a dynamic organization that provides wrap-around services to children and their families, including children at Durfee Elementary-Middle School who are coping with adversity. They specialize in behavioral health, utilizing therapeutic mentoring along with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Perfectus takes a whole-family approach, whereby they also help parents achieve higher levels of personal and professional success.

Life Remodeled is very proud to have Perfectus as part of the DIS (Durfee Innovation Society) family! Check out this inspirational 2-minute highlight video we created!


You can meet the Perfectus Consulting staff and all the other impactful organizations in our DIS community at our annual fundraiser on Thursday, December 5. Purchase your tickets today!

OCTOBER 8, 2019

“Power Of Community” – Episode 3

This week I’m excited to share Episode 3 from our series “The Power of Community.”

Meet Teresa Singleton, a Detroit firefighter who lives only five houses away from the Durfee Innovation Society. Teresa is also the founder of BouTiki, a new retail store located inside the DIS. Promoting and increasing entrepreneurism is a core focus of the DIS, and BouTiki is a phenomenal venture.

Check out this inspirational 2-minute highlight video about Teresa and her awesome vision!


You can meet Teresa Singleton and tour BouTiki and all the other impactful organizations in our DIS community at our annual fundraiser on Thursday, December 5. Purchase your tickets today!


To follow what Life Remodeled is currently doing, visit their FACEBOOK PAGE:

Durfee Innovation Society Tenant Summary

As of September 2019, the Durfee Innovation Society (a “community center” combined with business offices) [ previously the Durfee Elementary-Middle School ] has signed lease agreements or Letter of Intents from a total of 29 tenants—comprising 87% of office space available in the building. It has been determined that all tenants or potential tenants will influence and impact outcomes in K-12 education, workforce development, entrepreneurship, human services or another non-profit service. Finally, 74% of these organizations are led by people of color, and 48% of the leaders are female.


AV Tech Institute LLC:​ A Ready4Work Career Training Center focusing on training Electronic Systems Technicians.

Bethany Christian Services​: Global foster care and adoption agency expanding their reach in Detroit.

Beyond Basics​: Literacy program that recently received a $250,000 grant from GM to expand workforce development literacy education to young adults and families.

Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan​: Committed to improving the quality of life for at-risk youth, adults, and families across Michigan’s Black communities through advocacy, research and direct services. Specific programming includes anti-drug campaigns, assisting families at risk of home foreclosure, and school-based mentoring throughout Detroit Public Schools including Durfee Elementary-Middle and Central High School.

Blue Cross Complete​: Medicaid provider focused on offering accessible resources such as transportation services, a 24-hour nurse helpline, vision, hearing and dental coverage as well as pharmacy, maternity care and integrated care management benefits to residents of this community.

BouTiki​: Clothing boutique offering retail training to youth and affordable clothing options to the community.


Detroit at Work: ​Managed by JVS and ResCare Workforce Services,​ ​who was awarded a 5-year contract with Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, this job center will ensure 4,000+ Detroiters annually (ages 14+) receive job training and acquire new jobs.

Detroit Horsepower​: Afterschool programming teaching Detroit kids life skills with a theme of horseback riding.

Emerging Industries Training Institute: Carpentry skills trade program.

Gilda’s Club: A place where men, women and children whose lives have been touched by cancer, as well as their families and friends can feel they are part of a welcoming community of support.

Gingras Global​: A family of companies that aims to strengthen the impact investing and social enterprise ecosystem. They administer impact investment funds, provide assessments and quarterly reporting for social enterprises, maintain a reporting platform, offer coaching, consulting, and financial management services, organize award programs, and raise awareness through publications, podcasts, and public speaking. Gingras Global focuses on relationships and continuously innovates and adapts its services to meet peoples’ needs. They invest in their local social enterprise ecosystem by offering pro-bono services and free publications, sponsoring and organizing community events, providing office space to mission-aligned groups, and participating in membership organizations and networks.

The Lawn Academy​: Leadership training and mentoring for youth through on-site college immersion program and paid community service projects while assisting those who are elderly, veterans and disabled/handicapped with lawn care services at no charge.


Grand Innovation (powered by Lifeline Business Consulting)​: Business planning and management consulting agency serving small and medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs and organizations with an emphasis on minority and women-owned businesses.


Jay Bell Productions, Mike and Drew Sports & Shawn B Speaks: African American owned businesses focusing on photography & video production, sports brand & podcast, and a lifestyle podcast.

Methodist Children’s Home Society​: Redford-based foster care and adoption agency focused on creating forever families and child abuse prevention. Recently, MCHS acquired Community Social Services and will now begin programming at the DIS in the areas of substance abuse and senior citizens.

Metro Detroit Youth Clubs​: Formerly the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oakland & Macomb Counties, this new, exceptional-quality after-school program will provide daily tutoring, athletics and other fun activities for 230 children and youth from the local community, ages 6 – 18 years.

Motown Motivated​: Provides aspiring podcasters and personalities, specifically entrepreneurs, with the opportunity to record, produce, and voice their opinions, knowledge, and visions with the masses while generating revenue.

New Movement Christian Community Church​: Local church focused on community outreach and providing resources to those in the community with need.

Outer Rim: Using the former planetarium space in the DIS, Outer Rim will create a sci-fi/fantasy themed gaming lounge and VR Arcade.

Perfectus Consulting​: Provides wrap-around services to children and their families, specifically children with IEPs at Durfee Elementary-Middle School, specializing in behavioral health, utilizing therapeutic mentoring along with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.


QMS: ​Local convenience store selling snacks, drinks and other items to tenants and clients in the DIS.

Refuge for Nations: ​Social enterprise to empower refugee and immigrant women living in Detroit by creating sewing jobs to meet the sewing needs of local businesses, individuals and companies.

SafeSpaces K12​: Promotes safety, health and well-being of schoolchildren, and the preservation of schools as safe, welcoming learning environments through training for parents, teachers and administrators.

Seeds Marketing + Design: ​Teaching 15 students from Central High School marketing and design skills related to entrepreneurship.

SEMCA Skills Trade Center: ​Southeast Michigan Construction Academy (SEMCA) skilled trades apprenticeship program focused on electrical training & licensure.

Stark Enterprises: ​Construction company committed to hiring Detroiters.

Toarmina’s Pizza​: Pizza parlor franchise location that hires youth from the community and teaches them about the business aspect of running a restaurant.

Urban Specialists​: Changing the cultural environment of communities to empower youth and stop senseless violence.

Young Heavy Souls​: Multimedia company that includes the independent record label YHS Records and video production company Advancer Media.

Life Remodeled – ‘Together’

Watching the news can be a painful reminder of how divided our country truly is. Race, religion and educational background are just a few divides across which we struggle to cooperate. In addition, despite sometimes living only miles apart, Americans of ample means and those living in poverty dwell in drastically different worlds. Rarely do we put forth the effort necessary to overcome the challenges of communicating and understanding one another, which cripples society’s ability to find impactful solutions.

In Metropolitan Detroit, we have witnessed well-intentioned suburban individuals and groups attempt to alleviate Detroit’s poverty crisis by sending money, and many under-resourced people in the city are grateful for the assistance. Yet both are apprehensive about making the sacrifices necessary to develop meaningful relationships with one another. While financial resources are critical to urban renewal, those with resources and those without must forge lasting partnerships that include the sharing of knowledge, experience and networking to sustain neighborhood revitalization. Therefore, a different model of charity must exist where both sides are inspired to do the hard work of relationship building.

This is where Life Remodeled comes in.

We exist to remodel lives, one neighborhood at a time, investing approximately $5 million in cash, labor and materials into one Detroit neighborhood each year. Projects are determined by the community’s needs and vision, and we assist in three areas: Remodeling a community asset, repairing owner-occupied homes, and mobilizing 10,000 volunteers to beautify 300 city blocks in six days.

Our approach to neighborhood sustainability consists of five things: 1) Focusing on the community’s vision, rather than importing a new vision “from the outside”; 2) Engaging students and residents in planning and implementation; 3) Increasing the influence of key school and neighborhood leaders; 4) Modeling a replicable system of beautification, volunteer management and partnership; 5) Recruiting new stakeholders who make long-term commitments.

The scale of volunteerism required to plan and implement our projects provides catalytic opportunities for individuals to meet on level playing fields, where everyone has something to offer. While serving together in highly inspirational environments, the resourced and the under-resourced begin to let down their guards and engage in meaningful conversations that build rapport. Likewise, we create a culture where those who are Democrat or Republican, pro-life or pro-choice, faith-based or atheist, and so on, feel confident and inspired to work collaboratively and even share who or what motivates them.

Former school in Midtown to transform into workspace, ‘business ecosystem’

Industry Detroit will open in 2020.

A prominent former school in Midtown will be converted into a “business ecosystem.” A partnership between Denver-based Industry, Midtown Detroit Inc., and Invest Detroit will turn the Thomas Jefferson Intermediate School into Industry Detroit in 2020.

The 100,000-square-foot school will be repurposed into more than just a space for entrepreneurs and artists—the organizers will use it for workforce training for hospitality, culinary arts, and restaurant operations. The 1922 building—listed on the National Register of Historic Places—includes a library with mahogany shelving, lockers, an auditorium, and a pool. Tenants will also be able to share patios, meeting rooms, and kitchens.

The school, located at Selden and the Lodge Service Drive, is near another redevelopment that will offer training in the service industry—the Selden Corridor Initiative.

Industry currently has two similar spaces in Denver and Salt Lake City, and apply adaptive reuse principles to transform historic buildings into modern work spaces. Co-founder Ellen Winkler says, “Saving old buildings is one of our core values and the bones of these buildings are incredible. We love designing spaces and places that stay true to the soul of a city. We couldn’t be happier to be kicking off Industry Detroit.”

[ Robin Runyan ]

Repurposed Schools Offer Lessons in ‘Ultimate Form of Recycling’

DETROIT — When it was a high school, the auditorium and gymnasium at the Burton International School thrummed with the sounds of students gathering for assemblies or bouncing balls. These days, film dialogue and soundtracks fill the nearly 100-year-old building, which has found new life as a movie theater. Developer Joel Landy remade the school into the Cass City Cinema at the Burton Theater.

“It had all the seats and a projection booth built in 1924,” Landy said (of the building pictured above). “That kind of clinched it.” Burton was among dozens of Detroit public schools forced to close in recent years as the district sank into debt and parents sought better education options. Now the city is getting high marks for its efforts to reuse those buildings — as churches, substances-abuse centers, housing and more. The practice also offers lessons to other districts confronting the same challenges.

“Detroit has more experience with finding new uses because it has had more empty buildings on its hands,” said Emily Dowdall, a senior associate with the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts, a public policy organization that released a report earlier this year on the growing number of vacant schools in a dozen U.S. cities.

Some of the nation’s largest school districts have seen their enrollment plummet and budget deficits rise, forcing them to close half-empty buildings and those that are too costly to maintain. Chicago expects to shutter 50 schools and programs before fall classes begin. A reform board in Philadelphia has voted to close 23 schools. “Many districts are now on their second and third round of closings” and are increasingly looking at the practices of other cities, including Detroit, Dowdall said.

The Detroit district has made more than $16 million by selling or leasing closed schools and vacant land. Forty schools have been sold. Another 45 are leased, according to the district. More than 80 schools are listed as available. Between 2000 and 2010, Detroit’s population dropped by more than a quarter of a million, to just over 700,000 people. By 2008, public school enrollment had slipped below 100,000 students. It’s projected to fall to 40,000 by 2016.

About seven years ago, officials padlocked 35 schools, followed by 29 more in 2009. Of 172 schools that were open in 2010, 100 remain open. Landy bought four old school buildings in Detroit. One is now a charter academy. Another was turned into lofts. A third houses a music school and recording studio.

He bought the old Burton International School building four years ago for about $400,000. Movies are shown on weekends. It also has a Montessori school.

At least one shuttered Detroit school is now used as a church. The former West Side Academy houses substances-abuse programs. Carole Hoste teaches music in one of Landy’s buildings. It makes sense for the school district to sell the buildings “if they can get a quick chunk of money,” she said. “I don’t know why they weren’t doing that a long time ago.”

Detroit no longer sells to charter schools, which compete for students and state funding. But the city is aggressive in its efforts to sell and lease buildings, said Tammy Deane, a former residential and commercial real estate broker who manages the district’s real estate office. Buildings have sold for as little as $5 per square foot. Vacant land has fetched about $100,000 an acre.

“We work with anyone and everyone, and try to be very creative to move properties and help visionary buyers realize their dreams,” Deane said. “We want the new owners to move in soon as we move out.” That’s to deter thieves who target vacant buildings to strip out their electrical wiring and pipes for sale as scrap metal.

Other districts have also had success with school recycling. The Kennedy School in Portland, Ore., was boarded up for years. The lawn wasn’t being cut, and the property “just didn’t look good,” said Thelma Diggs, who was part of a committee that reviewed options for the site’s future.

“I wasn’t even considering tearing it down,” Diggs said. “If you can use all that money to tear it down, why not keep it?” McMenamins, developer of pubs and historic hotels in Oregon and Washington state, got the building from the city at no cost in 1996 and turned it into a 57-room hotel. The company is required to provide 15 years of free meeting room space to a neighborhood association. It also allows neighbors to use the hotel’s soaking pool.

“A hotel project is super cool,” but it may not fit plans for many school districts or neighborhoods, said Shannon Jaax, director of the Kansas City Public Schools’ “repurposing initiative.” When that program kicked off in January 2011, the district had 30 empty schools. Six have since been sold and another is under lease with an option to buy. A recent sale, Seven Oaks School, had been closed since 1997 and will be repurposed as affordable senior housing.

“Some school districts have been trying to maximize price,” Jaax said. “What we are trying to do is balance the need to be financially responsible, (while) looking at what type of project will be the best fit in the community.”

Chicago schools are just beginning the process. The district plans to work with community leaders to determine the best use for closed buildings. “If there is no strong use for the community or for a sister city agency,” the district “will explore selling each property to the highest bidder,” spokesman Dave Miranda said.

They could also use someone like Detroit’s Landy. Not one to throw away anything with value, Landy moved a used pool table into a bathroom at the school-turned-movie house. It sits between urinals and stalls. “Reuse,” he said “is the ultimate form of recycling.”

[ Corey Williams ]

Scores of Detroit schools are empty eyesores. Here’s why it’s so hard to bring them back to life.

The school building that Detroit Prep founder Kyle Smitley is trying — and struggling — to buy for her charter school is far from the only one sitting empty across the city.

A wave of about 200 school closures since 2000 has pockmarked the city with large, empty, often architecturally significant buildings. Some closed schools were repurposed, most often as charter schools; others were torn down. But most remain vacant, although the exact number is unclear.

Vacant schools can become crime hubs or crumbling dangers. But even if that doesn’t happen, they are disheartening reminders of Detroit’s struggle to prioritize education for its children — at the heart of communities where good schools could make a big difference.

Most residents would like to see the buildings come back to life, if not as schools, as something. But even as developers rework other vacant structures, these school buildings are rarely repurposed.

Understanding why illuminates the complexities facing Detroit’s main school district’s effort to get itself back on track.

For one, school district policies — some of which were created to discourage flipping and the opening of charter schools — have made selling these buildings difficult.

Smitley, the co-founder of two charter schools, wants to move Detroit Prep into the former Anna M. Joyce Elementary School by fall 2018. Detroit Prep opened in 2016 in the basement of an Indian Village church and will eventually serve 430 K-8 students.

“We’d like to be part of a positive story for Detroit, and turn a decrepit building back into a school that serves the neighborhood,” Smitley said.

Smitley is preparing to do a $4 million rehab on a building where flaking paint litters the hardwood floors. Lockers gape open. Natural sunlight floods classrooms where instructions from the last day of school are still chalked on the blackboard: “Spelling Test … George Washington Carver Reading – Timed … Clean Desks … Take Books.”

Landlord Dennis Kefallinos bought the former Joyce school from the public school district in 2014 for $600,000. The general manager of Kefallinos’ company told Chalkbeat that they planned to repurpose it for residential use when the market seemed right, or wait a few more years to re-sell it for a large profit.

But another challenge of repurposing schools is that their complex layouts and their residential locations far from downtown do not easily adapt to other uses. And the market for former school buildings was flooded with closed public and parochial schools in recent years, which further reduced demand.

Some developers have transformed empty Detroit schools into apartments, luxury condominiums, or a boutique office building. However, these were former Catholic schools, or, in the case of Leland Lofts, sold to a private developer more than 35 years ago. Catholic schools generally have smaller footprints, which are more manageable to renovate, and they do not have the same deed restrictions as more recently closed public schools.

In the case of Joyce school, Smitley’s persistence and the intervention of a mutual friend convinced the Kefallinos company to sell to Detroit Prep. She agreed to buy the building for $750,000, and to pay the district $75,000 on top of the sales price, per a condition in the original deed.

But the status of the sale is uncertain, as she and the district spar over the law and whether the district can halt the sale of the building — which it no longer owns.

On the northwest side of Detroit, two Detroiters have been trying for years to buy the former Cooley High School to turn it into a community center, as part of the much-lauded Cooley ReUse Project. This summer, it was crowdfunding the last $10,000 it needed to finally become Cooley’s owners.

But on August 31, the project’s social media account announced that “after meeting with Detroit Public Schools Community District’s (DPSCD) new leadership, it has been confirmed that Thomas M. Cooley High School is no longer for sale. We were told that Cooley will be secured and redeveloped by its current owner, DPSCD.”

Donations are being returned to the contributors. In the meantime, the 322,000-square-foot building is vulnerable to theft and vandalism, destabilizing its northwest Detroit neighborhood.

The Cooley and Joyce schools were built when Detroit schools faced a different challenge: capacity. They opened during the fast-moving period between 1910 and 1930 when 180 new schools were built to keep up with growth. In 1966, the district peaked with 299,962 students. Since then, it has shrunk to fewer than 50,000 students.

No matter who owns a closed school building, its revival depends on its security. Failure to secure it results in profound damage by scrappers, criminals, and natural elements. That will either add millions to the cost of rehabilitation or doom it to demolition. It also threatens the neighborhood.

John Grover co-authored a major Loveland report, spending 18 months investigating 200 years of archives about public schools in Detroit, and visiting every school in the city.

Boarding vacant schools with plywood isn’t enough, he learned. As its buildings were continually vandalized, the district escalated security with welded steel doors and cameras, though even these are vulnerable. Securing a building properly costs about $100,000 upfront, and $50,000 per year ever after, according to the Loveland report. In 2007, it cost the district more than $1.5 million a year to maintain empty buildings.
Chris Mihailovich, general manager of Dennis Kefallinos’ company, said that it hasn’t been cheap to own the empty Joyce building. Taxes are high, security is expensive, grass has to be mowed in summer and snow has to be shoveled in winter.

The Joyce school is in better condition than most, which Grover credits to its dense neighborhood. “At least up until a few years ago, a retired cop lived across the street, and he watched the block and would call in if he saw anything,” Grover said.

But he remembered the fate of one elementary school in east Detroit that was in a stable neighborhood when it closed.

“It became like a hotbed for prostitution and drug dealing,” he said. “There were mattresses stacked in the gymnasium. It definitely had a negative impact on the neighborhood. … I can’t imagine people would want to live around that, and those who could get out did.”

[ Anna Clark ]

Farmington Hills To Repurpose High School Into Community Center

Declining Enrollment Spells End For Harrison High

Farmington Hills city officials are expected to present plans next month to repurpose Harrison High School as a community center.

Declining enrollment and tight finances led Farmington Public Schools trustees to set a June 2019 closing date for the sprawling campus on 12 Mile Road in Farmington Hills. Initial talks centered around moving district administrative offices, transportation, services housed in the Maxfield Education Center, and possibly Farmington Central High and early childhood education classes to the empty building.

After months of discussion, the City of Farmington Hills has formally declared its interest in the 240,000-square-foot facility. The letter of intent was received during a December 19 school board workshop.

On November 28, consultant Paul Wills of Plante Moran Cresa provided trustees with an activity timeline that would follow receipt of the letter. He pointed out that the potential for community or municipal uses was one of the reasons a facilities committee first identified Harrison for closure.

Willis added that city and district officials have had “multiple conversations and meetings” regarding lease and purchase scenarios, with title work and an appraisal underway. He said a final vote on the city’s offer could come as soon as June of 2018, if trustees formally accept the offer in January.

According to meeting minutes posted on the city’s website, city manager Dave Boyer told council members during a January 28, 2017 goal-setting session that Harrison could provide needed space for expanded swimming pool operations and a theater. Mayor Ken Massey said then that the move could provide amenities originally promised through the parks and recreation millage at a lower cost than building from the ground up.

The city funded a study of the Harrison facility, and consultants presented site and floor plans for the proposed $19-$20 million renovation during a November 13 council study session. Council members leaned toward purchasing the property, but also discussed plans to lease the first two floors, with school administrative offices on the third floor.

Offer details will be revealed during the city’s formal presentation, which is expected during the January 9 school board meeting.

[ Farmington Voice ]

Repurposing Schools Gives Life to Vacant Buildings

District-wide initiatives in Kansas City, Mo., and Tulsa, Okla., have aimed to turn abandoned school sites into financial opportunities that will simultaneously improve the surrounding neighborhoods.

As student populations and school budgets have shrunk, classes are emptying out of school buildings, consolidating into others and leaving their former homes as vacant lots in neighborhoods nationwide. According to the National Centers for Education Statistics, more than 1,900 public schools (out of nearly 99,000) closed during the 2010-2011 school year.

Municipalities and school districts are then left with huge assets in an anemic real estate market, unable to draw property taxes or any other revenue while forced to spend money to prevent those empty buildings from falling into disrepair.

So, some have taken action: district-wide initiatives in Kansas City, Mo., and Tulsa, Okla., have aimed to turn these abandoned school sites into financial opportunities that will simultaneously improve the surrounding neighborhoods. Kansas City has closed nearly 40 schools in recent years, and city officials estimate those properties could be worth up to $15 million. Tulsa shuttered 14 schools last year and district leaders also see those buildings as assets potentially worth millions. An entry into the National Invitational Public Policy Challenge (in which Governing was a sponsor) produced a plan to repurpose closed schools in Philadelphia (the city plans to vacate 64 in the next few years) and bring in up to $20 million.

There are sometimes administrative hurdles to clear before local authorities can act: according to the National Clearinghouse of Educational Facilities (NCEF), laws in some states (such as North Carolina) require the state to have a “first-look” option on a building to be sold, while others (such as Wisconsin) call for a review of historical significance before a facility is sold or demolished.

After those considerations are cleared, cities and districts must decide what to do with the unoccupied schools. They could lease or sell to another educational body, such as a charter or private school; lease or sell to a private company or government agency for purposes unrelated to education; or even demolish the building and simply sell the land.

Each scenario presents its own challenges, from a practical and political perspective. Before the recession, many districts would try to retain empty properties with the hopes of re-filling them later, Judy Marks, NCEF’s director, told Governing. But the economic downturn, and the accompanying fiscal strains, made that less feasible. Still, officials must be sensitive to neighborhood concerns when deciding to shutter a school and what to do next.

“Closing a school building in a community is always a traumatic affair,” Marks said.

The Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) Repurposing Initiative and Tulsa’s Project Schoolhouse represent one path forward for localities confronting this problem. After consolidating student bodies and vacating school buildings in recent years, these cities are putting those schools on the market, searching for potential buyers who will reuse the properties for projects that will benefit the community.

KCPS has closed 39 schools. Eight have been held for future use, and one has been refurbished to serve as a professional development center for the city’s teachers. That leaves 30 schools to be sold as part of the Repurposing Initiative. 1.8 million square feet. 130 acres. Up to $15 million in real estate value.

Shannon Jaax, the initiative’s director, came from the city planning office to lead the effort in January 2011. Over the next six months, she and her staff held neighborhood meetings to familiarize residents with their plans and gather input about what kind of uses they should target in potential sellers.

“We integrated community participation in every level of decision-making,” Jaax said. “We hope that will lead to ultimately better results for the long-term use at the sites.”

The school district then solicited proposals for three buildings that were deemed ready to be sold; all three have been sold as of May 2012. Two were purchased by charter schools, and the other will be renovated as affordable senior housing. Final sales figures are not yet public for two schools, but one, Longan Elementary School, sold for $1 million. About $250,000 will pay off the leftover bonds on the property, and the remaining $750,000 will go straight into the school district’s coffers.

KCPS plans to put another 15 schools on the market by the end of the year, Jaax said. Ten more proposals have been received, including more conversions to charter schools and senior housing. For those sites that have garnered no immediate interest, the district is offering their facilities to community clubs and youth programs to use in the interim for a small fee. In the next six to nine months, Jaax said KCPS will evaluate the state of those properties and to decide whether to retain (or “mothball”) them for future use or demolish the structures and start over.

Tulsa’s Project Schoolhouse aims to address a similar need with a similar plan. Tulsa Public Schools closed 14 buildings last year. Much like the KCPS Repurposing Initiative, the district sought community buy-in before shopping newly vacant schools to potential buyers, said Chris Payne, a district spokesperson. One of the primary concerns heard from constituents, he said, was that they didn’t want an empty building in their neighborhoods. Studies conducted for Philadelphia have estimated that vacant lots drive down surrounding property values by as much as 20 percent.

A school district acting as a property manager has some challenges: school officials must be acutely aware of the local real estate market to ensure they get the most out of their assets. “This is not a fire sale,” Payne said. “We’re not giving them away.”

Tulsa has already sold two buildings to local private schools, including the Town & Country School, which serves special needs students. The University of Tulsa has expressed interest in Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, located near its campus. A professional development program for district teachers is moving from Fulton Learning Academy (which was sold to Town & County) to Roosevelt Elementary School. Tulsa Public Schools started out with a goal of saving $5 million by closing schools, Payne said, and while it hasn’t reached that goal, it has made progress: $2.7 million saved through reduced maintenance and the revenue from sales.

The need for repurposing has already caught the attention of future policymakers: one of the entries in the National Invitational Public Policy Challenge, presented by a group of graduate students from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania, offered a similar solution for Philadelphia, which is planning to close more than 60 school buildings in the next few years. The team of four looked at several existing programs, including the KCPS Repurposing Initiative, when developing their plan.

Their model is intended to be more efficient and financially self-sustaining. Authority to sell would be transferred from the school district to the city’s redevelopment authority. More promising properties would be sold first and those funds are used to update less appealing assets — a “portfolio” approach that ensures all assets are eventually sold, said grad students Sarah Besnoff and Aaron Tjoa, to Governing.

“It could work anywhere,” Besnoff said, “and it makes sense for any vacant public buildings.” The team has held meetings with city officials and state legislators to put its plan (or some version of it) into action.

They estimate the two-year selling and renovating process would earn up to $20 million in additional revenue than simply marketing easy-to-sell properties and then maintaining or demolishing the others. With the Philadelphia School District facing a $186 million shortfall next year, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, that additional income would be welcome.

Those financial incentives, and the reality that holding onto vacated buildings is fiscally untenable, have led more districts to consider these repurposing initiatives, said Reggie Felton, assistant executive director at the National School Boards Association. Acting as a real estate agent isn’t a natural role for school districts, he said, but it’s one they’re willing to play for now.

“Districts generally don’t want to get into the business of being a landlord,” Felton said. “But it is a growing issue right now, and they’re certainly going to take advantage of that opportunity.”

[ Dylan Scott ]

A Model for Repurposing Closed Schools

Just because a school is shut down doesn’t mean the building needs to stand lifeless. In Dallas, one program has found a new use for space. Here’s what they did.

One of the biggest side effects of schools being shut down across the U.S. is abandoned buildings—Structures that are perfectly intact. More than 1,900 public schools closed in this country during 2010-2011. Another 1,800-plus closed the school year before.

What’s to become of these shuttered facilities, many of them anchors of their neighborhood? Ted Kollaja and his team from Gensler, a global design firm, came together in Dallas to brainstorm ideas on what to do with these empty schools. Instead of letting these building sit vacant for decades until demographics change and budgets are restored and they’re needed again as schools (which is often the response from school districts and cities), why not reactivate them now as FOR LEASE community assets before they become stewards of urban decay.

Troubled but inspired by the closing of 11 schools in the Dallas Independent School District (ISD), the team developed a process for repurposing closed schools not just in Dallas, but anywhere. Their pilot intervention was the shuttered N.W. Harllee Elementary School in south Dallas, which closed its doors in May 2012. The team reinvented and reopened that school in July 2013—albeit for just six weeks—as the Summer Leadership Academy and saw 50 teenagers graduate from a program that taught them life and career skills.

So what was the process? Grassroots activism. Within a month of the January 2012 announcement that schools would be closed, a small group of architects and designers from Gensler’s Dallas office came together to brainstorm solutions. Architecture is not just about building buildings; it’s about the impact buildings have on the community. This project offered the perfect opportunity to jump in and help re-energize once vibrant city spaces.

Out of the 11 closed schools, Harllee Elementary was chosen for the pilot intervention, because it offered a dynamic trio: political support (Mayor Mike Rawlings is pushing hard for investment in south Dallas); the right facility (Harllee is a historic building); and the right community engagement. The Golden Gate Missionary Baptist Church was an enthusiastic ticket into the community. Not just a church, it’s a pillar of this neighborhood with a long legacy of pastors as community leaders.

The idea of a summer leadership academy was specific to Harllee and its community. It was the outcome of meetings with residents of The Bottoms (as the neighborhood is known), who wanted a program for their 13- to 17-year-old children (kids too young for jobs, too old for summer camp). They wanted a program that would build up their teenagers, teaching them lessons in leadership and developing their creativity, teamwork, and even fitness.

Read the story to learn how the Gensler team in collaboration with city officials and community leaders helped launch this successful project. (image via Shutterstock)

[ Ted Kollaja ]

Repurposing Shedd

Four years after its closing, a former elementary school sits empty.

Nestled in a quiet part of Roseland, at the corner of 99th Street and Indiana Avenue, sits what was once John G. Shedd Elementary School. Shedd Elementary served as a satellite school to nearby Bennett Elementary until 2013.

After Chicago Public Schools (CPS) closed fifty schools in 2013, the district made an effort to provide information about the status and sale of the vacated school buildings. CPS maintains a list of these schools, along with a schedule of upcoming meetings (none of them current), and a map color-coding schools as “Undergoing community engagement process” or “Repurposed.” So far, only fourteen of the forty-three vacated buildings have been repurposed or sold, according to the Reporter. As little as can be gleaned from district-provided information on schools closed in 2013, it’s even harder to know what’s going on with closed school buildings outside of that list, like Shedd. But that hasn’t stopped some Roseland residents from bringing up the status of Shedd Elementary at recent ward meetings and advocating for the school’s repurposing.

Marilyn Keeter, principal of the Rescue Missionary Christian School, had hoped to move her school into the vacant building and turn it into something that could benefit the community. In 2014, she and Pastor Estelle Keeter (her mother and the school’s founder) went to inquire about the school’s condition.

“As you know, many other public schools are massive; we’re a small Christian school so we weren’t looking for anything that was huge,” said Keeter. “We wanted something that we knew would give us more room to grow but at the same time be something that we could handle.”

After the initial viewing of the school, Keeter said they immediately began what she described as a strenuous bidding process.

“We first had to meet with the real estate broker that was handling the property for CPS. After meeting with her, she arranged a time for us to go formally see the property. After we did that, myself, the pastor, and the board met with her and she emailed me all of the documents that needed to be sent in. Fifty-two pages were sent to us. There was a deadline for the bidding documents to be turned in and they were filled out extensively,” she said.

Keeter said that a lot of the questions were in regards to the repairs that needed to be done on the property. They were new to the process so they asked to be let into the property a second time, where they took their own licensed inspector to point out the things that had to be repaired.

“After checking out the boiler, the roof, siding and all those different things, there were an astronomical amount of repairs that we knew needed to be done in order to bring that building up to code. One of CPS’s stipulations was, ‘If you buy this property, you buy it as is. If you find out that it’s sitting on hazardous waste, it’s not our concern,’” Keeter said. “It was more than just, ‘Oh this is nice, we want it.’ No—we had to really go in there and say, ‘This needs to be changed, this needs to be brought up to code.’ It was a situation like that.”

CPS also wanted to know how the Rescue Missionary Christian School would engage with the Roseland Heights community.

According to Clevan Tucker, president of the Roseland Heights Community Association, Keeter and the Rescue Missionary School had to be vetted by community members and explain how purchasing Shedd Elementary would benefit everyone in the community.

“They presented us with a packet and they went over the benefits; they’d leave the space open and they would improve it and allow us to use the building for community association meetings and events so it would have been a partnership between the new owners and the community,” said Tucker.

Because the property sits on a large amount of land, Keeter said that they wanted to revitalize it. “There would be a little walking path or a gardening type thing for the seniors. [In] the back of the school, we wanted to start a community garden. So there were many aspects of the bidding itself that [the community] wanted to know. That’s another reason we went to the Roseland Heights Community [Association], because we wanted to know how they would feel if a Christian school were to purchase this property.”

The Rescue Missionary Christian School then presented their information to the district and 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale, along with another bidder (“We never got a name. All we knew was that it was a [housing] developer,” Tucker said). Both bids were rejected. “The highest bidder did not get community approval so my thought was, ‘Shouldn’t it go to the second highest bidder since you only had two?’ But no, he rejected both bids and put it back up for sale. At least that’s the story we got,” said Tucker.

In fact, because Shedd was not officially considered one of the schools closed in 2013, there was no district requirement for community input or public meetings at the time (now, that requirement has been lifted for many schools closed in 2013 as well).

According to Beale, the bid by the Rescue Missionary Christian School was denied because he felt they did not have “the resources to accomplish what the community is looking to have done,” he said. “If the building needs redoing, they really don’t have the capital to rehab the building, keep up with the maintenance of the building, keep up with the landscaping, all those types of things.”

According to a Freedom of Information Act request, Shedd Elementary accumulated approximately $5,430 in gas and electricity costs from July 2015 to June 2016, which has residents wondering why taxpayers are still paying to keep the lights on in a closed building.

Beale explained that some buildings are secured by alarm systems. “You don’t want a school just sitting there open. You might want to make sure the heat stays at a certain temperature so the pipes don’t freeze. There’s a lot of things going on, just because a building is vacant doesn’t mean that there’s no activity in the building. There’s still a light amount of maintenance being done,” he said.

The building is still in good condition and has yet to become an eyesore in the neighborhood. But residents still want to see the building repurposed.

“The appearance is fine,” said Marvin Bonds, a nearby resident. “It’s not shattered with broken windows or hanging gutters. I like it the way it is here. I hope they don’t turn it into a development of some kind.”

“I’d like to see them do something with the property,” added his wife, Fran Bonds. “I think a community center or a school would be good.”

Bonds added that while a school may be a good idea, there might not be enough kids in the community for a school. “I don’t see a lot of little kids around here. We’re in our sixties and there are a few kids that come and play here in this playground, but I don’t think there’s enough here for a community center or school,” said Marvin.

There’s some evidence that opening new schools (specifically charters) in areas with declining child population drains students, and student-based funds, from nearby neighborhood schools. That’s a problem any new school, including Rescue Missionary Christian School, would have to confront. However, according to a report by Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, in contrast to some other community areas on the South and West Sides with declining school-age populations, Roseland’s child population has remained relatively stable between 1990 and 2010.

Beale said that some members of the community want to see some type of youth education incubator in the building. “It’s a very good building. It’s a very good location, a quiet community. So we want to make sure that we educate kids and still have the community quiet like they’re accustomed to,” he said.

“There are a couple of users out there that are able to do that but again, we’re just not going to accept anything and put it in there just to have somebody in the building. We want to make sure we get the right fit. That’s all we’re trying to do.”

[ Deysi Cuevas ]

What is Sanctification?

What is sanctification? What is the definition of Christian sanctification? Is sanctification positional or progressive?

[ Got Questions ]

How Sanctification Works

Ligonier Conference Panel Q&A

How Is A Christian Sanctified By The Gospel?

Bobby explains how key the Gospel is in a believer’s ongoing sanctification.

[ Bobby Conway ]

Sanctification – A Slow Transformation

[ John Piper ]

The Most Neglected Theme in Sanctification

The Christian life still entails obedience it still involves a fight but it’s a fight we will win you have the Spirit of Christ in your corner rubbing your shoulders holding the bucket putting his arm around you and saying before the next round was sin you’re going to knock them out kid sin may get some good jabs it may clean your clock once in a while it may bring you to your knees but if you are in Christ it will never knock you out you are no longer a slave but free sin has no dominion over you it can’t it won’t a new king sits on the throne you serve a different master you salute a different Lord

[ Kevin DeYoung ]

T4G 2014 | Preaching Sanctification – Matt Chandler, Derek Thomas, Kevin DeYoung, John Piper

Efficacious Grace

“In efficacious grace we are not merely passive, nor yet does God do some, and we do the rest. But God does all, and we do all. God produces all, and we act all. For that is what he produces, that is, our own acts. God is the only proper author and fountain; we only are the proper actors.

We are, in different respects, wholly passive and wholly active. In the Scriptures the same things are represented as from God and from us. God is said to convert, and men are said to convert and turn. God makes a new heart, and we are commanded to make us a new heart.

God circumcises the heart, and we are commanded to circumcise our own hearts; not merely because we must use the means in order to the effect, but the effect itself is our act and our duty. These things are agreeable to that text, ‘God worketh in you both to will and to do.’ (Philippians 2:13)”

[ Jonathan Edwards ]

Sanctification: The Progress

When you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, what did you expect to happen next? How did you think your life would change? Did anyone teach you how to live a godly Christian life? God has an extraordinary plan for your life, and in this wonderful sermon entitled “Sanctification: The Process,” Dr. Stanley discusses how God prepares you for service and transforms you into the image of Christ.

[ Charley Stanley ]

For this is the Will of God, Your Sanctification

Excerpt from the July 16, 2016 sermon by Dr. John MacArthur, “Taking the Mystery Out of Knowing God’s Will.”

[ John MacArthur ]

8 Stages of Sanctification
[ The following are excerpts I gleaned from the video ]

We are not even a ‘lump’ of clay (processed), but just ‘chunks’ of hard soil (unprocessed, just dug out of the ground) with all kinds of other stuff in it

Unprocessed clay needs to have water added to it, then ’screened,’ and then dried out.

It is then “wedged” so that all the air is ‘used’ out of it.

Then you must ‘center’ the clay on the wheel. Then you ’shape’ the clay.

Then the shaped clay dies for a while.

Then it is low-fired—and even if you put it in water, it will not go back to a ’soft’ condition.

Then the glaze is put on and “high fired.” Then the glaze (‘glass’) is ‘bonded’ into the pores of the clay.

The process of Making Clay Pottery is Analogous to the Sanctification Process

1: Dug Out of the Ground – Dried (Faith) [ Read the Bible ]
2: Weathered – Saturated in Water (Virtue) [ Hide Scripture in your heart ]
3: Wedged (Knowledge) [ Study Scripture ]
4: Rested (Temperance) [ Rest in the Lord ]
5: Shaped (Patience) [ Thankfulness ]
6: Low-fired (Godliness) [ Devoted ]
7: Glaze Coat (Brotherly Kindness) [ Yielded ]
8: High Fired (Charity) [ Serve with pure motives ]

2 Peter 1-15: Partakes of the divine nature of God:

“To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.”

Psalm 69:
Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.

Psalm 40:
I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. (A picture of salvation) — But we need to be ‘processed’

The Sanctification Process:
1: Just like the clay, spiritually, we need to be ‘dug out’ of the darkness of the ground (Receive/Believe)
2: Since we are ‘contaminated’, we need to submerge ourselves in the Word of God—allowing it to soften us, cleanse us, and allow God to ‘purge’ (Soften/Cleanse) those lies of self-deception and false doctrine out of us
3: Then allow the sharp “two-edged sword” of the Spirit to do its work as we study the Word
4: Then we need to ‘saturate’ ourselves with God’s words allow the Word of God to ‘permeate’ our body, souls and spirit (mediate)
5: Being thankful for the  trials and circumstances, that give us strength as we are shaped on the ‘wheel’ of life
6: then be devoted to the Lord as we resist the ‘flesh’
7: Partake of His brotherly kindness as we ‘yield’ to Him and willing to obey and do everything that is right.
8: Then serving other with a pure motive of charity.

Steps 1-4: Absorb God’s Word (Read; Memorize; Study; Meditate)
Steps 5-8: Do the Word

[ David Engesath ]

Sanctification: A Biblical Doctrine that is Essential to Salvation

It took a lot of searching for me to find a preacher who grasps the utmost importance and correct understanding of the central Christian doctrine of “Sanctification.” This is a key doctrine that largely explains what Jesus meant in Matthew 7:21-23, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Sanctification is a major pillar of salvation. The Protestant Reformation that began with Martin Luther and John Calvin accomplished more than merely re-discovering the doctrine of “justification by faith alone,” but it continued onwards, and it climaxed when the Puritans grasped the process of Sanctification, that is, to become godly people through the power of the Holy Spirit. Salvation by faith in Christ involves more activity than just a one-time profession of faith, but it continues after this, for the rest of your life, and much of that further progress involves the process of sanctification. If sanctification is not happening in you, something is wrong with your Christian development.

Sanctification is the solution to the “once saved, always saved” controversy, and it is the process constantly alluded to by the apostles when they tell us to persevere, run the race, finish the course, endure in faith, lay hold on salvation, receive the full reward, press towards the mark, etc. No, you cannot “lose your salvation” but, Yes you can fail to go to heaven even though you once believed the Gospel, because you can turn back, fall away, not run, give up, lose the fight, and fail to proceed into sanctification. I would say that this doctrine is the most important and most overlooked pillar of the Christian faith which we ought to be focusing on in America today.

The inner work of sanctification, of course, is done by God, through the intercession of Jesus Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit in us; but as Christians who desire to be saved and to receive our heavenly inheritance, we must pray for sanctification, pursue it diligently, desire it earnestly, and make it a conscious priority in our lives. Therefore, I beseech you brethren, listen to this first sermon by pastor Marino and then follow up with the other six sermons in this series, which is excellent both academically and spiritually, here:

Then, as this doctrine starts to impress its massive importance upon you, you’re going to find that suddenly you possess a new and wonderful appreciation for the writings of the Puritans like Jonathan Edwards, Andrew Murray, John Owen, Thomas Boston, Richard Baxter, Richard Sibbes, Thomas Watson, William Law, et al. When you get there, I have created several good playlists comprising the most prominent writings of these supremely knowledgeable, intellectually astounding Christian teachers (the greatest the world has ever seen since the 2nd Century AD) which you can find on my channel, or, an even wider selection of them on the channel, “Christian Praise and Worship in Songs, Sermons, and Audio Books” (

I summarize it all this way: Justification + Sanctification = Salvation. Luther and Calvin restored the doctrine of justification by faith, but then the Puritans restored the doctrine of sanctification. Both are of equal importance if you want to receive your full reward of eternal glory in Christ.

Note this sermon is originally entitled, “The Definition of Sanctification,” so begin watching the remainder of pastor Marino’s series at part 2, “A Defense of Sanctification,” which is a bit overly-academic, or part 3, “Different Models of Sanctification,” which takes a more historical perspective on the debates surrounding the meaning and role of this doctrine.

[ Matt Marino ]

Prelude to Acting the Miracle

Putting Sanctification in Its Place. God’s Work and Ours in the Mystery of Sanctification.

[ John Piper – Desiring God 2012 National Conference ]

A Call to Holiness

Christians are often uncomfortable thinking of each other as “holy ones.” Yet the call to God’s people is “You shall be holy; for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44/ 1 Peter 1:16). It is through faith in Christ that we are set apart as holy ones, yet we still struggle with sin. Sanctification is the process by which we are being made holy. How do we seek God’s grace in living holy lives?

[ John MacArthur ]

Wrestle with Sanctification

John Piper and Tim Keller sat down to discuss the biblical vision of sanctification. In this 14-minute video they touch on how justification and sanctification relate, along with the psychological dynamics of faith.

[ John Piper and Tim Keller ]

Why God Sanctifies Us Slowly

God could change you in an instant so you would never sin again. So why doesn’t he make us completely holy now?

[ John Piper ]

Distinguishing Sanctification From Justification

2016 Spurgeon Conference, Part 7

[ Mike Fabarez ]

A Call To Holy Living

It is a very great fault in any ministry if the doctrine of justification by faith alone be not most clearly taught. I will go further, and add, that it is not only a great fault, but a fatal one; for souls will never find their way to heaven by a ministry that is indistinct upon the most fundamental of gospel truths. We are justified by faith, and not by the works of the law. The merit by which a soul enters heaven is not its own; it is the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am quite sure that you will all hold me guiltless of ever having spoken about this great doctrine in any other than unmistakable language; if I have erred, it is not in that direction. At the same time, it is a dangerous state of things if doctrine is made to drive out precept, and faith is held up as making holiness a superfluity. Sanctification must not be forgotten or overlaid by justification. We must teach plainly that the faith which saves the soul is not a dead faith, but a faith which operates with purifying effect upon our entire nature, and produces in us fruits of righteousness to the praise and glory of God. It is not by personal holiness that a man shall enter heaven, but yet without holiness shall no man see the Lord.

[ Charles Spurgeon ]

“The Process of Salvation (Justification, Sanctification and Glorification)

Tabernacle of Joy

How Man Becomes Holy” (Sanctification) and “The Process of Sanctification

The doctrine of sanctification provides a view of salvation from an “inward” perspective and explains how God enables mankind to share in His holiness.

[ Mike Mazzalongo ]


Seminar 1 at 2012 Twin Lakes Fellowship

[ Ligon Duncan ]

What does it mean to work out salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12)?

Answer: In Philippians 2:12-13, Paul writes, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his purpose.”

This text is often misused to instill fear into people, warning them that it means that they can lose salvation. What does it mean to work out our salvation with fear and trembling? [ more… ]

The Ordo Salutis (The Application of Redemption) – Progressive Sanctification

Click to access sot-56-progressive-sanctification.pdf

What is Salvation? Justification, Sanctification, Glorification

Our salvation in Christ involves 3 marvelous gifts: justification, sanctification, and glorification.

Justification is the gift by which our sins are forgiven.
Sanctification is the gift by which we grow in likeness of Christ.
Glorification is the gift by which we enter into the everlasting joy of heaven.

If you get that, you get the whole Christian life. Now think about what happened to the thief on the cross: he was justified and glorified on the same day, he completely bypassed sanctification. This man missed out on the entire Christian life: no battles, no temptation, no struggles with prayer, he wasn’t baptized, never received communion, didn’t become a member in any church.

The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Now it is always true that where faith is birthed, works will follow. Your acceptance with God does not depend on your performance in your Christian life. It is by grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone.

[ Colin Smith ]

Salvation vs. Sanctification

“I think I trusted Christ 10 times the first month after I trusted Christ because after I genuinely came to faith in Christ I found myself still prideful arrogant and lustful and insecure and I go I must not it must not have been so I really meant it I’m really a sinner I really believe in Jesus amen whoa look at that and I just go what in the world here’s the deal salvation that’s a big big that is the that is what God does in our life and there’s three parts of salvation there’s justification which is when we are justified declared righteous by God it is freedom from the penalty of sin the moment you trust Jesus Christ you are justified it is finished but there is another part of salvation next to justification called sanctification it is when the power of God is working in you to bring you into the image of Jesus Christ it’s when you’re being delivered from the power of sin we’re now free if we submit ourselves to God to allow his righteousness and resurrection power to inform our hearts so that we don’t follow our flesh because we know God is good and not to be avoided and managed and hidden from but to be followed and so we increasingly have the power to say no to what seems right to us and we realize that that is a mental problem it is a problem that needs to be fixed and conformed to the will of God see that we’re being delivered from the power of sin and there’s going to be a day I would be glorified when I am delivered from the presence of sin Oh glorious day but until then I need the Word of God the spirit of God in the people of God to admonish encourage and help me.”

[ Todd Wagner ]
(This segment starts at 40:59 of the entire sermon)

Entire Sermon:

Experiential/Progressive Sanctification

According to John Frame, “We can think of [experiential] sanctification as the outworking of the new life given in regeneration.” It involves the gradual, incremental and (S)piritual work of both putting to death the remains of “indwelling sin” as well as putting on the likeness of Christ. While we work out the salvation given to us, it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for His sovereign good pleasure. (Phil 2:13).

“Progressive sanctification has two parts: mortification and vivification, “both of which happen to us by participation in Christ,” as Calvin notes (Calvin, Institutes 3.3.2, 9 The “mortification / vivification” distinction was first formulated by Melanchthon in his Commentary on Romans (Corpus Reformatorum). These occur simultaneously and continuously throughout the Christian life, rather than in stages. Christ’s death alone is atoning, and cannot be repeated. He died for our sins, but we die to our sins. Christ took up his cross once and for all as a sacrifice for sin, but he calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross daily,” facing persecution from within and without (Lk. 9:23). Although we have died definitively to the law and to sin (Paul uses the analogy of remarriage after a death in Romans 7: 1-6; cf. Gal. 2:19), we continue to struggle inwardly with our new identity (Ro. 7:7-24). Subjectively experiencing this definitive reality signified and sealed to us in our baptism requires a daily dying and rising.”

[ Michael Horton, “The Christian Faith,” page 661 ]

John Calvin on Election, Preservation and Sanctification

“Nor by remission of sins does the Lord only once for all elect and admit us into the Church, but by the same means he preserves and defends us in it. For what would it avail us to receive a pardon of which we were afterwards to have no use? That the mercy of the Lord would be vain and delusive if only granted once, all the godly can bear witness; for there is none who is not conscious, during his whole life, of many infirmities which stand in need of divine mercy…. Hence let us surely hold that if we are admitted and ingrafted into the body of the Church, the forgiveness of sins has been bestowed, ad is daily bestowed on us, in divine liberality, through the intervention of Christ’s merits, and the sanctification of the Spirit.”

[ John Calvin, “Institutes of the Christian Religion,” 4.1.21 ]

We Must Be Holy

We must he holy on earth before we die, if we desire to go to heaven after death. If we hope to dwell with God for ever in the life to come, we must endeavour to be like Him in the life that now is. We must not only admire holiness, and wish for holiness: we must be holy.

Holiness cannot justify and save us: holiness cannot cover our iniquities, make satisfaction for transgressions, pay our debts to God. Our best works are no better than filthy rags, when tried by the light of God’s law. The righteousness which Jesus Christ brought in must be our only confidence,—the blood of atonement our only hope. All this is perfectly true, and yet we must be holy.

We must be holy, because God in the Bible plainly commands it. “As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter i. 15, 16).

We must be holy, because this is one great end for which Christ came into the world. “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. v. 15).

We must be holy, because this is the only sound evidence that we have a saving faith in Christ. “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James ii. 17, 26).

We must be holy, because this is the only proof that we love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. What can be more plain than our Lord’s own words? “If ye love Me, keep my commandments.” “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me.” (John xiv. 15, 21).

We must be holy, because this is the only sound evidence that we are God’s children. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” “Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God” (Rom. viii. 14; I John iii. 10).

Lastly, we must be holy, because without holiness on earth we should never be prepared and meet for heaven. It is written of the heavenly glory, “There shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie” (Rev. xxi. 27). St. Paul says expressly, “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. xii. 14).

Ah, reader, the last text I have just quoted is very solemn. It ought to make you think. It was written by the hand of inspired man: it is not my private fancy. Its words are the words of the Bible: not of my own invention. God has said it, and God will stand to it: “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.”

What tremendous words these are! What thoughts come across my mind as I write them down! I look at the world, and see the greater part of it lying in wickedness; I look at professing Christians, and see the vast majority having nothing of Christianity but the name; I turn to the Bible, and I hear the Spirit saying, “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.”

Surely it is a text that ought to make you consider your ways, and search your hearts. Surely it should raise within you solemn thoughts, and send you to prayer.

You may try to put me off by saying you feel much, and think much about these things,—far more than many suppose. I answer, This is not the point. The poor lost souls in hell do as much as this. The great question is, not what you think and what you feel, but what you DO. Are you holy?

You may say, It was never meant that all Christians should be holy, and that holiness such as I have described is only for great saints, and people of uncommon gifts. I answer, I cannot see this in Scripture. I read that “every man who hath hope in Christ purifieth himself” (1 John iii. 3). “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.”

You may say, It is impossible to be so holy and to do our duty in this life at the same time: the thing cannot be done. I answer, You are mistaken: it can be done. With God on your side, nothing is impossible. It has been done by many: Moses, and Obadiah, and Daniel, and the servants of Nero’s household, are all examples that go to prove it.

You may say, If you were so holy, you would be unlike other people. I answer, I know it well: it is just what I want you to be. Christ’s true servants always were unlike the world around them,—a separate nation, a peculiar people; and you must be so too, if you would be saved.

You may say, At this rate very few will be saved. I answer, I know it: Jesus said so eighteen hundred years ago. Few will be saved, because few will take the trouble to seek salvation. Men will not deny themselves the pleasures of sin and their own way for a season; for this they turn their backs on an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away. “Ye will not come to Me,” says Jesus, “that ye might have life” (John v. 40).

You may say, These are hard sayings: the way is very narrow. I answer, I know it: Jesus said so eighteen hundred years ago. He always said that men must take up the cross daily, that they must be ready to cut off hand or foot, if they would be His disciples. It is in religion as it is in other things, “There are no gains without pains.” That which costs nothing is worth nothing.

Reader, whatever you may think fit to say, you must be holy if you would see the Lord. Where is your Christianity if you are not? Show it to me without holiness, if you can. You must not merely have a Christian name and Christian knowledge, you must have a Christian character also: you must be a saint on earth, if ever you mean to be a saint in heaven. God has said it, and He will not go back,—”Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” “The Pope’s calendar,” says Jenken, “only makes saints of the dead, but Scripture requires sanctity in the living.” “Let not men deceive themselves,” says Owen, “sanctification is a qualification indispensably necessary—unto those who will be under the conduct of the Lord Jesus unto salvation: He leads none to heaven but whom He sanctifies on the earth. This living Head will not admit of dead members.”

Surely you will not wonder that Scripture says, “Ye must be born again” (John iii. 7). Surely it is clear as noon-day that many of you need a complete change, —new hearts, new natures,—if ever you are to be saved. Old things must pass away, you must become new creatures. Without holiness, no man, be he who he may,—no man shall see the Lord.

Reader, consider well what I have said. Do you feel any desire to be holy? Does your conscience whisper, “I am not holy yet, but I should like to become so”? Listen to the advice I am going to give you. The Lord grant you may take it and act upon it!

Would you be holy? Would you become a new creature? Then begin with Christ. You will do just nothing till you feel your sin and weakness, and flee to Him: He is the beginning of all holiness. He is not wisdom and righteousness only to His people, but sanctification also. Men sometimes try to make themselves holy first of all, and sad work they make of it: they toil, and labour, and turn over many new leaves, and make many changes, and yet, like the woman with the issue of blood before she came to Christ, they feel nothing bettered, but rather worse. They run in vain, and labour in vain: and little wonder, for they are beginning at the wrong end. They are building up a wall of sand: their work runs down as fast as they throw it up. They are baling water out of a leaky vessel; the leak gains on them; not they on the leak. Other foundation of holiness can no man lay than that which Paul laid, even Christ Jesus. Without Christ we can do nothing. It is a strong but true saying of Traill’s, “Wisdom out of Christ is damning folly; righteousness out of Christ is guilt and condemnation; sanctification out of Christ is filth and sin; redemption out of Christ is bondage and slavery.”

Would you be holy: Would you be partakers of the Divine nature? Then go to Christ. Wait for nothing: wait for nobody: linger not. Think not to make you yourself ready: go, and say to Him, in the words of that beautiful hymn,—

“Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, flee to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace.”

There is not a brick nor a stone laid in the work of our sanctification till we go to Christ. Holiness is His special gift to His believing people; holiness is the work He carries on in their hearts, by the Spirit whom He puts within them. He is appointed a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance as well as remission of sins: to as many as receive Him He gives power to become sons of God. Holiness comes not of blood,—parents cannot give it to their children; nor yet of the will of the flesh,—man cannot produce it in himself; nor yet of the will of man, —ministers cannot give it you by baptism. Holiness comes from Christ. It is the result of vital union with Him: it is the fruit of being a living branch of the true vine. Go then to Christ, and say, “Lord, not only save me from the guilt of sin, but send the Spirit, whom Thou didst promise, and save me from its power. Make me holy. Teach me to do Thy will.”

Would you continue holy, when you have once been made so? Then abide in Christ. He says Himself, “Abide in Me, and I in you. He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit” (John xv. 4, 5).

He is the Physician to whom You must daily go, if you would keep well; He is the Manna which you must daily eat, and the Rock of which you must daily drink. His arm is the arm on which you must daily lean, as you come up out of the wilderness of this world. You must not only be rooted, you must also be built up in Him.

Reader, may you and I know these things by experience, and not by hearsay only! May we all feel the importance of holiness, far more than we have ever done yet! May our years he holy years with our souls, and then I know they will be happy ones! But this I say once more, “We must be holy.”

[ J. C. Ryle ]


A sermon from Dr. R.C. Sproul. Text: Romans 8:8-17

In this sermon, Dr. Sproul investigates the use of the word spirit—the relationship of the human spirit to the body and its relationship to the soul. He disscusses the following four categories of people when it comes to salvation: not saved and know it; saved and know it; saved and not sure; and not saved but sure they are saved.

The Spirit’s Work of Sanctification

This Lecture is from the Teaching Series The Holy Spirit.

Who is the Holy Spirit and what is His role in redemption? These questions have been especially important since the rise of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements in the last century. Along with a renewed interest in the person and work of the Holy Spirit has come increased confusion. In this series, R.C. Sproul cuts through the complexity, getting to the heart of the Bible’s teaching regarding the third person of the Trinity.

The Struggle of Sanctification

A Broadcast with Guy Waters

The Christian life is one of struggle and conflict against sin. And that fact can sometimes cause Christians to despair. In this message on Romans 7, Guy Waters encourages us that the fight against sin is evidence of a renewed heart.


Lecture 44:

When someone has been justified by faith in Christ, the transformative work of sanctification begins. In this lesson, Dr. Sproul discusses the path of sanctification in the Christian life and the impact that it has for believers’ growth in grace.

No Holiness, No Heaven: The Doctrine of Sanctification

When I posted my previous video about the essential but under-emphasized Biblical doctrine of Sanctification (by pastor Matt Marino), the enemies of righteousness immediately swooped in to attack it, so I decided to post more on this doctrine, recognizing that the devil considers it to be a frontline in the spiritual warfare of these last days. Here is another great sermon on sanctification; from pastor Brian Borgman of Grace Community Church in Minden, Nevada. Understand that “sanctification” is a major part of Christian salvation and was a one of the great revelations that emerged during the Protestant Reformation, especially among the Puritans.

The Protestant Reformation began with Martin Luther and John Calvin, but it accomplished much more than merely re-discovering the doctrine of “justification by faith alone;” but it continued onwards, and it climaxed when the Puritans grasped the practical doctrine called “Sanctification.” This doctrine entails the Christian transformation whereby we become godly people through the power of the Holy Spirit, a special people set apart from the rest of the world, not like monks in a monastery, but like heaven-bound kings and overcomers in a world that wants to defile us and seduce us into sin.

Also, Sanctification is the solution to the “once saved, always saved” controversy, and it is the process constantly alluded to by the apostles when they tell us to persevere, run the race, finish the course, endure in faith, lay hold on salvation, receive the full reward, press in, etc. No, you cannot “lose your salvation” but, Yes you can fail to go to Heaven even though you once believed the Gospel, because you can turn back, fall away, not run, give up, and fail to proceed into sanctification. I would say that this doctrine is the most important and overlooked pillar of the Christian faith which we ought to be focusing on in America today. Why? The title of Borgman’s sermon says it all: “No Holiness, No Heaven.”

I summarize it like this: Justification + Sanctification = Salvation. Luther and Calvin restored the doctrine of Justification by Faith, but then the Puritans restored the doctrine of Sanctification. Both are important if you want your full reward of eternal glory in Christ. Christians need not reject modernity, but Christians must utterly reject secular progressivism and moral relativism. Therefore I suspect that the devil hates this message because it is indeed essential to a person’s salvation, and secondarily I suspect that Catholics oppose it because it conflicts with their heretical doctrine of Purgatory: (because there is no need for a Purgatory if purity is to be pursued now in this life).

[ Brian Borgman ]

Sanctification (Overview)

[ Matt Chandler ]

Sermon Series:

Holiness” (by J.C. Ryle)

Chapter 2 – “Sanctification”:

“Sanctify them through Your truth.” [ John 17:17 ]

Chapter 3 – “Holiness”:

“Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.” [ Hebrews 12:14 ]

Pleasing God

What higher satisfaction is there than knowing that what we do and think is pleasing to God? But how can we, as imperfect Christians, ever hope to please a perfect God? Is it even possible in a world where temptations so often lead us astray? In this series of practical guidelines for Christian living, Dr. R.C. Sproul clearly identifies the struggles we all share in pleasing God and offers insights on how to overcome them.

[ R.C. Sproul ]

We Have Not Known The As We Ought

We have not known Thee as we ought,
Nor learned Thy wisdom, grace and power;
The things of earth have filled our thought,
And trifles of the passing hour.
Lord, give us light Thy truth to see,
And make us wise in knowing Thee.

We have not feared Thee as we ought,
Nor bowed beneath Thine awful eye,
Nor guarded deed and word and thought,
Remembering that God was nigh.
Lord, give us faith to know Thee near,
And grant the grace of holy fear.

We have not loved Thee as we ought,
Nor cared that we are loved by Thee;
Thy presence we have coldly sought,
And feebly longed Thy face to see.
Lord, give a pure and loving heart
To feel and know the love Thou art.

We have not served Thee as we ought,
Alas, the duties left undone,
The work with little fervor wrought,
The battles lost or scarcely won!
Lord, give the zeal, and give the might,
For Thee to toil, for Thee to fight.

When shall we know Thee as we ought,
And fear and love and serve aright?
When shall we, out of trial brought,
Be perfect in the land of light?
Lord, may we day by day prepare
To see Thy face and serve Thee there.

[ Thomas B. Pollack ]

Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.

Not the labour of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die!

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgement throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

[ Augustus Toplady ]

Take Time To Be Holy

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

[ William D. Longstaff ]


Holiness, holiness is what I long for
Holiness is what I need
Holiness, holiness is what You want from me

Holiness, holiness is what I long for
Holiness is what I need
Holiness, holiness is what You want from me

So, take my heart and form it
Take my mind and transform it
Take my will and conform it
To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord
To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord

Faithfulness, faithfulness is what I long for
Faithfulness is what I need
Faithfulness, faithfulness is what You want from me

So, take my heart and form it
Take my mind and transform it
Take my will and conform it
To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord

So, take my heart and form it
Take my mind and transform it
Take my will and conform it
To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord
To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord

Brokenness, brokenness is what I long for
Brokenness is what I need
Brokenness, brokenness is what You want from me
What You want from me
It what I want.

[ Sonicflood – “Sonicflood” album ]

Life Restored
(Parody of “Last Resort” by Papa Roach)

Plug my life into Jesus—this gets my life restored
Such a cakewalk—no brainer
Don’t need to fuss if I call on our savior
This gets my life restored

Plugged my life into Jesus—I’ve seen my life restored
Such a cakewalk—no brainer
Don’t need to fuss since I called Him my savior
Do not even care if I die later
Cause I belong to Jesus Christ
If they took my life tonight—chances are I’d arrive
In a place that’s out of sight—and I’m confident I’m doin’ fine

‘Cause I’m improving my life, renewing my mind
This all started with Romans 10:9
Doing what’s right, doin’ quite fine
This all started with Romans 10:9

I never realized I was meant to live
To live a new life if I would let Him within
Told me—death is the payoff for living in sin
End the cycle when you’re born again
It all started when I first discovered
The Book on my shelf and read cover to cover
Searching—to find religion that held my attention
Finding—something called Christian redemption

‘Cause I’m improving my life, renewing my mind
This all started with Romans 10:9
Doing what’s right, doin’ quite fine
This all started with Romans 10:9

I’ll be all right—I’ll be just fine
You’re runnin’ out of time
I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine
I can’t go wrong living this way

Plug my life into Jesus
This gets my life restored
Selfish nature—don’t need it
Go give it up—you can conquer your demons
Would it be wrong for me to pry
If you give your life to Christ—Chances are dynamite
You will make it out alive—and I’m confident you’ll do it right

‘Cause I’m improving my life, renewing my mind
This all started with Romans 10:9
Doing what’s right, doin’ quite fine
This all started with Romans 10:9

I’ll be all right—I’ll be just fine—You’re runnin’ out of time
I can’t go wrong livin’ this way—Can’t go wrong living this way
I’ll be all—right

[ ApologetiX – Album: “Keep The Change” ]

Walk His Way
(Parody of “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith)

Bad-footed brother, I was hopin’ to recover but the doctors I’m sad to say
Said “We can’t do nothin’ so you’re down on your luck because
You’re sure to be lame to stay.”
It was clear to me that what I needed was to be the kind of guy you could never resist
Had to beg for my supper with a system I discovered
When I started as a little kid — like this! LEAD
See my sign sayin’ “Give a coin to the poor”? Could you please find somethin’ to spare?
I’d say, “Hey, give a little bit of pity to a cripple!”
When it seemed like they didn’t care
But I took a big step as the Bible says with some Christians who were ready to pray
Cause it seemed my feet was ruined but they knew what they was doin’
When the both of them appeared today
And they told me to … walk His way (4x) They just gave me a gift — like this!
So John and Peter — was a passin’ by this afternoon for prayer time today at three
I said, “Please, I’m beggin’ — put some gold in my pockets!”
When they told me, “Baby, look here at me!”
I was a-quite confused I never made it with my legs
Until their voice told me somethin’ was diff
They said, “Forget those treasures ’cause we got a better favor.”
And they gave me just a little gift like this LEAD
Things started tinglin’ and the boys gave a pull with my feet flyin’ up in the air
Sayin’, “Hey, it’s a miracle!” It’s really pretty clear because I didn’t have to sit in a chair
So I took a big step with my right foot and left
With those Christians who were ready to pray
Was a really big improvement ’cause they knew what they was doin’
When they told me now to walk His way — I’m goin’ to
Walk His way (8x) He just gave me a gift — like this!

[ ApologetiX – “Jesus Christ Morningstar” album ]

Eight Ways To Be
(Parody of “Eight Days a Week” by The Beatles)

You might need to know babe, Chapter 5 Matthew
Helps you see my Lord’s eight blest Beatitudes
Holy, happy, holy, happy
There’s eight God wants ya to know, babe, eight ways to be Blessed are the humble, blest are those who mourn
Blessed are the gentle of meek and lowly form
They’ll be happy, you’ll be happy
There’s eight God wants ya to know, babe, eight ways to be Eight ways to be in Matthew
Eight ways to be in Matthew 5:2 go right there
Blessed are the thirsty for righteousness and truth
Blest are those with mercy – they’ll get Christ’s mercy too Ohhh, they’ll be happy, you’ll be happy
There’s eight God wants us to know, babe, eight ways to be Eight ways to be in Matthew
Eight ways to be – that’s why they’re called Beatitudes Blest are the pure of heart and those who peace to make Blest are those who suffer for righteousness’ sake
Holy, happy, holy, happy
And eight is plenty enough, babe
Eight ways to be, eight ways to be, eight ways to be

[ ApologetiX – “Apol-acoustiX” album ]

Gimme Helper
(Parody of “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones)

Ooooh Ooooh Ooooh (REPEAT 3X)
Ooh, well, the Lord has said that Christ will abide in me
If I don’t get the Helper
Today, I’m gonna wait and pray
Lord Jesus, please send Him right away Please send Him right away
Lord Jesus, please send Him right away Please send Him right away – yeahh
Ooh, see the fire appearing
Now over people’s heads
Heard mighty wind blow across me My Lord brought a friend
Lord Jesus, He sends Him out today He sends Him out today
Lord Jesus, He sends Him out today He sends Him out today – yeahhh
Pray, brothers!
He’s just a shout away, He’s just a shout away Pray, brothers! Yeahh
He’s just a shout away, He’s just a shout away Pray, brothers!
He’s just a shout away, He’s just a shout away Hey, yeah yeah
Mmmm – well, the Lord is sending Christ’s Spirit right to me
Gives me, gives me a Helper
So, I’m gonna pave the way
Lord Jesus, He’s just a shout away He’s just a shout away
He’s just a shout away
He’s just a shout away
He’s just a shout away
I said, the Father, listens
He hears His kids who pray
He gives His gift today
He gives us gifts today
He gives us gifts today
He gives us gifts today, gifts today, gifts today, hey

[ ApologetiX – “Single Group” album ]

It’s You In Me
(Parody of “Just You and Me” by Chicago)

You are the Lord of my life
You are my inspiration
It’s You in me – people can see
Gave me each clever thing I ever dreamed up
Made me Your own precious child
Promised You.d never leave me
It’s You in me – people can see
I’ve been so peaceful since You’re inside me
Come Holy Ghost – shepherd and lead me
Oh, I pray I won’t aggrieve Thee!
Open our hearts, cleanse us from sin
Every sin, every sin, every sin
Help me do right – help me do better and better You know I want perfection
It’s You in me – You cheer me on
People can see You love me
You told us, Lord, You loved the world
I want to go and show them Jesus
You are the Lord of my life
You are my inspiration
It’s You in me – people can see
Saved me from everything I’ve been redeemed from

[ ApologetiX – “”Churchigo” album ]

The Power Above
(Parody of “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis & the News)

The power above is a glorious thing
Baby, one man’s weakness is another man’s strength Change your heart through a little white dove
The Holy Spirit – has the power above
Thumb through the Bible, and it’s quite clear
You’re stronger and smarter when you have God’s Spirit If you have Him, good – if you don’t, then why?
The power above can give you a whole new life
And you don’t need money, only faith
Don’t need to sweat it ‘cause the price is paid
Yes, all of a sudden in a room sometimes
Then a mighty wind blows by
That’s the power above, that’s the power above
The fruit of the Spirit it’s not grapes of wrath
It’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness And goodness, gentleness, self-control
That’s the power above in the world below
And it don’t take money, only faith
Don’t need to study hard to find these traits
Your soul is a garden – it can bear fruit sometimes
That you’ll find in Galatians 5
The spiritual gifts God prepared
Yeah, for you to share
In First Corinthians (Chapter 12)
You’ll find a list of them
And with a little faith, hope, and love
You’ll feel the power above
Feel the power of above
Can you feel it?
And you don’t need money, only faith
Old Peter said it back in Acts chapter 8
He’s talking to Simon, he talks to us still
You don’t need nothin’ to be filled
Be filled with power, be filled with power above
Got the power? Get the power above
Be filled with power above
Be filled with power above
Be filled with power above

[ ApologetiX – “Wise Up and Rock” album ]

Spirit Inside
(Parody of “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum)

When He died and was raised from the dead Taught us all 40 days then He said
Well my friends, It’s time to fly
But wait up for the Spirit to arrive
Go wait up for the Spirit from on High
That’s who you’re gonna know when I fly
When I fly and you may be depressed
He’s gonna grow you in faith to pass the test
Prepare yourselves, but don’t get so rushed
God’ll have a Friend come teach ya
Don’t you know that when I fly
I’m gonna recommend He put the Spirit in you guys
Gonna recommend He put the Spirit in you guys
To show you miracles, make you wise
When I fly if you wait you’ll be blest
He’s gonna blow through this place in just a bit
When the day of Pentecost came,
They were all together in one place.
Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven And filled the whole house where they were sitting.
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire
That separated and came to rest on each of them.
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit
And began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
(NIV 1984)
Never been a preacher but ever since
I got that Friend from Jesus
Don’t you know I’ve been on fire
‘Cause God has filled me up with the Spirit inside
God has filled me up with the Spirit inside
That’s why I’m gonna go far and wide
Far and wide with the faith I confess
I’m gonna go every place and tell the rest
Show ‘em the way that’s the best

[ ApologetiX – “Jesus Christ Morningstar” album ]




“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.”
[ A.W. Tozer ]

“One does not surrender a life in an instant. That which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime. Nor is surrender to the will of God (per se) adequate to fullness of power in Christ. Maturity is the accomplishment of years, and I can only surrender to the will of God as I know what that will is.”
[ Elisabeth Elliot ]

“Tolerating a wrong attitude toward another person causes you to follow the spirit of the devil, no matter how saintly you are.”
[ Oswald Chambers ]

“To progress is always to begin always to begin again”
[ Martin Luther ]

“Let the Kingdom be always before you, and believe with certainty and consistency the things that are yet unseen. Let nothing that is on this side of eternal life get inside you.”
[ John Bunyan ]

“Holy living will not produce righteousness, but righteousness should produce holy living, and that’s what sanctification is.”
[ Greg Laurie ]

“So I would define human holiness as feeling and thinking and doing only what is consistent with God being the supreme and infinite treasure of the universe. Our holiness is our conformity to the infinite worth of God. The opposite of holiness is sin, which is any feeling or thought or act that shows that for us God is not the beautiful treasure that he truly is.”
[ John Piper ]

“Justification says that I have been made ‘right’ before God, whereas sanctification is the practical outworking of that in my life—where I am seeking to honor God by what I do and even by what I don’t do.”
[ Greg Laurie ]

“Lord make me as holy as a pardoned sinner can be.”
[ Robert Murray M’Cheyne ]

“As it is with spiritual discoveries and affections given at first conversion, so it is in all subsequent illuminations and affections of that kind; they are all transforming. There is a like divine power and energy in them as in the first discoveries; they still reach the bottom of the heart, and affect and alter the very nature of the soul, in proportion to the degree in which they are given. And a transformation of nature is continued and carried on by them to the end of life, until it is brought to perfection in glory.”
[ Jonathan Edwards ]

“Indeed is it not the case that in this matter of sanctification our tendency is always to start with ourselves, instead of starting with God? I have got this sin that is worrying me and always getting me down, this sin that defeats me, and my tendency is to say, ‘What can be done about this sin, this problem of mine. How can I get rid of this thing? How can I get peace?’ I start with myself and my problem, and as certainly as I do that when I am considering this doctrine of sanctification, I am sure, in some shape or form, to end by regarding God as merely an agency who is there to help me solve my problems. And this is a totally unscriptural approach to the almighty ever blessed God.”
[ Martyn Lloyd-Jones ]

“We may be content to remain what we call ‘ordinary people’: but He is determined to carry out a quite different plan. To shrink back from that plan is not humility; it is laziness and cowardice. To submit to it is not conceit or megalomania; it is obedience.”
[ C.S. Lewis ]

“If you are going to resist the desires of the flesh (negative), you will need to live in the power of the Holy Spirit and walk according to his disciplines (positive).”
[ Sinclair B. Ferguson ]

“My soul is like a house, small for you to enter, but I pray you to enlarge it. It is in ruins, but I ask you to remake it. It contains much that you will not be pleased to see: this I know and do not hide. But who is to rid it of these things? There is no one but you.”
[ Augustine of Hippo ]

“As we gaze on Christ, the mind is informed, and the heart is inflamed, and the body begins to line up.”
[ Matt Chandler ]

“Be wise in time. What youth sows, old age must reap….Sow to yourself rather in righteousness: break up your fallow ground, sow not among thorns.”
[ J.C. Ryle ]

“So in the midst of our struggle with indwelling sin, we must continually keep our focus on the gospel. We must always go back to the truth that even in the face of the fact that so often “I do not do the good that I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19), there is no condemnation. God no longer counts our sins against us (Rom 4:8). Or, to say it another way, God wants us to find our primary joy in our objectively declared justification, not in our subjectively perceived sanctification. Regardless of how much progress we make in our pursuit of holiness, it will never come close to the absolute perfect righteousness of Christ that is ours through our union with him in his life and death. So we should learn to live with the discomfort of the justified life. We should accept the fact that as still-growing Christians we will always be dissatisfied with our sanctification. But at the same time, we should remember that in Christ we are justified.”
[ Jerry Bridges ]

“There is no imagination wherewith man is besotted, more foolish, none so pernicious as this,- that persons not purified, not sanctified, not made holy in their life, should afterwards be taken into that state of blessedness which consists in the enjoyment of God. Neither can such persons enjoy God, nor would God be a reward to them. Holiness is perfected in heaven: but the beginning of it is invariably confined to this world.”
[ John Owen ]

“When I am tempted and feel the power of sin and its tug on my affections, the gospel gives me something to say: ‘Christ bled and died for this sin—I will therefore have nothing to do with it. I am now united to Christ by the indwelling of the Spirit—how can I drag him into my sin?”
[ Sinclair B. Ferguson ]

“[Sanctification] is a process that includes on the one hand medication and diet (in the form of biblical instruction and admonition coming in various ways to the heart), and on the other hand tests and exercises (in the form of internal and external pressures, providentially ordered, to which we have to make active response). The process goes on as long as we are in the world, which is something that God decides in each case.”
[ J.I. Packer ]

“There should be as much difference between the worldling and the Christian, as between hell and heaven, between destruction and eternal life.”
[ Charles H. Spurgeon ]

“Our main doctrines, which include all the rest, are three: That of repentance, of faith, and of holiness. The first of these we account, as it were, the porch of religion; the next, the door; the third, religion itself.”
[ John Wesley ]

“The real difference in the believer who follows Christ and has mortified his will and died after the old man in Christ, is that he is more clearly aware than other men of the rebelliousness and perennial pride of the flesh, he is conscious of his sloth and self-indulgence and knows that his arrogance must be eradicated. Hence there is a need for daily self-discipline.”
[ Dietrich Bonhoeffer ]

“Antinomianism and legalism conspire in forcing us to make a false choice: Is salvation a matter of God’s forgiveness or is it moral transformation? This is a trick question from the Reformers’ point of view. Calvin reasons, “Surely those things which are connected do not destroy one another!” Forensic justification through faith alone is not the enemy but the basis of sanctification.”
[ Michael S. Horton ]

“The aim of the gospel is the creation of people who are passionate for doing good rather than settling for the passionless avoidance of evil.”
[ John Piper ]

“The Bible is different because it is the Word of God, by which He speaks to me. Disagreeing with the Bible would be disagreeing with God. So when I read the Bible I want to place myself ‘under’ it. I want to receive the Scripture in such a way that over time, my thinking, feeling, choosing, believing and behaving will be molded by the Word God is speaking into my life. I don’t want to critique the Scriptures; I want them to critique me and change me.”
[ Colin S. Smith ]

“If you wait until all of your own issues are gone before helping others, it will never happen. This is a trap that millions have fallen into, not realizing that our own sanctification happens as we minister to others.”
[ Francis Chan ]

“The way to conquer sin is not by working hard to change our deeds, but by trusting Jesus to change our desires.”
[ David Platt ]

“Monastic spirituality concentrated on private disciplines, as if detaching oneself from “the world” (i.e. society) might make one holier. Anabaptist piety was similar in that regard. However, Calvin thought of sanctification as a family affair. How could one learn loving humility, patience, wisdom, and forgiveness in isolation from others?”
[ Michael S. Horton ]

“Purge me from every sinful blot;
My idols all be cast aside:
Cleanse me from every evil thought,
From all the filth of self and pride.

The hatred of the carnal mind
Out of my flesh at once remove:
Give me a tender heart, resigned,
And pure, and full of faith and love.”
[ John Wesley ]

“The Church, like her head, has a glory, but it is concealed from carnal eyes, for the time of her breaking forth in all her splendour is not yet come.”
[ Charles H. Spurgeon ]

Think it not enough, that you can bear the denial of sinful desires; but presently destroy the desires themselves. For if you let alone the desires, they may at last lay hold upon their prey, before you are aware: or if you should be guilty of nothing but the desires themselves, it is no small iniquity; being the corruption of the heart, and the rebellion and adultery of the principal faculty, which should be kept loyal and chaste to God. The crossness of thy will to the will of God, is the sum of all the evil and impiety of the soul; and the subjection and conformity of thy will to his, is the heart of the new creature, and of thy rectitude and sanctification.”
[ Richard Baxter ]

“When a poor soul is somewhat awakened by the terrors of the Lord, then the poor creature, being born under the covenant of works, flies directly to a covenant of works again. And as Adam and Eve hid themselves… and sewed fig leaves… so the poor sinner, when awakened, flies to his duties and to his performances, to hide himself from God, and goes to patch up a righteousness of his own. Says he, I will be mighty good now–I will reform–I will do all I can; and then certainly Jesus Christ will have mercy on me.”
[ George Whitefield ]

“If you yield yourself up to His divine working, the Lord will alter your nature; He will subdue the old nature, and breathe new life into you. Put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will take the stony heart out of your flesh, and He will give you a heart of flesh. Where everything was hard, everything shall be tender; where everything was vicious, everything shall be virtuous: where everything tended downward, everything shall rise upward with impetuous force. The lion of anger shall give place to the lamb of meekness; the raven of uncleanness shall fly before the dove of purity; the vile serpent of deceit shall be trodden under the heel of truth.”
[ Charles H. Spurgeon ]

“Justification is the new creation of the new man, and sanctification his preservation until the day of Jesus Christ.”
[ Dietrich Bonhoeffer ]


“Pursue holiness, for without holiness, no now will see the Lord.”
[ Hebrews 12:14 ]

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
[ Psalm 119:105 ]

“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
[ Romans 6:6 ]

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
[ 1 Corinthians 6:11 ]

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
[ 2 Corinthians 5:17 ]

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”
[ Colossians 3:5-10 ]

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth”
[ 2 Thessalonians 2:13 ]

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
[ Hebrews 10:10 ]

“Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”
[ Romans 6:18 ]

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
[ Romans 12:1, 2 ]

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
[ Galatians 2:20 ]

“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:”
[ 1 Thessalonians 4:3 ]

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”
[ 2 Peter 3:18 ]

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
[ Philippians 2:12-13 ]

“And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption”
[ 1 Corinthians 1:30 ]

“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
[ 1 Corinthians 6:11 ]

“according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood”
[ 1 Peter 1:2 ]

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God”
[ Romans 8:5-14 ]



“A quick summary of the Christian “Gospel”:
[ Mark Besh ]



Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!



“Pursue holiness, for without holiness, no now will see the Lord.”
[ Hebrews 12:14 ]

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
[ Philippians 2:12-13 ]

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
[ 2 Corinthians 5:17 ]

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
[ Hebrews 10:10 ]

“and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.”
[ Romans 6:18 ]




If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at:

Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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