Repentance is More Than Just Saying “I’m Sorry”, It’s a Commitment to Change

Saying “I’m Sorry” is a Lot Easier Than Actually Living It Out

Changing is not an easy thing to do. It’s a lot easier to say the words than it is to really change. Words come out of our mouths and roll off our tongues like warm butter on a hot biscuit. Then we move on to the next thing we’re going to need to say “I’m sorry” for.

When we get caught doing something wrong, it’s natural to feel embarrassed and even truly sorry. However, we can get stuck in a rut of saying “I’m sorry” but not actually change anything. The Bible tells us, “If we confess our sins to God, he can be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.” (1 John 1:9)

So according to the Bible, we must say that we’re sorry, but it doesn’t stop there. “Turn back to God! The kingdom of heaven will soon be here.” (Matthew 3:2)

Saying I’m sorry is not enough.

The children’s message given by sisters Lesa and Jodi illustrated this very well.

Banana Smashing Skit
Jodi: Ooh…I love bananas. I see you have some tasty bananas there.
Lesa: Yep! I do! Would you like one?
Jodi: Oh yes! I would!
Lesa: Okay, I’ll get you one. (Places a banana on the table away from the bunch and smashes it.)
Jodi: Hey! You said you were going to give me a banana, not smash it. How can I eat a smashed banana?
Lesa: Oh dear! I am so sorry. Truly sorry. Let me get you one right now. (Gets another banana and smashes it.)
Jodi: Have you gone bonkers? That was my banana. You said you were giving me that. Now there are two smashed bananas. I don’t think you are really sorry.
Lesa: (Puts down the mallet.) Yes, I am truly sorry. Look, I am putting down my hammer. Would you like a banana?
Jodi: Well, yes, I would but no more smashing.
Lesa: No problem. Now close your eyes.
Jodi: No way. You might smash a banana on me.
Lesa: Never. I am sorry, really.
Jodi: Okay. (The volunteer closes his eyes.)
Lesa: (Picks up a banana, peels it, and takes a bite.) Yum!
Jodi: (Opens her eyes.) Hey!!!!

Well, what do you think? Was she really sorry? I don’t think so. How could we tell? Because she didn’t change her behavior.

To repent is to regret so deeply as to change the mind or conduct and develop new mental or spiritual habits.

Last week Pastor Buffum asked us to read through the first 3 chapters of Luke. This week she went through them pointing out the connections of cousins John and Jesus. Their similarities and their differences.

In Luke 3:3-18, John is telling people to turn back to God and their sins will be forgiven. He told us to get ready and stop just saying we’re sorry and to do something to show that we’re really giving up our sins.

John said that just because we say that we’re Christians doesn’t mean that we are. God can turn stones in to Christians if He wants to.

God has an axe ready to cut down any tree that’s not producing good fruit and throw it in the fire.

I don’t know about you…but I don’t want to be thrown in the fire.

The crowds asked John, “What should we do?” He said to share your food and clothes with those who don’t have any. To stop charging people more than they owe and not to scare people into paying you to keep them safe.

Repentance requires more than just words. It is being aware of the need for change and doing something about it.

Repentance is a commitment to change and do better.

Disruptions To My Routine Can Really Upset the Apple Cart

After This Past Week…I’m Trying to Get the Apples Gathered Back Up

Something happened this past week that has never happened before.

Since I started writing weekly blog posts in October of 2015…I’ve never missed a week.

When I started, I committed to myself that I would write and post weekly.

The question is…should I still be committed to this?

Commitment is a good thing. We just need to be careful what we’re committed to. Why did I make this commitment? Is it still a valid commitment? Is it worth the time it takes? All questions that need to be answered.

This past week was spent moving some furniture from Salem, Missouri to Spearfish South Dakota for my mother-in-law. This was done to help my wife and her family, who are dealing with a difficult situation.

Life is full of difficult decisions. The question is…what is the highest priority?

This past week it was helping family over posting.

Being a routine motivated person, disruption to my routines spilled apples everywhere. Routine gives me a since of control and I don’t like it when things are out of control. I like things organized.

As I’m gathering the apples back up, I’m asking myself how I can better deal with disruptions in the future? Because I know who I am and how I operate, it’s up to me to decide.

I may need to replace some bad apples with some new ones.

We need to be careful that routines don’t become the reason that we’re doing things. It’s important to periodically step back, review what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

A cart full of organized apples is no good if we don’t enjoy an apple pie once and a while.

Doing YOUR BEST is More Important Than Being “The Best”

It Takes Radical Commitment to Accomplish Excellence

Doing our best requires attention to detail.

Pastor Lee told a story of a restaurant that was striving for excellence in the workplace. They had a regular customer that ordered the same soup every time he came in. One day after his soup was brought, he asked the waiter to taste it. The waiter assured the customer that it was the same exact soup as always. The customer was adamant that the waiter taste it. Finally, the waiter gave in and then reached for the spoon and realized there wasn’t one. Of course, this was the customer’s point.

Amazing soup is no good without a spoon.

Doing our best requires commitment.

Last week I wrote about the reduction in commitment. Commitment is needed if we are going to do our best.

When Basketball Hall of Famer Larry Bird started playing ball, he was committed to working hard to be the best he could be. At 13 he would get out of bed early to go to the gym to practice free throws. He would shoot 500 free throws every morning before his first class.

He was one of the highest ranked free throw shooters over his 13-year career with an 89% average. That’s 9 out of every 10 shots.

Doing our best requires never quitting.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers he says,

“In fact, by the age of twenty, the elite performers (violinists) had each totaled ten thousand hours of practice.” — p. 38

“The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert—in anything,” writes the neurologist Daniel Levitin. — p. 40

“To become a chess grandmaster also seems to take about ten years. (Only the legendary Bobby Fisher got to that elite level in less than that amount of time: it took him nine years.) And what’s ten years? Well, it’s roughly how long it takes to put in ten thousand hours of hard practice. Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.” — p. 41

Never quitting requires overcoming obstacles.

Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby shared a lesson her mother taught her about overcoming obstacles.

Her mother was stricken with polio when carrying her first child and was confined to a wheelchair and crutches. She never let that discourage her. She managed to raise five children and have a career as well.

Cathy was totally absorbed with gymnastics and by 1972 she was on the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team going to the Olympic Games in Munich. She could think of nothing but winning the gold medal.

After performing to the best of her ability, she didn’t win a gold medal and was crushed. After the winners were announced she joined her parents in the stands, all set for a big cry. She apologized and said, “I’m sorry. I did my best.”

“You know that, and I know that,” my mother said, “and I’m sure God knows that, too.” She smiled and said ten words that I never forgot:

“Doing your best is more important than being the best.”

We can never be the best this side of heaven, but we can do our best. Jesus is our example of being the best. Follow that example!

There’s a Reduced Level of Commitment…What Happened to it?

Not Keeping a Commitment is no Different Than Breaking a Promise

This past week, we discussed “confirmation” at a meeting at church. This is the process in the United Methodist Church where young people (early to mid-teens) publicly confirm their intention to live the vows made on their behalf at their baptism.

This process requires a commitment to attend ten to fifteen weekly classes as well as retreats, service projects and spiritual exercises. At the end of this process the person confirms their commitment going forward in front of the congregation.

There were concerns expressed that it was going to be hard to get these young people and their parents to commit to the level of commitment needed for this process. The commitment starts with the confirmation process.

The problem may be more about distraction than commitment.

There is so many things going on and we (especially young people) are bombarded with opportunities and information. The problem with commitment may be more of a tortoise and hare situation.

In this fable the fast and confident rabbit is challenged to a race by the slow and focused turtle. Spoiler alert, the slow turtle beats the fast rabbit.

This happens because after the rabbit gets a big lead, he loses his focus and decides to take a nap. Was the rabbit’s level of commitment less or was he just distracted?

What is commitment anyway?

Commitment is promising, pledging, being obligated or dedicated to doing what you said you would. These are some pretty serious words. A promise is not something I take lightly.

Commitment is the same thing as a promise. Ouch!

The topic of commitment came up again in a discussion about accountability in this week’s mastermind.

As a part of the weekly mastermind, we each commit to a goal we will accomplish prior to the next meeting. This past week there were several of us who had not accomplished our goals.

This then became a discussion of why the commitments we make to others seem to have a higher priority than one we make to ourselves. I think this comes from having a servant’s heart and less about the importance of the specific commitment.

If the goals that we set for ourselves are in alignment with the goals that God has given us, then they are important. We need to take an inventory the things we’re trying to do and get them in order based on whose priorities they are.

I do think the level of commitment is reduced due in part to distractions, over committing and receiving participation trophies for just showing up.

I need to stop kicking the accountability can down the road and commit to be more committed.

I need to make sure that my priorities are in alignment with God’s. If I’m focusing on those things, it will help me be committed to accomplish them. Commitment is as much about clarity of purpose as anything.

Making a commitment is a promise to God.

Building Blocks in The Foundation of a Good Life

Communication, Commitment and Compassion Should Be Three of Them


Whether it’s a family, a business or your life you’re working on, these three C’s should be included in the foundation. They need to be included in your foundation if you are going to build well.

Communication – is not about just being heard but more importantly about hearing. We are surrounded by so much noise we can barely hear ourselves think. Today’s technology has made it easier than ever to connect with people around the world, but this isn’t ‘communication’.

Just like what happened on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-13, when the Holy Spirit came to the Apostles. They began to speak and even though there were people from every country, they could each understand in their own language. Even though someone is speaking to us in a language that we know, are we really hearing and understanding?

Communication is more about listening than talking.


Commitment – is the level of which we are dedicated to a cause or activity. You’ve heard it said that actions speak louder than words. It certainly is easier to say we’re going to do something than it is to actually do it. We often say things before we evaluate what the action is going to cost.


The Hell’s Angels have a creed that they are family and they will live, fight and die together. Their purpose may not be the best, but they are definitely ‘committed’ to it.

Our commitment is revealed by where we spend our time and money.

Compassion – is when we show genuine concern for someone else’s situation. It is putting ourselves in their place, “walking in their shoes”. This is difficult, not because we don’t want to, but because we get consumed by our own lives.

Part of what we have been put here to do, our purpose, is to serve others. Serving others requires us to look at things from their point of view. What is it that they want or need and how can we best help them to achieve it?

Building your life with these three building blocks in the foundation will provide a solid life.