Change Required

It has been said that only a baby with a wet diaper likes change. Without a doubt change can be difficult. Starting a new job, playing with a different team, or experiencing the physical and emotional changes that come with growing older can all be a struggle.

For example, I have just moved to a new state and took on a new job…in a nutshell: huge change. I just assumed the lead pastor role at West Salem Foursquare Church. After 16 great years at another church, my wife and I sensed a change in our hearts, and so we leaned wholly into God – who, by the way, is strong and sure in times of flex. With this new assignment there is so much excitement, and yet with it comes so much change…and that can be intense. Intense for my marriage, my kids, both churches and for me personally. Often we would rather have things stay the same for as long as possible to minimize the adjustments and the corresponding season of awkwardness.

God is all about change though. The Bible calls us to “repent and turn” (Acts 3:19) and demands that we become a “new creation in Christ “ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are even challenged by Jesus to be “converted and become as little children” (Matthew 18:3) in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Perhaps my favorite biblical example of change is found in Saul/Paul in the Book of Acts. The road to Damascus can be called the “highway of change” – both as a place and as a prototype of conversion. When Saul was knocked off his horse, he experienced the initial point of spiritual change. The ripple effects are visually found in the scales falling from his eyes, his baptism, the regaining of his strength and the subsequent season of learning and ministry (see Acts 9).

Alan Roxburg in The Sky is Falling writes, “On the road to Damascus, his [Paul] world was radically undermined. The experience literally blinded him, and that blindness was a metaphor for his sudden separation from his world framework and liminality. It was in that state that this defender of Judaism had to trust the very people who, up to a moment before, had been his sworn enemies. What emerged…was a new man – Paul the bondservant of Jesus Christ.”

What we see in the Apostle Paul could not have been possible without significant change. Change was, and continues to be, required. Change is good. Change keeps us fresh. It cultivates a dependence upon God. It sure keeps things stimulating, rather than life-less and boring (and who really wants life to be that way?). It’s important to commit to an ever-growing, ever-changing and ever-blossoming relationship with the Lord.

Here are some “change concepts” that I have considered (and ask those I lead to consider)…
• Listen to a different style of music for a month.
• Read the Bible out in the middle of an open field or empty parking lot.
• Sit in a different place at church next weekend.
• Eat some food that have never tried before.
• Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know
• Go on a short-term missions trip or a vacation to a new area of the world.

Change is good. As a matter of fact, it is wonderful. Jesus went to the cross so that we could experience the greatest change of all…salvation…a change of heart.