Wednesday, October 06, 2010

CHANGE: THE BLESSING AND THE CURSE OF IT ALL

Change is a hotbed of controversy.  We often don't want it.  Simultaneously, we clamor for it.  For certain, we must have it.

Change has been President Obama's platform.  The nation is draped in bitterness due to apparent selfishness of both parties.  Those who want his administration's style of change are angered at the Republicans who don't.  The ship floats the other direction for the other party.  A probable mistake in politics is that each party behaves as if they have cornered the market on Truth while the others are (denominational) dummies....either party.

Change is very much needed in both parties.  Wrong change isn't good for either.  But change is certainly always a signal of better economic and social health if approached properly.  George Washington did it. Abraham Lincoln did it.  John Kennedy did it.  And, Ronald Reagan did it.  Each with significant flaws offered strong leadership.

Change in the church is laced with similar stresses.  I learned immediately upon my conversion that this word was taboo among us.  Yet, I had just changed over to us!

As in politics, positive change requires godly analysis.  Change can lead a train into new territory or run from the tracks to cause an injurious wreck.  It is not a move one tosses about freely to get the latest whim nominated.

The Restoration Movement's origin was a promotion of change as it called all back to the Bible.  Apparently it lost its elasticity over the decades to the point that some scream at change as if it comes from the devil himself.

The beauty of the RM is the persistent faith in the Message which will call every reader to what?  Adjust and change.  The beast of the RM is that somewhere it assumed it had discovered all of the Truth.  A sudden shift of hungering for righteousness moved to stiff-necked defense.  Learning went out the front door as preservavtion moved in through the back door.  The church shifted from a living organism to a rote museum of "how to do church right".

Change can make a mess of things for it could be the wrong change.  Correct change is from God.  His is a theme of persuasion to change; to repent.  A call to faith is a call to believe He can still change things.  A call to prayer is to possess the faith He can still change things.

Change will not necessarily win the Tidy Award.  If it is correct, it can be messy.  The cross would be a good place to observe. 

For me one of the biggest changes that must take place among us is to leave the Law and live by the Spirit.  One will kill.  The other will give Life.  How can we continue to hide from this truth and continue to believe that living by the Law will grow churches?  It kills them....God says.

Change to please the fickleness of religious man is a grand mistake.  However, spiritual change is needed...it will always be needed....it is called growing in the Lord.  Change is like setting off fireworks.  We don't want to avoid it; but we do want to handle it well.

9 comments:

Brian said...

If one wants a change they can believe in, then they must allow the Spirit to fill them fully.

The restoration movement wasn't easy change and it had its difficulties - we are still divided over some of those changes (I.e mechanical instruments in the Sunday gatherings).

I am thrilled to watch leaders like Rick Atchley, Terry Rush, Max Lucado, Bob Russell and many others who have given themselves not to change for change sake, but to allow the Spirit to use them to preach the gospel boldly, with grace, and with an acceptance of others regardless of personal preference, theological ideologies, or what name is on the church facilities.

This change must continue to sweep across all denominational lines so that Jesus becomes the focal point. We all have our flavor of what is theologically right. But, no one denomination has cornered the market on "rightness."

In order for change to take place in our communities, churches must change our Sunday morning segregation philosophies and unite as God's people so that a NEW restoration can take place. Restoring morals, ethics, the home, and so much more. Yes, it will be hard, but if we make it about HIM, then we get over ourselves and God will give HIS blessing...thus, a community, a world will change!

Anonymous said...

"How many members of the church of Christ does it take to change a lightbulb?"...."CHANGE"!!!!!!! Terry, as you know, I recently lived an entire week under 'law'; and it seriously wounded the 'Spirit' within. Ohhh, for us to understand two truths: the damage that living by the law causes and the life that living by the Spirit extends! Thank you for understanding these truths, brother.

randarbie said...

I'm trying to understand what "Law" you and these comments are talking about. The law, as in The Bible, God's Word? Are we not supposed to follow God's commands? "If you love me, keep my commandments." Please explain.

I know that the Spirit fills everyone, both liberal and conservative. I wish people who say we need to change, would realize that those who do not want to add to God's word loves God just as much and IS filled with the Spirit too. It's not about pleasing people, it's about praising God. Let churches worship however they want and stop trying to change them. As long as we come to the same salvation, to give up our old self, be baptized into a new life, and become a child of God, what does it matter if we are traditional or not as long as we don't condemn others for how they worship differently?

Thank you for listening.

Anonymous said...

Those behind the Restoration Movement didn't attempt to deal with the Holy Spirit in the way that the first century Church did. No, they attempted to squash the Spirit in a way that only the modern Church would ever dream of doing. That isn't 'restoration.' That's a lie. That's a wolf disguised as a little baby lamb.

Change will come. Many of the Church of Christ believe that a person is saved by water Baptism, instead of understanding that it is God's Baptism into Christ Jesus that counts. They believe themselves to be far too important in this. The Church has typically failed to grasp that the physical act of Baptism is a shadow of what God does when He washes someone clean of their sin and puts His Spirit in them.

One says, "I was Baptized by the Church of Christ." Another says, "I was Baptized in the Catholic Church." Still another, "I was Baptized by the Christian Church."

Were any of you Baptized in the name of "Church or Christ," in the name of the "Catholic Church," or in the name of the "Christian Church?" No, it is not their Baptism. One is Baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Paul had to scold factious people this way in his time, too.

Terry Rush said...

Randarbie,

Thank you for asking a question in very good spirit. You inquire of valuable ideas.

The law I speak of is the one mentioned in John 10:10 used by the thief correlating with II Cor. 3:6...the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.

When you write, "I wish people who say we need to change, would realize that those who do not want to add to God's word loves God just as much and IS filled with the Spirit too.", this seems as if you are saying that those who want change want to add to the Word. This isn't the case. When it is said it is usually by those who wish we could get to go by God's Word instead of our legalistic traditions.

Your statment makes my point. It is often viewed that any who want change want it by adding to the Word. This isn't the case. Many who want change want it because someone in the past added to the Word in a way to stifle; to kill freedom.

The goal is to continue to operate under the direction of the Bible. You are on to something when you point out the need for lack of condemnation among us. The law will insist we do church in cookie-cutter Church of Christ fashion when the Bible will free us to worship in holiness from the heart.

Good point you make. Do mine help?

Terry said...

I like what you said about hungering for righteousness. When we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we will change in many good ways. Good post!

Dan said...

oh boy, oh boy, I have said and thought and prayed about these things for so much of my adult life. It was always in the context of the RM as you state. But I keep on saying "change is good" and I always will because if the first change turns out bad you gotta keep changing to get it right.

Anonymous said...

I recently heard someone talk about how "such and such churches these days" don't preach about sin enough, etc. THAT attitude is an example of living by the Law, and not the Spirit. When Jesus did get frustrated with a group of people for their sin, who was it 99% of the time? The 'religous'! Otherwise, he met people where they were and loved them. An encounter with Jesus moved them to change. Jesus, as he said, didn't come to condemn the world...but we always seem ready to, don't we? In fact, what does scripture say condemns the world of sin? The Holy Spirit...If we're not convinced and convicted of our own self-righteousness and we're constantly looking outward not to serve but to condemn and judge other groups who so "obviously" aren't doing it right (according to us), that doesn't sound like the Spirit is very active there. I'm done with having that attitude. Yes, let's be discerning, but let's leave the judgement to God. There are too many wonderful things to concern ourselves with otherwise.
We have been guilty of reducing the beautiful, mysterious, awe-inspiring Trinity to the Wonderful Duo. We pray through in the Spirit, through the Son, to the Father. I'm afraid what we'll realize later when we see that we don't know the Spirit.

Jay

randarbie said...

Terry,

Thank you for showing me the error in my statement that those who want change are adding to his Word. I was not good with my wording. I definitely do not think that EVERYONE is doing this. There is certainly some changes that need to be made. Other times, I feel like we MAY go a little overboard. I placed everyone in the same category and I apologize for that.

The Law I read about in 2 Corinthians talks about Moses' law, the old Law. We don't live by that law, only learn from it, so I am still confused, sorry. Yes, that law does certainly cause death and we would have no hope for life in it. I guess my question is, who lives by this law still that you speak of? I really appreciate and enjoyed your last comment.

To "Anonymous" that idea that we are baptized into the "Church of Christ" is not widely acceptable anymore. Yes, there are still a select few who have not seen the truth. I have lived all over the U.S. and attended "traditional" churches all my life and have always been taught that we are baptized in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Many are coming to the realization that you do not need to be re-baptized just to become part of that particular group of Christians. So you are correct, it is true that it is not the water that saves. We hear this all the time. You may feel more reassured by hearing that this is happening. I really hope so!

I do not mean to be argumentative, but only to learn and understand where others are coming from. I find it very interesting. Thank you so much!