Thursday, December 04, 2014


The world of church fascinates me.  It is the strangest of strange combinations.  From meaningful to absurd to tender to erratic, church people are awesome.  And, we have much work to do...with and about...ourselves.

Churches seems stuck.  Not all, of course.  Many for certain.

One, the stuckness is true.  Two, I wouldn't know all of the reasons.  Three, I venture into one possibility.  We have failed to translate old personalities into new.  Our people may have pushed the doctrine of baptism by immersion for the forgiveness of sins without realizing the new birth meant new start of an old become a brand new breed of humanity.

To make my point, name me a more divisive word among any Christian organization which creates more havoc than the three-letter word n-e-w.  It is true; churches treat this word as if it is more of Satan than of Savior.

New, however, is to be the core trademark of all disciples.  We are to be more than redirected.  We are to be more than having three hours a week claimed with a ministry project under our belts.  God expects us to be transformed.

But I wonder if it isn't more accurate to assess that a hefty percentage of believers have held to our old mannerisms and characteristics only to bring them into the church. This has caused the life of the church to pale.  Energy and drive have been lost.  Have we developed a doctrine of wet at baptism; yet, dry in heart?  Probable.

Old (not new) guardian natures have taken over the kingdom in the name of preservation of our old ways.  This was never the intent of God.  We tend to like the way many things are and we don't want them to change.  New has been labeled radical.

And that's my point.  It is.  Our old nature prefers docile; no troubles.

And you see Jesus how?

Our old nature lives in steadfast fear.  The new one is brave; not timid.  It is full of action; not reclusive.  Fundamentally, new is neither convenient nor easy.  It is of God. Indifference, however, has excused us to believe that we were born this way and that's the way it is.  But this is only true of the first birth.  The second is to make us into a new generation with new personalities.

So what have I had to release of my old nature in order to become a new person?  Well, it is a perpetual process.

When I came into the kingdom I was fiercely insecure.  It is a new world for me to learn to move forward, to be heavily targeted for criticism, and yet not retreat in hiding.  It is a new world for me to be a part of a church.  I didn't like it, didn't want it, didn't believe in preachers or the church.

God has had to transform my giving, my praying, my reading, and my outreach.    I didn't do the first three and couldn't do the fourth.  He has had to work at my need to control, my need to know, and my obsession with being liked.  He, though, made me a new person hungry to move into those once intimidating zones.

I share this, not to parade me for it is most embarrassing, but to signal I understand strong personal hesitation.  To be the same person we have always been is to short-sheet the recycling nature of the Spirit within.  Before the world changes, we must. And then it will.

Too much of the church has been buried in baptism only to fail at being born again. The new birth is a transformational process that takes us into new ideas, new concepts by developing entirely new-from-above attitudes and experiences.

Not only have Christians found churches a place to hide by misunderstanding the very nature of the new birth in becoming a new person, we have found churches a place to be void of becoming more.  We have dumbed down God's transitional, transformational, expectational call.

The old life and the old world is  Things won't just be different when we go to heaven.  Life is now actually, tangibly different because the Son of God dares to break into our walk with his courageous heart.  We must do all we can to abide.  Hiding in our old hesitations, intimidations, and fears will no longer fit.

Opening to the Spirit of God to take us places that scare the old person to death is both daring and exciting....and very productive for our new side.  Thanks to the many of you for moving forward when you would prefer to wander about in the old nature's wilderness.

You just knew God would be awaiting with an entirely new kind of life....and you haven't been disappointed.  May God gain momentum in all of us.

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