Posts Tagged ‘transformation’

Hope, the Gospel, and Mission

Saturday, November 13th, 2010 by Diane Chandler

The scene is Mongolia, a nation of three million people situated to the north of China.  It is late evening, and five of us are worshipping the Lord in both the English and Mongolian languages.  One of the young Mongolian men present has been attending our Bible study and has made friends with other Christian Mongolian young adults.  He is spiritually hungry.  He is searching.  He has no hope. 

He is ready to entrust his life to Jesus.  The simple gospel of freedom from his past and freedom unto an eternal future coalesces into the reality of God’s love for him, Jesus’ sacrifice on his behalf, and sins forgiven.  In that instance, he becomes transformed through this blessed hope.  He is learning that Christ in him is the hope of glory (Col. 1:27), not some fanciful expectation or dreamy goal but rather a sure reality of a living God whose story he has not only internalized but whose life he now lives.  

This young Mongolian man saw the Gospel lived out in the lives of his believing friends.  As Stanley Hauerwas notes in his book A Community of Character, “The only way we learn of Jesus is through his story as we find it in the Gospel and as we see it lived in the lives of others” (p. 44).  This young man saw the change in his believing friends, as they reflected the deeper reality of inner transformation demonstrated in a changed sense of ethics and the new community of character to which they belong.  These other Mongolian believers demonstrated Hauerwas’ famous statement that the church is, rather than has, an ethic, meaning that the Church is the demonstration of this transformation and we are charged with both living and sharing this story (p. 11).

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Let Me Hear Your Voice…

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 by James Flynn

Hearing the voice of the one you love is one of the greatest joys of any relationship. When you love someone, communication literally determines what you possess together. People will go to great lengths just to hear a few words from the one they love, because words are the way human beings connect and share what is in the depth of our hearts. In Song of Solomon, the bride longs to hear the voice of her groom: “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your form, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your form is lovely” (Song of Sol. 2:14).

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Busyness as Usual?

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 by James Flynn

When you look around at the state of the world do you ever get this scary feeling that the sky is falling?  In my lifetime, I cannot remember a time when so many things seem to be going wrong at the same time.  As I write this blog, there is an environmental disaster of biblical proportions occurring in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst economy since the Great Depression, our country is involved in two wars, and there seems to be a vacuum of leadership in our nation’s capital. The news seems to be dim right now, but it is important to remember that God has always used the toughest times in any nation’s history to prove that He is God, and that all comfort, security, and wisdom ultimately rests in Him.   Further, it is the church that has the power of God at its disposal to effect real “change you can believe in,” through the transformative power of His word.  God has always been in the business of changing nations, but it has always started in people’s hearts one-by-one. Read the rest of this entry »

Child-like Faith

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 by James Flynn

Preachers usually remember their first sermon. Many of our audiences won’t forget them, either. For those of us called to preach, our first sermon is like our first kiss—we remember the place, time, sights, sounds, and even the smell. I gave my first sermon in 1975 in a small church a few miles from my house. I was a gangly teenager and had just made a commitment to Jesus Christ six months before.

I decided to visit that small church on the corner to check things out and see if the people there were crazy, as others had told me. I figured I had nothing to lose. My parents already thought I was crazy as a sixteen-year-old to be studying the Bible so much instead of partying with my friends like a “normal” teenager. Besides, the pastor’s daughter was cute, and the pastor was known for stirring things up with his unorthodox style of preaching. If nothing else, the visit would be entertaining, and who knew if I might get a date with the pastor’s daughter?

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Dem Bones

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 by James Flynn

Is it just me, or can you identify with the long nights that can occur before you preach? In spite of our best efforts to prepare throughout the week for Sunday’s message, there may be those weeks when we still find ourselves up on Saturday, wringing our hands, sweating, and pleading with God. Preaching is one of the most remarkable undertakings any man or woman aspires to in life. Preaching has the power to transform a valley of dry bones into a mighty army. Over the last three decades, I have been privileged to preach in local churches, classrooms, and seminars around the world. I have yet to experience a ministry that is more exhilarating, challenging, or fruitful than preaching. Preaching can change lives, alter destinies, and renew minds. It can bring hope to the hopeless, encouragement to the broken, and light to people who live in darkness. Preaching has the potential to change this generation and to send a legacy into the next. But the call to preach comes with a great personal price tag.

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