May 24, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: Life Change

Brother-Aaron-236x300“We preach and teach for life change.”

I first heard my friend Randy Atkins make that statement.

It encapsulates in a nutshell the totality of our Christian mission. Everything we do, whether it be keeping the nursery on Sunday, bringing a casserole dish to the pot luck supper, (Hello Baptists!) serving on volunteer auxiliary boards and committees within the church, praying, giving financially, going on mission trips, singing songs, teaching lessons, doing lifestyle or door to door evangelism, making ministerial visits, or preaching sermons; life change must be our core purpose for doing all we do for Jesus.

Everything, and I do mean everything, in the Christian experience must funnel toward life change.

If you study the life of Jesus you will discover that life change is what He was all about. He encountered some fishermen and told them, “Follow Me and I will make you Fishers of Men.”

Make no mistake, they were still fishermen. He had just changed what they were fishing for!  And everywhere He went He changed lives!

I specifically recall the Biblical story where He encountered a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. You remember the story. The law called for her to be stoned to death but Jesus began to write something on the ground and one by one all of her accusers left. (Here’s an Aaronism for you: He may have been listing dates, places, and times that each of them had been with her!)

He then turns to her and asks where her accusers are. They were gone. He then tells her, “Neither do I condemn thee. …” Then He adds the critical part – the life change part – when He instructs her to, “… Go and sin no more.”

Did you notice that Jesus didn’t ask her to repeat a prayer after Him? Did you notice that her whole conversion experience was based upon her personal encounter with Him? Did you notice that He did not instruct her to go and become a defender of the status quo of her life? But as a result of her encounter with Him and His unmerited favor in forgiving her of her sin, He instructs her, from that moment forward, to change her lifestyle.

Understand something. Her encounter with Jesus changed her! And in my humble but correct opinion, when we encounter the same unmerited favor from Jesus that she encountered, it will ALWAYS produce life change in us!  And you can mark it down. If nothing changed; nothing happened!

It never ceases to amaze me that the very thing Jesus was about – life change – is the thing we resist the most. Nature teaches us that the very moment something stops growing it begins to die.

The Blue Crab (and others I’m sure) have no spine, rather they have a hard external shell. The crab grows until it fills the shell. It then enters a period of molting where the old shell is discarded and a new one forms. The crab is most vulnerable to predators during this molting or life change process.

Once the shell has hardened the crab then lives its life until the new shell becomes too small. For the remainer of its life it repeats this molting or life change process again and again. Ironically, the last shell it refuses to change becomes its coffin. So it is with us.

As we stand at the cusp of 2016, I encourage you to evaluate the life of your church, your ministry, and your personal walk with Jesus.  If the focus is not upon life change, then something needs to be adjusted.

After all, “We preach and teach for life change.”  I know of no better time than the present – right now – today, for all of us to start implementing life change.

Brother Aaron

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