All posts tagged: change

What a Difference Love Can Make

First Church was a stately, old church located in downtown Central City. She had a rich heritage along with the other churches clustered around Church Circle. And she, along with the other downtown churches, had her share of people who were always dropping by because they needed something. The “regulars” came by just like clockwork. Louie was always drunk; I mean eyes-matted-together-slobbering drunk. His still being alive was a miracle in itself. Hank was one of the most colorful people to come through our doors. I looked forward to passing by him on the sidewalk because he always cussed me out—to music. He cussed everybody out to music. He had one of those contraptions around his neck that would hold a harmonica, and he walked up and down the streets playing the harmonica and his guitar—until he saw you. The harmonica would come out of his mouth and out would come some of the most vile language you ever heard—all set to music. He could shred. Hank had come from Nashville. He had begun to …

Your Story was Designed for Victory in Jesus!

Nearly 30 years later, I still remember the day like it was yesterday. I remember it was quite warm and it hadn’t rained for days. I remember the taste of the hot peppers and the feeling of the branches against my skin. It was the first time I was ever physically bullied. As a middle schooler, I was quite socially awkward. I was still trying to learn how to mesh with my peers. It had been a difficult few months. It was the end of the school day, and my friends were playing a game I had no desire to be involved in, seeing who could eat the most hot peppers. When they realized I was not going to participate willingly, they decided to ensure I did. Before I knew what was happening, I was being held down and force-fed hot peppers. This was not my idea of a good time. Amidst their laughing, I was able to push myself away and make a dash for my bike. I dove through a bush to reach …

Make A Change And Love Your Neighbor

-written by Trey Gass In college, my roommates and I went through a phase where we would build music playlists with different themes or genres. We put together playlists for working out, studying, and hanging out in the room. We built themed playlists like beach music and for rainy days. We even made a playlist called “Estrogen” for when women came over to the apartment. (It was clean. We were young.) One playlist we built was the “deep” playlist, featuring songs with deep thoughts on life. One of the songs we added to the playlist was “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson. The song makes me want to snap my fingers and move my hips like Mr. Jackson himself, but if you slow down and listen, there is some deep meaning in the song. I’m starting with the man in the mirror I’m asking him to change his ways And no message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself, and then …

Do What is Right, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly!

-written by Jean Daniel Do you have any scars? I have quite a few. I remember the first one I ever had was from a smallpox vaccination. As a child, those of us who had been vaccinated proudly displayed our “bad of courage.” As a teen, I was in an accident in a Volkswagen Beetle which, due to driver error (I was not the driver), slid onto its side and then flipped three times. Every time I look in the mirror, I still notice the faded facial scars that are a reminder of the wreck. They may not be noticeable to others, but I still see them. As I aged, there were several surgeries which left larger scars. Over time, all wounds have healed, but some left faded remnants. Likewise, emotional wounds require time to heal and some scars never fade. During my first marriage, which ended in divorce, I protected my teenage daughter from the painful facts of the marital problems, even though she was somewhat aware of them. When the marriage ended, she …

What Have I Been Doing With My Life?

Say what you want about the ending, Lost remains my favorite TV show. Since the release of the first season, Corey and I have watched it 5 times from start to finish. It takes 91 hours to watch all 6 seasons. Do the math and I have spent 455 hours with Oceanic Flight 815 as they ran from monsters, fought the others, and tried to find their way back (don’t worry, no spoilers). (Ready for this reality check?) According to a quick search on Google, a person can read the entire Bible in 60 to 75 hours. (I wasn’t ready either.) After our most recent viewing of Lost, Corey shared this with me and I was pierced to the heart. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. – Joshua 1:8 With a Bible in hand, reading it from cover to cover seems daunting. But in this light, my …

Are You Ready for the Change God Has For You?

On May 15, 1991 my world changed forever. I sat with my family and friends, preparing to board a plane for the first time since I was an infant. My family was leaving everything we had ever known, and we were going to Thailand. My parents were answering God’s call to be missionaries. We had spent the last two years raising support and making plans. Our stuff had been packed and shipped in 55 gallon barrels more than a month earlier. That day we stepped out into the unknown. I was unsure of what my future looked like. As a 12 year old, everything I knew as normal was about to change. I had an aunt, uncle, and two cousins who lived there already. We knew we had our family to depend on, but we didn’t know what other friendships we would have once we got there. After being in the air for 24+ hours and a 12 hour train ride, we set foot in our new hometown. My cousin began to introduce me to …

Are You Rediscovering the Person You Married?

And being apart ain’t easy on this love affair Two strangers learn to fall in love again I get the joy Of rediscovering you Oh girl, you stand by me I’m forever yours, faithfully Hopefully, this song needs no introduction, and if you’re a child of the 80’s and 90’s you have no excuse. Let’s be real, we all transform into our own individual tribute-band when Journey comes up on our playlist. In the many times you may have listened to this song, have you ever caught the story? It’s the words of a husband to his wife in the midst of distance and unmet expectations. The lyrics go on to tell a story of renewed devotion, while not forgetting where they’ve been. The standout line for me has always been “I get the joy of rediscovering you.” Consider it great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. …

Have You Experienced the Living Water in Your Life?

I had the privilege of going on this year’s summer mission trip to Nicaragua.  It was my first time to that country, but not my first trip to a Hispanic country as Karen and I were missionaries in Mexico for five years.  Going into the trip, I felt like I had a pretty good understanding of the culture.  I learned there was a lot I didn’t understand.  For example, in Mexico, most everyone has access to clean affordable water.  In Nicaragua, this isn’t always the case. One of the projects we got to work on was installing a water tower at a family’s house.  The family had been using large drums and buckets to store water for drinking, cleaning, and bathing.  As I spoke with the mother, it became clear they may have lacked water at times, but there was no lack of living water, as Jesus refers to when he meets the woman at the well in John 4. She kept telling me her “testimonio” as she called it, which means testimony.  She nearly …

A Butt Kicking That Will Change Your Heart

This Jonah series is kicking my butt. (Missed a message? Listen to Sunday’s messages by clicking here.) chapter 1: “You can’t run from God.” If I’m honest, I try to. chapter 2: Jonah cries out for God to save him from the uncomfortable state he is in, but not to change his heart.  I do that too! chapter 3: God doesn’t call me because I am able, but because He is able. My potential isn’t in me, it’s in Christ.  But I seem to think I can do it because of my skills and who I am.  Do you feel this way too?  Please tell me I’m not alone in realizing how much like Jonah I am! This is good though. Until you realize you need change, you will never ask God to change you.  Until you realize you need change, you will never kill your old self; you will never live Galatians 2:20: My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So …

This Week For Sunday

Has God’s grace changed you? When someone encounters God’s grace, it totally changes the DNA of their heart. Consider the story of Zacchaeus found in Luke 19:1-10.  Jesus comes to town and chooses to personally visit a chief tax collector known to be a cheat.  We don’t know much about their time together, but clearly it changed Zacchaeus.  He professes that he will give half of his wealth to the poor and return to those he cheated four times the amount. That’s what happens when we look in the eyes of grace; we are changed at our very core. Not to say that we are now perfect; far from it.  But we are transformed, made new.  When we accept Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit and as Paul says, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (Galatians 2:20). If you call yourself a Christ-follower and you’re going about life like you always have, wrestling with the same temptations and wallowing in the same sin, I urge you …