Friday, February 3, 2012

Transformed by Jesus

This week I am preaching on Paul and his conversion.  Now Paul is the last guy you would expect to become a Christian, but it's pretty important that God did take this guy who was killing his people and make him into his child.  God transformed someone who was clearly his enemy and made him a vessel to bring the message to many others who were far from Jesus. 

So part of my message this week is about God's power to transform.  God transforms people who are far from him and makes them into his children, his beloved children.

That's what God does, but its hard for us to really believe this.  

When we think about who we want to invite to our church, who we think will accept Jesus as Lord and Savior we think of our nice neighbors who seem to have their stuff together.  They are so much like us, except for the Jesus and church part that we think they are so close to seeing God and knowing his grace.  To be sure, God calls these people, but this week I've been reading testimonies.  Most testimonies that have impacted me, and impacted, deeply impacted people far from Christ are testimonies of people far from Jesus whom he draws near.  

This week I listened to Ravi Zacharias testimony and Lee Strobels.  Then this morning I was listening to the national prayer breakfast and heard a little bit of Eric Metaxas Testimony

These are people who were far from God.  God took people who didn't look like Christians already.  God found people who were hopeless, some  losers, some antagonists but all lost.  He rescued them from where their plans and hopes and direction had failed them.  God is good, and God is powerful.  He is mighty to save. 

Russell Moore had some thoughts on this recently

Russell Moore recounts a memorable conversation with the evangelical theologian Carl F. H. Henry. As Moore and some of his friends were lamenting the miserable shape of the church, they asked Dr. Henry if he saw any hope in the coming generation of evangelicals.
Dr. Henry replied:
Of course, there is hope for the next generation of evangelicals. But the leaders of the next generation might not be coming from the current evangelical establishment. They are probably still pagans. Who knew that Saul of Tarsus was to be the great apostle to the Gentiles? Who knew that God would raise up a C. S. Lewis or a Charles Colson? They were unbelievers who, once saved by the grace of God, were mighty warriors for the faith.
Russell Moore added:
The next Jonathan Edwards might be the man driving in front of you with the Darwin Fish bumper decal. The next Charles Wesley might be a misogynist, profanity-spewing hip-hop artist right now. The next Billy Graham might be passed out drunk in a fraternity house right now. The next Charles Spurgeon might be making posters for a Gay Pride March right now. The next Mother Teresa might be managing an abortion clinic right now.

So when we pray, let's not only pray for people we like, and people who are like us. People who, if they walked into our churches, would fit right in.  Let's also pray for people who are far from God. Let's pray for God to work in powerful ways and show that he is the redeemer. Let's pray that God changes people far from him and be glorified because he has worked in ways that we didn't see or expect.  Let's pray that God continues to show that he is the way, the truth, and the life to a perishing world 

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