Belief · Change · Unbelief

believers… are… changed…

Three things converged…
three things seemingly unconnected… but now all tied up…
three things bringing clarity… stirring holy discontent… and a reason to preach…

First… today’s word for the after school Bible lesson…changed
a word inextricably tied to believing…

To be changed… is to be different than before…
the word for the Bible lesson led me to review my journey of change…

From the moment He captured my heart in an ICU waiting room… something happened in my spirit that distinctly changed… me…

It wasn’t like God and the gospel were new to me…
they were things I would have told you I believed…
but really… there had been no change in my life…
therefore I really didn’t believe…

Changes began with a commitment… desire… to seek Him out…
in His Word…
in prayer…

Changes began with the understanding that He is right…
I am wrong…
His Word true…
my way skewed…

Changes began to be revealed…
ones I hadn’t tried to change… they… just… changed…
my taste in movies… books…
these changes caught me by surprise…

Yes… Believers… are… changed…

In addition to the Bible lesson…
I’ve pulled out a Bible study I began writing years ago…
one unfinished…
one on faith… and how to exercise it…

Reviewing… rewriting…
preparing to actually teach it…
the first lesson is… believe…

So in addition to the focus on being changed…
I’ve begun mulling over anew what it means to believe…

To be a Believer… we must… believe…
(1) there is a God… a single Creator… Three Persons in One…
(2) He is who He says He is… Sovereign… Almighty… All Knowing…
(3) we are sinners… broken… corrupt… perverted… in our reasoning and understanding…
(4) we must believe Jesus came to save us… the Son of God… God Himself… full of grace… mercy…. truth…
(5) we must believe Scripture… receive it literally as God’s Word… breathed out by Him…

The gift of faith… leads to true believing…
an act of grace… on which we act…
in order to be changed… and… continue changing…

The third piece of these entangled thoughts…
center on the General Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC)…

I currently attend… worship… with a United Methodist congregation…
this week the UMC is conducting their once every four year conference…
to consider change to the church discipline… doctrine… what they say they believe…

As with many other mainstream denominations…
they are seeking to change His Word… His Way…
make Him more in line with the world…
make Him more palatable to the twenty-first century…

And here is where I get stirred… especially with thoughts of changed… and believe… floating around in my heart…

Believers DON’T change His Word… His Way…
Believers understand we are broken…
Believers subject… surrender… themselves… to the process of change…

He is the Rock…
Unchangeable… Immutable… Eternal… Trustworthy…

For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
1 Peter 2:8

When we try to change Him…
it’s only to our detriment…

“The stone the the builders rejected has become the capstone,” and,
“A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.”
1 Peter 2:7-8

So I have to wonder at Believers who say they believe…
yet don’t allow Him to change them…
but fight… strive… connive… to change Him… His Word… His Way…

The challenge I gave to fourth graders today… I give to you…
Look at your life… since you’ve said you believe… if you call yourself a Believer…
Have you changed…? can you identify changes in your life…? your thoughts…? your desires…?
If not… ask Him for faith to believe… ask Him to change you…

It is a prayer with an automatic… Yes

“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek, and you will find;
knock, and it will be opened to you. …”
Matthew 7:7 ESV
Because it’s just true… Believers… are… changed…
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men
but in the sight of God chosen and precious,
you yourselves like living stones are being built up
as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood,
to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God
through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:2 ESV

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