Ponderings for February 21 2019

Talking with a friend about spiritual life and transformation and all of the difficulties and frustrations we see and face led us to wonder if change really is possible. That’s a hard one. I know a lot of pastors and parents and discipleship leaders who truly wonder about that.
We understand why this is a real issue as we watch so many Christ-followers lead defeated lives and so many leaders disqualify themselves from ministry. What exactly does sanctification really mean, anyway?
On more than one occasion, I have been asked if Christians really are any different than the rest of the world. We say Christ makes us better, but where is the evidence? Where is this difference we keep talking about? Is it only in the rhetoric? Is change really possible—or are we overselling our faith?
I understand this sense of disharmony. And yet, I don’t we believe we oversell. In fact, I think we undersell. As I read Romans and prepare for the next few messages, I am reminded that through Christ and by his grace, God initiates in us a thorough process of spiritual change that is meant to be partnered with an understanding of our new identity in Christ—and with our choices to act and “be” who we are in Christ, choices that involve the power of God’s Spirit to retrain our allegiances and minds to conform to the will and image of Christ. We are capable of change. We can be free of old habits and loyalties through the power of Christ’s cross and resurrection. Identifying with Christ and his new life provides the power we need to live transformed lives.
The Christian life does include frustration and brokenness along the way. But it should be more than just “miserable sinner Christianity” and sin management (in the words of Dallas Willard). Real change is possible in our lives today. I can’t wait to share with you the next several chapters of Romans in our Disqualified series. New life in Christ is not just some abstract concept; it is a potential and present reality for all of us!
Now for a capital campaign update: This Sunday, we will be praying as a community to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Gathering Space! Join us as we ask the Lord to use this space to enhance our fellowship and—even more so—that we may use it to welcome those still to come!
This means, of course, that the inconveniences of new construction are about to surface. The west entrance becomes the exclusive main entrance. Any other issues and potential annoyances of construction will simply serve as a reminder of what this space represents and the changes that God is doing in us and through us.
See you on Sunday,
Pastor Paul