preacherman

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jesus, The First Change Agent Part 2

I did a post about a year ago entitled, "Jesus, The First Change Agent." The article and discussion can be found here:


www.kinneymabry.blogspot.com/2007/09/jesus-first-change-agent.html





Jesus, the first change agent I believe still changes the hearts and thoughts of men and calls us to change ourselves, our views, opinions, actions, and also to strive to change the culture around us. As, I mentioned in the first post, many of those afraid of change strive to attach a negative connotation with the term.

In the first century, the term "Christian" was used in almost the same way of type labeling. It was not from among their own, "The Way", but of the world that hated them. Yet, we today aren't known as part of "The Way" but "Christians". Isn't it interesting that the persecution we see today comes not from the world but from those who claim themselves to be Christian. I wonder what would happen if we took this new label as a badge of honor? What would happen if we are embarrassed by it?



Change, of course, is not always comfortable, but Jesus doesn't call us to comfort, but to sacrifice and complete surrender.



How can we embrace the terminology as to the calling we have received? How does Jesus us call us to change? In what way do you see your role as a "change agent" if you do? In what ways should we be striving to change the world around us? In what ways do you think church, worship and Christianity should change? What happens to faith when we refuse to change? How do you think Christianity and what the church will change over the next century?

48 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think sometimes we have to remember that the human works which have been labled "genius" are the ones in which a set of circumstances or perameters are applied to different times and situations, and therefore, stand the test of time.

These human works include The Comstitution of the United States and many of the works of William Shakespeare. They have stood the test of time by being applicable to more than one time or circumstance. For example, we use the same framework in the Constitution as our forefathers did, but we have applied it to our changing world and it still holds up. The works of Shakespeare stand the test of time because humans still feel the same feelings and act on the same human circumstances as people in his time.

In the same way, the genius of the work of the creator of the universe is that we as people can change, our society and technologies change, but "There is nothing new under the sun."

We should feel free to change things as long as the fundamental framework of the Bible is applied to our attitudes and we live flexibly within that framework. Rigidity is not the same thing as godliness.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

Tim Woodroof wrote a good aricle recently for The Lookout magazine (http://www.lookoutmag.com/articles/culture.asp) in which he describes the changes in attitude in Churches of Christ over the last several decades. He makes the point that, at one time, we fought over everything. Now, we are tempted to avoid fighting over anything, even the essentials of the faith. We have been reactionary in many ways. In the future, I hope that we will not fight over just about everything, but I also hope that we will be willing to stand up for the essentials of Christianity (i.e., the existance of God, the deity of Christ, heaven, hell, the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, the trustworthiness of the Bible, grace, faith, repentance, baptism, etc.). His article is titled "What would you fight for?"

I pray that your health is improving, brother.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Scott Packett said...

I believe we must run quickly from our tendency to identify ourselves by our religion, and begin to identify with what we really are. We are enemies of God, who have been reconciled and adopted into the family of God by the blood of Jesus Christ.

We have lost touch with who we really are, and it is imperative that we return to the foot of the cross a gain a better perspective of things. What has happened in modern Christianity is that we have become more like modern day Pharisees, instead of radicals who follow the Way.

I taught tonight that when we are converted Jesus must not just be our Savior who saves us from hell. In addition (and just as important, in my opinion) is he has to become our treasure. He has to become our lives, and we must not sit back and enjoy the ride, but we should rejoice and tell the world.

Great discussion and look forward to more comments.

11:44 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Preacherman,
I think Christianity will change in a great way this next century. We will be identified more as a people with passion, devotion, and demonstrate the character of Christ. We will be known as a people of love and strive for unity unstead of a people who fight and divide over issues that don't matter. We will unite around the cross and grace of Jesus Christ.
I believe that Christians already fight too much over stuff. We defiantely don't need any more fighting and discussing issues that cause us to divide. Tim Woodroof would do good to understand that the world already see's a church divided, why not "change" and be a people known by our love. Wait. I think I remember the first change agent saying, "All men will know you are my disciples if you love one another."

David

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with David, why do we need to fight at all. Why can't we strive to unite on Jesus Christ. I think if we don't strive for unity the Church of Christ will cease to have influence and crediblity in the next century.

Sam

7:56 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Terry,
I am having trouble finding the article. Are you sure you have the address right?

8:04 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Terry,
Sorry.
Just found it.
Thanks.
I will try to respond after reading.
Thanks for sharing it with us.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Mork said...

I'm just walking and God is providing, my spiritual eyes are getting stronger and where once I walked right on by - I am discovering that God many times an hour is providing opportunities for me to be a change agent on His behalf.
Thing is though - I need to leave the nest!!!

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you Preacherman that as the Restoration Movement we must be able to adapt to change. We need and should strive for love and unity.

Eddie

9:33 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Terry,
I think I can understand where Tim is coming from in the article. Yet we need to undertand that faith, hope and love is what the gospel is about and what Christ calls us to change.
I think that Restoration Movement has fought enough over "issues". Why not change and be known as a Movement that loves and motivates people to the cross of Christ?
Again, where is the genius of a movement that cannot handle change?

10:09 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Eddie,
I am sorry I deleted my previous comment.
A little early for posting. :-)

10:10 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Annoymous,
Wonderful put.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

Scott,
I think it is great that Christians should embrase the cross as our common ground.

David and Sam,
I totally understand what you how your thinking. We have fought enough over the years. Enough already!

10:24 AM  
Blogger Liz Moore said...

I think if we start by changing the way we see and allow God to work in our own lives, then the changes around us won't intimidate nearly as much. Blessings!

12:01 PM  
OpenID kingdomseeking said...

This seems to be the most difficult task of being a Christian. Everyone seems to agree that Jesus calls us to change until it comes to them. This call is a call to sacrifice personal preferances, comforts, and desires. Nobody wants to do that temselves but everybody expects that others should do that. Lord help us!

Great post,

Rex

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

You said it so well Preacherman, "Change of coursem is not always comfortable, but Jesus doesn't call us to comfort, but so sacrifice and complete surrender." Amen!

1:32 PM  
Blogger Wes said...

Christians should live on Repentance Road.

Good post :)

4:10 PM  
Blogger jeleasure said...

"Counter Culture Revolution" comes to mind. It really should be a 'badge of honor'. In fact, we should even be embarrassed. Because the term itself represents the minority. Being a 'counter culture revolation' means we, Christians have not taken an effect.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Lane said...

I think the church is going to change for the good. We should be known for our actions of Christlikeness.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous change agent 007 said...

Preacherman you did it again. I hope we will be known as agents of change. Change for the best.

7:44 PM  
Blogger jeleasure said...

I posted a message on this subject already. For clarification, I am restating it.
I did not answer the questions at the bottom, but the questions coming at the end of the second paragraph. Namely these two questions:

"I wonder what would happen if we took this new label as a badge of honor? What would happen if we are embarrassed by it?".

This was my earlier reply.

"Counter Culture Revolution" comes to mind. It really should be a 'badge of honor'. In fact, we should even be embarrassed. Because the term itself represents the minority. Being a 'counter culture revolation' means we, Christians have not taken an effect.".

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Jerry said...

These questions I think get to the heart of what Christianity is all about become more and more like Jesus. I like how in your first post you mentioned how Jesus changed the law adding the heart to it. How often do we go about our lives with our head and not our heart? I know I need to change my heart. I need to be more in touch with what God wants and desires. I need to do his good, pleasing and perfect will in my life. I think those who are most affraid to change have a heart condition that Jesus refers to as hard heartedness. I think worship over the next years will change in this way. I hope it does in my life anyway. I believe if real change is to occur and path our ways then we must start with ourselves.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Cheryl Russell said...

I like the word transformation myself. Christ transforms us. We should be transforming or changing into His likeness. I also think that this trasformation should and must overflow into the life of the Body of Christ. It makes no sense that each of us would change, but the church would not. I wonder if the problem is that we are not allowing the transforming work of Christ and the Holy Spirit to change us? Perhaps, this is why so many churches struggle with change?

12:32 PM  
Blogger jeleasure said...

Cheryl just made my jaw drop.
She used the words

"TRANSFORMING, OR CHANGING INTO HIS LIKENESS"

What I locked onto in this statement caused 'A EUREKA!' moment. She stated, we need to get back to the image that God created us in, His image!

God said, "Be Holy, as I am Holy".

We are all somewhat familiar with what 'holiness' or 'sanctification' is. We simply define it as being set apart.
But "set apart" from what?
The ways of the world. We are to live according to the standard God set down for us. Not the standard by which the world exist. So, "transforming to His likeness". This is what we were created in and due to the fall of man, we are inherently outside this state of existance.

Preacher Man,
I HOPE PEOPLE ARE HEARING THIS.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Scott Packett said...

I think Cheryl and jeleasure are really on to something here. If we are not experiencing transformation, then we might need to begin to evaluate the motivations of our heart and begin to ask God some questions about our lives.

We were created in His likeness, and with the fall of man we were separated from Him by our sins. In Romans 5 it says that we were enemies. However the hope we find is that God provided a way to reconcile us back to himself and adopt us as His children through Jesus Christ.

In our redemption, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. With this gift comes the process of our transformation, otherwise called sanctification. Transformation is definitely the place where change should begin, and will begin, if we give total control to the Father.

4:25 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Cheryl, Jim and Scott wonderful thoughts for this post. Changing into the likeness of Christ. Transformation is what I believe the Christian life is about. We should strive for those changes. Thank you guys for your wonderful thoughts.
BE HOLY BECAUSE I AM HOLY.
What a calling!

6:05 PM  
Blogger jeleasure said...

One other thing that Cheryl pointed out:
If we are being transformed as individuals to get back to the state that God created us in, His image. And, God said, "be Holy as I Am Holy", which Scott rightly called 'sanctification'. The our individual transformations should effect the church.

However, the church is comprised of both redeemed and unredeemed sinners. And there is the rub.

7:01 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Jim,
You are right.
There in the challenge.

9:45 PM  
Blogger jeleasure said...

Thanks PreacherMan,
I often get frustrated because I want to get in on the conversation. However, I more often find myself making a comment and it is as if the comment were never made.
So, I am grateful to actually had some meaningful interaction this evening.
Jim

9:55 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Jim,
I am sorry and want you to know that your comments are always appreciated on this blog. God bless you and the work you do for His Kingdom. You are always in my thoughts and prayers. I know God has great things for you and your ministry.

I really enjoyed your love one another blog. Great stuff. Everyone should check it out.
It is definately a great read and worth the time. I agree that love is what is really going to "change" us and world in which we live. As Jesus commanded, "A new command I give you. Love one another as I have you, so you also must love one another. All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one antoher."

I recommend all readers to check out your blog.

Love and our actions will definately define us in this century I strongly believe. "Love never fails."

God I pray that you will help your church and christians world wide strive to obey the command that you give us, that we will love with the kind of love you have given to each one of us. May the world be "changed" by our love and concern. May your love andgrace overflow out of our hearts and lives so we can make the differene you want us to. Thank you God for your love and grace. May we cherish it as we become more like your image.

Jim love you brother.
May God bless every aspect of your life.

11:15 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I am saddened and heavy hearted. I don't know if anyone has seen the documentary "Crucifixion" on the History Channel but it moved me. God has layed on my heart what is going on in the Sudan. Christians are being crucified. Yes, 2000 years after Jesus Christ's death. Christians are now being persecuted and killed in this unhuman way. Religious genecide in the fullest sense.

Nothing is being done by the world leaders.
We stood up for the Jews during Hitler.
We must stand up for those Christians who are being extinct in the Sudan, Darfur area.


I think these new martyr's are and will make a "change" in the lives of Christians around the world.

I will have a post on this soon. May God be with the Christians in Darfur.

11:22 AM  
Blogger jeleasure said...

PreacherMan,
What is going on in Sudan seems so impossible. We live in a country that was fought for and founded on the freedom of religious conviction. However, I fear our country is on pace for one day having to face the same persecutions. Certain special interest groups are teatering on having legislation to shut the mouths of our Pastors on issues that the Bible holds in opposition to their agenda.
When this occurs, then there will be punishment for those pastors and churches who do not comply with new legislation brought by those special interest groups. That is the next step.

Preacherman,
Thank you for your encouragement. It is not something I blame you for. But, I am appreciative in that you have helped me get the message out.
I have some understanding on certain Biblical issues and want to be able to participate in this forum. I think I discovered how to be noticed here on your blog. And that is what I did, hence I was able to be involved in the conversation.
Thank you for promoting my "Love One Another" blog.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

Kinney,
Please check out www.persecution.com for more information about the persecution of Christians around the world. You may find it helpful as you prepare for a post about persecution.

Jeleasure,
I appreciate your comments here and on my blog. I look forward to reading more.

5:31 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Terry,
Thank you brother for sharing this link with me.
I enjoyed it.
I will recommend this link as well as many others on the post.
We must do something.
It is definately religious genocide.

11:58 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Please in the mean time keep these Christians in Darfur in your prayers.

Let's do what we can as Christians to change the world around us.

God cares and listens to the crys of the oppressed.

12:05 AM  
Blogger Benjamin Bush Jr. said...

The term "change agent" is strictly a term of the World. And it is not a positive term for the Child of God.

A change agent oversees the process of positing two opposing views against one another for the purpose of arriving at a completely different, yet predetermined, point of view. By design, those not fully cooperating in this process are marginalized, if not outright ostracized, from those engaging in the journey toward the new consensus.

With that said, Jesus was not a change agent by any means. He came as Absolute Truth and presented Himself to a lost and Dying World as the absolute Way to Life. No process of discussion will ever change this fact. The only consensus for the World to consider is the Absolute and Eternal agreement of the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit when it comes to Man's salvation. All other ideas and paths are rejected by God. There is not a change agent alive who will convince God otherwise.

Transformation, on the other hand, is a completely different process and originates with God Himself. It is completely consistent with His absolute character.
The relative process of a change agent is not.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Benjamin Bush Jr. said...

I forgot to point out that the earlier mention of transoformation was great!

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