Summary: We all deal with chave in every portion of life except at church. God wants church to be a place of change, A place that lives are changed. However, we mucs be changed first.
Can you spare some Change?
There was an old farmer claimed that he could command his mule with nothing more than a few soft words, no whips or prods necessary. She would respond, he claimed, with nothing more than gently spoken commands. So his friend down at the feed store asked for a demonstration. “Prove to me that your old mule will respond with nothing more than gentle language.” Out in the field they went the farmer, his friend, and the mule. As the friend watched, first in awe and then in horror, the farmer took a huge piece of lumber, a two-by-four about six feet long, and swung it with all his might, hitting the mule on one ear! When the animal stopped braying and bellowing and prancing around, the farmer then said, quietly, “Come here” and the mule came. “Sit”, and the whimpering creature sat. “Back up”, and she backed into the harnesses of a waiting plow and waited calmly for him to hook up. “You see? She’ll respond to a simple voice command”. However, his friend objected, “Whatever are you talking about? You said all you had to do was talk to her, but you hit her with this huge two-by-four! What do you mean, you just command her with words! That’s not what I saw!” “Oh, that,” said the farmer. “Well, first I do have to get her attention!”
It seems to me that God often uses the proverbial two-by-four to get our attention, because without it we would not listen. Without getting our attention in some way we will never follow or respond to his soft words. So, God has to do something dramatic, frequently, because we just do not notice that He is calling us. He is calling us to do something. He is calling us out of our stubbornness (possibility mulish stubbornness) and is summoning us to make a change.
God wants the church to be a place where lives change; He wants his children to go from worldly priorities to kingdom priorities. He wants people to find comfort and peace because they meet our savior and can relax because they receive the promises. He wants to change all the people of this world.
However, that won’t happen unless we already in the church are changed first.
I am afraid that we don’t notice God unless He gets the Two by four out. I guess we have too many distractions….our attention is drawn into the worldly problems and pleasures and we don’t hear the direction of our Lord. Some of us have to be hit hard to see what God is doing or asking for. Without the attention getter we often give go no attention or response at all.
Saul came in contact with God’s two-by-four in the form of a bright flash of light that most definitely got his attention. God’s wake-up call for Saul was a personal encounter out on the highway, a moment of truth that made Saul take notice and his life changed forever.
This morning I want us to consider how to be a place where lives change.
I was probably like most of you. I was a church kid. My family was at church almost every Sunday. We were not there for every event, not every time the doors were open, but we were faithful regulars.
Later, I had to make a decision to go to church. I did not know it was a calling. I just noticed a desire and after a period of time I acted on it. Then My family became church regulars. I was changed during this process. I never had the dramatic conversion that some people share. Sometimes I felt ashamed because my personal story seemed so boring. Church kid becomes a church adult. Blah… Blah … Blah
In our scripture today, Saul is a religious terrorist. He is so obsessed with these radical Jews, the ones that followed Jesus that he wanted to travel around and take them all as prisoners and bring them to Jerusalem for a “Trial.”
You know a Fair trial that ends by finding these blasphemers Guilty and sentenced to death.
Isn’t that an interesting description of his emotion….he is breathing out murderous threats… I can image a person that just looks angry. He talks to people and the only subject on his mind is the situation with the horrible people.
I have known some negative people. Some that spew poison about certain people or situations without even noticing what it does to them. We have seen people on TV, Eric Rudolph explaining the bombings. As far as they can see they are just stating the right thing.
Paul is exactly the same way. He is on the right side. He is a good Jew, trained n the law and more importantly a keeper of the law. He is zealous in his persecution of the followers of “the way.” He seems obsessed with the idea of wiping out this sect from the face of the earth.