Summary: The second of two sermons on change in the circumstances, but not the vision or goals, of a church body. This sermon was prompted by a pastor transitioning out of the church.
He hasn’t been gone very long -- just a week, but if you’re not missing Rick, I can tell you that he is missing you. Continue to pray for him. And for us....
To tell you where we’re at in the process...
- informal conversations
- collecting information (survey)
- we’ll expand the rings with further contacts
Meanwhile we are getting ourselves ready -- emotionally and spiritually for the change that is no doubt coming when God brings us another pastor.
If you brought your Bible with you, open it to 2 Kings 18...for the second semester of Change U
We’re not the only ones talking change. You might have heard that there is a presidential election going on. One of the candidates has chosen as a slogan "Change we can believe in." The other candidate selected a spunky vice-president who responded this week by saying..."There are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those who use their careers to promote change." All of which caused my daughter Jenna to say to me, "I am sick of all this talk about change." - and she said that right as I was working on my message this week...about change....thanks Jenna.
Whether we want to talk about it, or not, we face three types of transition:
- Happens deep within us, in the hidden parts of our lives....
- I am not the same person I was 5 years ago
- I pastored here until 2005. I’m a different guy, and you have changed too.
Over time we’re not the same people that we used to be. We’re all on a personal journey. [When I counsel couples about to get married...] you’re making a commitment to the person they are going to be.
On a personal level, researchers say that every person will experience 3-9 "significant changes" or turning points in their life. You may be in the middle of one right now.
Throughout our lives, people are coming in and out. Through the stages in life we have to make adjustments. Relationships -- even family relationships -- can be unstable over time.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.
Paul wrote these words from prison [not a nice clean prison, but like in the movie Gladiator] Change happens. Sometimes change happens to you. Your company goes on strike. Gas goes up to $4 per gallon. You get in an accident and are hospitalized.
It’s not what happens to you--it’s what happens in you. We have to be careful when it comes to change, because we can mess up by either changing, or not.
When it comes to change, it’s a two-step process.
1. Knowing what needs to change
We get in trouble either changing what shouldn’t change, or not changing what we should. And it’s the second concern -- not changing - that gets addressed in 2 Kings 18:1-4.
"In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it."
Here’s the deal...Good snakes can become bad snakes.
It’s the Bronze Serpent Effect: We fall in love with the way God worked.
The snake had been a symbol of God’s work. It later became an object of worship.
1. God worked through the snake
2. They fell in love with the way God used to work.
What do you do with old snakes? Smash them so that God can do something new.
William Whyte (The Organizing Man): "All creative advances are essentially a departure from agreed-upon ways of looking at things."
You can’t go forward without a departure. Here, as a group, we’re experiencing some transitions as a church. We’re moving out of one chapter, into the next.
This has been Rick’s ministry to lead. He has led it well. There were things that God did here that were awesome. But don’t fall in love with the way God worked. Make the internal adjustments necessary to adapt to change.
The key determination in transition:
What are you going to take with you, and what are you going to leave behind?
Just like when you move physically, you have to take inventory. When you move spiritually, or want to, you have to take inventory.