Summary: As we look at his life we will see that there were no less than four times that he came to a decision point for change and growth – which is the way it works. We don’t grow steadily through life. In fact we are more like climbers...


Following Jesus

July 13

Growing Means Changing

5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

Revelation 21:5

The Model T

OPEN: Back in 1912, Ford Motor Co. had a production manager named William Knudsen - considered one of the best in his field. Knudsen became convinced that the Model T (which had been in production for 4 years now) had to be updated. But, the only problem was - Henry Ford loved his creation so much it was well known that he opposed changing anything about the car.

According to Robert Lacy (in his best selling biography, Ford: The Man and the Machine) Knudsen thought to convince Ford by building an updated and impressive model to show what could be done with a few changes in color and design.

Ford had just returned from a European vacation, and he went to a Highland Park, Michigan garage and saw the new design created by Knudsen.

On-the-scene mechanics later revealed how Ford responded. They say that the car was it was a four door job, and the top was down, painted gleaming red and built on a new, low slung version of the Model T. One eyewitness tells how "Ford had his hands in his pockets, and he walked around that car 3 or 4 times…. Finally, he got to the left hand side of the car, and he takes his hands out, gets hold of the door, and bang! He ripped the door right off!… How the man done it, I don’t know! He jumped in there, and bang goes the other door.

Bang goes the windshield. He jumps over the back seat and starts pounding on the top. He rips the top with the heel of his shoe. He wrecked the car as much as he could."

Knudsen left for General Motors. Henry Ford nursed along the Model T, but design changes in competitors models made it more old-fashioned than he would admit. Competitive necessity finally backed him into making the Model A, but his heart was never in it.

Henry Ford was one of the most creative men of his age. And yet… Henry Ford - one of the great minds of his day - resisted the obvious need for change.

Most people don’t like change in their lives any more than he did. One man once observed that the only people who DO like change are "wet babies" … and even they aren’t too excited about it.

Churches are notorious for that kind of attitude as well. You’ll find church boards saying things like “we’ve never done it that way before”

Someone once said that when it comes to change the church is often like the snail riding on the back of a turtle (repeat for emphasis)... and do you know what a snail does when it rides on the back of the turtle? It goes: "Whee!"

Many people balk at even the slightest change in their routine. Even when they’re fairly sure the changes would be something pleasing to God they still resist. Sometimes churches are even worse!

The simple fact is that people are afraid of change.

They worry about what they will lose. And that makes them anxious. Philippians 4 tells us that we should never be anxious… but that we should turn our hearts in prayer to God. This morning, when I woke up I must confess that I was anxious.

When I got to the office this morning I started to get ready to be here with you. Part of that getting ready is getting connected to Jesus. He is my friend and he is all about change.

In Revelation 21:5 He declares “Behold, I make all things new” God does all kinds of “new things” in our lives every day. When we first become Christians, we die to our past, are buried in the water’s of Christian baptism and rise up a “changed” person. A new creature in Christ – Our God is God of change, and God can do great things when His people allow Him the freedom to change their lives and their church.

2ndly we learn that God wants His church to reach out beyond it’s comfort zones to reach more and more people for Christ. The early Church was repeatedly challenged by God to do things they were uncomfortable doing so that more and more of the lost could be saved.

That’s why I’m so proud of this church. We are a church that’s not afraid of change. We are a church who looks toward God - with anticipation. We’re always asking – “What’s He going to do next???” From the day you hired me, I knew this was a church willing to take risks to please God.

Who’s in Charge

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