Summary: From Imitators to Instigators: Describing the need for agents of change in the local church

Leave the Past in the Past:

From Imitation to Instigation

Jeremiah 29:11-14a

Talk about Big Spring- How things change—

Change is hard thing for us to deal with- I listen to a lot of talk radio- I enjoy it- one of the prevailing themes on talk radio as people call in - the way things used to be- the Golden Days- back when you could get gallon of gas for a dollar and a gallon of milk for 3 dollars- hear people say “I wish I had been born 30 years earlier- I like the way things used to be—

Even the church- we like to hold on to the past- we even glorify the way things used to be- so that in our memories the past becomes even more than it really was-

The problem with that is that the God that we serve is a God of change- He is all about change- He is an unchanging God who changes everything- We know he is an unchanging God because we know him as the same yesterday, today and forever- but we see that He changes everything as we read about how he interacts with humanity-

Change is not taught very often from the Scriptures but the Word of God is a document about change- we find out that if we want to be a part of God’s kingdom radical personal change must take place- we call this conversion-

Paul says if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come- we understand that on and it’s easier for us to see on a personal level- we get it- but when we move to thinking about the church we lose our grasp on it—

As a church we think about change as something that happens on the outside- our community needs to change- our city needs to change- our nation needs to change- the world needs to change- everybody needs to change except for the church- we are fine just the way we are- in fact the church becomes the last defense against change- the church becomes a reminder of what the world looked like before it changed-

Listen now- the church has become the preserver of tradition and ritual rather than the catalyst and advancer of the Kingdom of God

Several years ago I attended a Catholic Mass that was done completely in Latin- it sounded like it was very beautiful and spiritual, but I couldn’t understand a word of it-- the priest might have been giving a good message- but there was no way for me to know--

Now we don’t perform our services in Latin but our language, style and methods are pretty much Latin to the unchurched Population—

This can’t continue to be the case because the local church is supposed to be God’s expression of his commitment to change-- the church is supposed to be about making history- we can see that as we look back at the early church- literally every day they were making history- doing something that hadn’t been done before- things we look back at and say Wow—

Unfortunately the church today only follows change- the society and culture changes and eventually the church follows suit- music changes and eventually the church catches up and changes- technology changes and after many years and countless board meetings the church decides to get up to date- we end up following change the way a water skier follows a boat- the boat moves and eventually the water skier moves—

I want to say it again- we serve a changeless God of change- he is not satisfied with status quo- he is not trying to keep up with the culture- his desire for the church is that we would become the initiators and the instigators for change within our cultures- we would be the ones that would start trends and new methods- that we would move from being imitators to being instigators—

Imitate- to produce a copy of, to be or appear like something else

Instigate- to goad or urge forward- move something forward

God is not a God of imitation- he is a god of Creation- he is a God of imagination- a God that chose to ignite a Revolution- he chose to goad things and move them forward-

All throughout His Word he proves that He is all about change- a not just a little change- he proves time after time that He is about radical change- Abraham was called into a life of radical change- God said leave everything you know and follow me to a greater future- he had to uproot himself and his family, to risk everything for the priviledge of being a part of Gods plan in history—

Moses—David—Elijah- Jeremiah---A fundamental requirement of following God has been leaving the secure and predictable in order to follow God into a world where only he is unchanging- let me say that again- when we begin living in His Kingdom the way He intended us to- the only thing that won’t be changing will be Him—

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