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Summary: Seemingly minor adjustments can have far-reaching consequences; this is especially true in the spiritual realm.

Subtle Changes With Big Consequences

(I Thessalonians 1:1-3)

One of the fringe benefits of being an English or History teacher is receiving the occasional jewel of a student blooper in an essay. I have pasted together the following "history" of the world from certifiably genuine student bloopers collected by teachers throughout the United States, from eighth grade through college level. Read carefully, and you will learn a lot.

The inhabitants of Egypt were called mummies. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The Egyptians built the Pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube. The Pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain.

The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, Guinesses, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain asked "Am I my brother’s son?". God asked Abraham to sacrifice Issac on Mount Montezuma. Jacob, son of Isaac, stole his brother’s birthmark. Jacob was a patriarch who brought up his sons to be patriarchs, but they did not take to it. One of Jacob’s sons, Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites.

Pharaoh forces the Hebrew slaves to make bread without straw. Moses led them to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fought with the Philatelists, a race of people who lived in Biblical times. Solomon, one of David’s sons, had 500 wives and 500 porcupines.

(source: hem.passagen.se/daes78/engstuff.html)

Main idea: Seemingly minor adjustments can have far-reaching consequences; this is especially true in the spiritual realm.

I. The First Subtle Change: A Change of GREETING (1)

A. The way we view LIFE is altered

B. The church is unique in God’s plan, as evidenced by Paul’s greeting

(1) Jewish people would great one another with "Shalom Elechem."

(2) Gentiles with "Greeting" a word that can also mean rejoicing

(3) But Paul changes this; he continues the Jewish "Shalom" (peace), but alters the gentile, "greetings" to become "grace."

C. From GREETINGS to GRACE

(1) The church is connected to the Jewish heritage of the Old Testament, but includes gentiles whose behaviors have been altered to conform to godliness

(2) And now we exalt God’s grace, because everything about us, every breath we breathe and every blessing we have is by God’s grace -- His favorable disposition toward us based upon His own determination to bless us…

D. It is only by experiencing God’s grace that we have peace with God; and that same grace provides us with the potential of peace in daily life, because peace comes from walking closely with God, and we can walk closely with God by grace. We now view life as a gift of God’s grace, our daily provisions as by God’s grace, and our purpose in living to glorify God because of His grace.

Seemingly minor adjustments can have far-reaching consequences; this is especially true in the spiritual realm.

II. The Second Subtle Change: A Change of LOCATION (1)

A. The church is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ

(1) implying the Father and Son are on equal footing

(2) "in Christ" refers to our special legal location in heaven

(3) Colossians 3:3 "For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."

B. Our perspective about OURSELVES is revolutionized

1. before Marylu and I went to Italy, we made reservations; a seat was waiting for us on the plane; hotels, the tour…all waiting for us…but still uncertain

2. our position in heaven is there; legally, all our ducks are in a row…but since this is by God’s grace, nothing can happen to alter these plans…

3. We live with one foot in heaven and one foot on earth

C. In CHRIST and in our NEIGHBORHOOD

(1) In Galatians 1:2 we read, "To the churches in Galatia…"

(2) True have churches are always multi-campus: one location in heaven with God, one in earth, in the world but not of the world

(3) We are balanced as a church and as individual Christians to the degree that cultivate our heavenly relationship to God with practical service here on earth…

Our church’s mission seeks to recognize the two environments in which the church exists: REACH people, CONNECT People to One Another and To God, and DEEPEN them in their Christian walk

III. The Third Subtle Change: A Change in PRAYER

A. Church life can be boring:

An elderly woman walked into the local country church. The friendly usher greeted her at the door and helped her up the flight of steps. "Where would you like to sit?" he asked politely.

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