This past weekend, I did some teaching and speaking on the issue of being "reformed vs. transformed"…I had a basic premise – this past weekend was the celebration of Reformation Day in our faith community's history (actually we normally would celebrate the Reformation on a day other than the actual day – but Sunday WAS Reformation Day in history, October 31, 1517). Now for many people in my tradition, the celebration (or better yet, commemoration) may mean a lot but for others, maybe they have wondered what the big deal is…well, I told the people in attendance, "no matter how much you know about the Reformation or how little you know, I want to talk about the significance of the Reformation because I believe that even though it happened almost 500 years ago and was hugely important and used of the Holy Spirit to recalibrate what it means to be a follower of Jesus and part of His Body, it didn’t really go far enough…AND in many respects can give you and me a bit of a wrong impression about what it means to be a follower of Christ…"
I basically attempted to make the following point – Christianity, being a follower and disciple of Jesus isn’t about Reformation but rather about Transformation. Now, you didn't come to this blog today to get the wonderful opportunity to read one of my messages (heaven forbid, huh?). But I do want to highlight one section of the message that I presented to the people in our community in a very "high tech" manner:
A follower of Jesus cannot stop with the Reformation – can’t be looking back over our shoulder, so to speak, and talking about our lives in Jesus as if our greatest days were in our past. You see, I’ve got this problem with what I call, “rear view mirror spiritual thinking”…you know what a rear view mirror is and what its function is. It needs to be a specific size…too big, can’t see where you are going…too small, can’t see where you’ve been. A lot of people, and a lot of churches, have rear view mirrors in their lives with Jesus that are absolutely HUGE. And that rear view mirror DOMINATES their present…can’t see where they are going because they are constantly beckoning or pining for the past. That’s a bit of what has happened with the Reformation. It is also a bit like what happened to Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration…do you remember that story? If you don’t or haven’t heard it before, Jesus takes three of his closest friends (Mark 9, Luke 9, Matthew 17), goes up on mountain and changes (transfigured, look it up!)…Jesus' friends get a glimpse of his real, eternal nature and character (a lot like what John writes about in Revelation 1). And what does Peter want to do? He does what Peter does best…impulsively blurts out, “hey Jesus, let's make some tents, booths…let's set up something where we can cement this experience…so we can experience it again and again." What does Jesus have to say? "Ah, NO." You see, Jesus knew you can’t constantly live off the spiritual intensities, victories, or monumental moments of the past…we have got to look for God in the moment…in the NOW of our lives.
That’s why friends being a Christ follower…being part of the Body of Christ doesn't have as much to do with REFORMATION – it is rather about TRANSFORMATION.
Then, I tried to explain it this way: I said, "look at this linguistically: Let's start with word, "Reform": the word is made up of two words, the prefix “re” and the noun “form." Now the prefix “re” means “again, or backward”. We use that prefix in all sorts of words – rebound, retreat, reword, reheat, reappear, reaffirm, react…in other words, the prefix along with whatever noun it is matched up with takes what is already there and tries to make it better or at least as good as the original. Now, stick with me…NOW, let’s look at The word "Transform." Transform is made up of two words as well…the prefix “trans” and the noun form – the prefix “trans” means this “beyond or change” or "change in essence." We use this in many words as well – transfer, transcend, transfigure…again using this prefix with any noun implies that there is something happening in the now that is occurring…change, metamorphasis, alteration, revolutionary action. You see, when you REFORM something, or retread it or reheat it – never as good as something that is new…
That’s why when it comes to being a follower of Jesus – Jesus didn’t say (to borrow the words of 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Rev. 21:5, “behold I come to make all things better”…or “behold I’m making all things at least as good as I did at first”…Jesus says, “BEHOLD I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW”…WHEN YOU COME TO JESUS…LIVE IN JESUS, THE HOLY SPIRIT MAKES ALL THINGS NEW IN YOU AND ME…not just better…not better quality…not just finer or greater but NEW. Make no mistake about it – Jesus is all about TRANSFORMATION! HE’S ALL ABOUT TRANSFORMING YOU…not reforming you…but CHANGING YOU INTO HIS LIKENESS…BIT BY BIT, DAY BY DAY TO BE MORE AND MORE AND MORE LIKE JESUS!
Philippians 1:6 – “He who began a good, new work in you will be FAITHFUL to complete it”
Ephesians 4:13 – “Jesus is working you and me and will continue to work in you and me through His Spirit until we attain the unity of the faith, the full knowledge of God’s Son and until we are mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ”
Now, why this LONG post? High Tech in Monroe…many of you know that I kinda pride myself in being a "hobby-level" tech dude. I try to do my best to use technology in communication, music, etc. I read books and attend seminars of effectively using technology in teaching, speaking, and writing. Well, when it came to making my point about the prefixes and nouns, instead of using powerpoint or some sort of projection equipment (of which we are NOT ready to use in Monroe just yet due to the fact that we have to mount our projector and run the necessary cabling to make it work), I put everything on a big poster board and held it up while speaking. Vicky said she was listening and watching and just about fell out of her chair laughing since she knows how MANY of you would just love to see tech-savy Robin use a posterboard instead of projection software. SO – that explains the picture…get it?
That's the essence of the post today…you can judge whether it was worth the time to get to the point. Oh well, you know me!