CHANGE... the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly - Pastor Andrew Hickman - July 3rd, 2018

Change, it’s a nasty word for most of us, and can bring about some of the hardest times in our lives. After Sunday’s message from Pastor Bri of changing our hearts and attitudes and allowing God to change our hearts to live a life of love, I have been thinking a lot more about change in my own life. I tend to be pretty adaptable when change comes around the corner in my life, however, there are times where I struggle with the littlest of changes. For instance, last night my wife asked me if we could sleep outside in our newly acquired tent. I was up for the task because I have always loved camping and I knew it would be fun. So we set up camp in our backyard and sat around a fire talking and enjoying each other’s company, and then decide to head to bed. As we crawl into our tent and get situated on the air mattress (I know I would suffer if I slept on the ground). At this point I start to think to myself, “Why on earth am I sleeping on an air mattress in my backyard when I could be perfectly comfortable on my bed inside the house.” I came to the realization that I struggle to get comfortable on a bed that is not mine at home. It seems kind of trivial, but for me it brought things in my life into perspective such as a part of the reason why I struggle sleeping on trips and vacations sometimes because I’m not in my own bed. More importantly, it allowed God to show me in a different way that He wants to change our hearts and lives to be reflections of Jesus Christ. A life of following Christ is a life that is changed from being self-focused and self-centered to being Christ-centered and Others-focused. In 2 Corinthians 5 the Apostle Paul writes of this change in verses 11-21,

“11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12 Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. 13 If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. 14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. 16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

The change comes from God, and we have to be willing to give up our selfish desires to allow Him to change us into the new creation that He wants us to be. Being a Christ follower (CHRISTIAN) is not about ME, it is about bringing all of the glory, honor, and praise to God by being His “AMBASSADORS” and sharing His message of reconciliation with the world through LOVE, GRACE, and COMPASSION. Change is not always easy or comfortable; more often than not change is hard and very uncomfortable, but when God is desiring for a heart change the outcome we know will be well worth it in the end. I am guilty of getting in the way of God when He’s asking me to change MY ways, and I have often had to ask myself this question, “Why am I trying to stop something that God is starting?”