Wednesday, February 15, 2012
A New Set of Tracks
What's your Deal?
For many years I have been thinking about the difference between sharing my faith by some program, like DE or EE, using a bunch of verses and a canned script, or by telling my own personal story of how God grabbed ahold of me and changed me. There are differences of opinion on this subject and some say that you need to give a chain of verses and get people to recite a prayer, while others say that this kind of thing should be much more relational and less Bible verses.
In reading Acts 22 this morning Paul asked to tell his conversion story and it wasn't well received. I don't see any verses in the passage, I know that now it is all verses, but no OT verses, and all he did was tell about who he was before, what he was doing and what happened that made him so different today; his story.
There was something different about Paul now that was very irritating to many around him, not because he was being a jerk, I mean he was killing people before and he was well received so maybe that's one clue, or because he was constantly reciting OT passages to them but because he was different than he was before. Paul was often in the Synagogue and in houses talking about Scripture, explaining to others what a certain passage meant, but when asked "What's your deal?" he gave his testimony instead of a long list of verses. Why do you suppose that is?
A Changed life is Hopeful
I don't have all the answers to all the questions that people have about the Bible; Paul was obviously in a much better place to refute objections than I am. I can't explain every question that the Bible raises, but I can tell of the hope that is in me. I can tell you that God did something in me and it's made me look at life much differently today than I did some years ago.
Everyone has something that they are looking forward to, maybe you want to call them goals and maybe you don't; some call it a "bucket list" and others are not that organized, but we all have something that causes us to get up in the morning and keeps us up later at night. God can change your bucket list and take everything that has no meaning and replace it with very meaningful things; things that have purpose. Paul understood this and so do I.
Who's the Hero?
In Paul's recounting of why he was different than before, there is only one "hero" in the story and it wasn't Paul. All Paul could say was that before God got ahold of his life, he was on one track and then, by no intention in himself, he was on a completely different track and the One who changed his course of direction was God.
It seems that people often want to point back to things that we have done in our conversion but if it were up to me, dependent on me, I would still be on the old track. God not only took me off that track but made it so that the new track is a much more enjoyable track to be on than was the old.
How does something like that happen? If my desires were the same as they were previously then everyday I would wake up and be miserable on the new tracks, but God changed my heart and that is why life is worth living and that is why life is full of hope. I no longer have my hope centered around things on earth and my hope is in what is to come.
Sure I have things I would like to accomplish today and tomorrow and this year, but if I don't see them accomplished my life in not wasted, because that is not why I live and breath any more. I don't know how that all happened but I know that God did something specific to and in me and HE changed my life and I never want to go back to the way it was before.
That's not a verse and I am not the "hero" of the story but God changed ME and I am glad He did even though I am not sure of all He did or even exactly when He did it all, but He did change me and that gives me hope, because if He can change me I know He can change you.