“You can’t get ‘there’ from ‘here,’” said the old New Englander after I had asked for directions. I thought to myself, “Why not? Both “here” and “there” is on the map, you have to be able to get from ‘here’ to ‘there’ somehow.
When you’re trying to get from “here” to “there”, you need to know where “here” is and where “there” is. Since each person comes with their own “here”, it will take a discerning heart to know where to start. Therefore, the “here” is person dependent.
However, we can know the “there” that God wants us to help one another get to. There is a life change that God desires for all His people, those in the church and outside the church.
As the pastor of Lincolnway Christian Church, our vision is to create environments where life change is probable. Our mission is to connect people to Jesus and to one another for life change. There is a life change that God wants for every person within driving distance of us to experience. God wants each person to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. This is where Jesus is the teacher of life, and we are his students.
So what is the life changed that God desires for His human creatures? Let’s look at three aspects where God wants to see life change happen in everyone.
- First, God wants a life change where there is a past that is forgiven, healed, and renewed. In order for some one to experience forgiveness, healing, and renewal, he or she must connect to Jesus Christ. In connecting to Jesus Christ, our sins are washed away. In connecting with Jesus, our wounds begin to heal. And in connecting with Jesus Christ, our lives become new.
- Second, God wants a life change where our future is secured in heaven and in the resurrection from the dead. By connecting to Jesus Christ, our heavenly home is secured until that day of the Lord when the dead in Christ shall rise. (See N.T. Wright’s book Surprised by Hope).
- Third, God wants a life change where our present is empowered, equipped, and encouraged. This is where we don’t simply connect to Jesus, we must also connect to one another. The early church came together consistently. In Acts 2:42 we read: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (ESV). In order for the early church to experience life change that comes from being a disciple of Jesus, they were required to devote themselves to each other as well as to Jesus.
The life change that God wants for each of us is all-encompassing. Jesus did not simply come to give us a way to heaven and to forgive our sins. Jesus has a “there” for us that is for “here and now.” Jesus came to transform us into his disciples, to become like Him. Dallas Willard wrote:
“Disciples of Jesus are those who are with him, learning to be like him. That is, they are learning to lead their life, their actual existence, as he would lead their life if he were they.” (Renovation of the Heart, 241).
If Jesus was a wife and mother, living in the 21st century, how would he live that life? If Jesus was a single African-American man, how would Jesus live that life?If Jesus was a middle aged pastor with a wife and four adult children, how would Jesus live that life? If Jesus were you, how would he live the life that you are living?
I would love to hear from you. How are you getting from your “here” to Jesus’ “there” in your life?