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What are some of the transformational experiences of your life?

I remember clearly speaking with one of the church elders in the church where I grew. Her name was Elanor Blackburn.

I had gotten to the end of my college studies and was trying to figure out what was next. I thought perhaps graduate school to become a history professor or maybe law school.

But I also was beginning to think about the possibility of what it would be like to become a pastor. I had been a leader in my youth group in High School, a deacon and the board’s moderator, and had led a college campus InterVarsity Christian Fellowship group.

I wasn’t sure, but maybe this sense that there was more for me in following my faith might lead to church leadership.

So, I asked her, do you think I could be called to become a pastor. And she said – I’m sure much more eloquently than I remember - the equivalent of “duh”?

It changed everything!

It gave me chills, but also a whole new direction to pursue.

It was transformational!
Sue Conklin was telling me the other day about taking her and Mike’s son Uriah who loved to cook to one of the restaurants at the Culinary Institute. 

Later Uriah became a chef. You can make food so amazing!

What are some of the transformational experiences of your life?

When have you been moved in such a way that you simply had to do something different, had your eyes opened in a way that shutting them again to the new truth you have discovered was impossible.

Allison Wilbur talks about that moment in relationship to Haiti!

How the earthquake introduced her to a voice deep down within her that said that she needed to make a difference. And so she, and many of us joined her to touch the lives of so many folks!

When worship is at its best, God’s uses it to change us. Sometimes it is a big change, but sometimes the change is really quite small.

So often that change comes from being with a person or a group that is just enough different than us that it opens up to us a new way of thinking about a thing or doing something.

There is a new show on the Magnolia network called “Building Outside the Lines”. It’s a cool little show that shares how an experienced builder has now partnered with his fourteen year old daughter to build “unconventional things”. 

For example, a backyard kid’s cabin made inside and outside to look like a beehive, much like the real ones outside in a nearby field. 

Where do you get a sturdy beehive shape - why the barrel of a decommissioned cement truck’s drum.

So cool!

But for me the transformational moment is the opening scene of the show where the fourteen-year-old daughter is welding! Now, I understand mentally that it is certainly possible to teach your child how to weld. 

But seeing her welding just made me want to cheer. Anytime someone hears a call to do something remarkable I just want to cheer.

Can a fourteen-year-old weld? Sure. But it is amazing how powerful it is to see it and realize once again how limited sometimes our thinking is.

That why the transformation of Jesus - as we call it is - so overwhelming!

We all know that Jesus is the Son of God. And presumably so do the three disciples, Peter, James and John. Sometimes I’m afraid I think of them as a bunch of inept teenagers. They had to know! 

But seeing Jesus in all his glory, well, was transforming. 

Their thinking suddenly had to snap, expand, to take in the new possibilities, to come to the realization how remarkably blessed they were to be hanging around with God incarnate.

And our worship, our gatherings for praise and thanksgiving, song and prayer, and scripture, and even fellowship offer us that same opportunity!

Here, in this place, at this hour, with these folks, we can be transformed from inept, unskilled, ill prepared followers of Jesus, into apostles – those sent by Jesus to share with our many different worlds the good news!

Have any of you ever heard of pickleball? What a weird name! I cannot get the picture out of my head of a bunch of people hitting around a bunch of Kosher dills.

Sue was talking with a couple of church folks about the fact they were playing, and now all the sudden there is a pickleball warrior in the house.

Well, maybe warrior is an overstatement! Perhaps a devotee! 


Have you ever talked to one of the folks that is a regular working at our food pantry? For some of those who volunteers it has been transformational.

Being together, trying to find a way to fulfill the calling that has been poking you ever so gently to “make a difference”. Transformational!

The moment when in the midst of a hymn you finally hear God’s call, or in a small group, or in a fellowship time, where you discover how it will be that you can be used by God to touch others with God’s love.

It is why we cannot ever forget to gather together.
Those moments, every single one of them are holy moments when God by His Holy Spirit can open your eyes to see not only who Jesus really is, but who you are invited to be come.

And all of it in Jesus’ name!