Tag Archives: conversion

3 Ingredients for Growth

 I am interested in how people grow.  This is crucial information for individuals, married couples and parents.  I think there are at least 3 components that are critical to growth:

Appropriate Environment.  My wife has a book called the Sunset Guide to Plants (something like that, but I am in bed writing this post and I am not going to go find it to give you the right title – wait…Google), it’s actually called Western Garden Book. It gives you the types of plants that will thrive in your particular climate.  The premise being that plants that thrive in Washington don’t necessarily do well in the Southern California desert region we live in, no matter how much you like the plant.

Growth occurs when the appropriate environment is supplied.  Things like soil, moisture, sunlight all contribute to growth.  In the human realm the environment has to do with the people, places and challenges in which we surround ourselves.  So if you  want to grow look around and see what the climate is where you do your living.

Who are the people in your life?  Are they positive people? healthy people? People who have a strong life compass?  People who are ahead of you, that is older, more mature, stronger and wiser?  The people we are with tend to shape our minds and hearts.  They can encourage us or destroy us.  Make wise decisions about your associations.

Closely related are the places of your life.  These are homes, workplaces, church, clubs, hang-outs.  Do the places I go encourage me to grow?  If not, maybe a change is in order.  Maybe I am in the right place, I am just not invested in the program –  if that is the case then engage.

Are you challenged by your activities?  Challenge pushes us to move beyond complacency and try new things.  Last October I rode in the Tour de Perris, a century ride sponsored by the city of Perris to commemorate their centennial anniversary.  A century is the bicycle riders marathon, 100 miles on a bicycle.  This was challenging, and in order to accomplish it I surrounded myself with others who were like-minded and we put ourselves in a place (our bikes) to carry out the challenge.  We all grew as a result.

Appropriate Elements.  You have to feed plants the right things if they are to grow in a healthy manner.  In the same way, if you are going to grow you have to address the needs in your life and apply the appropriate nutrients to your life so that you will grow.  The human body needs food, water and rest.  The human spirit needs a healthy sense of identity, security, and purpose to grow.  The human body really grows and matures, then simply needs maintenance until death.  The healthy habits of childhood simply need to be repeated in the physical realm. At 52 I am no longer looking to grow physically.

My spirit continues to be in need of development and in order to grow I nurture my sense of security (faith and belief, trust), identity (my relational knowledge of God which is characterized as “son-ship”), and purpose (engaging in my place in the family of God, the kingdom).  When I focus on developing these three areas of my life, bad habits fall to the wayside and the fruit of God’s Spirit are displayed in me.  Some of the practices that encourage this are:  repentance, believing, trusting, humbling myself, submitting, obeying, resisting temptation, and immersing myself in truth.  Some of the things that serve as blocks are:  scepticism, self-righteousness, independence, unbelief, worry, temptation, the power of the lie.

Appropriate Energy.  These things do not happen just because.  I must invest energy in the process.  Developing relationships with the right people and placing myself in the right contexts and challenging myself to do greater things takes effort.  Working on my faith is just that, a godly work which takes time and effort.  Discipline and discernment compel me to find this new direction in life so that I may grow.

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12 Months to a Better You: Conversion II

12 Months to a Better You  Step #1: Conversion

Conversion is the foundation for all change. All change is conversion. The first conversion is the conversion of power. The conversion of power is a conversion of who is in control of not only my life but every area of my life: relationships (marriage and family); occupation; destiny; money, time, possessions, my body, etc.

The major picture that is used in the Bible to help us apply sovereignty to life is the metaphor of Father. The sovereignty of God is transferred to our life through relationship with the Father. Both the Son and the Spirit have as their goals to lead people to the Father and to glorify the Father. The work of Christ and the work of the Spirit in our lives is to connect us with the true Father of us all. The first Father imprint on his children is the imprint of identity.

So your conversion assignment is to truly believe that you are a son or daughter of the Father. Our first lesson in conversion is a lesson of identity.

First, list how you describe yourself. How do you see yourself and what are the phrases you use to describe yourself, to yourself. This the language we use when we ponder our worth, value, strengths and weaknesses. This is not a list of how you are “supposed” to think of yourself, it is a list of how you actually think. Since you aren’t going to show it to anyone, be honest.

Second, read and study and memorize the verses below. Read them in context. Allow the Scriptures to reorient your thinking. This is the first step to renewing your mind and transforming your life.

John 1:12-13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.

Galatians 6:15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 4:24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.

Revelation 21:5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

Third, make some lists.

  • First, make a list of how you think God views you.
  • Second, make a list of what the Scriptures say above about the identity of the believer.
  • Third, revise your first list with the truth of the Scriptures from list two.

The renewal of your mind that will lead to transformation with regard to your identity is to have your lists match. I truly see myself how God has made me and sees me (that is believing). I have an accurate view of how God sees me. I agree with God (that is submission).

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12 Months to a Better You: Conversion

Christian change is conversion.

Much of the language of the New Testament focuses on the process of conversion.  Regeneration, New Creation, Rebirth,  Repentance, Faith, Transformation, Renewal, are all words that imply change.  Some of the words imply that the change comes in a moment, an instance of time and other words imply that change comes over time, that is, it is a process.

There is no kind of change or conversion that does not have at its root a mind process:  either repentance or renewal.  This is how it happens initially at the conversion where justification occurs when we were made new by the Spirit and born from above.  This is how it happens on the way during sanctification where the believer is in the process of holiness and moving toward the goal of the fullness of the stature of Christ.  Repentance and renewal correspond to the Bible language of putting off and putting on.

There is one essential mind shift necessary for conversion and transformation:

The shift of power:  The Sovereignty of God

This shift of thinking then needs to be applied to all areas of life:

  • Morality and Values
  • Reconciliation
  • Occupation
  • Relationships

Click on the picture of my scribblings to see a chart of the path to personal growth and impact, an overview of where we are going this year in our 12 Months to a Better You.  Follow along here at the Temple if you are a distance from NCC, this Sunday we will be giving a challenge to incorporate Sovereignty into the change process!  This week I will post musings on this topic in preparation for our Sunday morning challenge.

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